If you are looking at buying a new diaper bag (baby bag), here is our round up for the best diaper bags for travel, chosen for look, comfort and versatility -updated 2020
Good luggage makes all the difference, when travelling with babies and toddlers.
This is true for your main bag but also for the diaper bag, the less glamorous but ever so useful companion of so many days out and family trips.
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The best diaper bags for travel: 2020 buying guide
When I was expecting my first child, I indulged in fantasies about all the gear I would have.
Bags, buggy, carrier: everything seemed beautiful and perfectly practical, a baby travel must-have item.
However, this turned out to be hardly the case.
Despite being purpose built for baby gear, not all diaper bags or baby items in general are fit for purpose: some are bulky, some are useless when it comes to retrieving anything from their large mouths and some plain awful!
Some prints and shapes of diaper bags are so horrid you’ve got to wonder what went thought the mind of the creators: being a new mum means many thing but none of that involves a sudden loss of sense of style or desire to look pretty!
Thankfully, with a bit of research and access to the ever so wonderful Amazon, it is possible to get practical and even good looking diaper bags.
Here are some things to consider before picking a bag and a useful roundup of some of the most popular and highly rated ones.
GETTING READY TO TRAVEL WITH A BABY OR TODDLER?
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE OUR ARTICLES ABOUT THE BEST HEADPHONES FOR BABIES AND SMALL KIDS, OUR TIPS ON WHAT TO CARRY IN YOUR TODDLER CARRY ON BAG, OUR FAVOURITE LUGGAGE FOR FAMILY TRAVEL AND OUR TOP PICKS FOR TODDLER TRAVEL ESSENTIALS.
Do you need a diaper bag for travel?
Or even more to the point: do you need a diaper bag at all?
With a baby or toddler, you need a bag, this is for sure, but if you already own a large bag that you think will do the job, you can probably save your money.
Diaper bags are just that, bags made for holding diapers’ and while some of them come with handy insulated pockets for bottles and a million different compartments to hold pretty much anything you may desire to have at hand, they don’t do much that a normal bag can’t do.
I know, because I refused to buy diaper bags when I had my two kids and survived without major trauma.
However, there was a time when I found a changing bag useful and this is when we travelled.
Travelling with a baby or toddler is challenging and having the wrong luggage can turn a tiring affair into a real packing nightmare.
I soon discovered hat the bag I was so proud of using for baby stuff was totally unsuitable for travel.
While it was OK attached to the back of the stroller, its small strap cut into my neck and shoulders when carried around for more than a few minutes and it’s soft shape meant nappies got all scrunches up when I pushed it under the plane seat in front of me.
On that first trip, I got overly frustrated with it and this is where my search for the best diaper bag started.
Over time, the world of good looking and functional diaper bags opened up to me and now I recommend it as a useful travel purchase.
What to look for in a diaper bag for travel
When you travel, you need a diaper bag with some specific characteristics The best diaper bag is:
The right size
Large enough to carry what you need.
This is an obvious point but depending on your travel plans the size of the diaper bag you carry with you changes widely.
For short trips, or if you are going to stay with family, you can probably simply tuck a small changing pack in your usual handbag. I am fond of the small and portable skip hop pronto changing kit.
For longer flights and trips, you need a bag that contains at least: nappies, wet wipes, diaper disposing bags (bring more than usual for long flights), rash cream, hand sanitizer, changing mat, a change of clothes, muslin cloths, bottles + formula / nursing pads if using, a sippy cup, snacks.
If you use the diaper bag as your main purse, make sure you also have space for your essentials, from wallet to travel document, to sun glasses etc.
Small enough to fit under the seat in front of you on the plane.
Airlines have different rules when it comes to carry on luggage but more often than not, you are allowed to bring a changing bag in addition to your purse.
Please do check with your airline before each trip and don’t go crazy with the size of your bag.
Make sure it can fit under the seat in front of you and you can grab it and go quickly.
Trying to retrieve a bad from the overhead lockers while holding a baby is harder than it seems, especially if your height, like mines, means you don’t exactly tower over the other passengers…..
Comfortable to carry
The most comfortable bags sit nicely on your shoulders and have large, padded straps.
At home, I hardly ever carried a diaper bag: I mostly had it hanging from the back of the stroller or, when I realized this may easily get the (empty) buggy to tilt, in the stroller storage basket.
When travelling, I often found myself with a baby in one arm and a cross body bag and this hurt my shoulders terribly.
The strap was just too thin to thin to sit comfortably on my neck: when choosing a diaper bag, make sure you pick one with a padded strap.
Easy to open and close
You should be able to access your changing bag with just one hand.
This tip is particularly useful for changing babies and toddler on a plane.
The space available in plane toilets is tiny and the last thing you need is to fiddle with an uncooperative zip while you hold your wriggly baby.
Light coloured inside
This is a small thing that makes a big difference: rooting out stuff from a dark bag is immensely more difficult that to spot stuff in a light coloured one – it is a small details that makes a surprisingly significant difference, therefore one to consider if looking for the best diaper bag possible.
With reasonable number of pockets
This sounds counter intuitive: diaper bags usually market themselves as the holy grail for mothers since they have a pocket for everything.
Personally, I think there is such a thing as too many compartments and the last thing I need to when quickly trying to get hold of my child’s soother is to have to try remember in which clever pocket I put it.
I do like bags with a main compartment for nappies a separate zipped pocket for documents and an extra space for bottles/food but that’s about it: before buying a bag, make sure it fits your carrying style.
Best diaper bag or diaper backpack? Best baby bag for travel styles
The choice between a changing bag and a changing backpack depends very much on your packing habit, how you are going to get around and the age of your child
You may want to use a backpack if you are:
- likely to carry your bag most of the time, for instance if you are going hiking without a buggy
- are not travelling with a rucksack already
- travelling with an active toddler requiring free hands
You may want to use a diaper bag if:
- Your main luggage is a rucksack
- You are travelling with a stroller and you’ll mostly keep the bag hanging from it/under it
- You want to use it as your main purse too
I find the best diaper bag is versatile and easily change from crossbody to tote and to rucksack.
Our selection of the best diaper bags for travel
Mommore clean-free travel diaper bag
Mommore has a good selection of diaper bags ranging from cross body ones to backpack style diaper bags and the one I like most for travel is their ‘clean free’ diaper bag.
I find the bag handy but also really like the colours and design as I feel it doesn’t look like a baby bag at all!
This Mommore traveling diaper bag has (according to its manufactures, click on link to product for full specs):
- Large capacity yet not so big to be bulky or excessively heavy
- Material: Water-resistant Oxford fabric
- 15 total pockets including insulated pockets, wet pocket, side pockets for wipes and bottle, small laptop pocket
- Full-opened Design, super handy for each security checks in airports too
- Padded shoulder straps
- 2 stroller hooks
Dad gear backpack diaper bag
The main characteristic of this changing backpack is that it looks like a traditional rucksack.
It is marketed as a product for dads but I look at it as family product parents can easily share.
The backpack has some large pockets including two insulated ones for bottles and also:
- Numerous compartments for all your bits (baby and travel are both a guarantee of many bits on you at any given time!)
- Two bottle pockets
- Light-colored interior helps you see everything inside
- Stroller straps attach to any stroller
- Includes changing pad
Petunia Pickle Bottom City Carryall travel diaper bag
The Petunia Picklebottom selection regularly features as the best diaper bag according to moms for look, versatility and ease of use.
One of the several by this brand that works really well as a traveling diaper bag is their City Carryall.
What I like about it is that is that it doesn’t look too baby-ish but more like a day bag I would actually want to carry, especially on a city trip, where I want to try and blend in with the locals!
This traveling diaper bag has the following main specs:
- Several pockets including specific bottle pockets
- Come with changing pad and pockets for diapers and wipes
- 1 zippered pocket + 2 open pockets on back
- Versatile way to carry: on shoulder or crossbody
Skip hop duo signature diaper bag
An excellent bag from the always excellent Skip Hop range.
Skip Hop duo diaper bag has a large central compartment, zips on top and has easy access pockets.
It easily convert from shoulder bag to stroller bag too.
- Good number of pockets including bottle specific ones
- Front zipped compartment: handy for items you need to reach quickly
- Comes with its own diaper changing pad
- Can be used as a tote or cross body bag
- Grab handles
- Contrasting lining
- Holds tablets and laptops up to 15″: the best diaper bag if you love travelling with your tech at hand!
Ju Ju Be Right Back
Super versatile purse, the Ju Ju be Right back combines the best of a diaper bag and a stylish backpack, lightweight and with many compartments.
- Padded back panel with breathable mesh
- Grab handle
- Phone pocket
- Exterior insulated bottle pockets
- Includes memory foam changing pad
- Light-Colored lining
- Machine Washable (air dry)
Skip hop forma
The Skip hop forma is a good size diaper bag that comes with 2 packing cubes you can keep in one of the front pockets (one standard one insulated)
- Extra wide dual zip opening
- Insulated bottle pockets
- Interior pockets
- Phone pocket
- Padded shoulder straps
- Stroller straps
- Soft changing pad
- Holds tablets and laptops up to 15″
Babymel Robyn convertible diaper bag and backpack
I love versatile items for travel and when it comes to versatility, the Babymel Robyn convertible diaper bag surely delivers.
This baby bag can be worn 4 ways (backpack, shoulder bag, cross body or hand held) which means it can adapt ro the different needs you may have on different travel days – plane rides, city strolls etc
The following are the Babymel Robyn diaper bag specs:
- Made from canvas and water resistant backing
- The padded changing mat is machine washable
- Insulated bottle holder
- Convertible multiway strap + stroller straps
- Wide opening with zipped closure
- 6 pockets
- Dimensions: H 35 x W x 29 D x 15 cm Weight: 0.7kg
So, this is my shortlist of the best diaper bags for travel as well as everyday use.
I hope you enjoyed our roundup of the best diaper bags for travel (and everyday adventures!) and it helped you find the best diaper bag for your needs.