Diaper Bags: The Criteria

November 14, 2010

I’ve ordered and tried a bunch of different bags to replace my Skip Hop Duo Deluxe, but before I go there, I thought I’d offer a quick overview of what I was looking for in selecting one of them.

First, here’s what I’m packing:

The basics: diapers (x4), wipes, Kleenex, travel-size diaper cream, a bottle (8-ounce Born Free), burp cloth, changing pad, pacifier wipes (surprisingly useful), two extra pacifiers, a couple of small toys, an extra bottle of formula, nutrition bars for me (x2), wallet, phone, keys, my sundries (lipstick, headphones).

Longer day: a blanket for her to play on, an additional bottle of breast milk, sometimes refrigerated in the Medela insulated pack if I’ll be gone for several hours, and a bottle of water for me. I also schlep along my Mac Air (3 lbs, super thin) if I might be stranded over one of her naps.

A couple of things I found during my search that might be helpful for you too:

  1. Zappos.com lists the capacity for each bag it carries, which is a super handy feature I haven’t seen anywhere else. Not that I know what 25 oz. vs. 28 oz. equals in stuff, but it gives you a good relative idea of which bags are bigger than others.
  2. Try any bottle pockets that bags offer to make sure they fit your bottles. The Skip Hop Messenger Bag’s bottle pockets, for instance, aren’t big enough for Born Free bottles, so not much of a help there.
  3. Lots of bags brag about how many pockets they have. For me, more than a few pockets = more rummaging. When you’re trying to find a pacifier fast and it could be in any one of six pockets inside the bag, that’s not a win. In the bags I tried, tons of pockets also meant diminished space for large items like blankets and less flexibility as your needs change (from baby bottles to toddler snack packs, for example). A few pockets is plenty.
  4. Detachable pacifier pocket note: great idea to isolate a need-it-fast item. Bad idea when it detaches on its own two days after you got it.
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