Monday, July 25, 2016

The Great Diaper Bag Search

There are so many things you need and so many things people think you need for when baby comes but I think we can all agree that having some way to transport your babies belongings is a NEED.  A diaper bag is   Whether you're looking for style, function or a little bit of both, there is a diaper bag for you.  The problem is actually finding one that works before you give birth.

When I started the search for a diaper bag I looked online, never really considering I might want to actually SEE a diaper bag before I plunged into the purchase.  After all, I can be somewhat of a lazy shopper so I set out allowing the reviews and opinions and even YouTube videos from others be the guidance for my diaper bag dreams.

But my wise and practical brother who has been waiting for YEARS to purchase a diaper bag for me as a gift said, go look at the bags, "put your paws on them" before you decide on something.  So on Sunday, hubby and I set out to Buy Buy Baby to put my paws" on some diaper bags.

Now, for those who have never visited a Buy Buy Baby, I must say this is a very overwhelming experience.  The fact there is enough baby "stuff" to fill a store baffled me from the moment we walked in.  I perused through what must have been 75 different strollers and an equal number of car seats.  I strolled through 20 high chairs and 15 swings.  I must have ran my fingers across 100 different beautiful and "aww" inducing blankets, sheets, and baby quilts.  Just as I sat in what seemed to be the 40th nursery glider, I saw them...the diaper bags.

The light shone on the selection in some sort of angelic fashion, I swear cherubs were singly sweetly as I approached the bags with wide-eyes much akin to a child in a candy store.  There must have been 100 bags, all different shapes, patterns, designs, colors, and brands.  I saw Petunia Pickle Bottom, Jujube, Carters, Vera Bradley, Skip Hop, Timi and Leslie, even Jessica Simpson and Kate Spade!  I felt overwhelmed immediately and wondered how would I ever narrow it down to just one.

How are we to narrow it down to one diaper bag?  I mean sure, we can buy several...but it starts with one.  And for me, I'm a one bag kind of girl.  I prefer practical over trendy.  I prefer function over style.  I prefer quality over quantity.  So I set out with 100 diaper bags and cut it to the one winning bag using a practical set of guidelines that I recommend for all future mom's shopping for a diaper bag.

First, choose a TYPE.  Yes, just like purses diaper bags have types.  They are divided into FOUR main categories.  Tote, messenger, satchel and backpack.  There are, of course, bags that cross types...like a satchel that is also a tote or a totes that has straps for a backpack.  But primarily, there are four categories and that is where you want to start to narrow the selection.

Messenger bags have a long strap and will hang across your body.  The opening is protected by a flap that folds over the front of the bag.

Totes slide over your arm on your shoulder and sit somewhere between your bust and hip.  They close with a zipper or snap and some just stay open.

Satchels usually sit on the crook of your arm, on your elbow.  They also close with a zipper or snap.

Backpacks...just like the ones in school, hang on your pack.  They zip around and you can hang them on one or both shoulders.

Much like your favorite purse, this is a good way to reduce the number of options for a diaper bag.  Here is some visual representation of the four main types of diaper bags.  


So let's review what led me to "My Style".

I knew right away that I had never been a fan of messenger bags.  I didn't like that I had to fold over a flap to get inside the bag.  I preferred a zipper or snap for easy access to the contents.  So the messenger bag was the first one cut from the types and that was just a style preference for me personally.   I can't say I have any advice or picks for the messenger bag.  Sorry girls, don't shoot the messenger!

With three bags to go, I set out performing various "tests" to see what the pro's and con's of each style would be.  The first test I performed on these bags was the Bend Over Test.  Simply put, place the bag in its designated place and bend over.  The tote bag quickly dropped to my wrist.  The satchel stayed put but felt a little heavy.  The backpack, when both straps were secure, stayed put.

I set about looking at satchel style bags because my purse is typically a satchel so I'm used to having a bag at my elbow.  I put two or three bags on my arms and walked around and noticed something immediately.  These bags, these EMPTY bags, were quite heavy on my elbow.  I still had to fill them with diapers, wipes, bottles, a change of clothes, and the myriad of other items needed in a diaper bag.  You can put a satchel on your shoulder but it's a tight and uncomfortable fit.  So while I might carry a satchel as my purse, I didn't choose this style for my diaper bag.  I was down to totes and backpacks!!      

I noticed many of the totes had slim straps.  I wondered how they might dig into my shoulders as it was filled with baby needs.  I shoved a few things inside a tote and wandered over to the nursery section.  The thinner straps were definitely not something I wanted to work with, so I focused on fabric bags with thicker straps that were more reinforced at the top where they dig in my shoulders.  I found some good contenders for the totes while narrowing down my selections.

My Top Totes:


Skip Hop Forma Pack and Go

SIZE: 17" L x 5.5" W x 15" H
Cost: $70

Lightweight, quilted fabric.  Outside zippered pocket for "mom's things".  Insulated tote included for bottles.  Zippered mesh organizer bag.  Lots of pockets, 11 total.  Sturdy bag shape.  Lots of colors and designs.   Stroller straps to attach to stroller.  Functional and easy to organize.  


Ju-Ju-Be Be Prepared

Size: 18.5" L x 6.5" W x 14" H
Cost: $200

This bag was well thought out and a heavy hitter in my favorites.  From the Mommy pocket to the light interior to the crumb drains, there is a feature for everyone on this bag.  Shoulder straps and stroller clips.  Insulated pockets for bottles.  Magnetic closures.  Gold hardware, structured frame, interior organizers, gusseted pocket for easy access.  This is PRIMO and the price is there to match.  


The Honest Co. Everything Tote

Size: 19" L x 12" W x 7" H
Cost: $170

This bag got my attention right away because of it's vegan leather and outside pockets that would perfectly fit my needs like keys, wallet and cell phone.  This also crosses between a satchel and a tote.  Boasts 7 exterior pockets and 5 interior pockets including two  that are insulated for bottles.  Looks like a purse but acts like a diaper bag.

These were three bags I did not elect to get but if I were to purchase a tote, it would definitely be one of these three options.  The Be Prepared is a high end bag but the functionality and thought behind many of the features make it worth the price to me.  The Skip Hop is a classic diaper bag, with functional  pockets for organizing baby's needs.  The Honest tote was classic, stylish and mom friendly.    

My Top Backpacks:



Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back

Size: 12" L x 5" D x 16" H
Price: $155

This bag features many of the same benefits as the Be Prepared in a smaller, lightweight, backpack.  Cell phone pocket up front with key fob clip and wallet storage.  Two exterior insulated pockets for bottles, a full wide opening with mesh interior for organizing baby's needs.  The straps and back are padded so this actually feels comfortable to wear.  Slide in back pocket for the included changing pad or even an iPad for entertainment.  


The Honest Co. City Backpack

Size: 16" L x 5.5" W x 19" H
Price: $150

Stylish and classic, features vegan leather, cell phone pocket, insulated bottle pocket and five interior pockets for organization.  Larger style, sturdy bag.  Slides on a stroller with ease.  Versatile, Mom or Dad will carry this.  Gold hardware.  Changing pad includes a zippered compartment for wipes.


     So with all these choices...what was the best for me?


That's right, I went with the Honest Co.'s City Backpack.  The vegan leather design, gold hardware and functional pockets were just what I wanted in a diaper bag.  I carried this on my pack with four other bags in hand and completely forgot it was there.  I liked the wide opening and the insulated interior pocket for bottles.  The front pocket held my cell phone and keys and wallet while there was plenty of room for baby's needs inside the bag.  This was a full four inches wider than the Be Right Back from JJB.  And as a bonus, my hubby said he would carry this bag with no issue!  So it's literally a WIN-WIN for us both!

It took some time and a lot of effort but here is what I learned from this experience.

DO try on the bags.  Feel the fabric, tug on the zippers, check out the interior, find what fits your body.  Does it feel secure?  Does it bother your back?  Is it too heavy when it's empty?  

DON'T choose a diaper bag based on what you see on the internet or someone else's packing video...unless that person is a clone of you.  Tastes differ and you must trust your own judgement when searching.    

DO try to carry these around in a store to get a feel for the bag.  Don't worry if you look crazy, it will be easier to fill and empty a bag than it is to find out later you have to return it.  Put stuff in them, even if it's just baby wash and wipes to get a feel for the weight of a full bag.  

DON'T let a cute pattern beat out functionality in a bag.  Your taste in a pattern will change but the function you want in a bag will stay the same.  If you're organized, look for interior pockets.  If you like to just toss it in a bag and go, find a wide open style.

DO think of your spouse or partner when you're shopping, or consider a separate bag if you're tastes differ from frilly lace to plain black.

And most of all, remember, have fun while you're shopping!!  Do you have a favorite diaper bag I didn't mention?  Share in the comments below!  I love to hear from y'all!


  

18 comments:

  1. That JU JU BE BE prepared one is too cute! Great post and love the selection!

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    1. Thanks Lindsay! It was a fun experience! Next, I tackle baby gear!

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  2. I think the one you picked is too cute!! I got this bag and it seems like at times it's not big enough...ugh!! http://www.toysrus.com/buy/totes/skip-hop-duo-limited-edition-french-stripe-200037-19376076 As far as the comfy part the back pack will definitely be the most comfy!!

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    1. I did see that one Amie! I keep wondering if my bag will carry enough or if I'll have to stop being suck an overpacker! I mean you can't be TOO PREPARED right??

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  3. You are awesome. I love all this advice and love the one you picked!

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    1. Thanks Caroline, it was definitely an overwhelming experience and honestly, I think the store is really overpriced and full of things you don't NEED but it was fun to check it out!

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  4. Great tips mama! I have the Skip hop backpack for work and I love it! But I LOVE that Honest Co gold hardware! That alone would make me buy it! Good choice!

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    1. Seriously it is such a well made bag and HELLURRRRR the hubby even agreed!

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  5. Awesome post! I have looked at the Skip Hop tote a million times when dreaming of a diaper bag. In reality I always wanted a Betsy Johnson one when it was time but she doesn't sell them anymore :( I think my main goal is to have lots of sections. My husband laughs about how I like to "put stuff inside of other stuff" aka me organizing things into bags or containers so I'm sure I'll look for something that in a diaper bag.

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    1. Betsey Johnson has some super fun patterns and YOU KNOWWWWWWW...you might find a tote and then insert a diaper bag organizer and BOOM, you have the perfect bag for you!! I definitely recommend checking that combo out! They have some neat organizers that just slide into an existing bag!

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  6. I bought a diaper bag a few years ago when we first started getting help via doctors. I bought a Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack. I haven't used it yet, and it's in a box out in our shed. I think I would prefer the backpack over the tote or messenger. I don't like my arms going dead...

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    1. I totally AGREE!! I mean, some of those totes were so WIDE under my arm too I felt like a stay puffed marshmallow mom!!

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  7. I never thought that picking out a diaper bag would be quite difficult! Haha! Love that you narrowed down your faves and I LOVE your choice! And if the hubby helps carry it...definitely a winner! You are so cute!
    xo, Lily
    Beauty With Lily

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    1. Lily...it's like choosing a foundation! Oh my goodness, and you want to choose the right one the first time or you're left going back to pick another! LOL

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  8. Excellent and very exciting site. Love to watch. Keep Rocking. Baby Back Pack

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  9. These are great choices, but if you are the outdoorsy type, I really recommend the backpack diaper bag because it fits your lifestyle. These are really durable options and are spacious enough even for long vacations. I found a great list of other backpack diaper bags and you should check them here too: http://backpackingmastery.com/top-picks/best-backpack-diaper-bags.html

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