I grew up in a camping family. By that, I mean that we went camping in lieu of vacations most of the time. My parents camped for their honeymoon. My older brother insisted that my dad take him camping one more time before “that baby” was born. So during a late November snowstorm in frigid Minnesota, my dad took his three-year-old son camping in the yard on the night that I was born. That same brother and his wife go camping all the time, including in February if it’s not too cold. I tell you this so that you understand that for me, it’s not odd to take a child camping, even if they’re still in diapers!
When I first mentioned to people that I planned to bring the girls camping, I was commonly met with, “You’d put them in regular diapers, right?” I told everyone that I would put them in their regular diapers, yes! I don’t do well with people telling me I can’t do something, so cloth and camping seemed like the perfect opportunity to show people that I can do it if I want to.
When we planned our first trip I had to figure out a few things.
1. Where will I store diapers, clean and dirty?
2. How will I clean soiled diapers that I’d normally spray at home?
Storing clean diapers was easily solved with wet bags. I used one wet bag for each day, one for overnights, one for evenings/fires, and one for swim stuff since the waterpark was on our agenda. Keeping them separated this way made it easy to grab just what I needed or to ask someone to bring me the correct one.
For storing dirty diapers I brought a pop-up hamper that I had at home and just put a pail liner inside it. If we didn’t have that I would have brought a regular hamper, or a laundry basket or some sort of bucket. We normally use a cheap trash can with a pail liner at home so this wasn’t much different.
I kept the hamper in the sleeping tent in a corner and we never had issues with smell since everything was thoroughly rinsed and there was a lot of air moving through the tent with the windows open. This system ended up being no more difficult than our storage at home. Diapers could also be stored in wet bags after they’re used, or just in a pail liner without a container.
Once I had that figured out, I realized I wouldn’t have my diaper sprayer and knew I’d have a hard time not stressing about how well I’d be able to clean them. As long as you’re not going way off the grid, your campsite should have a water spigot that you can use to rinse diapers. I used this to rinse all wet diapers (because toddler pee is no joke) as well as any dirty diapers after I’d done the dunk and swish method in the bathrooms. I did have an extra wet bag to use to bring diapers from the bathroom to the spigot or from the spigot to the hamper.
Now, I know not all camping comes with toilets, so in that case, I’d recommend having a bucket to rinse out anything unploppable. You could then either dump it into the outhouse or pit or dig a hole and bury it if you’re really adventurous! You could also use a disposable liner that you plan to toss after using so that you don’t have as much mess to deal with. Paper towel sheets work well for this if you’re in a pinch.
Overall camping with cloth was a really positive experience, and I’m so glad I decided to do it! It kept the smell down, since we didn’t have disposable diapers sitting in the trash next to the picnic table (ew). Storage was simple because of my love of wet bags and the use of a slightly modified version of our at-home system for dirties. Cleaning soiled diapers was simplified by the water spigot and an extra wet bag for back and forth trips to the bathroom.
I’d highly recommend trying camping with cloth if you’re interested in camping and use cloth diapers! It really isn’t much different than at home, just requires a little creativity!