Before we had kids, we used to travel light even when we went on vacation. A few basics and we were all set to soak in new places and experiences. With the arrival of the kids, all that changed and we found ourselves looking for a diaper bag(which we did not buy initially as we thought we could manage with a tote bag) to stuff all the things that we needed to carry – diapers, diaper mats, snacks, bottles, emergency supplies and all kinds of stuff. So my suggestion is to buy the bag before the baby is born so that you have this all sorted out before that first trip out with the baby.
So what should you consider while choosing a diaper bag.
- There are many different types of diaper bags – totes, messenger or backpack and even a convertible that combines all the different types.
- Buy totes if you need lots of room( if you like to be completely prepared when you step out with the baby) or if you have multiples. Not male friendly, but fathers are usually game to carrying this when they become fathers – just opt for neutral colors.
- Messenger bags are more suitable if style quotient is extremely important or if the father will have nothing to do with the tote- just be aware that it cannot hold as much as totes.
- Backpacks are not fashionable nor are they spacious, but they do help to keep your hands free and distributes weight better for those suffering from back issues. The backpack looks like regular backpacks so it will not look out of place. Once our toddlers started walking and we had to hold them by hand, this became the most practical option.
- From my experience storage and ease of use (ability to organize and find what you need) should be the major criteria for selecting a diaper bag.
- Comfort should be considered as well but I would say from experience that most parents are ok with discomfort as long as it is not downright painful.
- Choose a higher quality bag because this is probably going to be needed for the next 2-3 years. I would not skimp on quality but would not spend hundreds of bucks either.
- Style Quotient – The fact is that totes can never look good on you no matter how hard you try, and messenger bags may not serve your major priorities. In my mind it should the last consideration.
- Stroller diaper bags that attach directly to the stroller are a good option if you generally carry your stroller to most places. If you have twins this is a life saver, because there is little likelihood of the stroller tipping over.
- Diaper Clutches – Most people ignore these but I must admit I used them more often than the larger diaper bags. These are small rectangular bags which contain a diaper mat and storage to hold diapers and wipes and any other personal belongings as well.
- The lower end bags are available for less than 50 bucks and the higher end ones go all the way to hundreds of dollars. My advice – stay around the $100 mark – you can get most of the good ones around this price point.
- Here is a list of items that you might want to hold in the diaper bag.
Items for baby:
• rash cream
• dirty diaper bags
• a changing pad
• burp cloths
• a change of clothes
• nursing cover
• bottle(s) or sippy cup(s)
• binkies, and toys
Items for mom:
• a water bottle
• hand sanitizer
• cell phone
• makeup & sunscreen
• reading material
So here are my recommendations, even though my caveat is that these are just the most recommended ones. I am sure there are many others equally great.
- Best Tote Bags
- $50 Range – Skip Hop Duo Signature Diaper Bag, Chevron is my top recommendation in this range. Very spacious and will carry a lot of things.
- $50-$80 – Skip Hop Chelsea Downtown Chic Diaper Satchel, Black which also goes behind the stroller quite well or the Skip Hop DUO DOUBLE hold-it-all diaper bag, Chevron or the Skip Hop Forma Pack & Go Diaper Tote Bag, Black
- $100 plus – Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel, Alluring Azaleas is one great looking diaper bag
2. Best messenger bags – Skip Hop Duo Special Edition Diaper Bag, Black/Cream Herringbone or the Skip Hop Duo Special Edition Diaper Bag, French Stripe
3. Backpack Diaper bags – With backpack diaper bags I would avoid too much color and would prefer black or grey. Skip Hop Forma Backpack – Black is a good option and so is Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack W/ Stroller Straps
4. Stroller organizer – Stroller Organizer, Universal Fit By Ethan & Emma is a great cheap option and is the best seller in this category.
5. Diaper Clutches – Look at any of these well reviewed options and you will not go wrong.
To conclude I must admit that I belong to a camp that thinks paying more than $100 for a diaper bag is kind of useless. But I also know that there are a lot more fashionable diaper bags that can be had if you are willing to extend your budget to at least $200. Look at these examples from pottery barn to understand what I am talking about.
Here is a great Babble post about stylish diaper bags under $500. All of them are great looking and I am sure one of them will catch your fancy more than others.