It’s been a while since we last reviewed a Suprima product here on the site, but at last I’m at it again. Some people don’t use them at all, but I’m a big fan of all sorts of fixation/ protection pants on top of my diaper. It prevents the nappy from hanging down once it becomes soggy, reduces shear forces on the diaper as it rubs against your pants, seals in smells and absorbs noises.
Over the years I’ve tried many things and while plastic pants like the Suprima 1249 remain my favorite for conventional diapers, one desire remained unfulfilled: A simple protective undergarment that would work with belted diapers like the Attends Adjustable or MoliCare Premium Elastic without nullifying their advantages like greater freedom of leg movement. After having been announced for a while late last year, the Suprima 1276 entered the scene. Though it came in fact too late to make an impression during the past summer season, this year it may still prove its value in the hot days that are before us so you can still add it to your holiday shopping list, even if perhaps I should have written this article in May already. It just took too long to get my hands on a sample (thanks to Suprima for making it happen) and prep the pictures, so apologies for the delay.
Co-developed with Kiwisto it becomes apparent that to some extend this product is meant to complement their line of products for special needs/ handicapped people and the features are designed around the premise to simplify and facilitate things for them. A big part of this approach is the use of a velcro closing mechanism as opposed to more traditional buttons. This would allow even people with impaired hand motion to open and close the wrapper just like it would be more comfortable for people who get their incontinence product changed by whoever is taking care of them. It’s much easier to tear open the flaps and tug them back into place than it would be with snaps. You don’t need as much pressure which should make things less of a pain with crotchety children and grumpy old men. ;-)
The simplicity motto is reflected in the product design itself as well. Aside from the curved hemlines, which no doubt are still difficult enough to sew, it foregoes more complicated features in favor of simple solutions. As a result at times some of this looks and feels a bit barren and odd like the elastic ribbons not being contained by a tunnel seam but rather being sewn on directly on the inside. In the long run this could look really ugly when the rubbery bands will be stained from sweat and their yarn frizzles out whereas the special cloth might look pristine as on the first day. We’ll have to see.
The cloth itself is the same material as used on the Suprima 1269 – cotton and polyester with a breathable polyurethane membrane sandwiched inbetween, which if I may say so is extremely durable, considering that I still have my original 1269 from last year in use when in the meantime several of my PVC pants have gone to the grave. On the other hand the single disadvantage becomes also all too obvious: Being a breathable, penetrable material it is susceptible to absorbing the moist vapors from a breathable diaper with a cloth like surface all too easily. In turn this means that you’ll have to wash it quite often. It may not be “dirty” in the traditional sense, but the smells can get annoying nonetheless.
As you know from my many reviews I prefer things to sit rather tightly, but I found this a bit difficult here. I don’t necessarily mind the overall loose nature that is inherent in the shape, but I found it difficult to keep things closed as tightly as I would have liked. In my opinion there are two things to it that both have to do with the chosen velcro materials and perhaps that’s the product’s single most critical flaw, if you want to call it that.
For one, the strip with the loops on the front of the piece strikes me as a tiny bit too smooth and finely wrought. It feels great to the touch and due to the smoothness reduces the risk of cookie crumbs and other dirt finding a new home in it, but it doesn’t have the best adhesion. The second contributing factor is the areas with the hooks being about one-third too small. Both points can of course be argued as depending on the situation you might want those regions to be movable and come off easily instead of strangling and putting too much pressure on the person wearing the product. Still, I think they should rework this in a future revision or split it out into two variants – a soft one for bedridden people and kiddos and a stronger one for “mobile” adults.
A nifty little feature on the velcros is the redundant little strip near the outer edges where things can be safely fixated for washing. This can prevent the hooks from clawing into your lingerie, though on a whole it seems unnecessary – since you are not supposed to use fabric softener or other conditioning products as well as only certain washing agents, you would wash these products by hand or separately, anyway, and then this extra safety measure becomes a bit superfluous. You can of course also make use for it when putting on the product to avoid scratching your skin.
The fit is okay, though I must warn you about the size attribution. It’s a bit fishy in that I have serious doubts that the size S-L version I had really could cover an L. This means that the product is sort of small-ish. In my case this meant the velcro zones end up almost at the edges of the front strip near the groin area, which not only may have contributed to the issues with keeping things tightly closed, but also can become uncomfortable if you’re not careful. Once again this makes perfect sense if you think about this smaller model being relevant to kids with special needs as well as smaller people of course, but for me as an average male adult I think there are a few centimeters of circumference missing here and I would go with the XL-XXXL version. Perhaps one of those falls out of the sky one day and I can verify this.
For illustration purposes I have used a normal Tena Slip diaper in the photos and I’ll continue to use it in that capacity also, but the product indeed works best with something like an Attends Adjustable where it will cover up the belt ribbons while keeping the legs free. The manufacturer also vaguely suggests that this may replace a full diaper and can be worn with only shaped pads/ inserts, but I’m not convinced that this is a viable approach. On the few occasions I tried it felt just uncomfortable. The cloth may be doing a good job as a protective pant, but it’s not a tender touch to the skin.
This product has a lot going for it and is very simple to handle and efficient, but it has a few minor shortcomings that can’t be ignored. Most notably there are some improvements to the velcro mechanism needed. I also think it wouldn’t hurt to redesign the cut pattern and add a third size in the middle range. That way say a S-M could be really small and even more specifically designed for kids and adolescents while the other two sizes would work better on larger adults. Once those things have been worked out I would also love to see some more colors. It would be nice to have this in a dark blue, the inevitable black and who knows, even orange might not look bad when you’re sunbathing on your balcony… ;-)