The Skip Hop Mainframe Wide Open Backpack is an innovative bag with its ability to stay open once the sides are pulled open. We like its easy to clean vegan leather material, exterior organization, and multiple carry options. It is a convenient, easy to use bag that comes at a great price earning it our Best Value award, sharing the title with the Bag Nation and Hip Cub Original Tote. While the interior lacks pockets and the straps are in need of padding, we are convinced that the durable quality and pocket-friendly price make this a great choice for parents on a budget who want a great diaper bag.
Skip Hop Mainframe Wide Open Review
Pros: Easy to access interior, great price, nice exterior organization
Cons: Lacks inner pockets, straps uncomfortable
Manufacturer: Skip Hop
Our Analysis and Test Results
Skip-Hop was founded in 2003 by new parents, Michael and Ellen Diamant, who were less than pleased with the diaper bags that were on the market at the time. With Micheal's background as a tech advisor and Ellen's as an art director, they were able to design diaper bags that were more fashionable and functional then what they were seeing currently on the market. They have since grown the company to include additional baby gear items and to over 30 countries.
The Skip Hop Mainframe Wide Open Backpack is designed with durability, price, and versatility in mind. It is a lighter weight diaper bag compared to the ones we tested. It weighs 1.8 lbs, which was in the top third of the group. The lightness of the bag will help when it is fully loaded with all of the necessary baby gear.
One of the cool things about this bag is its structured framework that allows you to open the top and it will stay open. No folding down on itself, no open close, open close. Need to grab diapering supplies? Able to reach in with one hand to grab the diaper cream you didn't realize you needed without having to reopen the bag. It has a light fabric interior to help contrast the interior supplies to make them more visible. When you are ready to close up, the zippered top helps to reassure that everything will stay inside.
We were pleased with the amount of exterior storage this bag offers. We were able to pack away all our diaper bag essentials with some room to spare. We love that there are two open side pockets, perfect for fitting a water bottle and a sippy cup. The front zippered pocket is perfect for a wallet and other parent essentials, and it sports an additional tech pocket for your phone. We are also pleased with the two insulated bottle pockets that are perfect for a long day away from home and not found on all of the competition.
The bag is a nice balance of versatility with a tote or backpack carry option. It is a cute bag that works for boys or girls and for moms or dads to carry without being too babyish. It can also transition well to a small overnight bag when your diaper days are over. All of this at a very reasonable price making it a great choice when assessing your diaper bag purchase.
While we were pleased with multiple aspects of the Mainframe, no product is perfect.
While the exterior of this bag is loaded with multiple pockets and thoughtful design, the interior doesn't share the same functionality. While there is a slot for your changing pad and two stretchy pockets for diapers and wipes, that is all of the organization features you will find inside. The downside? Unless you invest in some organizational bags, all of the gear you load inside will be floating around, waiting to be shuffled from side to side. We feel like the roomy interior could use an upgrade to keep items in their place with additional pockets or zippered compartments.
The other problem is the uncomfortable straps. While they are durable, they are severely lacking useful padding. With the amount of gear you need to fit into a diaper bag, it needs to be comfortable to wear and carry. The straps seem to be made similarly to seat belts, but not as thick and wide.
If you choose to wear the bag as a backpack for a long time, these straps will be digging into your shoulders. In order to balance out the discomfort, you can loosen the straps but that can create other comfort-related issues. We suggest trying it on with some added weight in the bag to determine if it will work for you. We wish that Skip Hop would go back to the drawing board and create some straps with adequate padding to make this more comfortable to wear.
The bottom line is the Mainframe is a roomy, versatile, durable bag that is has a nice price tag. The bag can be toted or worn as a backpack to fit your style. The fact that you are able to open it and it will stay open is going to come in handy making it a choice we think you will be pleased with.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Selig