For on-the-go parents, there’s just no way around it: You’ll most likely need a quality diaper bag to get you through the first few years with your baby. But if your idea of a diaper bag like a pastel-colored, cartoon-character nightmare, you’re in luck! There are no circa-2002 plaid-and-Pooh covered puffy bags. Just functional, chic, storage.
What to Consider
Parents today want baby gear that reflects their personal style, and when it comes to diaper bags, brands have crafted options that are cute and stylish but functional and useful, too.
There are a few different things to keep in mind when choosing the best diaper bag. First is how much you’ll need to carry, second is if you prefer a shoulder bag or a backpack, what extra features it may have, and where and when you’ll be carrying it.
HOW MUCH YOU’LL BE CARRYING
If you’re a primary caregiver for babies, you’ll need a roomy diaper bag. Infants require a ton of stuff: bottles, diapers, wipes, creams, pacifiers, swaddles, and changes of clothes on top of all of your personal items as well. As your kids get older, your need for so much stuff dwindles a bit — although many of us still prefer bigger bags for ample snack-and-entertainment carrying space.
You may consider getting a second, smaller diaper bag for short trips out and about. These smaller bags are not meant to carry more than just a few diapers, some wipes, and maybe a onesie.
SHOULDER BAG OR BACKPACK
There are benefits and drawbacks to both styles. A shoulder-carry diaper bag is easy to fling on but can get cumbersome when it’s full, and strain on your shoulder and lower back is no joke. Backpacks are great for distributing weight evenly, but they tend to have a much more casual look.
All diaper bags should have compartments and pockets that are easy to clean. There should be a dedicated place for a changing pad, and many include their own. Having waterproof pockets for wipes and bottles is a bonus for some parents and a must-have for others. Many bags also offer a cooler compartment for bottles, a bungee compartment for drinks for you, and even USB ports.
Since iPads can be a real lifesaver with kids, it’s always best to be prepared and plan for success. That’s why having a tech sleeve to keep your laptop, iPad, or phone safe when it’s in your bag is another useful feature to look out for.
WHEN AND WHERE YOU’LL BE CARRYING IT
Where you’ll be carrying your diaper bag is critical. If it’s just getting used strictly as a bag for your baby, you can get away with a casual bag made from neoprene, like the Dagne Dover Indi or polyester. However, if your diaper bag will also be doubling as your purse or briefcase, you’ll want a more formal style, perhaps in a leather or leatherette material like the Fawn diaper bag.
Battle-tested and hand-picked for their style, durability, and overall usefulness, these diaper bags are the best of the best. They’ve been tested, the functions and pricing have been pored over, and we chose only the best of the best. Something useful but not aesthetically pleasing? Not on the list. Great to look at, but basically a glorified tote bag? Gone. These are the cream of the crop.