The 10 Best Diaper Backpacks
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in February of 2016. Diaper backpacks are a must-have when you enter the wonderful world of parenthood. They allow you to carry everything that your baby may need when out and about, while leaving your hands free for important tasks. We've included a wide range of styles here, ranked by their comfort, storage space, durability, and special features, like changing pads, insulated bottle pockets, and more. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 09, 2020:
In revisiting our list here, we found it necessary to remove a pair of bags, one for availability issues, and the other — the Graco Gotham — for durability problems manifesting themselves as tears in the exterior fabric. This came as quite a surprise, as Graco is one of the better stroller companies in the business, and we thought their other accessories would be similarly durable.
In their places, we introduced a pair of exceptional offerings. One, the Tactical Baby Gear Daypack, is made to get dads to start carrying their weight (literally) when it comes to a day out with the baby. Men should feel no shame whatsoever carrying around a mil-spec backpack that just happens to be full of child-rearing essentials. And its style has a purpose, as well, like the trio of carabiners you can use to attach anything from keys to a flashlight for your convenience.
The other new model we included is the PacaPod Hartland, which is half diaper bag, and half designer backpack. The concern with a lot of designer options is that they'd cut too many corners in durability and practicality, but this option has both in spades, with its thoughtful pod system making for easy organization and giving the bag the ability to carry more than many others without looking especially bulky.
An Ugly, Oversized Bag Solved
So, we strap disposable or reusable diapers to our offspring and hope against hope that they don't have to go number two in public.
If there's one thing that's true about a diaper bag, it's that nobody wants to be seen carrying one, at least not one that looks clearly like a diaper bag. There's something traditionally unattractive about them. They're usually strangely oversized and decidedly frumpy, and they can take even the most well-dressed moms and dads and crush all their fashion credibility.
The problem here is that diaper bags are designed brilliantly to house all the necessary items for a short outing with the little poop machines for which we're responsible. I suppose you could just let the kid down in the grass in front of somebody's house – I know the majority of my neighborhood seems to actually enjoy leaving their dogs' leavings behind for all of us to deal with – but that just wouldn't be very considerate.
So, we strap disposable or reusable diapers to our offspring and hope against hope that they don't have to go number two in public. To make sure that we're totally equipped to deal with the a potential intestinal meltdown, we have to take a lot of stuff out on the town. Everything from fresh diaper changes, wipes, powders, rash medications, a change of clothes in case it's a bad one and the diaper fails, and more all have to fit in this bag, and that just accounts for the baby's bottom half. If you're going for an all-in-one bag experience, you're going to need room for everything involved in the feeding process, as well.
It's no wonder that these bags often look like more like flotation devices than fashion decisions, but the diaper backpack offers a tenable solution. These provide a thoroughly well-crafted pocket layout and storage design, as well as materials to aid in changing the kid in public, all put together with your personal image and self-esteem in mind. It's bad enough having to put out a five-alarm anal fire without having to look like your plane crashed in the river and you just washed ashore.
Carry All You Baby's Needs
Some people in this world earn a certain title, a descriptor that will likely follow them around for many years after it's applied. We call them high maintenance. To a parent, especially a new one, most all babies will seem high maintenance, but as they grow up, and as you become accustomed to all the things they'll need and ask of you, you'll begin to get a sense of just how high or low maintenance your child actually is. This will become even clearer when you get to observe the young children of other parents.
Each has its own advantage, and the decision from among them will be partly practical and partly stylistic.
If you already have a sense of what your little boy or girl needs from you when you're out in the world, you'll also have a sense of how big a backpack you need to bring with you on your little adventures. The size of your diaper backpack can be the biggest determining factor for its continued use. Too small, and you run out of the precious materials you need to keep your kid clean, fed, and happy. Too big, and you'll be too tempted to just throw the kid in the bag with everything else, zip it up tight, and get home as quickly as possible.
Once you get a bead on the size of the diaper backpack that suits the two of you, you have the opportunity to choose from among sling bags, purse-style bags, and traditional, two-strapped backpacks. Each has its own advantage, and the decision from among them will be partly practical and partly stylistic.
Backpacks will give you the most flexibility with your hands, freeing up both of them at all times to ensure you can address any emergencies that arise. The one downside to them is that they don't give you as direct access to the materials stored in the bag.
Sling bags and purses, on the other hand, always have their openings at your fingertips, but they require additional attention as you go through your day, balancing them on your shoulder or in the crook of your arm. Not only does that make operating a stroller or carrying your child that much more cumbersome, it also can get rather heavy the longer you hold onto them.
You personal sense of style should be a major determining factor here, as well. For the fathers reading this, the odds that you're going to reach for one of the purse-style bags are slim, but you won't hear any judgement from us if that's your thing. For the mothers, you've got the whole gamut to peruse, and your sense of style ought to be well-honed enough by now for it alone to narrow down our list to a few great options.
Old-fashioned And Fashionable
For the bulk of human history, mothers and fathers didn't even bother with diapers, let alone diaper bags. Early man did what most beasts did, and just went wherever he pleased. Later civilizations developed clothing, but bathroom facilities were largely contained to the outdoors, and nomadic humans didn't have to worry about waste management.
Hawkins' bag actually broke down and became a traveling bed and changing station for the child.
Many cultures eventually developed crude diapers to put off eventually having to clean the kids, but it was only with the advent of agriculture that anything akin to our modern diaper truly made its way into our lives. For millennia, diapers were cloth wrappings that were washed and reused until the child grew up. By the turn of the 20th century, however, baby care had become an industry unto itself, and mothers were inundated with advertisements and options for how to best rear their children.
It was in 1937 that a woman named Susan B. Hawkins filed a patent on what we should consider the first diaper bag. This early design features something that a few of the modern bags boast as though they were the first to think of it. Hawkins' bag actually broke down and became a traveling bed and changing station for the child. It's pockets were removable and washable, and when folded up, it looked like a fashionable suitcase.