At this point they have been out for a while and quite unusually I even had the packages catching dust in my flat for almost two months, but as happens so often I only now got around to actually testing the ABU Simple Ultra and ABU PeekABU, respectively, with one being the more colorful version of the other and vice versa.
As evidenced by the first picture I went rather batty this time and got the product in three sizes – M, L and XL – plus of course then my regular size M also with the colorful prints, making this a somewhat more expensive test than usual. I’ve made it a habit now to include size L in my reviews for reference if possible, but one of the things that often frustrates me a bit is feeling like caught between flood and fire when it comes to the fit due to my tummy getting in the way.
I’ve lost a bit of weight in recent months, but I’m not quite where I want to be on that. Therefore this typically means that a size L doesn’t go up far enough (or already too far, depending on how you see it) and ends up in that unfavorable equator zone where it is being pushed down again. That means you settle on wearing a size M below the belly line or go the other direction with an XL. The latter keeps proving an interesting experience over and over again for me, since it almost feels like wearing a bodice/ vest. Not that I would particularly mind fearlessly wearing such a construct even in public, but still, it seems and feels a bit odd. Most importantly it affects the range of motion in your lower spine and abdomen, making it hugely impractical e.g. for my physical therapy sessions. That and of course there’s no realistic way to actually exploit the full capacity of the pad this way.
The actual measurements of the various sizes nicely scale up with each step and comply to established standards pretty well, ranging from around 80 cm transversal length and 66 cm panel width on the size M up to 98 cm length and 85 cm width on the XL, with the L being almost perfectly in the middle between both with 90 cm length and 75 cm width. Especially for us Europeans this makes it easy to correlate the measurements with what is common here and pick the right size, which more or less should not require to pick anything different and allow you to stick with your standard size. Regardless, these diapers feel a bit more roomy than what you may be used to, even though it’s not like in the past where products aimed at US markets had even more extra centimeters and felt rather spacious at times.
The “big deal” with these new products are ABU‘s claims to them being thinner compared to similar ones due to using the latest super absorber technology. Frankly I don’t really care whatever generation SAP they use as long as it does the trick just as I don’t really care much for the thickness. It’s not like we’re talking about a cheap paper-thin diaper like the ones your health insurance may pay for. Rather we’re talking about a premium product aimed at maximum absorbency and wearing comfort. It should be clear to most people from the outset that this will always require a certain thickness and size of the absorbent pad. So for what it’s worth – aside from being a marketing point, it probably doesn’t have much practical relevance.
My tests seem to confirm that. While factually it indeed may be “thinner” (hard to measure), neither the dry weight nor overall impression are that far removed from ABU‘s older products. So there you have it – it’s probably more the normal advances in technology then a specific effort by some company’s secret science lab. Not saying that it’s bad, but not a point I would belabor and make a fuss about. Given the primary target demographic for these products it seemed odd to begin with.
With all that said, everyone can relax and enjoy the same comfort you may be used to from other ABU diapers. The new materials used don’t have any negative influence on overall absorption. As you well know I don’t obsess about maximum capacity, as under practical conditions it’s often not possible to fully use it, anyway, but those products are still at the upper end of the spectrum. Those 6250 ml according to ISO pretty well translate to about 2000 ml of effective use and if you’re really of that mindset, you possibly could push it even further at the cost of eliminating any safety margin that may be left. That could last you a long day out and about, but of course this diaper first and foremost still remains a product you’d probably mostly wear when cuddling up in bed or at least in the comfort and safety of your home.
The PeekABU is merely the colorful brother to the Simple Ultra and therefore shares pretty much all of its properties. Since you get ten pieces per pack, but only have four individual designs you’re of course stuck with the problem that your favorite print may only be included twice while a less favorable one could be on three of the diapers.
The prints themselves are okay, but don’t have me raving due to the somewhat odd color choices. They look very “cold” instead of radiant and cheerful. That’s why my favorite is the more or less neutral grey wolf. The idea in itself is funny, but probably has little payoff in reality unless you drop your pants all the time and have the animals literally peeking out. At least they had the good sense to not include a certain critter or the question “Is that a badger in your pants?” could have gotten yet another awkward meaning. ;-)
In the usual fashion the faces are printed on the extra foil sticker area that provides the backing to tack on the adhesive tapes, also giving you enough room to readjust them if and when necessary. On the other hand it makes things feel a bit rigid, so it’s a two-edged sword, even more so since after years of wearing diapers I tend to get things right on the first try and do not necessarily need this safety net. When you screw up and need to fix a crooked fit it’s most welcome, though.
The actual fit is pretty good, at least on yours truly. As I pointed out in the first chapter these products generally feel a bit bigger than their measurements might imply, which is a credit to how well their overall shape is designed. In terms of that the pad is pretty traditional or conventional just as well, which in my world, where a certain coverage of the posterior is always required, is a good thing.
The front/ back panels and wings reach relatively far up, which again is beneficial if you suffer from fecal incontinence issues. This also plays nice with my hollow back as in the aft part being so tall it doesn’t leave an open crack on my forward-bent spine. My only minor gripe would be that the foil surface occasionally seems a bit to tough for its own good. I find that I have to be pretty careful to unravel any rolled up and wrinkled regions to avoid striations and pressure marks, in particular on my legs. Some other products are a bit more forgiving in that regard.
The other thing is that possibly the sideguards/ liners could be a bit taller now that everyone else seems to have moved on to ones that sometimes feel as high as a garden fence. It’s debatable, though, as this wouldn’t make up all shortcomings of the pad itself. If you get my meaning: Those liners wouldn’t be able to hold back a flood of pee if the pad didn’t absorb and distribute the liquid fast and well enough. This is not an issue with the Simple Ultra/ PeekABU as the overall soaking behavior of the pad is pretty even. The fluids are transported throughout the entirety of the pad and the super absorber is spread uniformly, so you don’t get thick lumps or on the other shallow, munchy regions consisting only of wet pulp.
If it wasn’t for the prohibitive pricing, this could be yet another nice ABU product, but in light of much more affordable alternatives like the BetterDry/ Crinklz I won’t give it a clean thumbs-up. It’s really getting to a point where the prices are approaching ridiculous levels and they aren’t justifiable even if you allow overhead for import fees and taxes for us Europeans. Conversely you can’t excuse it with technological advancements, as they are minor and negligible during practical use. So what remains is a mostly excellent product that however you may not be able to buy as often as you would like, unfortunately. You will want to savor it for those special moments and ask friends and family to give you packs as presents for your birthday (or Christmas)…