Wicking Technology of Baby Diapers

Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums Gear Forums Gear (General) Wicking Technology of Baby Diapers

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #3756625
    Keith T
    BPL Member


    Like many of you, Stephen Seeber’s articles on wicking have caused me to rethink the purpose and ideal technology of my base layer. ( and

    I came across the linked youtube video about diaper technology, and how diapers are engineered to keep moisture away from the baby’s skin. Spoiler alert: diapers not use wicking technology! Here is the link:

    I’m interested in your thoughts about the intricacies of diaper technology, and whether any of this technology is applicable to our needs while backpacking. Here are some questions that are ripe for discussion:

    – Is it better to have a non-wicking base layer?

    – If our base layers used diaper liner technology, would the pressure of our skin against the base layer be enough force to push water into a mid layer?

    – Are there any realistic ways the absorption balls could be used in a backpacking setting?

    BPL Member


    Locale: Western Colorado

    I’m not qualified to answer any of your questions, but I did want to say thanks for the  Youtube link. Who knew diapers could be so fascinating?

    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member


    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    explosive liquified bowel movements?

    there ought to be some technology there applicable to clothing

    BPL Member


    Locale: Colorado

    The hydrophobic polypropylene base layer of the diaper is conceptually similar to a hiking base layer. In fact, many of us remember when PP was the material of choice decades ago. Frankly, I don’t dislike PP, but some people complain that it retains smells and doesn’t hold up over time. But the other hydrophobic polymer fibers used in base layers are functionally similar, generally speaking. I know that there are a lot of proprietary fibers, and different people have different favorites, but I tend to think that a lot of it is marketing in the the end.

    The hydrogel that retains water in the adsorption layer of the diaper would not be well-suited to backpacking applications, because we don’t generally want to hold onto the heavy water. They have many biomaterials and biomedical applications, they are of course used for contact lenses, and are even used for remediation.

    MJ H
    BPL Member


    It’s my own fault, because I saw the title. But I was eating a sandwich and this thread didn’t help my appetite.

    Daryl and Daryl
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth

    “explosive liquified bowel movements?”

    Hard image to unsee.

    Todd T
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    I’m having a hard time seeing how this relates to hiking clothes.  Diapers are all about moving liquids, that show up in sudden batches, away from baby’s bottom.  Hiking clothes must handle both vapor and liquid forms that show up slowly and continuously.  Diapers need a storage medium, while hiking clothes are all about evaporating things away.  Maybe I’m just being dense.

    “explosive liquified bowel movements”

    Anyone with kids knows exactly what this means!

    Trivia:  My father-in-law invented that gel-forming storage material as a research chemist at Dow Chemical many years ago.  He later left Dow to run a spin-off company trying to monetize the stuff in consumer oriented knick-knacks.

    MJ H
    BPL Member


    Nothing could absorb that much that fast. It was going up the top or out the legs, depending on how the diaper fit.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!