Updated on April 6, 2017
GroVia Hybrid Cloth Diaper System Review
I received these items at no cost in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
When it comes to cloth diapers, I am pretty familiar with all the different types of diapers out there. Ask me about pockets, all-in-ones, all-in-twos, fitteds, prefolds, or flats, and I can tell you what that style is all about. And yet this past April I was at the Great Cloth Diaper Change and someone showed me something I had never seen before. What was it? It was a GroVia hybrid soaker. How is it even possible for an insert to be so shockingly different from anything I’d seen before? Well, GroVia soakers are nothing like any other absorbency I’ve seen in my cloth diaper travels. Needless to say, I was hoping to get the chance to try one of these GroVia hybrid diaper systems. When Jaclyn of The Diaper Drawer asked me to review one for her, I jumped at the chance! The Diaper Drawer is a Canadian cloth diaper retailer located in Lethbridge, Alberta. What sets The Diaper Drawer apart from other retailers is that the customer service Jaclyn provides is really second to none! If you’re ever in Lethbridge, you can stop by Stafford Pharmacy and check out The Diaper Drawer’s “brick and mortar” location within the pharmacy. Jaclyn loves GroVia, and she’s been super keen to hear my thoughts on the GroVia hybrid cloth diaper system and no-prep soaker pads, so let’s get right to it, shall we?
The GroVia hybrid cloth diaper system is an all-in-two (AI2) system that consists of two parts. There’s a waterproof TPU shell that forms the exterior of the diaper, and there are three types of soakers that you can use inside that shell. The different types of soakers are the organic cotton soaker pads, the no-prep soaker pads, and the disposable BioSoaker pads. I have a pair of the no-prep soaker pads, so I’ll be focusing on those here. The GroVia hybrid shell consists of a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) outer that creates a waterproof layer on the outside of the diaper. Inside, the shell is lined with a soft polyester mesh material. There is a snap located at the front and back of the interior of the shell where you an snap in the GroVia soaker pads. The GroVia hybrid shell is a one size shell that fits from 8 to 30lbs. It accommodates that range of sizing with a 3×3 rise snap adjustment on the front of the shell. The GroVia hybrid shell has a snap closure which consists of a single row of snaps across the front. There are two snaps on each tab of the diaper, and there are cross-over snaps on one tab to allow a nice snug fit on smaller babies. It is worth mentioning that GroVia uses a larger sturdy snap compared to most other brands. GroVia snaps are very similar to the type of snap used on Bummis cloth diapers.
The GroVia no-prep soaker pads come in a pack of two soakers. These soaker pads get their name from their super easy preparation. These soaker pads are ready for use after just one wash. The absorbency of these soaker pads is comprised of four layers of microfibre terry. The microfibre is topped with a soft microfleece layer. This microfleece gives the diaper a stay dry feel against baby’s skin and also protects baby’s skin from the microfibre (microfibre should never be placed directly against baby’s skin). The GroVia soakers also have a microfleece gusset built right into them. They are soft with some elastic sewn in and help to prevent soft or loose poops from leaking off the soaker and onto the shell. The bottom of the GroVia no-prep soaker pad is made with a layer of TPU to add an extra waterproof layer to this hybrid/AI2 system. On the bottom of the soaker pads you’ll find two snaps, one at the front of the insert (the narrow end), and one at the back of the insert (the wider end). This allows you to snap the soaker pad into the shell to help it stay in place when putting the diaper on baby. The four layers of microfibre are sewn in pairs at just the front and back of the soaker pad. By that, I mean that there are two layers of microfibre sewn down to the TPU layer, and two layers of microfibre sewn to the microfleece layer, and those two double layers of microfibre and sewn together only at the front and back of the soaker. These leaves the layers of microfibre open along the sides/through the middle which helps speed up the drying time.
With an AI2 system, the idea is that you should be able to switch out the soaker pads and reuse the shell. As long as no poop gets on the shell, it should be possible to reuse it at the next diaper change. The gussets sewn onto the GroVia no-prep soaker pads is intended to help prevent the shell from getting poop on it. The TPU layer at the bottom of the no-prep soaker helps to keep that polyester mesh layer inside the shell from getting too wet. If the polyester mesh does get a bit damp, you can just hang it up and use it once it’s dry (which shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours). This type of system allows you to keep a smaller stash of shells as (in theory) you wouldn’t need a new shell at every diaper change.
How It Works:
The first thing I want to talk about is how it works as an AI2. The success of an AI2 system really lies in how reusable the shell is after each diaper change. Can you really use the same shell for two back to back diaper changes and just change out the soakers? What is the likelihood of poop getting onto that shell or the shell ending up so damp from pee that it really needs to be washed after only one use? I’m going to be perfectly honest here. The GroVia hybrid system wins at being an AI2. You might think that the layer of polyester mesh in the shell is just going to create a spot for moisture to linger, but I really didn’t find that to be the case. The layer of TPU on the bottom of the no-prep soaker seemed to really keep the moisture in the microfibre and off that polyester mesh. Even when the no-prep soaker pad was SOAKED, the TPU on the soaker was still dry underneath. In that respect, the GroVia hybrid cloth diaper system really delivers. When the no-prep soaker pad is fully saturated, there was some moisture on the mesh in the shell, but it was only at the sides inside the leg seams of the shell. The mesh in the shell was never soaked all over, but that one time that there was a little moisture inside the leg area, I just hung it up to dry and it was ready to go at the next diaper change a couple of hours later. What about poop containment? It’s hard for me to say how this system will fare with runny EBF poop, but I can tell you that it does quite well with peanut butter consistency teething poop. The gussets on the soaker pad did contain the mess and kept it off the shell. Now through my own poop clean up methods, I managed to get poop on the shell (when using the diaper to wipe Petit Prince’s bum before using a cloth wipe on him), but with a little more care and attention I think it could easily be avoided.
I had the GroVia hybrid cloth diaper system with the no-prep soaker pads on Petit Prince when he was around 22lbs and 30 inches tall. At that size, he wears the GroVia hybrid system on the medium rise setting. I don’t need to cross the tabs over the get a snug fit on him, but I do have to close the diaper right to the centre. It ends up tighter on one side than the other (which isn’t unusual for any of the diapers in my stash right now), and on the tighter side, the outer tab snap ends up right beside the inner tab snap. This isn’t an issue for me, but it does make one side look a bit bunchy. This is where I wish the Grovia hybrid system had a double row of snaps for the closure rather than a single row of snaps. I find that with a single row of snaps, I have to do it up much tighter around the waist than I’d really like in order to prevent gaps at the legs. If I do the closure up any larger on Petit Prince (even just doing it up evenly so there’s no bunching on the one tab), I get a gap right inside his leg when he’s sitting down. The gap is not there when he’s standing, or when I froggy his legs up to check for gaps, but it appear when he sits on him bum. He’s up and down all day long, so a gap like that is no good! He doesn’t seem to mind the diaper being more snug around his tummy than his other diapers, so it’s just a matter of personal preference rather than comfort.
The no-prep soaker pads are quite thick and, as a result, the GroVia hybrid system does look pretty bulky on Petit Prince. What it lack in trimness it makes up for in absorbency! You might be thinking there’s no way a microfibre soaker pad could possibly be absorbent enough. I know microfibre isn’t everybody’s favourite, but you know what? It works exceptionally well in the GroVia no-prep soaker pads. I found the no-prep soaker pads to be very absorbent. I’m talking, took an extra long nap and I forgot to put a fresh diaper on first absorbent. Time wise, I mean it lasts four hours easily. What about compression leaks? As you may or may not know, microfibre is great at absorbing liquid quickly, but not so great at holding onto it under pressure. With a lot of microfibre, when baby starts dropping to their bum/sitting up throughout the day, this puts pressure on the microfibre and causes the moisture to squeeze out. This can lead to leaking. I don’t know what kind of unicorn dust GroVia puts in their no-prep soaker pads, but the microfibre in them did not seem prone to compression leaks for us. Sure there was a bit of moisture on the mesh inside the shell near the legs when the no-prep soaker was fully saturated, and that was likely the result of compression on the microfibre. However, there was no moisture making its way out of the diaper or through the shell with the no-prep soakers. You may be wondering about keeping this microfibre fresh, and I can tell you that this is a non-issue for me. That being said, I actually like microfibre anyway, and none of my microfibre soakers/inserts in my stash stink at all (even the ones that have been in use since The Heir was born in 2012). If your wash routine is working as it should, your microfibre soakers shouldn’t develop a stink problem.
One common concern with an AI2 system where you’re placing the absorbency directly between baby and the shell (rather than in a pocket) is that the soakers will bunch up in the middle. I did not have this problem with the GroVia hybrid shell and no-prep soakers. Given how active Petit Prince is these days, I would not have been surprised if there had been some bunching, but I’m happy to report that this was not an issue. Synthetic materials are already less prone to this type of bunching compared to a natural fibre absorbency (like cotton), so that likely contributed to the no-prep’s ability to maintain its shape and coverage inside the shell.
- A truly functional AI2 system
- One size shell fits from 8-30lbs
- Soakers snap into the shell to keep them in place
- No-prep soakers are ready to use after just one wash
- No-prep soakers are very absorbent
- Extra TPU on the soakers helps keep the shell dry
- Gussets on the soakers helps prevent poop from getting on the shell
- Microfleece keeps baby feeling dry
- Cross-over tabs to fit smaller babies snugly
- Two snaps on each tab prevents wing droop
- Polyester mesh lining dries quickly if it gets damp
- Snaps are large and sturdy
- Hybrid shell is available with a snap closure or a velcro closure
- Single row snap closure makes it harder to customize the fit for babies with skinny legs
- No-prep soakers are thick and bulky
- Polyester mesh prevents the shell from being wipeable
Overall, I like the GroVia hybrid cloth diaper system. I was really surprised by the incredible absorbency of the no-prep soaker pads and loved only needing to wash them once before using them. The microfleece on the no-prep soakers is excellent at keeping baby feeling dry. I usually had to feel in between the microfibre layers to tell if the soaker pad was even wet as it was almost impossible to tell from the top. The extra layer of TPU built right into the soaker pads is such a brilliant design (and it’s that element that gave me such a shock at the GCDC in April, by the way). What better way to help eliminate leaks than to add an extra layer of waterproof protection right onto the soaker? In addition to the snap closure, the GroVia hybrid shell is available with a velcro closure, so you can choose the type of closure that works best for you. I only wish the GroVia hybrid snap closure shell had a double row of snaps across the front. This would allow for a staggered closure to accommodate skinnier thighs without digging into baby’s tummy.
The GroVia hybrid shell and no-prep soaker pads are available to purchase from The Diaper Drawer if you’re in Canada or from Nicki’s Diapers if you’re in the USA. The GroVia hybrid shell retails for $22.95 CAD and a pair of no-prep soaker pads retails for $24.95.
How would you like the chance to WIN a GroVia hybrid shell and a pair of GroVia no-prep soaker pads? One lucky reader has the chance to win a GroVia hybrid shell and set of no-prep soaker pads to try out for themselves! Just scroll down to the giveaway and get your entries in for a chance to win. This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only, 18+, and closes on September 28th, 2016. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment. Don’t forget to follow the Unbe-leaf-able September To Remember giveaway “hop” and enter the other awesome giveaways linked up below!
Welcome to the Unbe-leaf-able September To Remember Giveaway Hop hosted by The Mommy Island and The Kids Did It! Looking for a fun way to celebrate the start of Fall? How does the chance to win over 100 prizes sound? Over 100 bloggers have teamed up to bring you the Unbe-leaf-able September To Remember Giveaway Hop! You have until September 28th to enter all the great giveaways through the linky at the bottom of this post!