Before we even had kids, we were convinced that cloth diapering was the only way we would ever diaper our children. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that cloth is more environmentally friendly than disposable diapers. 21 billion disposables end up in landfills every year in the United States alone. All of these diapers will still exist in a landfill long after the baby who soiled them grows up and has children of their own! Cloth is also far more economical. And don’t forget natural – no nasty chemicals against the skin.
However, cloth diapers require laundry facilities to remain convenient. So, while undertaking previous bike tours with our toddlers, we have always chosen to use compostable diapers. We were not ready to cope with the added weight and bulk of cloth, not to mention the washing of diapers while on the road. This choice has always bothered us, since even compostable diapers are still disposable, and if thrown in with the regular garbage, will never properly decompose in a landfill. However, the choice made sense since we were only switching to disposables for one or two weeks at a time.
While planning our Big Adventure we faced the reality of 12+ months on our bikes with a diapered toddler in tow. During that time period, Harper would be using five or six diapers a day, or almost 2,000 diapers in total. The idea of producing that much landfill waste was too much for us, so we began to consider using cloth once again. After a little research, we discovered a cloth diaper system that would potentially weigh less and be less bulky than the pocket diapers we already have. We had found Little Beetle diapers made by Better for Babies.
Little Beetle diapers are all-natural, and made in the USA. It’s a fitted organic cotton diaper with a merino wool cover. We feel like we talk about merino wool all the time as it really is a miracle fibre- it’s natural, comfortable, durable, odour resistant, and moisture wicking – what more could you ask for? A merino wool cover requires significantly less washing than a traditional cloth diaper cover, so we would only need to launder the internal fitted diaper after each use. This means fewer covers are needed, so there is less fabric (i.e weight and bulk) in total, and less soiled weight as well — a huge factor when we are pedaling everything about under our own power.
To make things even more ideal, Better for Babies is a company that jives really well with our goal to be conscious stewards of this planet while we travel. They sell reusable products that replace disposable ones, they have invested in their city (Carrollton, Georgia) by participating in the renewal of its downtown, and they engage in waste reduction practices by reusing and recycling. Their fabric is USDA certified organic which means it not only meets rigorous requirements but is also fully documented with regular checkups on the farm, animals, and farmers.
We approached Better for Babies with the idea of partnering with us on our adventure, to allow us to show that the best way to diaper a child is with cloth — even while traveling by bicycle. They will be supplying us with a diapering system for Harper as well as a few merino wool undies for Eden! Now if we could just teach Harper how to wash his own diapers, we’d be set!
We are pumped to use a cloth diapering system while cycling and traveling, but to be honest – we’re intimidated too. We never done cloth while on tour before. We hope to hand-wash each fitted diaper and air dry it on our bikes as we go rather than travel with too many soiled, wet, heavy diapers. We’re nervous to commit to carrying the additional weight of a cloth diaper system, yet we actually feel a weight has been lifted from us as we will no longer have the burden of throwing thousands of diapers into a landfill that will outlive both us and our children.
Many thanks to Better for Babies for helping us travel as sustainably as possible.