In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Obersee Rio with Cooler Review

A decent, affordable backpack diaper bag for dads with usable accessories.
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Price:   $70 List | $45 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy to carry, keep organized, and larger insulated bag for bottles and food
Cons:  Plastic hardware, difficult to clean, material is not breathable against your back
Manufacturer:   Obersee
By Natalie Hale & Juliet Spurrier, MD  ⋅  Jul 1, 2016
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The Skinny

The Obersee Rio with Cooler Backpack is a standard diaper bag disguised as a backpack. The detachable cooler is awesome for keeping bottles and food hot or cold and can be attached and removed painlessly. Easy to organize and fairly lightweight, this is a good diaper bag we think dads will like.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The Obersee Rio Diaper Bag Backpack with Detachable Cooler is a very interesting concept. Its simplistic style is straightforward. We liked the option to detach the cooler when it isn't needed, which reduces weight and reveals a fairly nondescript black backpack. Its innovative wipes storage and plethora of pockets makes it simple to keep organized and find items when in a hurry.

Performance Comparison


We packed the Obersee Rio with all of our gear and still had room to spare.
We packed the Obersee Rio with all of our gear and still had room to spare.

Storage and Ease of Use


The Obersee scored a 6 of 10 for storage and ease of use. It is a very easy bag to pack. Its many pockets keep items orderly and neat, which results in less digging and frustration when searching for something specific. The internal key clip and zippered pocket keeps important items in an easy to reach spot but safely stowed from quick thieves looking for an easy grab. Most cell phones will fit in this pocket but anything larger is pushing it. Delicate items such as a laptop or tablet can be stored in the back of the bag with plenty of padding to protect your goods. The included changing pad is large and can definitely accommodate infants and smaller toddlers. We loved how easy it was to keep this changing pad clean- the fabric lends itself well to being wiped down with anti-bacterial wipes.

The Obersee is fairly large and could fit everything we found dads might need for a successful outing with baby. Where it faltered is when it comes to access. If you are out and about with the cooler attached you will need to remove the cooler in order to easily access the contents of the bag. The plastic clips used to secure the cooler to the backpack are the standard plastic clips you find on buckles, which are prone to breaking with heavy use. It would be very difficult to replace these clips once they are broken.

While cleaning the changing pad of the Obersee was a snap, cleaning the backpack itself was more difficult. The roughness of the polyester meant we had to remove spills with a soft cloth because paper towels and wipes left bits little paper residue behind. Because the weave a little looser, there are tiny grooves in the fabric which means a little more elbow grease is needed when scrubbing.

Comfort


Here you can see the mesh shoulder straps of the backpack. These combined with the padding made the backpack straps more cool and comfortable to carry.
Here you can see the mesh shoulder straps of the backpack. These combined with the padding made the backpack straps more cool and comfortable to carry.
The Obersee Rio is fairly comfortable to carry when positioned properly on your back and we awarded it a score of 6 of 10 in this category. The shoulder straps are padded and covered in a mesh lining, when makes the fabric more breathable. Unfortunately the back of the bag does not have any breathable fabric which leads to a fairly sweaty back while carting your kiddo and their stuff around. The Obersee does include stroller straps but we would strongly recommend against using them, as they tend to put strollers off balance and can cause them to tip over.

Quality


We gave the Obersee a score of 6 of 10 for quality, which was mid-range among the bags we tested. It is made with fairly high quality materials and the zippers and hardware held up well in our testing phase, but we have found that plastic clips (as found on the cooler attachment) have a tendency to break or wear out quickly over constant use. The mesh pockets on the interior and exterior of the bag also have the potential to eventually wear out or snag.

Style


With the cooler pack removed  the Obersee is a sleek  discrete diaper-carrying pack.
With the cooler pack removed, the Obersee is a sleek, discrete diaper-carrying pack.
The Obersee Rio looks exactly like the backpack we carried in high school and we awarded it a score of 5 of 10 for style.

Best Applications


The backpack carrying method is incredibly useful for carrying your baby's stuff, as it frees up your hands. We like the Obersee because it offers an easy way to organize and carry your baby gear and when properly positioned, will hopefully save you from back pain.

Value


We found the Obersee represents a decent value in terms of bang for your buck. While on the higher end of pricing for a backpack, the included accessories definitely turn what could be mistaken for a simple backpack into a highly functional diaper bag.

Conclusion


This is an affordable, decent backpack diaper bag that dads should enjoy using. If carefully cared for, this bag has the potential to last for many years.

Other Versions and Accessories


The Obersee Rio with Cooler Backpack comes in fourteen different colors and styles, most of which are available through amazon.com.

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Natalie Hale & Juliet Spurrier, MD