Do you remember being in school and your backpack’s zipper broke, out spilled out all your folders, notebooks, and writing utensils? Making sure you have the best diaper bag for your money is just like picking out that awesome bookbag as a twelve-year-old.
Before we jump into our favorite ones, let’s explore the different types of diaper bags on the market.
What Are The Different Types of Diaper Bags?
Here are the four common types of diaper bags, but keep in mind that any bag can be repurposed to carry those baby essentials.
Traditional Bag – This style of diaper bag is specifically designed for storing everything a baby needs. Lots of pockets, compartments, nooks, and crannies. For many parents, it doubles as a purse, suitcase, magical bag of holding. That’s a bag that has endless storage for those not in the know. It’s huge, heavy, bulky, and the most practical. Basically, this bag holds not just baby supplies, but your phone, wallet, and small pets.
Tote – Very similar to the traditional bag, but with larger, rather than smaller compartments. Made for wearing over the shoulder due to having a long strap. Doesn’t look quite as “mom” as a traditional bag. However, things can get lost in their giant pockets.
Messenger Bag – The most versatile bag next to a backpack. The messenger bag has a fold-over flap, one or two compartments, and is made for wearing over the shoulder. While you can easily fit a small laptop in its main pocket, it’s still small than a tote. It’s good for carrying the main necessities for your little one.
Backpack – Remember being a kid and dragging that 40lb backpack back and forth to school with you every day? It’s probably the reason why your back aches every once in a while as an adult. Yup, you can use backpacks, or as we called them bookbags, for a diaper bag. Some backpacks are specifically made to be used for carrying all your little one’s essentials. Two straps, a couple of big compartments, and a smaller zippered pocket in the front.
Those are the four common types of diaper bags. Honestly, a diaper bag can be anything that you stuff baby supplies with. It’s not on our essential items you need to purchase when having a newborn, but it’s definitely something you can’t live without.
How To Choose a Diaper Bag
Before we get to our list of favorite diaper bags there are a few things you should consider. First, give some thought to how you want to carry this extra bag. Do you have a bad back or shoulder? How do you currently carry a purse? Does your stroller accommodate a certain size for a diaper bag? Should you purchase a bag for each parent? Give some consideration to purchasing a large bag and a small one for quick trips. Make a list or layout all the items you want your diaper bag to carry.
Once you’ve established the size and type, you need to set a budget. Prices for these things can vary wildly. We discuss making a budget for a newborn in our baby checklist article. Whether you’re replacing an older bag or buying your first one, you should try to keep it in your budget. However, this doesn’t mean buying the cheapest on the market. You want a diaper bag that will last you well into the toddler years, so plan on needing it till your child is 3 or 4 years old.
You might want to consider keeping a second smaller bag always packed with necessities in your closet. This makes it easy if there’s an emergency or just a quick trip to the grandparents, friend, or grocery store. Having a ready-to-go back up is a great idea. Don’t worry, non-traditional diaper bags can easily be repurposed to other useful carrying bags.
We’ve listed our favorite diaper bags below. Keep in mind, that any bag can be used for a diaper bag. We’ve tried to list a mixture of both because we’re not thrilled with boring designs.
Our Favorite Diaper Bags
If you’re traveling or looking for a larger traditional bag that can be worn as a backpack then the Muse Bebe diaper bag is exactly what you want. This thing holds 5 baby bottles, has two front pockets, a wipes dispenser, and a large compartment. This is the SUV of diaper bags.
For those of you who want a diaper bag that doesn’t look like a diaper bag. The Ruvalino Tote diaper bag is fairly spacious for its size. It includes insulated pockets and a collapsible metal frame to keep it’s shape when you’re rummaging through.
This bag is exactly the same as the Marvel bag above, but it uses Star Wars fabric. Yes, it comes with a changing pad.
For those of you who can get by on a more traditional messenger bag, this Doctor Who bag is awesome. The print is colorful and fantastic. You can always purchase a cheap changing pad if you really need it.
Here’s another example of a versatile diaper bag that can be worn on the shoulder or as a backpack. Sure, it’s not a traditional bag, but if you are only interested in carrying a few items then this might be perfect for you.
Some parents want a small diaper bag just to carry a few things with them. Sometimes, this is the extra diaper bag you keep filled with just the necessities. Easily storable under most strollers.
The truth is out there and it might come in this alien backpack diaper bag. This diaper bag has a lot of the same features as a regular backpack, but it includes eight small shelters in the main compartment for better organizing.
We can’t stress enough that you should seriously consider a diaper bag that’s not necessarily made as a diaper bag. Take, for instance, this Game of Thrones diaper messenger bag with its wide compartment. These make perfect smaller backup bags as well.