Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Creating a Cragbaby: Always on “Doo-ty”

Everyone knows its an unfortunate fact of life – “doo” happens.  And it doesn’t stop happening just because you’re out at the crag and its inconvenient.  Spend any length of time outdoors as a family, and sooner or later you’re gonna end up with a diaper explosion that rivals Mt. St. Helens…so you’d better be ready for it!  Read on to learn  the lowdown about dirty dipes in the woods!

DISCLAIMER: I should toss it out there that we use cloth diapers.  It’s better for the environment, its better on the wallet, and most importantly, its better for baby’s bottom health.  Perhaps I’ll devote a future post extolling the benefits and ease of cloth if anyone is interested, but for right now let’s just deal with crag stuff.  That being said, if you use disposables, parts of your diaper system might differ somewhat from ours (such as pack it out methods or amount of diapers to bring), but the basic concepts should still apply.

A tailgate makes for quick and easy car changes!


  • Diapers – Bring enough to last all day, plus 2 extra just in case.  For us that number is anywhere from 5-7, depending on how long of a day we are expecting.
  • Wipes – Again, pack more than you think you need.  The extra ones make for an efficient clean-up for both you and baby on the way home from the crag!  When we are away from home we use disposable wipes – I just buy a giant bag of them and restock in ziploc bags as needed.
  • Wet bag – Shell out the extra couple of dollars to get a lined bag that you can just turn inside out and toss right into the laundry along with the dirty diapers.  This will keep your pack not only poop-free but also smelling fresh (“fresh” might be a relative term after a 3 or 4 day climbing trip, but at least your pack won’t smell like crap).  If you are using disposables you don’t need one of these, but you will need something that fits the same purpose but is one-time use (like one of those 2 or 3 gallon ziploc bags).
  • Ziploc Bag – We’ve found that several quart size ones pack down easier than 1 or 2 gallon sized ones, but again if you are using disposables you might want more/larger bags.
  • Waterproof bag for storing CLEAN dipes – Not only will this protect your dipes from camelbak leaks, but it will also keep out any mud or leaf debris.
  • Portable Changing Pad – our Kelty Kid Carrier came with one, but a bouldering pad also works equally well (sometimes better, especially if you’ve got a roller!)

A portable changing pad will keep baby as comfy as possible on the rocks.

MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS: For day trips involving long car rides or weekend trips, we utilize 2 “diaper stations” – one in the car and a portable one at the crag (stored in the backpack).  Make sure you have all of your “essentials” in both places so that you’re not running around trying to find wipes while you’re also trying to keep baby from rolling off the tailgate.

TRACK IT – Time flies when you’re having fun, right?  And the hours can most certainly slip away from you at the crag, especially if you’re working a route or putting up lots of routes in the same area.  I admit that a few times we’ve been mortified when we realized what time it was compared to the last time we had changed C’s diaper!  Poor guy…We found that the best way to keep up with all the diaper duties is to record it.  I actually have an inexpensive app on my iPhone called “Baby Timer.”  It can keep track of not only diapers, but also feedings as well as sleep.

MAKE IT A DOUBLE – Taking off all those nice, cozy layers and exposing baby’s bare skin to the wintry air isn’t pleasant for anyone.  We’ve gotten away with less changes (and therefore less bum exposure) by beefing up Cragbaby’s diaper with an extra prefold folded into the dipe.

Since Daddy is sweet enough to alternate diaper duty, we'll let the occasional wardrobe snafu slide...

Our “golden days” with diaper changes were Cragbaby’s first 8 or 9 months, when he was either exclusively or primarily breastfed…we could easily go 5-7 days with only wet diapers and no code browns (but when it finally happened, you’d better be armed with at least a half dozen washcloths for the aftermath!  I remember being psyched when C’s first diaper of the day on a Friday morning was poopy – that meant we were all but guaranteed a “nothin’ but wet” climbing weekend!  Now that C is relying more and more on solid foods for his nutrition, it seems as though what comes out is sometimes more volume than what went in…

"Ok guys, ya better make this quick - its cold out here!"

All in all though, diaper changes at the crag aren’t that big of a deal.  Not that I’d call trying to de-poopify a wild and squirming  baby on a slanting rock when its 30 degrees outside fun, but in the big scheme of things its just a minor inconvenience, and should by no means keep your family tied to a 50 square foot radius of a changing table.  Anyone that tells you differently is full of crap.  ( 🙂 )

Sometimes its a two person job...




5 Responses to “Creating a Cragbaby: Always on “Doo-ty””

  1. There are really good ideas here and I love the fact that you use cloth diapers.


  2. wewhoclimb

    Yes we love our Cloth diapers, we somtimes give in and use disposables on longer trips, but the dry-bag is a good idea. Will definitely do that! We are in potty training mode now with the 1 y.o. so it is getting more interesting, we have a small portable potty that we plan to start using and we taught her to pee on the ground (think she likes it better than the toilet)!


  3. Paula

    We use cloth, too, and find it to be no problem at the cliff. Early on I would shove the whole diaper bag into the packet, but quickly learned that we didn’t need any extra bulk. Instead we use a very flexible cloth grocery bag for all of our changing needs. We bring a handful of wipes in a ziplock bag and a plastic grocery bag works well for our used cloth diapers. Our changing station at the crag tends to be the pack.


  4. We use cloth diapers as well, but I usually only have enough to last me two days. I won’t have a place to wash them, so I’ll be stuck on day 3/4 of our trip. Does anyone have ideas? We do have disposable inserts for some of our cloth diapers we can use and our son is a part time elimination communication kid, so he knows the ropes of using the potty since 6 weeks old, but doesn’t always use it guaranteed.


    • Erica

      Jennifer – I don’t have any experience with EC or with disposable inserts, but one idea is to just purchase another dozen prefolds perhaps? That would probably be similar in price to the inserts or to using disposies the whole time, plus then you’d have more for “back-up” once you got home.You could probably even find some even cheaper if you were okay going with the “used” option…

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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN