Our family recently expanded: from one toddler to one toddler and one infant. Twice as many kids (boys!) means more baby gear, and after the new arrival our all-purpose diaper bag started bulging at the seams.
Since I usually wrangle our 19-month-old son during family excursions, while my wife tends to the baby, it made sense for us to split up the gear. I would lug the toddler snacks and she would carry the newborn necessities. Time to shop for a second diaper bag.
Since I was going to be carrying this thing, I wanted to steer clear of anything pink or floral. I was looking for something that Jack Bower might use to stow his sat phone and lock pick kit. I wanted a diaper bag for dad.
After a bit of recon, I narrowed my choices to three great options:
The Diaper Dude bags were tempting and come in a range of designs, including camo and pin-stripes, as well as some questionable decals (Skull and crossbones? Really?).
But I ultimately chose the Skip Hop Duo (in “tactical black,” naturally, although there are floral patterns available as well). After using it for a few weeks, I’m quite pleased.
When our oldest was born, my wife was thoughtful enough to select a diaper bag that didn’t look feminine, the olive green Heritage Canvas Tote Diaper Bag by Eddie Bauer. It’s manly enough and quite roomy, but it’s bulky. When I throw the strap across my shoulder, it feels like I’m hoisting a duffle full of hockey gear.
By contrast, the Skip Hop Duo messenger diaper bag looks and carries more like a sleek laptop bag. It wouldn’t attract any attention in a corporate office setting—if I brushed off the Cheerio crumbs, that is. The bag lays comfortably against my side when slung over my shoulder, and it doesn’t impede my movements.
Part of the reason it wears so nicely is the shoulder strap. On a lot of bags the strap is an afterthought, but the Skip Hop Duo’s strap comes equipped with a shoulder pad and sturdy quick-release buckles. The adjustment slide grips the strap tightly; adjust it once and it’ll it stays put. As a bonus, you can detatch the strap completely and use the stroller straps to hang the bag from the handle of your stroller, for those trips to the zoo or baby’s first Home Depot outing.
Pockets and Storage
The Skip Hop Duo has five external pockets, including two large front pockets that are great for toys, blankets or snacks, a velcro pocket on side for your smartphone, a mesh side pouch for an umbrella or bottled drink, and a slim back pocket where you can neatly tuck the included changing pad.
There are two zippered pockets lined with waterproof nylon on the front and back flaps of the main compartment. These are a great place to put your keys, sunglasses, a book, electronics, basically anything small that you don’t want contaminated with juice or bodily fluids. The lining would also help contain the smell if you used it for dirty diapers, although that’s kind of a one way street.
At the bottom of the bag, the center compartment measures about 5 inches front to back, 14 inches wide, and it’s 12 inches deep. It has two large pockets that are ideal for diapering supplies, and two narrow pockets on either end that seem just about useless.
The main compartment will comfortably hold a few snacks, some toys and stuffed animals, diapers, wipes and hand sanitizer. In a pinch I could easily throw my MacBook Air and charger in as well.
This bag is roomy for it’s size, but it’s not huge. To avoid overstuffing it, I like to pare down supplies to just the essentials. I carry two or three disposable diapers, a small packet of wipes, and a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer. The bag starts to bulge awkwardly if you try to fit many bulky items into the center compartment.
One of my favorite features on this bag is the magnetic clasps on the front pockets and the main compartment. They snap shut firmly but open effortlessly, unlike a flap with buckles or a zipper. And they don’t make a racket like velcro.
The lined pockets are another great feature. The lining is brightly colored, so dad’s black gadgets don’t disappear into the shadows. The waterproof lining makes me feel more comfortable about tossing my Sony ereader into the bag without worrying that it’ll get trashed.
Another nice feature that I didn’t appreciate until I used the bag for a while is that the bottom is flat and wide enough to allow the bag to stand up on its own. Most messenger-style bags I’ve owned tended to slump over on their side unless I propped it against something. This one I can set down anywhere without worrying about spilling something.
The Skip Hop Duo Deluxe messenger diaper bag is perfect for use on shorter excursions. The quality is excellent, and well-thought-out touches like the shoulder strap and magnetic snaps make for no-hassle usage.
It’s not a massive weekend-with-the-inlaws bag, and it might be a little small if you wanted to use it as your sole diaper bag for two kids. If you’re looking for something roomier, take a look at the DadGear Backpack Diaper Bag.
Do you have a favorite dad-friendly diaper bag? Let us know in the comments!