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|Diapers. Parents of infants are often stricken with backcountry diaper terror when faced with the prospect of family backpacking. In reality, however, dealing with diapers can be a rather simple affair.
The choice between cloth and disposable diapers is the primary issue. Cloth diapers require washing, rinsing, and drying – an often problematic and time consuming task when faced with your own underwear – not to mention a pair that’s been covered in fecal matter! It doesn’t take long to realize that the time required to properly deal with washing a dirty cloth diaper while minimizing the environmental impact of disposing of the wash water is worth it only for those parents that ascribe to a stringent philosophy that for one reason or another prevents them from purchasing and throwing away disposables.
For us, the choice was a matter of convenience and hygiene. Fecal matter is simply cat-holed like your own, and then the disposable diapers are set out for a few hours each day to allow moisture to evaporate, thus reducing their weight. Transport is accomplished by placing the diapers in an odor-proof plastic bag with a secure zip-closure (we recommend 12x15 O.P. Saks from Watchful Eye Designs). The process of using disposables in the backcountry is a no-mess, no-fuss, low-impact, and healthy process for both baby and parents.
|Brands such as Wonderoos and FuzziBunz are absorbent, wicking and fast-drying -- no different from your fleece jacket. If the diaper is merely wet, hang it on your backpack or tent to dry quickly in the sun, which kills odors.
Seal soiled diapers in plastic bags and carry them out.
Take care not to contaminate water sources. National Park Service rules prohibit the disposal of human waste within 100 feet of a water source or camp site, or within sight of a trail. The Park Service has also adopted principles from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics -- http://www.lnt.org -- which recommend that human waste be buried 6 to 8 inches deep and that washing (whether it's baby or dishes or anything else) be done with water carried 200 feet away from streams or lakes, using small amounts of biodegradable soap.
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