The Best Non-Hideous Diaper Bags, as Recommended by Parents

Can a bag fulfill the trifecta of functional, affordable, and fashionable?

Recommended diaper bags.
Photo illustration by Slate.

Parents have questions! And other parents have answers. Readers in our Slate Parenting Facebook group offer practical advice every day. Today: suggestions for a mom looking for a diaper bag that isn’t ugly. For more great parenting conversations, join the Slate Parenting Facebook group.

Is it possible, asked mom Xela, to find a diaper bag that fulfills the trifecta of functional, affordable, and fashionable? Should she just aim for functional, affordable, and not ugly because soon fashionable won’t matter? (Yes, said the majority of respondents.) One thing everyone agreed on is choosing a backpack over a purse, as all that baby gear is heavy and having your hands free is nonnegotiable. After that, it’s a matter of which of those three qualities is more important to you.

The Highly Fashionable Diaper Bag

Skip Hop Riverside Ultra Light Backpack.

Skip Hop Riverside Ultra Light Backpack ($60, Amazon)

The fabric of choice for a style-conscious mother is vegan leather, also known as the leather that survives being doused in ketchup. This backpack, though deceptively simple-looking, has the coveted panoply of pockets and includes a cushioned changing pad. Haley said, “I have a four-year-old and an almost 1-year-old. It was important for me to have my hands free, but I don’t stuff the bag full of things. However, it is super light and easy to clean, which is why I like it.”

Some fashion-forward parents talked about transitioning from a diaper bag to a roomy purse with special pouches or packing cubes to store their diapers and wipes.

The Highly Functional Diaper Bag

DadGear Backpack Diaper Bag.

DadGear Backpack Diaper Bag ($100, Amazon)

“Light-colored interior, multiple pockets, and everything stayed organized—plus a wipes pack holder/dispenser on the outside,” said Elizabeth. “It was intended as my husband’s bag, but he never took the kid out himself. (Wuss.)” DadGear’s product description for the backpack reads like Q’s explanation of James Bond’s attaché case, if what Bond needed was an easy-access diaper hammock and ergonomic design.

The Highly Affordable Diaper Bag

Skip Hop Baby Pronto Portable Changing Station.

Skip Hop Baby Pronto Portable Changing Station ($30, Amazon)

For shorter trips, Slate Facebook parents recommended smaller, cheaper alternatives. This portable changing station includes a wipes case and a pocket for diapers and creams. Molly said, “It clipped onto the stroller when we went for walks and could be easily popped into a large backpack or purse when going elsewhere. Another thing to consider is to make sure your partner also wants to carry it around—you don’t always want to do all of the work!”

The Regular Bag Diaper Bag

Fjallraven Kanken Classic Pack

Fjallraven Kanken Classic Pack ($80, Amazon)

Many parents advocated going straight for a regular backpack, since the number of pockets in a diaper bag can make things difficult to find or replace. This Fjallraven backpack has a lot of the great qualities of the diaper-specific bags: light, durable, and easy to fully open. It’s also made entirely from water-resistant vinyl. Asked Adriana, “What can possibly beat being able to hose the whole thing off inside and out?”

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