Hands-on Gear Review
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Price: $175 list | Available for $169 from Amazon
Pros: Wipeable exterior, PVC-free, stylish, interior water-resistant liner
Cons: Poor ease of use, poor storage, heavy, velcro
Bottom line: Poor functionality for a high price
We really wanted to rave about the Boxy Backpack by Petunia Pickle Bottom because it is so stylish with quality materials and workmanship; it is obvious that it is a durable bag. However when it comes to ease of use, storage, and weight it scored poorly. It is large and heavy weighing 3 lbs, yet there's not much room. The interior is deep with a narrow, zippered opening creating difficult access. The only space delegated specifically for personal items is a handy key clip on the inside of the bag. Also, the abundance of velcro really takes away from this backpack's appeal. To get inside the interior, you have use some force to rip open a giant velcro closure which is very loud and will certainly wake a sleeping baby. The washable changing pad and accessory pouch are also attached to via velcro. We feel that Boxy Backpack by Petunia Pickle Bottom while crafted with beautiful materials is an overall disappointment. It is a heavy, awkward bag to use without much capacity. For a high-end bag similar in quality and cutting edge materials but superior in storage, take a look at the Ju-Ju-Be Be Prepared instead.
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BabyGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack is quite a looker when it comes to diaper bags. With a dizzying array of 19 beautiful patterns and quality material from which to choose, it is attractively stylish for its diaper duties. It comes in 3 fabrics, chenille, brocade, and glazed. Glazed (seen here in Misted Marseille) is the only fabric with a matte-coated PVC-free canvas making it wipe-able and water-repellant. While you are paying a high-end price ($175) for this resplendent piece, it will likely be a bag that you won't be excited about using because it is not that easy to use, it doesn't store a lot, and it weighs 3 lbs.
We do like how you can wear it either as a backpack or messenger style over the shoulder or across the body. However, the none of the straps have any extra padding and this bag is heavy empty.
When it comes to storage and access, we were disappointed. The exterior doesn't have much, only 2 uninsulated bottle pockets. You need to access the interior to get to anything in this bag, and that is no small task. To get inside the bag, you need to open a messenger flap that is attached to a giant swath of velcro which to open is noisy as all get out. Not good for a sleeping baby or babies. Once you do this, you can zip down the changing pad station and fold it out. The pad is machine washable which is great, but not easily wipeable. The pad also needs to be removed via a big band of velcro. The interior does have a water-resistant liner which is great. The recommendation is to spot clean the liner. We did meet a mom who threw her bag into the washing machine and air dried it with it coming out fine, but this isn't what Petunia recommends. The Boxy Backpack also comes with a wipes case which fits nicely into one of the two larger changing area pockets and the other holds around four size 4 diapers. There is another small pocket sized to hold a binkie or diaper cream. That is about the extent of the storage for this area.
The main compartment zips open revealing a narrow compartment, and it is made even narrower by the diaper changing station being so bulky that it pushes the interior compartment inward. There are 2 more bottle pockets, 2 storage pockets, one zippered accessory pouch attached, once again, via velcro, and a key chain attachment. Once these pockets are filled, there is not much room at all to fit much else. Although the lining in the bag we reviewed was light grey, the interior is so narrow and deep that it feels like trying to find something in a black hole.
This bag is compatible with valet stroller clips for $19, sold separately. However, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association does not recommend hanging a diaper bag on the back of the stoller's handlebar(s) due to risk of the stroller falling backwards. We agree with this recommendation. In fact, Petunia Pickle Bottom puts the following warning on a label on the inside of the Boxy Backpack:
"1) Attaching this diaper bag to a baby stroller's handlebar(s) may cause the stroller to become unstable and tip over, risking injury to you and your child and damage to your stroller. 2) Refer to the instructions provided with this diaper bag and with your baby's stroller before attaching the bag to a stroller. 3) Always attach the loaded diaper bag to the stroller before placing a child in the stroller."
Although we like the concept of a backpack for a diaper bag, we don't feel like the Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack delivers in ease of use and function. A lot of material adds to the weight without added functionality. In short, the Boxy Backpack is boxy in an awkward way and heavy with minimal storage.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD
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Most recent user review: January 31, 2012
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