Health & BeautyMom / Baby Necessities

Diaper Bags 101: A Mom’s Guide For Choosing The Right Diaper Bag

Photo of author

By Ivy

Having the right diaper bag is a necessity when you’re out and about with your baby.

It will allow you to carry all of your baby essentials with you — helping you to stay organized and reduce stress.


Here’s what I think you should look for when choosing a diaper bag…


#1 – Storage Space

Storage is probably the most important consideration when you’re searching for a diaper bag to keep you organized.

A good diaper bag should be flexible and roomy enough to fit all of your necessities — from wipes to bottles and sippy cups.

You want a diaper bag that can hold everything you need to carry with you… and more.

My pick for storage space: The Skip Hop Duo Special Edition diaper bag receives a lot of praise from moms for its roomy size, thoughtful organization, and innovative features. It comes with lots of easy-access compartments and pockets.


#2 – Practicality And Ease Of Use

As any new mom can attest, parents are often faced with the challenge of multitasking — and often you’re left with just one hand to get items from inside the diaper bag.

You want a diaper bag that allows you to quickly and easily grab the baby things that you need right away.

A good diaper bag should be easy to open and give you easy access to everything that’s inside.

My pick for ease of use: The Eddie Bauer Easy-Access Duffle is a diaper bag with a roomy interior and lots of compartments, all of which are easy to access.


#3 – Diaper Bag Material

Diaper bags come in a wide range of materials — including leather, vinyl, canvas, cotton, polyester, and more.

Each type of material has its pros and cons, and will ultimately determine the price you pay for the bag.

So you’ll want to evaluate your needs (and budget!) before picking the diaper bag material that will suit you best.

For example, if you’re an outdoorsy person and you’re going to spend time hiking with your baby, then a diaper bag made of a durable and easy to clean material — such as leather — might be the best choice.

Look for the lightest weight and the most durable material for your individual situation.

Choosing an environmentally-friendly material that is safe for kids is also highly recommended.

My pick based on material: The Hip Cub Diaper Bag is a great example of a lightweight and durable bag. It’s made of a rugged canvas material that can withstand all kinds of weather and outdoor abuse.


#4 – Features And Accessories

A diaper bag that offers a range of innovative features and “extras” can make your life on the go, as a busy mom, much less stressful; simpler for both you, and baby.

Look for a bag that offers dedicated spaces for your most-used items, so you won’t have to hunt to find them. A good bag will have plenty of well-designed pockets and compartments.

In addition, look for some of these diaper bag accessories to be built-in: ergonomic handles, removable bags, build-in organizers, a changing pad, and more.

Such a diaper bag will make it easier for you to stay organized and efficient when you’re on the go.

My pick based on features: The Skip Hop Duo Signature diaper bag is a good example of a versatile diaper bag with plenty of features and accessories. This bag comes with 1o pockets, zippered compartments, mesh pockets, bottle pockets, stroller clips, tote handles (as well as a shoulder strap), and a changing pad.


#5 – Style

Diaper bags come in these main styles: backpack, messenger bag, tote bag, and convertible.

A diaper backpack resembles a conventional backpack. A diaper messenger bag resembles a typical messenger bag. And a diaper tote bag resembles a handbag or purse.

But a convertible diaper bag can transform easily from one style of diaper bag into another!

Pick a diaper bag style that matches your needs and is comfortable to carry.

My pick for the best style: The SOHO Collections Diaper Bag Set is not only stylish and functional, it’s also a 10-piece set! So there are plenty of storage options to carry all the essentials and keep you organized.


#6 – Color

Diaper bags are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and designs.

Pick a color that complements both your wardrobe and your personality — keeping in mind that darker colors are less likely to show dirt and stains.

Whether you’re looking for a sleek purse-like diaper bag in a neutral color or one with a fashionable color that shows you have a sense of style, diaper bags come in every color under the sun — so you’re sure to find one that suits your taste!

My pick for the best color: Whichever color of diaper bag complements your wardrobe and your personality the best! If both mom and dad will be using this diaper bag, then that’s another thing to take into consideration.


#7 – Overall Quality

Avoid cheap diaper bags with flimsy lining, weak seams, chintzy closures, and mediocre construction.

Look for a bag that is made from high-quality materials with durable stitching, reinforced seams, heavy-duty zippers, wide padded straps, and a heavy-duty lining.

You don’t want to take a chance that any part of the bag will start to fray — because you’ll be using this diaper bag a lot!

Make sure the bag is from a reputable brand, and don’t hesitate to check its authenticity.

My pick for overall quality: The Jeep Perfect Pockets Backpack is well-designed and well-made using 100% polyester material. It provides superb organization with clean, handsome styling. It’s definitely one of the best diaper bags available.


#8 – Price

When it comes to diaper bags, expensive doesn’t always mean high quality.

You can find a quality bags between $50 and $100 that will easily beat high-end diaper bags ($100 to $250+) in terms of quality and features.

If price is a determining factor for you, look for a reasonably priced bag with high-quality construction.

My pick based on price: The Skip Hop Forma diaper bag has the best price for the quality. All things considered, it’s a great value.


Try It Before You Buy It!

If possible, try out some diaper bags in person before you commit to one.

That way you can see how different bags feel (when they’re full!) and you can evaluate firsthand the aspects of diaper bags that are most important to you (#1-8 above).

If you’re buying online, make sure to check the return policy ahead of time. I would only buy one if you know that you can return it if you’re not happy with it.


Consumer Reports’ Diaper Bag Recommendations

As a mom, above are my top things to look for in a diaper bag, and the diaper bags that I think meet each quality the best.

As trusted experts in consumer products and safety, here are some additional diaper bag features they say you should definitely look for:

  • A bag that leaves your hands free — a backpack, sling, or messenger-style diaper bag with a diagonal strap allows your torso to bear the brunt of the weight you’re carrying, which is better for your neck and shoulders.  Plus, you won’t have to balance your baby in one hand and a bag in the other.
  • Zippers, rather than magnetic closures — because zippers ensure that your stuff won’t fall out if your diaper bag tips over.
  • Lightweight — a diaper bag that weighs 3 pounds before you pack it will become a heavy load once you add baby necessities (and mom necessities!) inside.
  • Quality handles and straps — wide or well-padded straps are more comfortable, and the handles of a tote-style bag should be short enough so the bag doesn’t drag on the ground when you carry it like a briefcase, but long enough so it can be slung over your shoulder with ease.
  • A light or bright color inside — this makes it easier for you to see what’s inside.
  • Moisture-resistant nylon or microfiber — these diaper bag fabrics are ideal, for their ease of cleaning. Think washable, wipeable, and waterproof.
  • Pockets  — they’re very important because you want to keep baby bottles & food separate from dirty diapers & clothes.
  • Stroller adaptability shouldn’t be a selling point — while some diaper bags attach well to strollers, the added weight might cause the stroller to tip backward, so don’t let this feature play a big role in your choice of diaper bags.
  • A mid-range diaper bag — bags in the $35 to $100 price range are the best value because they offer the best mix of durable construction and generous storage. They also tend to have lots of Velcro or zippered pockets to secure important items in place (like your keys, phone, wallet).