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Why “Space” is not “Space Cadet”

Ah, gotta love the ABDL/ special interest community… not! At least not when it comes to those petty battles over copyrighting everything and everyone. After Rearz tried to register the generic “ABDL” term a while ago and got massive flak for it, a new battle is already raging in the form of ABU vs. Tykables slugging it out over whether anyone other than ABU may use the word “Space” to label their adult diapers. The original thread over at Reddit was even instigated by the current owner/ CEO of ABU, Casey Strom, which already makes this some sort of dick move on his part. Of course the whole truth is a little more convoluted, but let me try to explain my position.

First, I think it’s a total overreaction. I’m not a legal expert, least of all for US copyright law, but the pertinent entry in the USPTO database only ever says that specifically the term “Space” was registered. Not any variations, not any derivatives. That means that only the verbatim use is covered and anyone should be able to produce variations including the word “Space” followed by “Rocket” or as in this case “Cadet”. There you have it.

Furthermore in the thread’s opening post they talk about being required to enforce their trademark. Yeah, but does it actually mean they have to take legal action? They could have agreed on a quiet settlement/ licensing agreement and nobody would have made anything of it. I mean, c’mon, it’s a small world, after all. Can’t we just get along with each other? It’s not that we’re talking about billion dollar businesses being at stake here nor anyone skimming revenue from the other.

I also had to giggle about ABU‘s “web guy” bemoaning his precious SEO optimizations being at risk. Dude, get real! It’s not like your incontinent granny would google “space diaper”. Most of those search requests will come from people in the know that can clearly differentiate between ABU and Tykables being two separate companies catering a specific demographic. That and of course people find my shoddy little blogs without much hoopla and me not going out of my way to obsess about SEO (because I technically can’t influence it, anyway), so why the fuss?

As someone who has worked in the media industry and is aware of the many traps associated with copyright I’m not trying to trivialize the whole thing, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s a questionable or even shabby move by ABU‘s. Other than costing everyone a ton of money (one could even be cynical and argue it’s of the reasons why their products are so costly), this will probably not go anywhere. Personally I don’t think their claims have any real grounding and at the end of the day everyone loses. I just hope they come to their senses before this blows up in their faces.

Regardless, I’m looking forward to the upcoming products from both companies such as the ABU PeekABU and of course TykablesWaddlers, Little Builders and Space Cadet.

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Sizes measured

Despite still being somewhat under the weather, life needs to go on and I’m anything but lazy, even if things only progress slowly. Over an off-list conversation with someone I dug out a project that I had been dabbling with last year and never quite finished and I figured I could at least do that much and work in some of the more recent additions to my own internal database and put it to use.

As a first result of this I derived an ever so popular range chart to give you an idea about the actual size of certain diaper products based on their circumference. There are some similar diagrams floating the Internet that appear to be rather dated and have never been updated, so I’m hoping to do a slightly better job with this. The limitation is of course that it only includes products I can get my hands on, so feel free to get in touch if you want to contribute and send in samples to make those lists more complete and appropriate for your region. Some short instructions and explanations are included, but if you have questions, ideas and suggestions, likewise just hit me up. Click on the links below to download the full lists in PDF format.

Circumference Fitted Briefs (cm, English) 02.02.2018

Circumference Fitted Briefs (in, English) 02.02.2018

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The Nothing News

After I quietly skipped this weekend’s article and since some readers perhaps wondered, I’m just giving you an official heads up. Yes, it’s one of those times again where I’m bogged down by my medical stuff and thus I haven’t gotten around to furnishing up new and shiny things for my blogs. I’m transitioning from one chronic pain medication to the other again for the third time in the last six months and since it basically means that I always have to wean off the previous one and go a few weeks without any of this stuff to detoxify, I have a few more “bad” days than usual where I’m stiff like a brick and constantly tired. I also have a ton of medical appointments lately, so even more reason to take things slow and only work on things part of the time. So bear with me and be patient if you don’t get your regular dose of reading in the next few weeks. I’m working on new materials all the time, it just takes more effort and energy than I’m able to muster at the moment, so it’s a slow slog instead of a breeze. I have some things lined up that will hopefully get you excited and should more than compensate for this slight lull in activity…

Diaper Accessories: The big Onesie Shootout – Part 13 – Care Better

Though after the initial rush our series has slowed down a bit, we are far from having reached the end or running out of products, so here’s another one for you. This is in fact the second half of my Insenio order from way back then when I was buying the Active Pro. Say hello to the Better Care homecare suit.

Colors and Patterns

As regular readers might know, I have a thing for blue as my favorite color (well, certain shades of it at least) and so pretty much every product that looks halfway decent in this department is something I can hardly resist. This was no different with this one. I knew right away that I would buy one of these one day when I first saw a picture. It was just a matter of time when it would happen. The product actually comes in two colors – a dark marine blue/ navy  and the light blue color depicted throughout this article. Because of price considerations (yes, they are somewhat expensive by comparison; see later sections of this article) I only got one to try out and opted for the brighter color.

The light blue is not unsimilar to the one on the respective Kiwisto onesies, meaning a pale-ish sky blue with a grey-ish undertone. Here it leans more toward the turquoise/ cyan side, whereas the Kiwisto onesie appears a bit more purple-ish under the same light conditions. Still, they are a pretty close match. Naturally, since I don’t have one, I can’t give you an exact impression of the darker color, but the photos on the manufacturer’s pages suggest that it is still recognizable as blue instead of a blue-ish black like with some other vendors. Check it out yourself to make up your mind.

Size and Fit

Based on the available sizing info, my own experience and some common sense of how the generic letter-based sizes translate to real German sizes I picked size L. I couldn’t be one hundred percent sure of course, but once I had received the suit, everything checked out just fine. In fact I was quite surprised since the suit looks pretty large on photos and I almost feared it would end up being a loosely fitting affair that flops and wiggles around a lot. Thankfully it turned out to be nice and tight just as I prefer. Still, not everything is roses in wonderland, because there is a caveat.

Care Better Homecare Suit, Front

As it turned out, I couldn’t wear the suit in the way it is intended, meaning with the zipper on the back. Yes, in some weird twist of reality I have to wear it with the zipper in front. This has nothing to do with closing the zipper being awkward behind your back (which of course it is without assistance and an additional pull cord on the fly like you have on surfing wetsuits), but rather there being some sort of odd tension that prevented me from keeping my back straight. It almost feels like the front and back panels have been used in the wrong order, though they are most definitely not. So for what it’s worth, to me it remains a mystery why it behaves this way and I cannot offer you any explanation once I rule out simple things like my hollow back affecting the fit.

Care Better Homecare Suit, Back

Once I got over this *bummer* moment, I considered the overall fit to be acceptable and it’s beneficial that the product is more or less symmetrical, mitigating the disaster somewhat. Imagine the trouble had they tailored it more to have distinct differences between front and back or things like shaped leg tubes!

Diaper Fixation

Diaper fixation is excellent here. There are two contributing factors: One, the tight fit as laid out previously, and two, the leg parts acting as additional “stoppers” preventing your diaper package from sliding down too much. This is helped by the cloth being a very sturdy mix of 80 percent cotton with 20 percent polyester, which allows some tiny bit of stretching to adapt to the body, but at the same time not too much so something could give way. For me at least it’s really super comfortable as everything stays put where it is supposed to be.

Care Better Homecare Suit, Leg Zipper

Because of the relatively tight fit however, closing up the leg zipper can be a daunting thing to the point of breaking a sweat and throwing curses. Most of the time I simply avoid it and pull up the whole suit with the zipper already closed like it were a more conventional model. I will say though that I still have rather bulky upper thighs despite having been out of the cycling sports circuit several years now, so if you have less thick legs things might balance out better and you could still get a tight fit while at the same time making easy use of the leg zipper.

Materials and Manufacturing Quality

As already mentioned, the cloth is a cotton/ polyester mix and quite robust mechanically. In the usual manner the skin sensation took a moment to get used to because of the polyester parts always give me a slightly powder-y feel, but it’s okay after a while. The color is consistent and very stable, which is to be expected, given that this is a dedicated homecare product that for hygienic reasons must withstand washing at 60 degrees C.

More indication of this is provided by the back zipper being intentionally off-center and sewn on from the outside. This is to avoid pressure marks and sores when you lay in bed on your back. The zipper would otherwise be in direct contact with the protruding parts of your vertebrae, which could cause considerable damage even on younger people if there, in a manner of speaking, is not enough meat on the bone (or fat tissue below the skin) to absorb the pressure. Due to the fit issue and as someone who sleeps curled up sideways none of this is relevant for me, but it may be for others.

Care Better Homecare Suit, Back Zipper, Neck

Care Better Homecare Suit, Back Zipper, Size Label

The overall quality of the sewing is acceptable, though as illustrated there are occasional small glitches here and there. Most seams are perfectly straight and don’t cause any twisting, though in the usual areas like the leg zipper you should be forgiving if there are ever so slight uneven deformations. On my example I also have detected some small holes which based on their placement I have deduced must be from temporary fixation of parts with pin needles. The holes then ended up on the wrong side of the seam and grew larger due to the stretching instead of being hidden in the overlapping regions.

Care Better Homecare Suit, Back Zipper, Stopper

One thing that totally doesn’t work in my opinion is the little piece of extra cloth to protect the skin from the zipper’s fly scratching on it. It’s a well-intentioned idea executed poorly. As it is, the little flag thing is too narrow, meaning it just moves around, in the end still exposing the metal part. The way I see it, it would have had to be at least twice the height to have any meaningful use.

Care Better Homecare Suit, Back Zipper, Inside, Scratch Protection

Care Better Homecare Suit, Back Zipper, Inside, Scratch Protection

Pricing and Availability

As mentioned in the intro paragraph, this homecare suit is available via Insenio as well as some other resellers. You can also order it directly from the Care Better website. Back when I made my purchase the price was more like 30+ Euros, but it seems to have come down now to about 26 Euros, which is perfectly acceptable. It appears that availability is good with either the manufacturer or the resellers always having enough in stock. Ordering therefore should be rather painless as long as you keep in mind that all current outlets are based in Germany or Switzerland and it may take a few days extra for the goods to arrive outside that region.

Summary

Compared to the Active Pro this product offers a much more satisfying experience and has greater usefulness, at least for me. If it wasn’t for those quirks with the fit, this would be a viable alternative for a nice sleeper suit on a permanent basis. As it is, however, I don’t think I’ll get another one soon. Part of me also wishes they would put the nice colors to use by creating a daytime variant that could be worn as an undershirt at least or a full on T-shirt replacement even (with no back zipper, apparently) while retaining the functionality in the lower regions. This could be pretty neat.

Overall the product is not bad, but ultimately most people reading this blog will probably prefer spending their money on something else, regardless. The simple truth is that there are enough alternatives that are less bothersome and even when it could be used “as advertised” it is not necessarily easy to use. That of course as always depends on your physique and other factors, so at least I’m hoping that this review will help you make up your mind.

Diaper Test: ID Slip Maxi and Maxi Prime

Today’s menu will feature a product that has been on my list quite a while. As a big fan of the ID Slip Super in all its variants I’ve long been wanting to find out whether the Maxi version would add anything on top of it. Then some time last year the Maxi Prime popped up and I possibly couldn’t put off giving this a spin for much longer. So here we go.

ID Slip Maxi and Maxi Prime, Packages

These products not being officially distributed in Germany I once more had to resort to an online store from Belgium, which also has the added benefit of the products being a tad cheaper. The package contains the same number of pieces as the retail version of the breathable Super, so it’s even easier to compare prices. The minor caveat here is that the foil-based version in their chunky packs of 28 is still slightly cheaper when you do the math and calculate unit prices, so if that’s good enough for you, you can stop reading here. ;-) For the purpose of the subsequent inevitable comparison shots I only had one of those foil Supers handy, anyway. This skews the result ever so slightly since these fold up better and thus are a bit flatter, but it should serve the intention, regardless.

ID Slip, Absorption Levels

ID Slip, Thicknesses

As you can see, the different flavors are hugely identical fresh out of the package. If you wanted, you could kind of interpret the Maxi being the thickest of the three, but the limitations of my photographic process notwithstanding, arguably this could count as reading tea leaves. That is to say in practice you won’t notice much of a difference in the absolute thickness. What you can feel however is a different touch to each of the three models. Using the Super as a base reference, the Maxi is slightly fluffier whereas the Maxi Prime feels quite hard and solid. It is also the most heavy out of the three and putting it on the scales confirms this.

ID Slip Maxi Prime, Front

The overall shape matches that of the Super in every way, so the fit is nearly identical for all of them. Within slight variations you should have no difficulty transitioning and alternating from one to the other as needed. With these observations, what are the real differences then?

I’ve been discussing this with some person who shall remain unnamed a bit off-list, and we’ve both come to similar conclusions. First let’s begin with the Maxi. As one might conclude from the absorption level denomination on the package only being bumped up to the full 8 drops as opposed to the Super‘s 7.5 drops, the difference is minute. For the most part you will notice the somewhat looser texture and the resulting increased volume. This also tracks back to the photo with the stacked products. Whether or not you can actually get anything out of this is another question.

My own instinct says “No!”, as I’ve always done pretty well with the Super already. There is a slightly extended use, yes, but in my opinion it’s not significant enough. It’s the much-cited “one time extra pee” that may or may not save your bacon. On an abstract level therefore little seems to speak for this product, but hear me out. One advantage I found after all is that the even fluffier absorbent pad elevates the comfort at night by a tiny notch. Not that the (breathable) Super would be uncomfortable, but if you are the type that cherishes every bit of coziness you can get, then this might be an incentive to at least give it a try.

ID Slip Maxi Prime, Side View

The Maxi Prime is a different beast entirely. Regular readers of this little blog may remember my review of the Tena Slip Ultima and if you guessed that things would be headed in a similar direction, then you were right. Unfortunate as it is, it very much turns out the same here – instead of re-engineering the product, someone had the brilliant idea of “Let’s just throw in more super absorber!” and it whacked out the physics. It’s only consequential then that for the possibly intended use as a super-strong nighttime diaper this more or less fails, or at least doesn’t bring anything to the table that would make it superior to a Super or Maxi.

The flow of the liquid inside the pad is simply disturbed, which you feel immediately the first time you use the diaper. Just like in that other product there tend to be local “clusters” instead of the fluids evenly propagating through the entire pad. If you are extremely unlucky and already have wetted your product a bunch of times this could mean your excretions flow on the surface of the already saturated regions, possibly resulting in sideways leakage. That’s even more reason why it may not be the first choice for the night.

Not all is lost, though. If you are daring enough and don’t mind walking around with a somewhat thickly padded bum this can still be useful on long trips as the vertical orientation of the flow will allow to exploit and control usage better. Still, overall you might not ever get to the equivalent of the full ten drops, no matter whether based on your gut feeling or real measurements.

ID Slip Maxi Prime, Back

While I was genuinely curious, actually trying this out revealed that you are likely not missing out on much, a sentiment shared by the mystery friend I had been discussing this with. In the usual manner that doesn’t mean that those two products haven’t any extra value, but the usage scenarios are too specific to give a general recommendation. Of course you can’t go wrong if you ever have tried out the ID Slip Super. Both of the diapers will give you at least that same level of performance, yet it begs the questions what else there is on top of it and in my opinion that’s not enough to warrant the higher price. It’s really once more a case of “if only…”. You may come up with creative uses to make this work, but for the time being I will stick with the Super for those rare occasions where I want to treat myself to something special. Perhaps Ontex can work on this and improve those critical points and then I might consider the Maxi and Maxi Prime more seriously – if the price is right.

Diaper Basics: Another Look at Incontinence Skincare – Part 4 – Attends

After I’ve taken things a bit slower over the end-of-year holidays like presumably most of you, not always voluntarily due to some unforeseen “bad days”, it’s time to kick off the new year and continue with one of our series. This time we’re gonna have a look at the branded skincare products from Attends. They aren’t as numerous as the ones from Seni, so this article should make for a bit of lighter reading. As always full disclosure: All products for this article were provided by Attends and my thanks to them for that, but of course I’ll still apply my usual critical eye, so this should still be as objective as it possibly can.

General Observations

While the reduced number of products is going to make some things easier to explain and judge, it also makes things more difficult in that the corridor for actual use becomes more narrow and more specialized. You will see what I mean by that later on.

The branding is overall pretty modern, aesthetically pleasing and in a sense “neutral”, which keeps my designer tastebuds at peace. It also features a distinct color coding scheme with bright, intense colors used on large areas, which should help to avoid confusion coupled with the products offering a limited selection in the first place. It’s almost impossible to confuse items in a manner of speaking. It may look a bit pushy in your bathroom, though, even if it eliminates one of my complaints about Seni‘s color coding and all too toned down coloring.

With the exception of the barrier spray the products come in reasonably large tubes and dispensers or an acceptable number of pieces, respectively. This, too, sets it apart from the already mentioned competitor, though of course it’s a subjective point. Depending on your routine you’re always going to need more of one product, but not as much of another.

Dry/ Waterless Cleaning

In this department things are very straightforward as it doesn’t throw anything exotic at you and pretty much everything is as expected – wet wipes, disposable washing gloves and some matching foam and cleansing emulsion. It would seem you can’t do anything wrong with this, but actually it appears you can. Let me explain.

Variations in mixture are of course only natural from vendor to vendor. Some may prefer a different consistency and texture, others a different smell. This is the case here. The foam and washing lotion are a lot more water-y than their counterparts from Seni. It’s pretty much a non-issue for the emulsion, but the foam in this case really suffers in its usefulness.

It uses a standard perpendicularly aiming spray head, which generally makes it easier to apply the foam directly, but things begin to fall apart when you can’t do that. If you need to spray it on your hand first and then want to apply it to the regions that need cleaning, it dissolves way too quickly to do so in a satisfying manner. This is also further complicated by the foam not adhering well to your skin due to the lack of some oily substance. In turn it feels like you are moving foam flakes around like when you’re having a bubble bath and you may end up using unnecessarily much of the product.

Attends Cleansing Products

If that wasn’t enough, and this point really set me on alert, the foam has a very intense citrus smell. It contains Limonene, the aromatic extract of lemon oil, which is known to be a strong natural cleansing agent, but also known to be one of those substances that can cause skin irritations and allergies. Most dermatologists advise to reduce immediate skin contact as much as possible when e.g. encountering it in detergents and cleaning products, so to me it is at least somewhat questionable why it is used here, even if I’m regularly using citrus-scented cleaning substances in my flat. So in case of doubt you might want to cautiously test this before delving in fully.

In the long run perhaps the critical substances should be eliminated entirely, which would also lead to a more consistent olfactory experience. Strangely enough, the washing lotion has an entirely different smell that is more in line with the usual “somewhat floral and fresh, but I can’t give an exact match” odeurs so often employed by cosmetics products.

Attends Washing Gloves, Package

The disposable washing gloves come in packages of fifty and, bummer for me, only as a version sans inner foil lining. This makes it more difficult to use them if you have really made a dirty mess in the posterior regions. Additional rubber gloves would be essential in this scenario. On a sidenote, the marketing blurb on the package states that the oval opening makes it easier to slide in your hand and what do you know? It actually does. Sometimes it’s the little things and the simple ideas.

Attends Washing Glove

On to the wet wipes. Yet again these totally fall outside established patterns and expected standards. For a product aimed at adult incontinence care they turn out to be awfully small, quite literally sized like baby wipes. They are not impossible to make do with, but most of the time you are going to need two or three of them to really wipe down your intimate regions. This is even more true after longer periods of wearing diapers, where more residue is on the skin. This is to say they are a bit impractical if you really want to be thorough, especially if you have relatively large hands.

Attends Wet Wipes, Package

Also, guess what – yes, they once again have a different scent that I sometimes perceive as a weird mix of camomile and green grass smells, but on some days I also find it annoyingly sharp and stingy, almost like a disinfecting agent with lots of isopropyl alcohol in it. It’s most definitely not the best scent for my nose.

Skin Regeneration

In this department the Attends portfolio is rather lightweight and one could even argue that it’s underrepresented, given that their entire range doesn’t have complimentary water-based cleaning products to begin with. So it entirely falls onto the body lotion and cream to make up for any degreasing effects of your shower gel or soap.

Attends Care Products

The body milk, similar to the cleansing lotion, leans more towards the water-y side of things. Since I already have somewhat greasy skin that’s actually a good thing, since it means relatively fast absorption instead of having to rub it in forever. It’s also beneficial for quickly getting to put on your fresh diaper since you don’t have to wait too long for the moisture to dry off, either. If you have relatively dry skin on the other hand, this may not be the best product for you, though. It may not offer enough long-term protection and require additional products to be used, at least for the use case that is relevant here. For your sensitive areas some extra cream with a higher amount of lipids is advised.

That by all means could indeed be their very on care cream, since it leaves a thin film on your skin. In that regard it’s quite similar to the Seni body balm (the one with the yellow color coding) from our previous article. In fact I find the Attends product slightly more pleasant since it doesn’t have this sticky effect like if you had applied honey or sugar water. Because it is not so thick, it wears off a bit quicker, though. Both products have a smell that’s very similar to the cleansing lotion, so at least in that regard it’s a bit consistent.

The third product, the hydro gel, is not really a care product, but more of an auxiliary medical product. These types of products are often used in hospitals and care homes to get the blood pumping for bed-bound people, often before sleepy time in the evening so they stay warm in their beds as they doze off. Depending on your sensitivities the intense smell from the essential oils may be totally annoying or enjoyable. It most definitely gets to you when you are in a hospital room with four other elderly men that just had their rub, trust me! It doesn’t have much relevance for incontinence care, but used in small amounts can give you a lovely peppermint chewing gum smell – if that’s something you or your partner are into. ;-)

Barrier Products

The two barrier products are actually more like one, with the difference being their thickness and consistency. The Forte version simply contains a bit more zinc oxide and beeswax to make it flow less.

Attends Barrier Spray, Packages

I actually like the idea of a spray, since it eliminates that boring process of intense hand washing afterwards. Additionally it ensures that you apply a relatively thin and even coat. The downside is that regardless of which of the two you use, they are still very liquid which means that it takes a while before they settle in and dry off so you can put on your diaper. Another complication is that the thicker variant tends to sputter, leaving large blotches of product at times, so you may still end up getting your hands dirty, after all, when you need to spread the stuff out with your fingers. I feel that this could be avoided with a pressurized spray can/ pump-action spray since it would allow for higher pressure and using different nozzles that may be more effective and not as prone to clogging up and sputtering.

Attends Barrier Spray

Summary

The Attends skincare products are quite a mixed bag, mostly for the fact that they don’t provide a consistent experience. Truth be told, to me it feels like arbitrarily selected OEM products that were licensed to carry their logo. Therefore a good start to improve upon things would be actually settling on a unified scent. That would also quite possibly eliminate the need for some ingredients that need to be viewed critically. The products themselves in my view are mostly relevant for people who have relatively intact skin with a minimum lipid barrier present. Personally I can’t see them working on rather dry skin, at least not without a lot of extra hoopla. There’s definitely potential here to open up a second product line or at least adding some more products that would cater for this different demographic.

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Pull-Ups Test: Tena Pants

After evading the issue quite for a bit, mostly owing to their limited usefulness for me, I have finally decided and gotten around to have a somewhat deeper look at pull-up pants. In fact the thing that tipped me over was the release of the Tena Men Active Fit all in dark blue earlier this year, which immediately piqued my interest. That’s why we also begin with their products. Again I shamelessly exploited my secret channels to Tena to get hold of enough sample packs to form a reasonably educated opinion on this, so thanks to them. Note that we will only be exploring products with a certain minimum amount of absorbency, so no paper-thin Discreet version here.

Tena Pants, Overview

Before we get to the actual products, I feel it is necessary to reiterate some of the limitations and also my personal reservations why pull-ups are not necessarily ideal for quite a few usage scenarios. Let’s see what we have here.

  • First and ultimately on top of the list is the lack of absorption volume. Even the best pull-ups barely come close to a capacity that would match even some low-level regular adult diaper products. This technically only makes them suitable for mild to medium cases of incontinence where you are suffering from a slight drip or occasional bursts (urge incontinence) where the product would offer act as a stop-gap measure until you reach the bathroom.
  • Those pants are almost entirely unsuitable for nighttime use or other long-term situations. This is not only because of their limited capacity, but also due to factors like the actual shape and size of the absorbent pad. Most of them are specifically shaped for vertical flow situations while sitting or standing. In other positions the liquids will find a different way, bypassing the actual absorbent material.
  • For similar reasons the products are of limited use with fecal incontinence issues. Because the pads are so small, there is literally nothing that would block the feces physically/ mechanically plus there is not enough volume to absorb any extensive moisture like when you have diarrhea. At best you could use pull-ups for situations with light soiling where you leave tread marks in your pants.
  • There is an increased risk of leakage. Because quite intentionally pants have a very mesh-like structure, fluids may seep through. Additionally, leg seams and other parts may not sit as tightly as would be required. There’s only so much tension the tissue can exert.
  • Using pants may not be hygienic. Yupp, that’s a harsh reality you need to accept. Getting rid of a used pull-up pant may cause unwanted contamination. You basically have two ways of getting it off your body: pulling it down or tearing open the sideways seams. In both cases you may inadvertently smear urine and poop onto previously clean regions, be that just by sliding down or the product moving on your skin as you struggle to rip it open.
  • Pull-ups are hugely impractical for people with reduced mobility and agility. This shouldn’t be too hard to visualize – an elderly person that can barely bend forward would struggle terribly putting on one of those pants herself. Furthermore, even when being assisted by someone else, they may not be able to move as much as required e.g. due to a bad hip joint. And lest we forget – tearing open those seams would be difficult for a person with limited strength in their hands, too.
  • Those pants often look ridiculous, especially on men. This has been one of my biggest peeves, but at least in case of Tena there are some attempts being made to get away from that “laced panties” look as you will find out later.
  • Pants are expensive. Due to how they are manufactured they start out with a higher per piece price and then the number of them that you would need to get through the day can easily make this a very costly experience.

Now a lot of that of course almost sounds like these products are so quirky they probably shouldn’t even exist, but within the limitations they can still justify their existence. That would mean that if for instance you suffer from a mild post-bathroom trickle, tend to wee your pants when laughing or during sports activities or use them as a preemptive safeguard while otherwise intending to retain a normal toilet hygiene, then there’s nothing wrong with it. You just should never assume that it would come close to a conventional brief style diaper or even a large shaped insert.

With that out of the way, let’s have a look at the actual products from Tena in this category. For our purposes I solely focussed on products in size M because unlike with traditional diapers there is no way to creatively tweak and adapt the fit to make oversized products better, so there’s no realistic way for me to use a size L or even larger without it looking like an oversized Jute bag.

Tena Pants Original Normal

This is essentially the baseline “budget” product with the thinnest and smallest pad (at least in this article). This results in a somewhat odd, very loose fit because there’s not enough volume that would make the outer tissue’s resilience kick in. There’s very little pressure against your body, which I found irritating. You never feel safe and the pants slide down easily. I guess the conclusion here would have to be that you should aim at a smaller size if you really want to use this flavor.

Tena Pants Original Normal, Front Tena Pants Original Normal, Side View Tena Pants Original Normal, Back

With regards to the absorbency behavior and overall volume of course this won’t win a prize. This is the very definition of a product only ever intended for minor dripping accidents and/or a complimentary minimum safeguard under your regular underpants. This translates to the amount of pee it can hold being pretty exactly a mug of coffee, or in other words something like 200 ml. I only ever used them at home in those short periods where I’m running around my flat half-dressed, half-naked between preparing dinner, my evening shower and slumping my body lazily on my bed.

Tena Pants Plus | Super | Maxi

This is the main product line for the plain “medical” pants in all white. A direct comparison with the previous version quickly reveals the main difference being the pad, which is considerably larger here. Most notably it also includes an explicitly shaped bum part instead of just being rectangular. This also means that simply due to the increased volume the fit is much better. The larger front area also makes it much safer to “just let it rip” when needed, making the products suitable for urge incontinence where you may not be able to hold it even a considerable amount of urine.

Tena Pants Super, Front Tena Pants Super, Side View Tena Pants Super, Back

The naming conventions are the same like with the Tena Slip products, but one mustn’t be fooled by this. They effective absolute values for absorbency are still lower. By my estimate the relation is about one-third of the Slip products, skewering toward a one to two ratio with higher levels, which means that only the Maxi version of the pants would come anywhere near the region of a Tena Slip Super, if at all. More to the point to me it feels like the absorbency is always falling into the gap between those other products where the practical use is concerned. This in part of course has to do with the different physics, but also perhaps not pushing the usage limits as much for safety reasons.

Anyway, I would consider these products a safe choice for your daily needs as long as you can control the duration of how long you would need to wear them without being able to freshen up and change the product. In my case this means that I would e.g. wear a Maxi for those two hours where I’m off for physical therapy and I even might get by with a Super, but I wouldn’t really go on longer trips, things being that I only use public transport. The added complication here is of course that I have to make sure to go to the bathroom beforehand and empty out my guts to minimize the risk of poop accidents.

That suspicious-looking tag on the back is meant to hold things together when you roll up your used product, by the way. It’s only present on this particular product line as well.

Tena Men Protective Underwear Level 4

While the name is a mouthful, this product has been around for a few years already and could be seen as Tena‘s first foray in producing “manly” pants. Interestingly enough, they went the full mile and designed a specific shape from the ground up for both the pad and the outer shell. This is apparent in the pad reaching rather far up in the front so as to cater for full coverage on a man’s private parts. When put on, the product also feels more like short men briefs because it’s overall a bit more triangular and not as long/ high in the hip and waist region.

Tena Men Protective Underwear Level 4, Front Tena Men Protective Underwear Level 4, Side View Tena Men Protective Underwear Level 4, Back

In our little selection of products this one is also unique in that its upper section (with the stripes printed on) uses a material different from the others. It’s much more tensile and thus gives a very good, snug fit, making this my favorite product here. It comes closest to the feeling of a tautly put on conventional diaper like I prefer it. The pad more or less equals the one in the Pants Super when it comes to shape, capacity and how it feels on your body. Minor, but interesting and funny detail: It has even a fake clothing tag/ label on the inside. That’s what I call commitment!

Tena Men Protective Underwear Level 4, Clothing Tag

Tena Men Active Fit

Finally the product triggered this article in the first place. Admittedly, it didn’t turn out as exciting as I had hoped. If you look closely, this looks like an odd hybrid between the Original Normal (overall shape and shape of the pad) and the Super pants (thickness of the pad). Logically it thus shares some of the properties of both variants. That refers to the somewhat flabby fit, but also to the acceptable absorption. Weird? Definitely!

Tena Men Active Fit, Front Tena Men Active Fit, Side View Tena Men Active Fit, Back

Summary

While it’s perhaps not a real product test, I hope this little overview can still be useful in determining which of the pull-up pants you might want to get for your own perusal. For my own needs, if this should ever become relevant, I’d only get the striped Protective Underwear flavor simply because it fits best. The others are okay, but actually didn’t really do much to convince me. Despite always having been aware of the limitations, the gap towards “real” diapers is too big to make this worthwhile for me. The only real advantage is that these products are widely available in supermarkets and drugstores, so in a pinch you don’t have to look too far to find them.

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