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Hands-on Gear Review
GroVia Hybrid Review
Price: $16.95 at Amazon
Pros: High quality, one size, flexible, great performance, minimal leaks, ability to reuse cover
Cons: Line dry cover, long drying time of insert
Bottom line: Top Pick for Best Green Cloth Diaper. Performs well, easy to use, and flexible.
GroVia Hybrid received our Top Pick for Best Green Cloth Diaper in our comparison of 15 top cloth diaper systems. We love the GroVia Hybrid for its use of 55% Hemp in the Stay Dry Soaker Pad as well as TPU waterproofing which is a thermal laminate without chemical solvents or formaldehyde. We found this one size system when coupled with the GroVia Stay Dry Soaker Pad to perform very well in absorbency, fit, leakage, comfort, and ease of use. As a hybrid All in Two (AI2) diapering system, there are three different insert (a.k.a. soaker) options to place into the cover (a.k.a. shell) depending on preference: the Stay Dry Soaker Pad, the Organic Cotton Soaker Pad, and the disposable BioSoaker. A few stand-out, unique features are snaps inside the cover to keep cloth soakers in place and the soaker's inner gussets to help retain solids. This is a straight-forward approach that works well, particularly for those seeking flexibility within an eco-healthy framework.
RELATED REVIEW: The Search for the Best Cloth Diapers
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
A hybrid All in Two (AI2) system, GroVia has named their cover a shell. Their shell can be used with several different types of inserts. We tested both the Stay Dry Soaker Pad as well as the Organic Cotton Soaker Pad. The company also offers a disposable BioSoaker Pad. This flexibility is a very nice option, depending upon personal preference or needs.
The cover is offered with either hook and loop or snap closures (both seen below). We tested the snap closure. An extra bonus is that GroVia has a Snap Conversion Program wherein they will convert a shell with a hook and loop closure to one with a snap closure for $5 per cover. This is particularly beneficial if the integrity of the hook and loop has worn out over time of if baby has mastered the hook and loop system, meaning has begun to take the diaper off themselves.
The GroVia brand exudes quality. Both the shell and soakers are soft to the touch and all seams and stitching are nicely finished without loose threads or fraying. The shell is stretchy, movable, and waterproof without an unnatural, plastic-like feeling. Their shells which are available in vibrant colors and prints will make baby a stand-out fashionista.
We found the shell's snaps to be very strong and durable. There are a wide variety of sizing options, with three rows of snaps to adjust the rise and a nice wide waist with one row of twelve snaps. Typically, we prefer two rows of snaps in the waist because it helps keep this area from bulking up, as occurs with the Thirsties Duo All-in-One and the Thirsties Duo Wrap. However, with the GroVia Hybrid shell, this isn't a problem.
The shell has nice stretchy elastic leg openings without a gusset. Instead, all of GroVia's soakers, including the disposable bio-soaker, have their own leg gussets to help hold in the mess in addition to a waterproof backing. We did have some leaks with the Stay Dry Soaker Pad in our testing, whereas not so with the Organic Cotton Soaker. Perhaps the stay dry inner lining of the earlier requires more time for wetness to soak through to the core.
This hybrid system is pretty trim fitting and holds its shape nicely; it received a 9 of 10 in our comfort scoring. As mentioned, the waist doesn't bunch up even though there are only one row of snaps in the waist. The elastic at the leg and back of the waist is nice and stretchy. We also like that the shell's mesh lining creates additional breathability to this waterproof cover.
Because the soakers snap into the shell, you do not need to worry about them shifting out of place on baby. None of the other diapers we tested offer this snap-in insert concept. We think it is simply brilliant.
Ease of use
The GroVia Hybrid received a 9 of 10 in our ease of use scoring. Because it is a one-size system, you can cruise from infancy to potty training like a champ. Additionally, as an AI2 hybrid system, re-using the cover is an option if it is still clean at changing time. Simply remove the dirty soaker pad and snap in a new one.
Having said this, we found that re-using the hybrid cover with the GroVia is more typical of a wet diaper change, not so much with a soiled one. Although the Soakers are gusseted, solids get onto the cover more often than not. Because the soaker is small and trim, the cover does get dirty. While the insert is very absorbent, it doesn't always contain the poop well, which usually requires a new cover at changing time.
The soaker is made of two layers that are sewn together at the ends theoretically cutting down drying time. This works better in practice with the Stay Dry Soaker than with the Organic Cotton Soaker, a side effect of the later being made of all natural materials.
The cover does need to be line-dried, so be prepared to separate the shells from the soakers out of the washing machine. We found the cover to air dry quickly. And, a natural bonus of line-drying is increased longevity of the cover's elastic, waterproofing, and cloth.
GroVia Hybrid is our Top Pick for Green Diaper because this company has made a very impressive effort to be eco-friendly. It is the only cloth diaper in our testing that scored a 9 of 10 in Eco-Health. Though production is based in China, GroVia's diapers do not contain formaldehyde or dioxins.
All GroVia waterproofing is 100% Water Resistant Polyester TPU, the shell and Stay Dry and Organic Cotton soaker pads. The big deal? TPU is greener than the PUL waterproofing contained in most other diaper covers. TPU is laminated to the fabric with heat rather than the solvent-based chemicals used to laminate PUL.
We also appreciate GroVia's use of Hemp in the Stay Dry Soaker Pad. There are so many cool things about hemp.
Sometimes diapers made of natural fabrics have a tendency to stain. We did find this to be an issue with the GroVia Shell and Organic Cotton Soaker Pad. However, staining merely affects aesthetics and not the function of the diaper. As this cover needs to be line-dried, drying it out in the sun will take care of staining as well as any diaper funk nicely. Although the inserts can be machine-dried, staining can be managed with this method as well, though it may take them longer than you'd prefer to line-dry.
Because the GroVia Organic Cotton Soaker Pad absorbs liquid well, but is absent of wicking ability, it would be a good choice during potty training. For infancy, however, we find it unacceptable. A nice fix is to place GroVia's fleece-topped Stay Dry Booster above it.
The disposable BioSoaker pad is biodegradable, compostable, Oeko-Tex 100 certified as well as plastic, chlorine, fragrance, and dye-free. Its core is made of sustainably harvested wood pulp and some SAP gel which GroVia describes is "minimal." The outer is waterproofed with a 100% natural Bio-Film.
The GroVia Hybrid is a great option for those seeking eco-friendliness and flexibility in cloth diapering. The Stay Dry Soaker Pad is great during infancy, The Organic Cotton Soaker Pad is great during potty training. And, the BioSoaker is an option when out and about if you need to go minimalist. Keep in mind, however, that because the soaker pads do not contain stool 100% of the time, you may find yourself needing a new shell in this circumstance.
an excellent value for an eco-healthy All-in-Two (AI2) Hybrid cloth diapering system. To put this in perspective, the Flip Hybrid, a synthetic-based diapering system, which won our Best Value is $140 cheaper than the Grovia Hybrid system and scored overall 3 points higher. In our opinion, the next best performing green AI2 hybrid system after GroVia Hybrid is the Thirsties Duo Wrap with Stay Dry Duo Insert which is an estimated lifetime cost of $172 more than the GroVia at an overall score of 20 points less.
GroVia has package deals on their website for those that are interested in making a full or partial investment in this system. This will save quite a bit.
The GroVia Shell with GroVia Organic Cotton Soaker Pads is a very good option for those who prefer a more natural, earth-friendly hybrid diapering system. If you or your baby are annoyed with being exposed to wetness with the Organic Cotton Soaker Pad until changing or if diaper rash is an issue, consider either putting GroVia's fleece-topped Stay Dry Booster above it of it or substituting it with GroVia's Stay Dry Soaker or BioSoaker Pad instead. There is quite a selection of choices with the GroVia line in terms of colors, closures, sizing and insert materials, and there is surely a combination to satisfy most cloth diapering parents and babies. If you are game for line-drying the shells in the sun to both increase longevity and minimize staining (the sun bleaches out stains nicely), we highly recommend this cloth diapering system.
Other Versions & Accessories
GroVia also offers a range of other cloth diapers for use in almost any situation along with a large selection of colors and patterns for each:
As mentioned above, there are package deals available on their site for cost savings.
This video made by GroVia highlights how the Hybrid has snap-in cloth soaker options for home and also a disposable Bio-Soaker for use on the go, if desired. This disposable Bio-Soaker attaches to the cover via an adhesive backing.
— Alison Buck
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