Since my product reviews have become quite comprehensive and elaborate (if I dare say so), from here on I’m gonna file everything that’s based on only a handful of product samples or similar in a separate “quick test” category, which I think is more appropriate. It still gives you an impression, lists the product here on the site and gives you some pictures to look at, but may omit some of the things that really only show up during long-term usage.
As a start in this new section we are going to have a look at the Nateen Combi Ultra. This product has long been on my mind, but calling it elusive is an understatement. I got my few specimen from Diaper Minister that used them as stuffing to fill some holes when I got their package a while ago, but – and now you have to be very brave – even they have run out of their supply. That and the foil-coated product as reviewed here is no longer being produced, anyway.
Now that wouldn’t be all that bad if there was a way to source the succeeding breathable product line, but currently that seems impossible. Yes, like a bad joke, the parent company Artemis Medical from Belgium seems to have no way of getting their product out to the masses in large quantities because they have no distributors. At least I couldn’t find a single regular outlet here in Germany or somewhere else in continental Europe, which makes this a quite weird experience.
The products themselves are manufactured in China, which may explain some of the supply chain issues. It also at least explains their similarity to other products produced there. It might have quite some educational value to visit those diaper factories there with all their machines spitting out those almost stereotypically structured products – a base foil adorned with an extra transparent front panel on top of it and the whole thing serving as a carrier for a slightly old-fashioned absorbent pad.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just in a weird way funny because obviously here in Europe manufacturers are trying to sell us often way too much trimmed down pads and not so great breathable surfaces as “progress”, when those legacy-inspired diapers “just work” and are less of a hassle. This by all means also includes the Nateen Combi as tested here in the Ultra flavor. In fact now that I have had those few pieces I almost regret not having jumped the chance earlier and stockpiled a few packs.
There’s a few good things going for this particular diaper. While it may be similar in its layering, it isn’t nearly as stiff as e.g. the MyDiaper or even Rearz products. The transparent front sticker is thinner and much more malleable, yet provides enough strength to tack the tapes on and off as often as needed. That, however won’t happen a lot of times because the tapes are actually the single biggest glaring issue with this product.
The photos are not cheating your eyes, they are really flimsy and tiny even by low standards. This has been noted in many other reviews all over the Internet already and I can only confirm and agree to those opinions. The tapes are not great and don’t even make up for their lack of size by being at least strong. Just on the contrary – getting them to stick requires quite some coercion by rubbing on them hard.
I admit, though, that this could have been exacerbated by the samples I had having been leftovers that were possibly produced quite some time ago. You never know how far such a diaper has travelled and how many intermediate storage cycles at resellers it had to endure. Unfortunately this one lacks the usual date stamping, so there’s no way of finding out without the foil bag they came in at hand.
While it may miss manufacturing codes, the product is otherwise richly printed (for an ordinary medical product). The product name is present in saturated color and the clear sticker has its own set of prints as presented by the green leaves and the landing zone bars. These are graduated, fading as they go inwards and allow to get very reproducible placement of the tapes and thus an equally reproducible fit every time. It’s a simple idea and I really wish more vendors would incorporate it in one form or the other.
The pad is quite soft and very comfortable while wearing the diaper. Its fluffy nature is also conducive to a good absorption behavior and quick distribution of the liquid throughout the whole pad, a virtue often lost in modern products that let rivers run along their hard surfaces or produce clumpy regions. At the same time there is never any leakage even with the diaper being almost full to the brim, but because of its physical structure it can get quite squishy and wobbly.
Arguably, if their was a simple way to obtain this diaper in sufficient numbers I would wholeheartedly recommend it, but alas, ‘t isn’t meant to be. I’ll keep an eye peeled to find the breathable versions for comparison. If you know what the skinny with Artemis is and can provide useful information on where to find their products, feel free to share your wisdom in the comments.