After the involuntary interruption of my publishing schedule, to make up for it I’m giving you an extra juicy piece today. Yes, of course I’m talking about the much anticipated successor to the Comficare, the BetterDry and it’s aptly named derivative, the Crinklz. Following last year’s example, this review will once more be two rolled into one in the interest of efficiency. I’ve posted bits and bobs on this blog, following developments as they went along and now it’s time to have one good look at the whole matter. Many of you will already have done their own testing in the meantime, given that the product barely came out in time for Christmas and everyone was swarming to it, but let’s see if we can add some interesting facts to the whole debate.
First the designer in me can’t once more go without commenting on the branding. I’m again and again amazed how little effort is spent on proper design work for incontinence products and this is no exception. The logo artwork is actually quite nice, but then somehow the wheels fell off. Yes, I’m talking about that thing that looks like an apple pie someone has sat on. Some might call it a different kind of beauty, I call it ugly. When pointing this out to the people at Thrust Vector, I never heard from them again. Go, figure! It’s a minor thing, but aside from my own artist ambitions it’s one of those “Why not go the full mile?” things . They certainly could have come up with something more pleasing.
Of course it’s the content of the package that counts, is it not? But wait, have I actually used the right pictures? Yes, I have and that will be one of your first disappointments when you open the package: The product has pretty much lost all of its (visible) uniqueness and looks just like any “brand X” generic white diaper. This is one of those very divisive points that has some people in an uproar, while others may not care. The most apparent thing is the absence of the extra glossy foil with the “landing zone markers”, that allowed you to position your tapes over and over again and have a nice fixed reference for getting it right. Not only is this visual guide gone, but the omission of the foil has further consequences in that you pretty much have to get it right the first time or else you end up ripping the thing. This is another not so great choice here – just like the whole diaper, it feels generic and is actually very thin and flimsy. As can be seen in the photos, it isn’t even particularly opaque, so it never looks nice and white. I’m sure they could have picked another option.
One of the more serious concerns with the original Comficare/ Crinklz was the – shall we say exotic – fit, which led me to recommend getting the larger version if your regular size M fit was marginal. One of the big promises was that the BetterDry would address these issues and I’m happy to report that it has succeeded in that department. It’s now perfectly possible to use the size you normally wear with other brands. The changed shape will give you a pretty good fit and also solves that “waddling” problem where things would be too wide in your crotch/ between your legs. Still, if you have a stronger figure you may need to do some testing. While the fit is good enough for me, it is still a bit on the petit side and may prevent you from getting proper enclosure around your legs.
I love myself decently sized (large) pads and the product doesn’t disappoint. You get pretty good coverage all the way around and can feel very safe. The surface of the pad is also very fine and soft, so it’s very comfortable and comforting at the same time. This is also supported by the diaper having a high cut and having pretty broad seams at the top, providing perfect seal and holding the large pad well in place. In addition, the sideguards/ inner liners are very high, forming a deep pocket. For us males this is useful to keep our “stuff” in place and for me as a person with bowel incontinence it’s one more level of fire (flood) wall in case things go wrong.
The absorption of the Comficare is subject of lore and legend and naturally any product succeeding it must meet similar criteria. Here things get a bit dicy. While I don’t have any doubt about the ability to meet the promised ISO values, to me it seems impossible to actually get close to anything resembling them, not just for the general reasons explained in my article. The behavior of the pad is quite specific and tends to act very “local”, meaning that liquid is not distributed so much throughout the entire pad. Rather it creates hotspots pretty much where the action happens. Mind you, this is not a problem (as in forming “puddles”), but it will ultimately prevent you from exploiting the full capacity of the pad.
The good news here is of course that because of this specific little thing your butt stays dry even after hours of having filled up the front parts, which in a way is great for me. On the other hand it may require you to change a little earlier for that peeing thing. I’ll leave final judgement to you. What you should definitely be aware is that regardless of what your use habits are, the diaper will get very voluminous as it moistens up. I’ve come to a point where all my pants are roomy enough to accommodate even these kinds of extravaganza when necessary and at times I even feel very sexy with my diapered butt peeking out of my jeans, but this may not be for everyone, so it’s something to keep in mind.
That would of course also be applicable should you decide to get daring with the Crinklz. Virtually identical to the BetterDry save for the colored print, it of course shares all the features, good and bad. Of particular note is that the thin foil apparently doesn’t lend itself too well to bringing out the colors of the print. That is actually a bit of shame, since they’ve done the smart thing and paid some attention to making the overall distribution of the pattern more pleasing.
One of my (and many others’) points of criticism was the rather random placement of the figures and this has now been rectified by spacing them out in two columns much smaller and filling in the rest with stars, which unfortunately look rather pale now. Perhaps in a second revision they really should find a better foil.
The rest of the features should not need mention for both models, though some people seem to have issues with the tapes not sticking right and ironically this is more prominent on the plain white BetterDry rather than on the Crinklz. You may also find photos showing a wetness indicator, but obviously there is no such thing on the final product and those images have been taken with pre-production prototypes.
Overall, calling it a mixed bag is quite appropriate for these new versions of existing products. They will work for many people in many situations, but there will also be more people staying away from them this time. Ironically the BetterDry (and new Crinklz) are a victim of their predecessors. Back then everyone was going crazy over the Comficare simply because no similar product existed and people were willing to compromise. With several of the features that people liked so much now absent, this is a little less likely and everyone will weigh their options, especially given the price point.
They’re still more expensive premium products and overkill in a lot of situations, though at other times you may exactly need these particular features that make them stand out above other products. I wouldn’t mind enjoying the comfort feeling around the clock, but yes, it’s true – given my specific situation, a lot of the potential would go to waste (literally) unused and in my daily routine other products work just as well. One consolation is that both products should be much more broadly and readily available now that they are being produced in Europe. You also get more pieces per pack, which might make it worthwhile, after all.