If you are looking at buying a new diaper bag (changing bag), here is our round up for the best diaper bags for travel, chosen for look, comfort and versatility.
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.
- The best diaper bags for travel: 2017 roundup
- Do you need a diaper bag for travel?
- What to look for in a diaper bag for travel.
- Diaper bag or diaper backpack?
- Our selection of the best diaper bags for travel
The best diaper bags for travel: 2017 roundup
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 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, AND OUR FAVOURITE LUGGAGE FOR FAMILY TRAVEL
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.
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What to look for in a diaper bag for travel.
When you travel, you need a diaper bag with some specific characteristics A great diaper bag must be:
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 realised 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.
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.
Diaper bag or diaper backpack?
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
- You are not travelling with a rucksack already
- You have 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 of all diaper bags are versatile and easily change from crossbody to tote and to rucksack.
Our selection of the best diaper bags for travel
This is a good bag, on the large side for a changing backpack, with loads of pockets and compartments. Unlike a traditional rucksack that opens from the top only, it opens like a book, which means you can easily see what is inside.
It has a handy outside pocket for the items you each for more often and pacifier clips to keep soothers clean and handy.
- Easy Access diaper wipes compartment
- Insulated Side Bottle Pocket
- Insulated cooler on the top of the bag
- Cushioned laptop compartment
- Cell phone pockets
- Comfortable shoulder straps
- Reinforced stroller straps
- Antimicrobial cushioned changing pad
- Antimicrobial compartment for storage of dirty clothes
- Antimicrobial pacifier pouch
- Multiple elasticized interior pockets
- Fits under airplane seats
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.
- Two large zippered pockets with numerous compartments make it simple to stay organized
- Two bottle pockets accessible from the exterior hold 2 bottles each
- Light-colored interior helps you see everything inside
- Stroller straps attach to any stroller and store neatly when not in use
- Changing pad included
Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel
The Petunia Picklebottom is an award winning bag usually praised for look, versatility and ease of use. This bag is definitely not one you’ll share with dad but many moms love it because of its wide selection of beautiful prints and its versatility.
- Roomy main space 5 interior pockets (2 specifically for bottles) and a key clip
- 2 exterior bottle pockets, plus front and back magazine pockets
- Removable and wipe-able baby changing pad
- Versatile 2 ways to carry: On shoulder with padded handles or as backpack with straps that store discreetly
- Made of organic cotton, despite this soft material keeps its shape even when empty
- External pocket with magnetic closure for items you need more often
Skip hop duo signature diaper bag
An excellent bag from the always excellent Skip Hop range. The 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 to keep your belongings safe but easy to reach
- Includes diaper changing pad
- Goes from tote to cross body and has a padded shoulder strap
- Grab handles and adjustable shoulder strap with slip-on shoulder pad
- Contrasting lining for easy visibility
- Holds tablets and laptops up to 15″
Ju Ju be be right back
Super versatile purchase combining the best of a diaper bag and a stylish backpack, lightweight and with many compartments.
- Padded back panel with breathable mesh for added comfort, ergonomically curved and padded shoulder straps
- Quick grab handle
- Cell phone pocket
- 2 exterior insulated bottle pockets
- Memory foam changing pad included in the back panel zipper compartment
- Light-Colored lining to easily see what’s inside
- Machine Washable, air dry
Skip hop forma
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 side bottle pockets
- Elasticized interior pockets and cell phone pocket
- Cushioned shoulder straps
- Stroller straps
- Cushioned changing pad
- Holds tablets and laptops up to 15″
Babymel quilted diaper bag
A very popular bag, lightweight and hardwearing, very well organised both in the outside and the inside.
- Stroller clips
- Long, adjustable shoulder strap
- 2 large front compartment (open)
- Large, magnetic clutch compartment at the back
- Insulated bottle compartment
- Comes with padded change mat
- Elastic pockets inside
- Made from polyester fabric
- Luxury machine washable padded changing mat
So, this is my shortlist of the best diaper bags for travel as well as everyday use.
What is your favorite type of diaper bag, do you have any of the bags above? What does the best diaper bag look like for you? Let me know in the comments!
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