Friday, April 6, 2012

AppleCheeks Bamboo Little Bundle: Review & Giveaway! (Closed)


What's better than adding an AppleCheeks diaper to your stash? Adding two AppleCheeks diapers, of course! :)

Following my "Fluffy February" review of the AppleCheeks Microterry Little Bundle (which I awarded a "Diaper Awesomeness" rating of 24/25), the company offered me the opportunity to review their Bamboo Little Bundle (on a quest for that oh-so-elusive perfect score? ;)

The Bamboo LB consists of the same awesome 2-Size Envelope Cover used in their Microterry system, and a One-Size Rayon from Bamboo Insert.

For full details on the envelope cover (as well as general company info), see my previous review. I`ll be focusing on the bamboo insert more specifically in this one.

From the product description:

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AppleCheeks One-size Rayon from Bamboo Insert 

Two layers of ultra-soft 70% rayon from bamboo/30% organic cotton fleece give you the ultimate in comfort and absorbency! Fold this approximately 12″ x 15″ insert into thirds and you get six layers in the soaker zone.

Rayon from Bamboo is perfect for the heaviest wetter as it retains twice as much moisture as cotton alone for its weight! And plus rayon from bamboo’s antimicrobial properties make it the healthy choice for your baby’s bottom. Rayon from Bamboo is the cloth diapering choice!


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For review purposes, AppleCheeks generously sent me both a Bamboo Little Bundle and a set of 2 extra bamboo inserts!


The envelope cover I received is a Size 2 in the "Forget Me Not" shade - here it is, ready for action!


And here is one of the OS Rayon from Bamboo Inserts, right out of the package:


This insert measured about 12.5" x 15". Can't quite visualize how big that is? This may give you a better idea:


Here is the insert trifolded to create 6 layers of absorbency. I tried folding it both the short and long way (as the description doesn't specify which one is "correct") and found that the short way results in the most appropriate length & width. (Note - in hindsight, just noticed that the Care Instructions page of their website does specify the correct folding direction. A li'l tip for the AC web folks - I recommend either including this info on the Inserts product page directly, or embedding a link to this info as its current location isn't the most intuitive.)


This method also results in a size (and thickness) quite comparable to the microterry insert. The microterry is just slightly longer.


The trifolded bamboo insert stuffs easily into the generous pocket opening of the envelope cover.


It also fits nicely on top, as an AI2.


One of the most fantabulous things about the bamboo inserts is how utterly soft they are. Just as smooth 'n' velvety as the microfleece lining of the envelope cover, if not more so. And made from natural materials to boot! As such, I'd think babies would be more comfortable with this insert than the microterry one for parents who prefer to use the AI2 method.

Another thing I noticed is that the insert's two layers are sewn together only at the edges. In other words, you can pull the top and bottom surfaces away from each other, if that makes sense. I kind of like this as I can't imagine it would negatively affect performance or longevity, yet it might have the benefit of a speedier drying time.

Here are a few shots of my daughter wearing her snazzy new envelope cover and bamboo insert combo! (If you're wondering why her skin looks blotchy, she'd just come out of the bath and was a li'l chilly! So I was trying to be super-snappy with the pics which is why I only managed 3. :)




In terms of overall diaper fit, I didn't really notice a difference here compared with the microterry system. Still a stretchy (yet snug) fit around the waist and legs, and relatively trim overall.

Performance-wise, we've used the bamboo combo about 5 times during the day (both pocket and AI2 methods) and once at night, and results have been great! We did have one leak during the day, however the diaper was on longer than average (about 3 1/2 hours) and she also appeared to "cluster-pee" during this timeframe as the insert was entirely saturated. So not the diaper's fault, really. That said, based on this we decided she'd need a little extra sumpin' sumpin' when it came to our night diapering test, so we stuffed the pocket with two bamboo inserts. A little bulky, sure, but the 12 layers did the trick nicely - no leaks! She did manage to wet both inserts pretty substantially, however, so I'm wondering how she would have done with "just" an insert and one of the rayon from bamboo boosters. I like the concept of the booster system, however - depending on how heavy of a wetter your child is, you can add 1 or more boosters (or even two inserts together, like I did) to meet his/her needs, especially for night diapering.

In terms of care & maintenance, AppleCheeks advises that the bamboo inserts be prewashed three times on hot and dried once on hot to ensure optimal absorbency. I personally like to "live dangerously" and use a diapering product before it has reached its recommended level of prepping to see how it does, so I washed the inserts just once along with my regular cloth diaper laundry (on cold/hot/warm) and the absorbency was already quite good - no leaks during test #1! Day-to-day care is super-easy; solids spray off the inserts easily and neither the envelope covers nor inserts have required any special treatment outside of my regular laundry routine. In terms of size, the inserts have shrunk about 1/2 inch both length and width-wise. So nothing to write home about.

I really only have a couple minor gripes with these inserts. First of all, from my experience they come out of the laundry ever-so-slightly misshapen / bunchy at the edges, presumably due to slightly uneven shrinkage. This makes them a bit harder to fold evenly (you kind of need to smooth out the wrinkles a bit), though doesn't appear to affect performance at all. Second, it appears they are more prone to staining than the microterry variant (and synthetic fibres, in general). One of our inserts is now, unfortunately, branded with a reminder of how much our daughter enjoys blueberries. :) We'll try sunning it out this Summer!

Alright, let's move onto the official evaluation! (Note - for thoroughness, I've incorporated applicable comments from my previous review. So if some of this looks familiar, that would be why! :)

Appearance/Style:
+ Flattering fit; super stretchy leg and waist elastics create a nice visual touch (especially on the smallest setting)
+ Colour options are vivid and attractive; with 9 currently available (and another limited edition one on the way!) there is something for everyone's taste!
+ Diaper is quite trim, even when baby is at the smallest end of the suggested weight range. 
+/- Prints have recently been introduced as well, however only two will be available at a time.
Score: 4.5/5

Performance:
+ Tri-folded bamboo insert fits perfectly into pocket so that there is no gaping or bunching on the sides or at the ends, increasing the possibility of leakage.
+ Diaper achieves a snug tummy and leg fit - even at the lowest end of the recommended weight range! 
+ No leaks experienced so far during during the day with single OS Rayon from Bamboo Insert used in both ways (all in two and stuffed) except one time when the diaper was left on too long and the insert became oversaturated. User error!
+ No problem containing solid messes. (Note - did not test with EBF poop.)
+ No overnight leakage when two bamboo inserts were used together. (Would be good to test an insert + booster combo.)
Score: 5/5

Comfort & Health:
+ Inner microfleece is buttery-soft and outer waterproof fabric is smooth and also pleasant to the touch.
+ Waist and thigh elastics are nice & stretchy so that they don't dig uncomfortably into baby's skin; no marks left behind when diaper comes off
+ Waist and thigh material sticks outward rather than inward into baby's skin.
+ Diaper does not appear to cause/exacerbate diaper rash
+ Rayon from bamboo is an antibacterial, naturally-derived material so would be a good choice to look at for babies with very sensitive skin prone to diaper rash. (Could be worn in the AI2 style in this case so baby's bum touches the bamboo rather than the synthetic microfleece lining the envelope cover.)
Score: 5/5

Ease of Use:
+ Diaper is super-easy to stuff with the trifolded insert via ultra-large pocket opening. Even two full inserts together stuff in quite easily!
+ Snaps are solid but not too tight such that changes become difficult
+ Both cover and inserts are very easy to care for - easy spray-down, machine wash, machine dry or hang. (Air dries quickly!)
+ System can be used two ways with OS Rayon from Bamboo Insert - stuffed or all in two. Mom and Dad can pick their favourite!
+ Insert comes out in the wash on its own
- Insert gets a teeny bit wonky after laundering which makes it a bit harder to fold smoothly prior to usage.
Score: 4.5/5

Quality & Durability:
+ Construction of cover looks and feels flawless. (No loose seams, improper stitching, etc. are evident.)
+ Snaps are strong & secure
+ Elastics are tight & solid
+ Inner lining of cover and insert both feel almost as soft after several washings.
- Insert gets a teeny bit wonky/bunchy at the edges after laundering - possibly due to uneven shrinkage?
- Rayon from bamboo inserts seem more prone to staining than the microterry variant (and synthetic fibres in general). Possibly unavoidable when it comes to naturally-derived diapering materials?
 Score: 4.5/5 
(Note - given I have only been using this diaper for a few weeks, I plan to update this section a few months down the road to get a true durability picture!)

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Total "Diaper Awesomeness" Score: 23.5 / 25 (Pretty much a perfect diaper. Go out there and buy some NOW! :) )
Overall Comments: Similar to their Microterry offering, the AppleCheeks envelope cover and One-Size Rayon from Bamboo Insert combine to create an awesome diapering system! Top-notch construction, great performance (day and night), soft and comfy for baby, naturally-derived materials, simple to use and care for and ridiculously cute! The only (very minor) gripes I have are that print options are currently limited and the OS Rayon from Bamboo Insert appears somewhat prone to staining, and can also get slightly misshapen after laundering (making it a tad more challenging to trifold smoothly). All in all I'd wholeheartedly recommend either system, leaning toward this one for babies with more sensitive skin, and the Microterry system for parents who are looking for ultra-convenience.

Approximate Stash Cost: $560 to $1200
Calculation details: Depending on your approach / preferences, you can build an AppleCheeks stash fairly economically or you can splurge a bit more. AppleCheeks suggests that three envelope covers can be used for approximately nine changes (each with a separate insert, of course). Based on this, you would need to purchase a minimum of 8 covers in each size (or 16 total), 24 One-Size Rayon from Bamboo Inserts (which cover daytime use) and, say, 6 bamboo boosters (for night diapering) to have a lifetime stash. There are slight pricing differences between retailers, however on average covers cost $20, One-Size Rayon from Bamboo Inserts cost $9 and bamboo boosters cost $4 (all in CAD). This adds up to a stash cost of $560. That said, some people (myself include) may prefer not to reuse a "soft" cover like this between changes, even if the cover isn't soiled. So on the other end of the spectrum, if you opt to purchase a full set of 24 covers in each size, you're looking at a stash cost of $1200.

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Buy It:

AppleCheeks sells its products exclusively via 3rd party retailers. Visit their Find a Store page to find retailers in your area.


Win It:

One lucky Manager to Mom reader will win an AppleCheeks Little Bundle (envelope cover + insert) of their own! Winner chooses style, size and insert type. Thanks AppleCheeks for generously offering another great giveaway here at M2M so soon after the last one! <3

To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Comments do not count as entries, however feel free to add a comment to remind yourself that you entered! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure:  The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by AppleCheeks.  I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample items free of charge.  This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.

32 comments:

  1. I love that applecheeks is reliable. and I love the cherry tomato color.

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  2. I LOVE the bamboo inserts! bamboo is so soft... I just love it!

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  3. I love that they're made in Canada. :)

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  4. I absolutely love the bamboo inserts!

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  5. I love that they are made in Canada, the colours are cute - the pink they offer is much a much better colour than some of the other brands, the fit is good and I love that there are 3 different options for inserts

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  6. A note about the downside of the sewing around the edges of the insert--one of my inserts (I think I have 12) has started to pull from the stitching. It's the problem with serging.

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    1. Same thing happened to one of my inserts, but it is not an Apple Cheeks insert.

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  7. I love that their website has so much information about buying cloth diapers. I'm new to this and I appreciate that there's information such as how many to buy.
    jentam777 at gmail dot com

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. I love the bamboo AND the fact that it is not made in China (huge plus... more than happy to support Canada or the USA).

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  9. I had a customer service issue with them once and in the end they handled it very professionally. I was very impressed how a poor situation was handled! ngiraldi at gmail dot com

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  10. This is the one diaper that I have never tried! Love that it looks trim

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  11. I like that they made from naturally derived products

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  12. I love that the company was started by 2 moms and that they really seek to make high quality products

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  13. I haven't gotten to try applecheeks yet but I love the look and fit of them in your pictures.

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  14. i love that they have such wide openings to make stuffing easy

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  15. Love that the insert agitates out in the wash

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  16. Very cute! Haven't tried any cloth yet as my LO has 4 more months to go before he/she enters the world! But they look great, hope we win!

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  17. That they use natural fibers

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  18. I love the Appletini colour

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  19. i like the bright red, cherry tomato color!

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  20. That insert is enormous! Gotta love that.

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  21. I like that the inserts are made of bamboo! Thanks for a great giveaway! goldenleo816 at aol dot com

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  22. I would love lake echo. love it

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  23. New to cloth diapering and would love to try different brands! I'm a fan of bamboo inserts and these diapers look nice and soft.

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  24. I love the trifolded bamboo insert.

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  25. I totally LOVE the bamboo inserts!! They're extremely soft and comfortable!! Baby and mommy loves them!! :)

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