For $160, the Timi & Leslie Charlie II Convertible Diaper Bag is roomy, stylish, nicely accessorized, and will appeal to those that pack a lot yet don't want to look like they are carrying around a diaper bag. It is large enough for multiples and multi-day trips. It comes with a matching accessory bag that functions well as an evening bag, a nicely sized oval changing pad with a pouch to carry a diaper, wipes, and cream, an insulated bottle holder, a small soiled items pouch, and stroller straps. While there is a lot to like about the Charlie, there are some glaring issues. The bag is enormous and the interior is cavernous. It's heavy at 3.6 lbs and awkward to pack, and there are problems with quality surrounding breakage (see our Hands-On review below). The across the body strap unfortunately doesn't have padding which is a big misstep for a bag of this price and heft. And, the metal hardware for the key attachment pinches our finger every single time, not something you want around a curious baby. In short, though the Timi & Leslie Charlie is a stylish diaper bag with lots of capacity, it falls short on quality, ease of use, storage, and sheer heft.
Timi & Leslie Charlie II Convertible Diaper Bag Review
Pros: Large capacity, stylish, variety of accessories
Cons: Heavy, poor quality, awkward to use, difficult to carry, poor storage, synthetic leather smells
Manufacturer: Timi & Leslie
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Timi & Leslie Charlie II Convertible Diaper Bag for $160 is made of PVC-free, synthetic brushed leather available in five colors (seen here in Pewter) with metal hardware. We envision this bag is coveted by the fashionista who carries a lot, but not look like she's with diaper bag in hand. However, we found the interior to be so big as to feel cavernous, digging around to find things. Also, the bag is awkward and not easy to carry. When the load is light and the internal bottle holders aren't filled, the bag slouches over to the side and doesn't really stand on its flat bottom. When it is filled to the brim and zipped closed, things can fall out of the sides at the top.
Which comes to carrying this beast. There are 3 options: dual handles at the top of the bag to carry by hand or over your shoulder, a detachable cross-body strap which can also be carried over the shoulder, and stroller clips for hanging off the back of your stroller. There are a few concerns here. First, the cross-body strap is without any padding. Because this bag which is already 3.6 lbs can get very heavy when filled, padding is essential. More importantly, neither we nor the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association recommend using the stoller straps due to risk of the stroller falling backwards when a diaper bag is attached to the back stroller handle(s).
It comes with many accessories, our favorite of which is the accessory bag which resembles an evening bag, complete with credit card slots and zippered pouch. You can drop your baby off at daycare or grandmas and just take the matching purse with your things along with you. The insulated bottle holder carries very tall bottles up to 8.5" high. The changing pad is a nice oval shape with an attached mesh pouch to carry a diaper, wipes, and cream for a quick diaper change without carting a massive bag. We do feel though that the changing pad is poorly padded, and it comes with a velcro closure. The dirties pouch is a nice size, but we don't imagine putting dirty diapers or even a soiled outfit in there even though it is made of the same water-resistant lining as the interior of the bag. This water-resistant lining is quite thin and doesn't feel too impermeable or sturdy. The key clip on the interior while handy is not something we want to use because it pinches our finger consistently.
Although we did not have issues with the quality of our Charlie, we have a hard time ignoring 20 of the 38 Amazon user reviews who remarked on the bag's poor quality, citing that without much or any hard use components broke. One of the main complaints were the handles breaking quickly followed by stitching coming apart, then zippers and hardware breaking, and lastly the insulated bottle holder falling apart. While this alone makes us nervous, there are so many things we don't like about the Charlie bag that it failed to win us over. To add fuel to the fire, we can't quite seem to get used to the strong, stinky smell of the synthetic leather (polyurethane).
Overall, the Timi & Leslie Charlie II Convertible Diaper Bag was a big letdown for us. We expected to like it because it looked so stylish, but when we received it, it was a big slouchy, stylish mess. We do not recommend it.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and BabyGearLab Review team