While I made a conscious decision to go with “real” diapers due to my fecal incontinence issues, the world of incontinence products is of course a much larger one and includes a numerous other options. I’ve been pondering on how to expand on that for a while and integrate it into the site. I’m not going to lie about it – these alternate product reviews will be much less regular and more limited than my other activities, which basically boils down to the fact that I’m not gonna spend my limited cash on things that I may not be using that much. So expect these things to only pop every now and then based on how I get access to them.
As a first start we are going to have a look at the Kolibri Compact line of inserts/ shaped pads. I got those packages with the same batch for the Kolibri Comslip tests earlier this year and since then have used them rather sporadically every now and then. The reason why I didn’t go out of my way to use them more frequently should be easily apparent. Being a diaper minus the wings, the biggest issue everyone is facing is how to get the pad fixated, which in itself has a number of repercussions for the actual use. Let’s explore the product and see where those things come into play.
The Kolibri Compact series comes in two flavors: A simpler Normal version and the higher-end-ish Soft versions. In contrast to diapers this distinction usually not only extends to the absorption levels or things like the outer cover material, but also directly the shape of the product. Therefore you can’t always be sure that a product with the same name will give the same results in different versions. Lucky for us, here those options are limited and there is, for wont of a better term, only two “sizes”.
The Kolibri Compact Normal only features the smaller version in two absorption strengths, according to the Kolibri naming conventions labeled as special and ultra. While this is familiar from the diapers, in the end it bears little resemblance to the identically named levels there and is totally arbitrary. Understandably, the pads simply aren’t as large and thick and thus never can even get close to holding the same amount of liquids.
The two levels are distinguished by their color, with the purple one being the special and the eggshell blue the ultra. For my photos I opted for the special to add a bit of visual fancy and bring out the details better, but as you may have guessed, that color may be slightly problematic in real life situations. It’s quite intense and may show through anything that isn’t opaque enough, be that thin cloth or plastic pants, which then may ripple through to the outside if you’re wearing light white summer pants or a skirt. First problem there and you may want to go with the more neutral variant just for that reason then.
The outer surface is made up of a semi-breathable material, not quite conventional plastic foil, but not fully tissue, either. It doesn’t leak through in any way and is pretty soft, though I must say at times the extreme wrinkling from the pieces being stuffed in the package kind of defeats this. It’s quite difficult to straighten out the rim to ensure a convenient wearing experience.
Getting to a point, my images shot through a transparent plastic pant should illustrate the aforementioned potential issues with fixation to some degree. Trust me, it was pretty hard to get the pad to sit reasonably symmetrical and even to make it look convincing. It’s a bit easier on your own body, where things may sort of slide and snap into place based on your anatomy, but the actual point sticks: You have to make an effort to get it to sit correctly and even then there’s no guarantee it won’t move out of place as you yourself move during the day.
As the images show, these smaller pieces are more or less only ever meant for urine incontinence, with the major functional part being clearly in the anterior parts of the body. In addition to getting a stable positioning that’s ultimately the reason I only have limited or no use for many shaped pads – it is inevitable that in case of a serious “accident” the feces would simply overshoot the edges of the pad. That, plus even under normal conditions it just seems awkward having to deal with these inserts. There never seems to be a good way to remove your fixation garment without the whole affair dropping to the floor immediately or at least contaminating other areas by accidental smearing. To me it’s like you always could use a third hand for a change.
Due to the limitations in the changing procedure you will most often end up not at all exploiting the full capacity of the product and freshen it up quite early just to avoid making a mess or getting your hands all too dirty. That said, with this brand you get the nice soft pad that also works so well on the actual diapers. A fresh insert will be almost feel like nice underwear and after a while you won’t notice it much. Therein of course lies another potential caveat as you may forget about it and then still dirty up your clothes.
The liquid distribution is good as is the absorption rate and overall absorbency. The sideguards are even relatively wide/ tall as well, adding a good bit of additional safety. As previously mentioned, despite identical naming the effective capacity differs considerably from the diapers, though. Even the special at best measures up to a low to medium absorbency level diaper like the Tena Slip Plus or Super or Kolibri‘s own Comslip Ultra.
Moving on to the Soft versions, the same rules can be applied, at least to the ultra flavor. The special and supra are a completely different story, being that they feature a completely different shape and are noticeably larger. Unfortunately with shaped incontinence pads bigger is not always better. Many of the issues I mentioned in the previous paragraphs can easily multiply, the biggest of them being that the pad crumples up even more as you have to somehow wrangle it to comply with whatever you use for fixation.
As depicted in the images, the larger variants are pretty square-ish, making it even more tricky to get them to cooperate. It’s not impossible, but I’d strictly reserve those versions for use at home where you have the time to deal with such annoyances and can make things easier for yourself by e.g. flattening the pad out by lying on it on your bed.
Of course the question that lingers in everyone’s mind is “What the hell do you even use for fixation?”. I’ve discussed some of this in one of my introductory articles way back then. I’m still loathe of those thin net panties that you are supposed to use based on what’s illustrated on the package by the vendors (and in turn them trying to sell you something extra). They are way too weak and uncomfortable. At the same time using plain plastic pants is just as odd, as too much of the PVC in direct contact with my skin still ticks me off. Therefore I much prefer synthetic fiber briefs or swimwear. This also has the advantage of being simple to clean, should things go wrong.
Another way of using the products is of course using them as stuffers/ boosters for full diapers, or if you want to say it euphemistically, use a diaper as a fixation garment on top of the shaped pads. Here things admittedly get a bit muddled up as it really comes down to an infinite number of combinations. I find that I can use the smaller versions in combination with my daily Attends Slip Regular in size M just fine, but always only one pad at a time. Otherwise the “spacer” effect with the pads stacking up becomes to great and things start to leak.
With the bigger pads things get a bit more complicated as you are going to need a larger diaper to even cover them up sufficiently, which then again depends a lot on your physique and how well the diaper fits. The same is however true if you use textiles or plastic pants. It’s really amazing how huge such a pad can suddenly (seem to) be, when you need to hide it adequately. Therefore it may be worthwhile to first try out the smaller variants until you feel confident. And yes, of course the usual step of shredding the surface to make it penetrable would apply, if you use these products as stuffers.
No matter how you use them, the capacity of the large versions is almost comparable to that of the full diapers of same name – within the limitations imposed by different procedures. You can wear a supra pretty long and if you can find a good way of getting it affixed nice and tight it might even work for the night. Even the special isn’t that bad.
Conclusions? While I enjoy going off the trodden path and experimenting around, integrating different type incontinence products into my daily routine remains a somewhat ambiguous matter. At best I could say I’m indifferent to them, at worst that they’re really not for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t see them working for people with specific types of incontinence, though. Things just don’t gel for me. Changing procedures just seem convoluted compared to the simplicity of wrapping your butt with a full diaper and for my bowel-related issues the feeling of safety just isn’t there, either.
Based on my limited experience, compared to some other products (more articles coming in the future, obviously) this fares reasonably well, though admittedly mostly by inheriting some good attributes from the full diaper products, in particular the good absorption behavior. If you really want to try your hand at inserts/ shaped pads this could be a good starting point. A pack of the smaller versions isn’t too costly and since the absorption ratings only start at a reasonable level you don’t have to fear throwing money out of the window for cheap paper towels.