I recently jumped on the backpack diaper bag bandwagon, and it has been a serious life-changer.
No more bags slipping off my shoulder and bumping against my hip as I try to get the kids into the store without making a (huge) scene. Whether you have one kid or five, you need all the convenience you can get.
These diaper bags are designed with modern parents in mind, with changing stations, laptop compartments, and pockets galore. We have places to be and need our hands free while getting there.
Related: Best Diaper Bags of 2021 (Super stylish & functional)
How to choose the right backpack for your lifestyle
We all know the struggle of spending hours on Amazon trying to choose the best product for yourself and your family. The following list of questions is a great place to start if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.
Once you know what you need, it’s easy to eliminate the diaper bags that don’t suit you. And don’t waste time reading reviews of mini backpacks if you have six kids and love to be super-prepared.
Here are some points to consider:
- Are you sharing? Is it just for you, or will you pass it off to your mom, babysitter, or husband?
- Organization. How organized are you? Do you love a zillion pockets, or would you just have to open ten to find what you’re looking for?
- Stuff. Do you like to be super-prepared, or just roll the dice with a diaper and a pack of fruit snacks?
- Accessories. What stuff do you expect your bag to come with — changing pad, wipes dispenser, insulated pockets, laptop pocket, USB cord port? The list goes on…
- Comfort. Do you need padded straps for your backpack? Will you be wearing it for hours at a time?
- Money. What’s your budget?
- Appearance. Leather, patterned, gender-neutral; what’s your preference?
- Keeping it clean. Does it wipe clean, get thrown in the wash, or need to be dry cleaned? Nobody makes a mess quite like a baby or toddler, so you want to know what you’re working with.
Please keep in mind that freshly expressed breast milk can be stored at room temperature for 4 hours, and in an insulated carrier with ice packs for 24 hours before being discarded.1 Storage and Preparation of Breastmilk cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/preparation-of-breast-milk_H.pdf
If your baby drinks prepared infant formula, this can be stored at room temperature for 2 hours. If baby has already drunk from the bottle, then it’s only good for 1 hour.
If the prepared formula is stored in an insulated bag with ice packs then it will last for 4 to 6 hours. 2Infant Formula Preparation and Storage
Our top picks for the best diaper backpacks
I don’t share the bag with my husband, so it can be as pretty as I want it to be! While I enjoy organization, too many pockets confuse me.
My kids are older now so I don’t have to carry as much stuff as I used to. However, I do like having the option of more room for day trips or vacations.
I don’t need bottle pockets or a changing pad, and I wouldn’t use a laptop pocket. Although I want it to feel comfortable, I won’t be wearing it for hours at a time.
Lastly, I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg. Then again, you may answer these questions completely differently, which is the whole point!
We narrowed down the best diaper backpacks so that you don’t have to. Pick the best option for yourself, your husband, or that poor, unsuspecting, pregnant friend of yours who’s about to hear all your birth stories…
This large-capacity, waterproof backpack comes in blue, black, grey, dark grey, and pink.
It has a total of 15 pockets, perfect for a super-organized mama (or dad, as this is a bag your partner won’t mind wearing).
There are three insulated bottle pockets to keep baby bottles at the perfect temperature and a readily available wipes pocket.
KiddyCare (check price on Amazon) offers a lifetime warranty and believes in the durability of its product, which boasts iron zippers with strong fabric and seams.
The main compartment opens wide for easy access, as there’s nothing worse than poking around blindly for a pacifier while you’re out.
This bag is a budget-friendly option, spacious enough for moms with multiple children, and comes complete with a waterproof pocket in the back for any valuables.
The best part? The KiddyCare Diaper Bag Backpack looks deceivingly small, but buyers were continually surprised by the volume it could hold. It’s compact and easy to carry. If you don’t want to feel like Ghostbusters with a giant pack on your back, check this one out.
What we love
- Loads of pockets
- A bag that’s small but mighty
- The price is budget friendly
- This bag does not come with a changing pad, though KiddyCare does sell one separately
Best convertible backpack for moms
Petunia Pickle Bottom (check price on Amazon) has its great reputation for a reason. These bags are beautiful, stylish, and available in fourteen unique patterns at varying prices.
This trendy bag could easily become your signature piece, winning you over with its roomy functionality. You can wear it either as a backpack or messenger bag, so it’ll double as a purse for those rare kid-free outings.
The Petunia Pickle Bottom Bag features a front pocket with a magnetic flap, easy-to-wipe fabric, interior and exterior pockets, plus stroller straps. There’s also a side pocket for your smartphone.
My favorite features on this diaper bag backpack are the attached changing pad and matching wipes case. Not only is the changing pad comfortably padded and attached with Velcro, but you can also unzip and use it easily with one hand.
This is one of the best backpack diaper bags to give as a showstopping baby shower gift. Trendy and original, you can’t go wrong with Petunia Pickle Bottom’s patterns and quality. The price of this bag can fluctuate on Amazon, so look out for sales.
What we love
- Comes with an easy-access changing pad
- Petunia Pickle Bottom has gorgeous designs
- You can wear it two ways (backpack or messenger bag)
- The shoulder straps are not padded, which may be bothersome you if you plan to wear it for hours at a time.
- Can be pricey.
Best for parents of twins
If you’ve looked at other diaper bags and decided you need more pockets, you’re in luck. The Blissly Diaper Backpack (check price on Amazon) has 20 pockets (including four insulated bottle pockets), making it the best backpack for parents of twins.
Two bottles per child, with room for all the supplies you could need, which could be a lot. There’s also a pocket for wipes with easy magnetic closure and a foldable changing pad.
It’s made with a high-quality polyester exterior, while the patterned interior is wipeable and water-resistant, a must when it comes to kids.
The bag is unisex and comes in grey and black, so it can be used interchangeably by mom or dad. Just throw your phone and keys in the front pocket and you’re good to go. The adjustable padded straps and stroller straps make it perfect for any outing or day trip.
Some have complained that this bag tips over when placed on the floor, proving inconvenient when out in public, but were impressed with its overall durability and quality.
What we love
- Has room for four bottles
- Water-resistant polyester material is great for messes
- The flap for the main compartment unzips to lay flat, and can be used as a changing pad in a pinch
- Bag tips over when put down
Best for travelers
Wanderlust? The Hobest Backpack Diaper Bag (check price on Amazon) is ideal for travel due to its USB port for recharging phones and tablets while on the road or at the airport.
The cord and USB port are included, but you’ll need to provide your own power supply, such as a battery pack.
This super-affordable bag has lots of features, including a top handle, easy-glide zippers, padded straps, and a back ergonomic design.
There’s also a good-sized mommy pocket in the front for easy access to all your essentials. It’s waterproof, tear-resistant, and easy to wipe down.
This is a perfect carry-on bag for everything you and your baby might need. There’s an anti-theft pocket on the back of the bag to protect your smartphone or wallet, handy for walking through the airport or a new city.
The Hobest backpack diaper bag has a 14-inch padded laptop pocket in the main compartment, stroller straps, two insulated pockets, plus mesh storage pockets. I like the diaper organizer that opens wide so you can grab everything you need and use it as a changing pad if necessary.
What we love
- USB port for easy charging when traveling
- Comfortable design makes it easy to wear for hours
- This bag has a cute little spoon and fork pocket
- Comes without a changing pad
Best small diaper backpack for moms
You can either wear this on your back or carry it using the handle, and the size is ideal for petite moms. There are also rubber feet on the bottom of the bag keeping it upright and off the ground. The main compartment opens all the way for easy packing.
This diaper bag is more than just a pretty face, with four exterior and four interior pockets for all your baby gear. Itzy Ritzy (check price on buybuyBABY) is a company that prides itself on creating ‘practical luxury’ for families, and this bag is no exception.
If you want a bag that’s functional but goes beyond a gender-neutral, utilitarian appearance, this is a great option. It’s also ideal for those who prefer to travel light when out with the kids. Many moms continue to use them after the diaper bag years have passed.
What we love
- Made with soft vegan leather
- The mini size is just right
- The rubber feet help keep it upright
- Your husband won’t be caught dead with this one
Best for moms
This is a beautiful faux leather option, made in two different sizes and 19 different colors, including pink, mint green, navy, and camel. The main compartment opens wide for access to all the stuff you’ve packed for your baby.
There are two side pockets that are perfect for water bottles, plus front and back zipper pockets. Kah&Kee Leather Backpack (check price on eBay) has multiple compartments inside, including a padded laptop pocket.
Stylish on the outside, filled with all the toys, diapers, and wipes your baby could need on the inside. This is another bag that’s easy to clean, doesn’t compromise on style, and comes with a top handle for another carrying option.
It’s also inexpensive. A unique feature is the breathable back mesh design that enables you to keep cool on hot summer days at the park or beach. The straps are padded for extra comfort, and the interior is very roomy.
While some reviewers noted that the bag wasn’t durable, the company made sure to remedy that. In 2020, Kah & Kee upgraded the shoulder straps from a single to a double layer so the bag could hold more weight and last longer. Good news for you.
What we love
- There are two size options lots of color choices
- Breathable back mesh keeps you cool
- Bag has a wide open top
- This bag doesn’t have a changing pad or insulated pockets for bottles
The Maman Diaper Bag Backpack (check price on Amazon) is the only one on our list made with a unique puffer quilt material. It gives the bag a fun, interesting look and is available in green, blue, grey, and black. It’s extremely lightweight and easy to carry around for the day.
It comes with a matching changing pad and two insulated bottle pockets. There’s a leather bottom base for easy cleanup, and the waterproof puffer material wipes clean.
Appealing to both moms and dads, the padded straps adjust to fit all sizes. There’s also a large front zipper pocket for easy access to your necessities.
This diaper bag backpack can also snap onto any stroller, making it convenient for walks and trips. If you’re someone who’s intimidated by too many super-secret compartments, the Maman just might be the Goldilocks of pockets.
With 11 different pockets for everything you need for your baby, there’s just the right amount. Maman also accepts returns with no questions asked, so rest assured that if it doesn’t float your boat, you can send it right back.
What we love
- This bag is made from a unique material
- It’s designed with both moms and dads in mind
- The leather bottom makes it easy to clean
- A little pricey
Best for dads
We saved the best dad option for last, and the Sager Creek Diaper Bag Backpack (check price on Amazon) will certainly do the job. If, while he’s out with the kids, he wants to look like he’s preparing for a month-long camping trip with nothing but supplies on his back, look no further.
This backpack has a rugged, military look and quick-clip chest strap for when things get dicey, as well as room for anything he can think of.
Complete with a Velcro American Flag patch and available in three different colors, this bag comes with a matching changing pad, mesh padding on the back, and an insulated pocket for a hydration bag.
There are other fun features, including a removable waist strap, a large Velcro strip for patches, and even a fleece-lined top pocket for sunglasses. This diaper bag has a ton of pockets, loops, and hooks for all the baby gear you’ll want to bring along.
It’s a sturdy, versatile bag that will last your husband (and you!) well past the baby years. It’s practical for hiking, camping, or any other outdoor activity. Just read the reviews, this one is definitely dad-approved, both for its appearance and impressive quality.
What we love
- This bag is dad approved
- There are unique features we didn’t see on any other bag
- It has a Velcro strip for patches
- Might not be mom’s favorite
- This one may be at the top of your budget.
Is a backpack diaper bag right for me?
As parents, we’re always juggling things. Lots of things. We hold babies, hands, groceries, blankets, and favorite trucks; usually all at the same time.
The biggest appeal of the backpack diaper bag is that it’s out of the way and securely on your back.
And while you could, of course, dig out your old college backpack, those made specifically for parents are extra appealing because their creators know how to make parents’ lives easier.
Most regular backpacks come with just one main compartment and a couple extra pockets, not nearly the amount of organization parents are looking for.
What are the features of a backpack diaper bag?
Many have stroller straps, wipe pockets, laptop compartments, changing pads, insulated pockets for baby and water bottles; even USB cord ports.
I also love the “mommy pocket” feature: an accessible, handy-sized pocket for your phone, keys, and wallet. Some also sport adjustable padded straps and mesh backs for comfort.
Many are made of waterproof/water resistant materials. Though some come loaded with bells and whistles, you may prefer something simpler.
These bags are designed for busy parents who don’t want to be scrambling for wipes in a public bathroom. They’re ideal for travel, day trips, and everyday life.
What will I need to put in my diaper bag?
Knowing how prepared you like to be, create a list of what you’d like your diaper bag to hold. Some like to pack everything they could possibly need while others prefer to fly by the seat of their pants.
Some women carry a purse in addition to their bag, whereas I personally prefer only one bag, filling it with the basic essentials without going overboard.
Here are some ‘filler’ ideas:
- Bottles, sippy cups and/or water bottles
- Wipes and diapers
- Changing pad
- Toys and books
- Any medication, including special pocket for an epi-pen
- Phone, wallet, keys, laptop/tablet
- Extra clothes
- Snacks (for both myself and the kids)
- Blankets or favorite stuffed animal
The size of your diaper bag will also depend on how many children you have, although, as everyone knows, the smaller the child, the more they seem to require!
Related: Tips on How to Pack a Diaper Bag
Should my partner and I share our diaper bag backpack?
I think one of the nicest things about diaper bag backpacks is that they are so easy to pass along to any parenting partner or babysitter.
You can fill the bag with baby gear while keeping the front pocket for your essentials. Just remember to grab your stuff before handing the bag off.
At the risk of generalizing, men seem to prefer backpacks over messenger bags. I know my husband much prefers our backpack diaper bag over the shoulder bag we used when our oldest was a baby.
Many bags come in several colors and have a neutral style. Those with a gender-neutral style are the ones from KiddyCare, Blissly, and Hobest.
The Sager Creek is more traditionally masculine, while the Maman, Petunia Pickle Bottom, Kah & Kee, and Itzy Ritzy are more stylish and could easily double as handbags.
Are backpacks better for my back?
The last thing a parent needs is having to wrestle with back pain while chasing little kids around. Fortunately, doctors agree that choosing a symmetrical bag is better for the back. (1)
While carrying a messenger bag, you place extra weight on one side of your body, causing your spine to curve.
Your opposite arm then works harder to compensate for the bag on the other shoulder. Unsurprisingly, this can throw off your balance and lead to muscle and back pain.
Backpacks make better sense because they distribute weight evenly across your back, offering a more balanced muscle tone and decreased pain.
Most parents find them more comfortable. If you’re prone to struggle from back or neck pain, pick one of these backpacks, don’t pack more than you need, and go for thick straps if wearing the bag for extended periods of time.
Unfortunately, I can’t help you with the 30-pound toddler!
The bottom line
Here are our eight favorite backpack diaper bags which, hopefully, will help narrow down your choices. With these versatile options, it’s hard to go wrong.
Whether you fancy the chic leather bag, the rugged man backpack, or the flexibility of a gender-neutral polyester bag, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
After examining the best options on the market, my top choice would be the Itzy Ritzy Mini Diaper Backpack.
Now that my kids are a little older, I can escape the house with less stuff (hallelujah!), without the need for baby bottle pockets or changing pads.
I use the bag for kid-free outings and as my kids continue to grow. Wherever you are in your parenting journey, these are the best backpack diaper bags we found, and any pick will make your life easier.