When you’re on the go, a diaper bag will likely be your constant sidekick – your changing tables away from home, as well as a portable kitchen and baby entertainment center. So consider size, comfort, and durability, just as you would with any purse or tote you carry frequently. Any bag, of course, will work, such as a basic tote. But chances are, you’ll be happier with one that’s specifically designed for baby gear.

Manufacturers offer diaper bags in a wide variety of colors, fabrics, and designs, some more practical and durable than others. Diaper bags have come a long way from the traditional, rectangular pastel bags adorned with Pooh and other animated characters (although babyish diaper bags are still very much an option).

The trend today, however, is toward more discreet diaper bags, ones that can be handed form mom to dad without embarrassment, and that could easily double as an adult backpack, stylish purse, or gym bag. Features such as a pocket for your cell phone, insulated bottle pockets, and padded shoulder straps have also become de rigour. Ditto for a large, wipe-clean, detachable changing pad.

Quick Tip

If in doubt, opt for a backpack-style diaper bag so you won’t get stuck having to balance your baby in one hand and a shoulder bag in the other. It’s healthier for your neck and shoulders too when the weight you’re carrying in your diaper bag is centered at your core.

If value is what you’re after, mid priced models (in the $35 to $100 range) offer the best mix of sound construction and generous storage. Low-end models (in the $20 range) skimp on quality and durability, leaving you with a bag that may tear, fray, or get strained or sticky and soon have to be replaced.

Designer diaper bags are a class unto themselves. If you want a certain look or designer label, you’ll pay for it. But you’re apt to get a good-quality bag, too.


What’s Available

The Skip Hop Versa Expandable offers aptitude mobility and adjustability options meant to make your baby-care carriage experience truly worthwhile. It features an expandable center for added room when needed. While out strolling your little one, the roller straps come in handy, and you can also wear it over your shoulder. Convenience features include nine pockets, a changing pad, a secure zip top closure and a cotton changing pad. The bag is PVC and phthalate free, with two insulated bottle pockets. Moms go for style and convenience in backpacks while dads go for a fun, easy to carry and hands-on diaper bag, two of the most prominent features of the Skip-Hop Versa.

Price: $74.39

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Enjoy convenience, reliability and comfort all day with the Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack featuring roller straps a changing bag and a sundry bag. The diaper bag incorporates fourteen multi-sized compartments for all your baby care items including diapers, clothing and food. The roller straps enable you to attach the backpack to your stroller. The backpack is made of strong, high quality twill polyester with non-fraying stitching and extra strong zippers for durability. What’s more? Enjoy a lifetime warranty attached to the product. It is a parent’s favorite owing to its guaranteed durability, lightweight features and convenience. The backpack will go the extra mile to ensure you carry everything you need in one lightweight package.

Price: $59.95

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The Haptim Multi-function Baby Diaper Backpack is your ultimate convenience partner. The trendy backpack features an attractive compact look with thirteen internal and external pockets all easily accessible. Extra features include insulated bottle pockets, changing mat, stroller straps and zip-top closures. Moms love convenience, comfort and high quality material in backpacks, and dads enjoy simplicity and light backpacks while on daddy duty. This diaper bag offers exactly that and so much more. Carrying options include a grip handle, shoulder straps and roller straps for an all-round expedient experience. The roomy tote bag is just what you need for those precious moments in the park, unforgettable play-date or sleep over.

Price: $53.99

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Relish baby duty calls without compromising on style and fashion with the trendy Hip Cub Weekender Tote that incorporates everything you need in a diaper bag. This bag is made of stripe cotton canvas for durability and luxury, including nine internal and external storage compartments with adjustable bottle pockets for convenience. Mothers love uniqueness and convenience in a diaper bag, while dads love lightweight, easy to carry bags and the weekender goes the extra mile to combine all these features and much more. While on the move you can use the adjustable straps or carry it over your shoulder or wear it like a crossbody bag. The backpack is a trend-setter and top of the line, a truly worthy buy.

Price: $79.99

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Shopping Secrets

“Test drive” in your mind

Visualize where you’d put diapers, a change of clothes for your baby, wipes, the changing pad, an insulated lunch bag, your keys and wallet and whatever else you typically carry with you. Everything should be within easy reach, a necessity when you’re grabbing for things on the go. Comfort is also key. Wide or well-padded straps can make carrying the bag more comfortable. There should also be a loop for carrying by hand. The handles of a tote-style bag should be short enough so that the bag doesn’t drag on the ground when you carry it like a suitcase, but long enough so it can be slung over your shoulder. A backpack’s shoulder straps should be adjustable for proper fit.

Don’t think bigger is necessarily better

You want a good size diaper bag, yes. But you don’r want one that’s so roomy that you’re constantly losing things in its caverns. An overnight or duffel diaper bag, for example, may be too big for your everyday needs, unless you have more that one child;s thing o carry with you. And even if you don’t have a lot of stuff, there’s a tendency to fill the void. Before you know it, a large diaper bag can easily outweigh your baby.

Look for side zipper compartments

Babies are a demanding lot. External zippered pockets offer fast access to tissues, pacifiers, toys, and your keys. You want to be able to grab and keep going, without having to break stride or put your baby down to find what you need.


Diaper Bag Essentials

You’ll want to be fully prepared when you and baby venture away from home. But don’t go overboard-you’ve still got to carry that bag. Restock the bag as soon as you return home, so you don’t forget anything the next time you of out. You want a bag that’s good to go. Here are some ideas on what to pack.

  • Diapers, of course. At least five or six if you’ll be out most of the day.
  • A travel pack of baby wipes.
  • Changing pad.
  • Zinc oxide diaper-rash ointment.
  • Plastic bags for disposing of soiled disposable diapers.
  • Leak-proof bag for soiled cloth diapers or wet clothes. (some diaper bags come with one of these.)
  • A complete change of baby clothes (including socks), plus a hat, sweater, and/or jacket if it’s chilly out.
  • Sunscreen-if it’s summer.
  • If you’re bottle-feeding, extra formula and sterilized water.
  • Snacks, such as cereal and cracker, in lidded plastic containers and/or an insulated lunch bag for cold items such as yogurt or juice.
  • A bib or two.
  • Two clean pacifiers if your baby is teething.
  • Tissues.
  • Cloth diaper or small towel to mop spit-ups and spills.
  • Baby pain and fever reliever or even a small first-aid kit.
  • Extra baby blanket.
  • Reading material for you. If you have a few minutes, you can catch up on that magazine or newspaper you never got to read at home.

Features To Consider

Changing pad

All bags come with a rectangular changing pad that folds up and first in the bag and can be wiped clean. But some are cushier than others. Cushy is better. Many fold to fit into a a designated pocket. Some have a semi-rigid interior that helps maintain the pad’s shape. With some fanny-pack styles, the changing pad unfurls when you unzip a special compartment.

Construction

Look for strong, adjustable straps (nylon webbing is a smart choice) and well-reinforced seams.

Fabric

Bags made of quilted fabric are often favored by gift givers, but heavy-duty, moisture-resistant nylon or microfiber is more practical, especially if you’re planning to have more than one child and you want the bag to go the distance. You’ll also want a diaper bag that’s as washable inside as it is out since things have a tendency to spill from both directions. Some manufacturers continue to offer “ baby colors” – pastels and light-colored prints. But dark shades are less likely to show stains and wear. And if you go for a purposes after your diapering days are over-assuming it has held up well enough.

Storage

Easy-to-access, zippered exterior compartments, which can function as a wallet and as storage for things you constantly need (like tissues and pacifiers), are a convenient plus. Make sure the zippers are heavy duty so they’ll hold up. Clear vinyl or mesh pockets inside can stow diapers, wipes, and other baby gear, although they’re not absolutely necessary. Some bags have an internal zip PVC bag for wet items. But too many pockets can be confusing – which on did I put her toy in? – and a diaper bag should make your life easier, not more compacted. In general, sportier style bags (think backpacks) tend to have lots of inside and outside compartments. Designer bags tend to be relatively simple with just one or two inside pockets, perhaps none on the outside.