(Review of the new BumGenius Elemental.)
Most of my stash is BG Elementals from when my 2 year old son was born. I loved that diaper. Trim, organic natural fibers, super absorbent, simple to use… pretty much the only complaint I had were long drying times. So how does it stack up against the new Elemental? Let’s find out…
The old Elemental was made up of (as far as I can tell ) 9 layers of BumGenius’s signature buttery soft organic cotton knit. There were 3 layers that made up the inner base layer of the diaper and then a “handbag style” soaker made up of 2 separate strips of 3 layers each. A “handbag style” soaker is one that is sewn down at the front and back like the handle of a purse, not at just one end with the other end flapping free. (Many thanks to Tiffany of Simple Baby for explaining that term to me.) The body layers were sewn in the front and back and sides of the diaper. To add absorbency you had to just lay a doubler into the diaper unless you had a very small doubler (like the GroVia booster), then you could tuck it under the handbag-style soaker.
The new Elemental has made some changes to address specific issues with the old Elemental.
- No more full body layers. The new design has gotten rid of the full body layer and simply expanded the handbag style soaker (both longer and wider) so that it covers the body of the diaper from front to back and side to side. It is no longer sewn into the elastic at the sides. This will eliminate a common complaint from the old Elementals, which is that the cotton would wear holes near where it attached to the elastic and near where the soaker was attached due to increased stress on the fabric at those points. Additionally, having the elastic in leg casings and not attached to the cotton means replacing the elastic on the new Elementals is as easy as replacing it on the Flip cover.
- Quicker drying times. By eliminating 3 of the 9 layers of cotton but making those 6 remaining layers wider, BumGenius has made the new Elemental quicker drying which saves both time and energy.
- Easier to add additional layers. The new Elemental’s soaker is sewn to the PUL in a way similar to if you sewed a Flip insert to the flaps of a Flip cover. The result is that there is PLENTY of space under the handbag soaker to add a full-size insert. Plus, you can now use microfiber because the cotton soaker is wide enough to cover it completely so the microfiber doesn’t touch your baby’s skin.
- Trimmer. I can’t say that this is a huge selling point for me since I will always pick more absorbency over less bulk, this could be a big plus for people who are used to the trimness of disposables or who don’t want to have to size up in pant sizes for their baby.
Despite all these positive changes, I do have a few reservations about the diaper.
- Absorbency. The new Elemental has 6 layers of cotton instead of 9. These layers are much wider than 6 of the previous 9 layers, so perhaps total absorbency is the same. I’m not sure. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised that the new Elemental lasted through a nap on my 2 year old.
- Exposed PUL. This is a big one. Because the cotton layers are so trim, and not attached to the sides, the soakers do tend to bunch up and leave exposed PUL against my baby’s skin. He is not allergic to PUL so this isn’t as big of an issue as it could be, but it was still annoying, especially when a couple pieces of poop got stuck under the cotton soaker and ended up bouncing around on the PUL while I tried to shake it into the toilet. Exposed PUL is also the reason I prefer the (old) organic cotton flip inserts to the stay dry or the new trimmer cotton flip inserts. The bulk of the old organic insert (now renamed the Flip Overnight insert) meant the insert held it shape, laying flat and going to the edges of the diaper instead of bunching up.
Will I grow to love the new Elemental as much as the old one? Maybe. I plan on adding a few to my stash , but I’m also going to add a few Smart Bottoms AIO’s which are extremely similar to the old Elemental design with full body layers of organic cotton as well as an attached soaker.
Want to try it yourself? Come into our store or shop our website, www.babiesbottomsandmore.com! (If the listing for the new Elemental is not live yet, give me a day or so to get it up.)
Questions I didn’t answer? Comment below and I’ll try to answer for you!
Full disclosure: I am a BumGenius retailer. However all opinions expressed are my own. I did not receive any compensation for writing this review and purchased the diaper for review myself.