As promised a few weeks ago, it’s time we had a look at some useful complimentary stuff that can help you get a better handle on your incontinence issues. Using plastic/ vinyl pants is a matter of much debate, so bear with me when I sometimes will get a bit too much into the theoretical and hypothetical. I simply could go on about it for hours. ;-) First let’s have a quick reminder why we may actually need this sort of extra wrapping.
Many of the points can be easily derived from this post, where we were discussing the pros and cons of different diaper types. They can be shortly and quickly summarized as follows:
- For many diapers you are still going to need extra fixation and support, be that due to a not 100 percent perfect fit or them starting to sag as they get filled up.
- You may want to add an extra layer to keep smells and substances in so you don’t become the center of public attention.
- You most definitely want to protect your normal clothing from getting contaminated or even becoming part of your absorption quota (if you get my meaning).
- You may want to extend use time and/ or add an extra safety margin to your regular diaper.
These button-up type plastic pants are my favorite ones for several reasons. One of the most important ones to me is that they can be put on in multiple positions like your diaper itself. I think I’ve mastered most of them by now and could probably even do so in zero gravity. Unlike with pull-ups, you don’t have to stand or perform leg acrobatics in your bed. This is also a huge advantage when having to do a change “on the road” in some crammed corner or those tiny boxes in a public toilet.
The other thing is, that having a plastic pant around my bum makes me feel complete and safe. If you have read my regular diaper tests, you already know that I prefer an almost airtight fit and having an extra PVC layer certainly furthers this. The Suprima 1249 and 1250 pants fare particularly well in that department as it so happens that they fit snuggly as if they had been tailored just for me. That is if you wear a reasonably normal diaper and a size M. Of course when you overdo it, you will quickly reach the limits of what is physically possible and an extra thick diaper will put too much tension on the material so the buttons snap open again or you are even ripping the material.
The latter is perfectly possible, but the added twist is, that it’s different for different colors, of which there are about ten. Different colors use different foils that use different ingredients such as color pigments and Titanium oxide to tint them or make them more opaque, which influences the resilience of the vinyl on a molecular level. Some colors are also slightly thicker and feel a bit more stiff than others right from the start. As you may imagine, the less elastic they are, the easier they may suffer damage, though in this whole equation you have to consider your own physique and how things like your body temperature will affect things.
With that in mind, the matter of selecting the right size becomes important. The picture above doesn’t do a good job of showing it, but the differences in sizes are not easily apparent. For the most part the size L on the right side (the color is called Lavender [color code 007] in Suprima‘s vocabulary) only appears larger because of the greater front to back length and to some extend the lens distortion when I was photographing it and it was closer to the camera. The circumference only differs by a few centimeters, which becomes more evident when you place them on top of each other like this:
The waist line has two sets of buttons to adjust the circumference. I believe this isn’t so much intended as an actual method for adjusting sizes, but more to adjust the inclination between waist and hips, which is different for men and women. Of course it still can be used whichever way you deem best. Just note that if you use the inner set of buttons the adjacent region may flare out a bit and you may see a larger gap between the top and middle button.
For me both sizes work just fine depending on the situation. A size L is preferable when you snuggle up in bed thickly padded with a BetterDry or similar, the size M will do the trick for most other occasions. It’s not all about your belly size, though. Once I was a reasonably well-trained cyclist and if I still had those muscular, thick thighs, I would probably have to use L all the time.
Tension around your body is assured by rubber bands inside the tunnel seams around the legs and the waist line. They are reasonably wide and should not give you too much trouble, though the bands will roll up if inside the tunnels if your figure isn’t as perfect as the product is designed for. This tends to be less of a problem at the beginning of using one of those pants, but over time as it’s showing signs of use and also wrinkles up in places it becomes more difficult to unroll the flat tapes again and eventually you’ll just leave them as a curled string. This could probably use some engineering magic like adding a piece of more stable plastic or perhaps some sewing pattern on the tape that stiffens it up in one direction while leaving the longitudinal stretching intact.
In the “regular” sizes from S to L Suprima products are high-frequency welded, meaning that aside from the buttons they’re pure plastic. This has the advantage that you can clean them with generous amounts of water without having to fear that some sewing lines get soaked and unravel into strands of yarn.
On the other hand it has a downside that comes in two flavors: The doubled foil will create extra strong (and somewhat rigid) “ribbed” regions that may cause pressure marks while at the same time the actual welding dimples can sometimes be too thin, when the pressure with which they were pressed together was too high. You guessed it, this opens up another potential area for ripping and I’ve had it happen at least once.
The larger sizes for XL and above are sewn, but I can’t tell you specifically how Suprima handles this. I can only draw comparison from some products from another manufacturer and where you would simply rinse down a welded product under the shower, sewn products need to be carefully wiped with a wet flannel. This is not a big problem, just an inconvenience.
In both cases you should be careful with what cleaning agents you use. They should be free of oils plus be free of cationic tensides like they are used in fabric softening agents. These will interact with the softening components in the plastic and make it brittle and age prematurely. Of course also never use aggressive solvents, color thinner or any of that stuff. In the end, a cheap dish-washing solution will be just fine to get rid of the sweat, skin particles and other remnants.
The only real difference between the 1249 and the 1250 is obviously the buttons. This should not matter too much, you may think, but it actually does in that it may come into play if the button rows end up in a sensitive region of your groin area. The cap-less ring buttons of the 1250 tend to be a bit softer and more forgiving, though on the other hand they are slightly more fiddly to button up because they offer less resistance.
Obviously I’m quite a fan of these sorts of plastic pants, but of course there are disadvantages. Naturally, this plastic stuff is impenetrable to liquids and gases, making it perfectly suitable as a means of sealing in whatever stuff may inadvertently have escaped your diaper. At the same time it also holds in sweat, which is something you usually will not enjoy despite the absorbent pad in the diaper itself mitigating some of it. You may get skin irritations, rashes, acne and even naughtier things, if you’re not following a good routine for cleaning yourself and the product.
Along the same lines I also find it somewhat puzzling that Suprima are still showing pictures of these pants with only shaped pads. As much as I love the smooth feel of the plastic around my bum and diaper bulge, I’d never want the PVC to touch too much of my skin. It tends to feel “sticky” as I already explained in one of my older articles. Like everything plastic there is also the disadvantage of this being potentially very exposing in public. It’s bound to cause noises and as one might imagine, a plastic seam popping out of your denims is a dead giveaway.
Regardless of some of the caveats, I find protective pants invaluable and essential for my specific needs and as luck would have it, the Suprima ones fit the bill perfectly. No kidd’n, I even wore some on 30+ degree hot summer days and didn’t mind. Admittedly it’s not for everyone, so hang on a bit when we are going to review some textile alternatives some time soon(-ish). ;-)