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It’s in the Bag!

Modern moms and dads have lots of choices when it comes to hauling baby essentials like diapers, bottles, wipes, and toys. But which ones could stand up to an adoption trip, and which ones are best to use for around-town errands? AF readers test six of the most popular and stylish diaper bags on the market.

Skip Hop Dash Diaper Bag
// // $68
Reviewed by Shannon H., mother to Taylor, 14 months, and Brandon, 2 months, Seattle, Washington

Style: The bright colors make it easy to pick this bag out in a crowd at day care or a nursery. I would have chosen something more traditionally “baby,” but I have been converted, and I love it!

Comfort & convenience: After filling the interior with diapers, bottles, and other baby stuff, I stow my cell phone and wallet in the outside pockets—and there’s no need to carry a purse. The bag stands up by itself, which is helpful while changing diapers. The straps for hanging the bag on a stroller are really convenient and worked perfectly.

Travel factor: My husband and I brought our two children (ages two years and 10 months) along on the 28-day trip to Kazakhstan to adopt Taylor and Brandon, and I can say without hesitation that this bag would have worked great. I’d advise parents to leave the bag’s changing pad at home and pack disposable ones. This way you can keep paperwork close at hand—plus you would not want to take home a pad that had been in some of the public bathrooms we used.

Baby Bjorn Diaper Bag
// // $49.99
Reviewed by Sarah D., mother to Aiden, 9 months, and fostering Lorynn, 13 months, Durham, North Carolina

Style: It looks more like a hard-sided pocketbook than a diaper bag. I loved the style of the bag and received many compliments on it, but my husband refused to carry it in public.

Comfort & convenience: It has a magnetic top closure and is designed to stay upright when the sides are open, so it’s easy to find things in the inside compartments. Carrying my son in one arm and the bag over my other shoulder made me feel balanced, not like a pack mule.

Travel factor: This bag works well as a day bag for one diaper-age child, but we had to find a larger one after a foster baby joined our family. Two different sizes of diapers and an extra set of clothes were too much for the bag, and it wouldn’t close properly. Based on the space constraints, I wouldn’t recommend it for long-term travel.

Eddie Bauer Diaper Case Bag
// // $49.50
Reviewed by Lee T., mother to Sidney, 9 months, and Darius, 4 years, Upper Nyack, New York

Style: The style works well for women and men. Most people didn’t think it was a diaper bag! It’s black, and simple in design, so it looks like a soft briefcase.

Comfort & convenience: The bag was comfortable to carry, as long as I wasn’t also carrying my daughter. The long strap made it convenient to carry on my stroller, though the small handle made getting into the bag more difficult.

Travel factor: Right now, we have two children—one diaper-age and one who just has lots of extra stuff to lug around—and the bag works fine. We adopted both our kids as newborns, and this bag would have easily accommodated the five large bottles we traveled with. Plus, it’s the only bag I’ve found that can hold a full-size wipe container. Those travel-sized packets get used up in no time.

OiOi Charcoal Dot Tote
// // about $106
(for more information on pricing, e-mail
Reviewed by Kristin R., mother to Caison, 16 months, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Style: When I opened the box and pulled out this bag, my 16-month-old son said, “Neat!” My husband was less enthusiatic—he said the bag looks like a big purse, and I agree. It’s great for women who want to maintain a professional look while carrying a child around. I would certainly consider taking this bag on vacation, even after my children have outgrown diapers!

Comfort & convenience: The bag is equipped with large pockets, a removable, insulated bottle cooler, a large changing pad, and a removable pouch for wet items. Another feature is the “feet” on the bottom—they keep the bag from getting wet or dirty on the ground. It’s definitely an “all-in-one” bag that you’d want to use as a purse and a diaper bag.

Travel factor: The bag can hold a lot, and its wide strap makes it very comfortable to carry. It could easily accommodate enough diapers for two or three children, and the thin fabric keeps it from being too bulky. My husband and I spent nine days in Idaho when we adopted Caison as a newborn. This bag would have been great for the 12-ounce can of powdered formula, liter bottle of water, and plenty of tiny diapers we carried each day.

Graco Diaper Bag
// (model #640PL1) // $19.99
Reviewed by Pam W., mother to Annali Xuwei, 1 year, Independence, Missouri

Style: This bag is not trendy—it looks like a diaper bag—but the masculine colors made it OK for my husband to carry.

Comfort & convenience: The bag’s long, adjustable shoulder strap made it easy to carry. There is a removable changing pad and a small, removable bag for wet items, as well. The outside pockets don’t expand much, but they can hold a bib and spoon or a small stack of paperwork. The bottle pockets (one heavily and one lightly insulated) were a nice touch.

Travel factor: The bag is just the right size for one child’s supplies for an afternoon outing or an evening at Grandma’s house. Supplies for two children or for a long plane flight would challenge the bag’s capacity, so I wouldn’t recommend it for an adoption trip. I liked this bag’s horizontal alignment and white lining, which made it easy to find items that tend to migrate to the bottom of a bag. Still, that wouldn’t outweigh the hands-free convenience of the backpack diaper bag we used when meeting our 10-month-old daughter for the first time.

Land’s End Do-It-All Diaper Bag
// // $29.50
Reviewed by Kelly C., mother to PJ, 1 year, Malvern, Pennsylvania

Style: We didn’t want a “babyish” diaper bag, so this one was perfect. The bag’s style is simple, and my husband didn’t mind carrying it!

Comfort & convenience: The removable (and easy-to-clean) changing mat is the largest I’ve seen. The bag’s wide, hinged opening makes it easy to get into the bag. There are plenty of mesh pockets inside, as well as a “parent” compartment—perfect for a wallet, cell phone, keys, and so on.

Travel factor: The bag is large enough for several changes of clothes, as well as diapers, bottles, and more. A drawback of the large size is that it’s a bit difficult to hold my son and the bag at the same time for long. Its fabric is sturdy, like luggage, so you can check it on the first leg of your adoption trip. The bag is big enough to hold a full set of adoption paperwork, however, so I’d recommend taking it as a carry-on. That’s what we plan to do when we (hopefully!) adopt our next child.

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