Diaper bags designed just for dads? Unthinkable a decade ago, but today’s manufacturers are hip to the needs and sensibilities of modern fathers. Tim Shabarekh, co-organizer of our Boston Dads Group, test drove several models sent to City Dads Group and filed this report.
A diaper bag, in many dads’ minds, is a shapeless purse-like sling that we hope is ideally functional and – if we’re lucky – neutral in design and color. Or, if you’re like me, it’s a repurposed favorite hiking backpack.
That is – until now. I recently field tested, with my son in tow, five diaper bags designed specifically with dads in mind when it comes to style and usability.
The Filberry Designer Diaper Bag ($98.99) is a messenger-style carry-all with many great features. If you want to keep the profile slim, you can, but if you need to carry lots of stuff there’s plenty of room in the main compartment for diapers, food and extra clothes. A built-in insulated compartment comes in handy if you carry milk or formula. My favorite feature is the zipper along the bag’s top. While carrying the bag over your shoulder, you can open it with one hand, remove the changing pad and supplies without having to set the bag down, keeping your other hand free. Anyone who has tried to change an unhappy infant while on the go knows how useful this is.
The Tactical Dad D.O.D.D. Pack ($99.95) — that’s “Dad On Diaper Duty” — is designed for someone who, like me, opted to repurpose a backpack. It looks like it was designed for the Marine Corps and is it ready for deployment. It feels more compact than a traditional diaper bag and backpack, but the compartments expand if needed. The main section opens completely when lying flat for quick access, a unique feature helpful for loading and unloading. Take this from an avid hiker: this pack is comfortable, durable and a well-designed with plenty of adjustable straps for comfort. The pack has a quick-access changing pad, insulated bottle holder, and all kinds of loops and patches throughout to help you stay organized. And to make sure everyone knows this is a dad’s diaper bag, there are some fun patches you can put on the back if you choose.
The Chabee Outfitters messenger-style diaper bag ($225) is stylish and high quality. From the outside, it looks the least like a diaper bag from all those reviewed. While offering less storage space than the average diaper bag, you have to appreciate its simplicity. The Chabee features deep pockets on all sides, and a main storage compartment that can be customized with a moveable insert that snaps into place as needed. The changing pad easily folds out from one side, and can even stay fixed to the bag, giving you the advantage that you’ll never accidentally leave it behind. In addition to good looks, you can tell this “made in America” bag’s material will really hold up well and is backed with a “Free Repairs for Life” guarantee. I can myself see using this bag well into the years when my son isn’t needing diaper changes anymore to carry a laptop, books, or just about anything.
So I get the box from Diaper Dude, and I open it up. The first thing I see is a New York Mets logo. Wait. Diaper Dude makes licensed MLB diaper bags ($77.99)? Yes, it does. And this bag – in the team’s signature blue and orange colors — is very cool. Any baseball loving dad would be proud to own one of these, though it is the smallest of the bags I’ve reviewed. Still, it’s built for convenience with a top zipper and nice deep pockets on both sides. Perfect for a quick trip out with the kids for a game at Citi Field!
Diaper Dude’s Convertible Messenger Bag / Backpack ($109.99) is slick – it’s compact, stylish and has a ton of pockets for staying organized on the go. I like the two large compartments on this bag, with room for plenty of diapers, extra clothing, toys or whatever you need to get out and about. The great thing about this bag is you get the best of both worlds in that you can either wear it as a backpack or over your shoulder as a messenger bag. A convenient bottle holder sits on the side, and there’s even a diaper bag check-list printed on the inside of the rear compartment! Yes, I have forgotten necessities at home, and that reminder is great.
And the Best Diaper Bags for Dads are …
You really can’t go wrong with any of these great diaper bags. If you’re a stay-at-home dad or a frequent diaper bag user needing a high level of functionality, I recommend the Filberry and Tactical Dad bags. These two are the largest; both have a lot of great features that will be useful to you for multiple kids especially at a young age. Diaper Dude’s Convertible Messenger Bag / Backpack strikes the best balance between style and utility with plenty of space while being sleek at the same time. If style is more important over having extra room and some of the extra bells and whistles, Diaper Dude’s MLB bag is a must for any baseball fan. As for Chabee Outfitters’ Messenger bag, well, this is my new diaper bag going forward – I love the look, the quality, and with just one toddler, it has plenty of space for my day-to-day needs.
**DISCLAIMER: The diaper bag makers provided their products to us in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Photos by: Martijn den Heijer and Tim Shabarekh.