The Best Diaper Bag for Dads

Diaper Dude Messenger II packed and ready to roll.
What's the best diaper bag for dad? We tested eight top bags with masculine traits and rigorously tested their performance. Scored metrics include storage and ease of use, comfort, quality, and style. We also focused upon special features like changing pads, carry options, insulated pockets, and closures. While all of these bags constitute the cream of the crop, side-by-side, some clearly performed better than others. Read our review below for further details on which dad-oriented bags shone.

Read the full review below >

Test Results and Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 8 ≪ Previous | View All | Next ≫
Rank #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product
Two external bottle pockets are not insulated.
PacaPod Picos Pack
Boken Every Day Bag
DadGear Backpack
Obersee Rio with Cooler
OiOi Wax Canvas Satchel
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Value Award       
Price $170.00 List
$170.00 at Amazon
$68.00 List$99.00 List
$99.99 at Amazon
$70.00 List
$57.59 at Amazon - 18% off
$170.00 List
Overall Score 
100
0
74
100
0
67
100
0
63
100
0
59
100
0
57
Star Rating
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Pros Great storage, nice accessories, comfort, quality, and styleVersatile, compact, lightweight, great changing pad, travel-worthy, soft fabricHighly functional, great specialized pockets, two insulated bottle pocketsEasy to carry, keep organized, and larger insulated bag for bottles and foodHandsome bag, great accessories, high-quality materials
Cons ExpensiveLacks insulated area, nylon straps can be uncomfortable on bare skinMore expensive, large pockets are more difficult to keep organized, no mesh backing to promote airflow against your backPlastic hardware, difficult to clean, material is not breathable against your backMagnetic closure of the main pocket, expensive, heavy
Ratings by Category PacaPod Picos Pack Boken Every Day Bag DadGear Backpack Obersee Rio with Cooler OiOi Wax Canvas Satchel
Storage/Ease of Use - 40%
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
7
Comfort - 30%
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
3
Quality - 15%
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
7
Style - 15%
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
6
Specs PacaPod Picos Pack Boken Every Day Bag DadGear Backpack Obersee Rio with Cooler OiOi Wax Canvas Satchel
Carry Method(s) Backpack with Chest Strap Backpack
Shoulder Strap
Tote
Backpack
Carry Handle
Stroller Straps
Backpack
Carry Handle
Shoulder Strap
Stroller Straps
Weight 2.2 Lbs
Each Pod:
0.4 Lbs
1.2 Lbs 2.1 Lbs 2.1 Lbs
Cooler Bag:
0.5 Lbs
2.7 Lbs
Bag Dimensions Picos Pack:
9" D x 11.8" L x 16.5" H
Pod:
5" D x 6" L x 10.5" H
9.8" D x 12" L x 16" H 8.5" D x 11" L x 18" H Rio:
8.3" D x 9.6" L x 16" H
Cooler:
3" D x 9" L x 10.5" H
6.5" D x 16" L x 10.3" H

Analysis and Award Winners


Review by:
Natalie Hale & Juliet Spurrier, MD

Last Updated:
Friday
July 1, 2016

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Best Overall Diaper Bag


PacaPod Picos Pack


Two external bottle pockets are not insulated. Editors' Choice Award

$170.00
at Amazon
See It

In our review, the PacaPod Picos Pack earned Editors' Choice. Simplistic with a clean and classy look, nice accessories, and a unique organizational system, it is easy to pack and use on a day-to-day basis. Dads will like the pods which makes items for diaper changes and feeding easily accessible. Its adjustable shoulder straps are padded with a chest clip for security making long days with a heavy pack easier with arms and hands free for baby. Though expensive at a list of $170, it is a quality bag likely to last for years. Watch out dad, mom will probably want to use it too.

Read Full Review: PacaPod Picos Pack

Best Bang for the Buck


Boken Every Day Bag


Best Value Award

$68.00
List Price
See It

The Boken Every Day Bag went from dark horse to Best Value in our dad diaper bag round-up at a list of $68. Compact and lightweight, it performs better than expected. It can MacGuyver quickly and easily from a shoulder bag to a messenger bag to a backpack. What this little gem may lack in accessories, it makes up for in versatility and organization. Available in a many colors, this is a perfect "go" bag for dad and baby.

Read Full Review: Boken Every Day Bag

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Our Take
74
$170
Editors' Choice Award
Highly recommend, well organized, comfortable, quality pack
67
$68
Best Value Award
Best value, quality, unisex, light, enough volume for two kids
63
$99
This is a great backpack diaper bag for dads seeking a utilitarian backpack.
59
$70
A decent, affordable backpack diaper bag for dads with usable accessories.
57
$170
This stylish bag will mask your dad-status while ensuring you are prepared for anything.
55
$65
The Skip Hop Duo Signature is a good diaper bag but it could be so much better.
53
$98
This is a decent, well-disguised, highly rated, no-frills diaper bag that many dads (and moms) already like
36
$65
The Diaper Dude Original Messenger Bag is a decent bag built better for dads of older children

Analysis and Test Results


A diaper bag is more than just a bag to carry your kid's stuff in. It serves a specific purpose. You have to think of it as a supply cabinet for all the things you will or even might need for your baby (and yourself) when you leave the house. For detailed information about choosing the perfect bag for dad's needs, take a peek at How to Select the Right Diaper Bag for Dad.

BabyGearLab's 2015 Dad Diaper Bag line-up. We tested 8 bags to see which would land on top.
BabyGearLab's 2015 Dad Diaper Bag line-up. We tested 8 bags to see which would land on top.

Types of Diaper Bags


We spent several months testing tested three different styles of dad diaper bags:
  • Messenger — Popular trend for males worn cross-body
  • Backpack — Ergonomic leaving arms and hands free for baby
  • Convertible — Morphs from messenger to backpack to tote

Ultimately, a backpack and a convertible bag carried home awards.

Backpack


The Pacapod Picos Pack keeps your hands free so you can focus on the task at hand.
The Pacapod Picos Pack keeps your hands free so you can focus on the task at hand.
In our opinion, a backpack is most comfortable option dispersing weight across the shoulders and back. The best ones have nicely padded shoulder straps with chest clips and also venting in the back panel to minimize sweating. If positioned correctly, weight will be distributed evenly on the upper body which is key for any period of extended use. A huge benefit of wearing a backpack is that both arms are free for baby. Of note with a backpack, it can be difficult to keep belongings secure when in a large crowd or on packed public transit. So, this is something to consider.

Backpacks tend to excel in functionality and convenience but can suffer in style. While moms tend to prefer a diaper bag that can disguise as a purse, dads look for simple, monochromatic design, function, and comfort. In packs, we tested the PacaPod Picos Pack, the DadGear Backpack, and the Obersee Rio.

Messenger


The OiOi waxed canvas satchel is a great looking bag  we just wish it was easier to keep closed.
The OiOi waxed canvas satchel is a great looking bag, we just wish it was easier to keep closed.
The dad diaper bag market is primarily saturated with messenger bags. While popular and stylish, they can be cumbersome and uncomfortable causing issues with muscular imbalance. Bending over can send a heavy bag swinging which is inconvenient to say the least. We often found ourselves needing to place a messenger down to properly care for little ones which can be tricky in a questionable public locale like a restroom.

We tested the following messenger bags: the OiOi Wax Canvas Satchel, the Skip Hop Duo Signature, the Diaper Dude Messenger II, and the Diaper Dude Original.

A Note on Stroller Straps — Two of the bags in this review feature straps specifically for attachment to strollers, the Obersee Rio and Skip Hop Duo Signature. We do not recommend attaching a diaper bag to the back of a stroller as it can present risk of backwards tipping and serious injury.

Convertible


The convertible diaper bag for dads is definitely a niche that needs more variety in the current marketplace. Convertibles can be tricky; while they can accommodate for multiples modes of carry, sometimes beneficial features like padded shoulder straps are lacking. However, we did not find this to be the case with the one convertible bag in this review, the Boken Every Day Bag. It is so light that thick padding wasn't missed.
The Boken Every Day Bag won our award for Best Value. This is a lightweight  versatile bag that performed its duties well - and all for an affordable price.
The Boken being worn messenger-style - one of three carrying options.
 

Performance Comparison


To find the best diaper bag for dad, we focused upon side-by-side comparison in the following areas: storage and ease of use, comfort, quality, and style.

Storage and Ease of Use


Storage and ease of use weigh most heavily at 40% of the overall score. We really compartmentalized here looking at many factors. When it comes to packing your diaper bag, you need to be strategic about what you carry and how you carry it. There is definitely a sweet spot; being over-prepared to the point of being overburdened is no good.

Organization, Access, and Capacity


A diaper bag with enough capacity to fit everything for a day's outing with dad or daycare is essential. However, the larger the bag, the more challenging it can be to manage, so efficient storage compartments pay off big. The right capacity coupled with useful organization is key. Top scoring bags provided for good organization of supplies and easy access to them. The PacaPod Picos Pack and OiOi Wax Canvas Satchel excel across the board. While the DadGear Backpack has great capacity, we found it a bit difficult in organization and access. However, the bottom of the barrel here is the Diaper Dude Original; although a pioneer in its field, compared to the others in our review, its pockets are poorly proportioned pockets and organization is limited.

The following is our "pre-flight" checklist of non-negotiable essentials for an outing with baby. Take a look at picking The Right Bag for Dad for more detailed information.
We packed the bags to the brim! Diapers  wipes  diaper rash cream  dirty bags  hand sanitizer  boogie wipes  pacifier  pacifier cleaner  8 oz bottle  burp cloth  keys  wallet  snacks for dad and baby  stuffed toy  spare change of clothes  sun screen
We packed the bags to the brim! Diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, dirty bags, hand sanitizer, boogie wipes, pacifier, pacifier cleaner, 8 oz bottle, burp cloth, keys, wallet, snacks for dad and baby, stuffed toy, spare change of clothes, sun screen, book, water bottle and computer. Not shown but included in the testing was a men's wallet and iPhone 5.
Baby's Stuff
  • Diapers
  • Changing Pad
  • Wipes
  • Diaper Cream
  • Wet Bag
  • Burp Cloth
  • Change of Clohtes
  • Bottle or Sippy
  • Pacifier
  • Toys
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks or Formula

Here you can Pacapod's Changer Pod packed up along with the rest of a day's supplies inside the Picos Pack.
Here you can Pacapod's Changer Pod packed up along with the rest of a day's supplies inside the Picos Pack.
Dad's Stuff
  • Keys
  • Cell Phone
  • Wallet
  • Sunglasses
  • Water Bottle
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Snacks
  • 13" MacBook Air
  • Reading Material

Closures


We liked the high quality hardware and pulls on the Pacapod Picos Pack.
We liked the high quality hardware and pulls on the Pacapod Picos Pack.
Location and types of closures are also important in a good diaper bag with preference for those where all compartments have sufficient enough closure so that if a bag upends, items won't fall out. We prefer zippers to velcro and magnets. Velcro on pockets can cause delicate fabrics to pill or tear and it's noisy. Magnets are often too weak to secure heavy or bulky loads. While zippers are the go-to method of closure, a quality zipper is important. Plastic ones break easily, toggles can separate, and zippers can become dislodged from their teeth.

Ease of Cleaning


Periodic cleaning and maintenance of a diaper bag is important. After all, it is a diaper bag. Day to day, both outside and inside will become dirty, germ-y, and crumb-filled. In "raspberry jam test". Most of the bags in this review could either be spot treated or wiped clean with only the Obersee Rio permitting hand washing with cold water. To see how well spot treatment went, we smeared jam on both the interior and exterior of each of the bags to see just how easy or difficult it was to clean the materials. They all did pretty well with the OiOi Wax Canvas Satchel being easiest and the Diaper Dude Original and DadGear Backpack being most difficult.
We loved how easy the waxy surface of the OiOi was to clean- no matter the mess we were able to wipe it off without any lasting effect.
The waxy exterior of the OiOi kept it from staining and made for very easy clean up  all we needed was a few passes with a damp paper towel and it looked brand new.
 

Extras


While all diaper bags come with a changing pad, we looked for nice extras such as insulated storage, wipes case, key clip, wet bag, feet at the bottom of the bag and special pockets for cell phone and sunglasses. Insulated storage is included in half of the bags in our review: the PacaPod Picos Pack, Obersee Rio, OiOi Waxed Canvas Satchel, and the Diaper Dude Messenger II. The PacaPod and OiOi definitely had the most perks, as would be expected for their higher prices, $70 dollars above the next tier of bags in this review.
Handy key clip on the Pacapod helps ensure these valuables don't get lost in the shuffle.
Obersee Rio's insulated cooler fits an 8 ounce Comotomo bottle without any issues.
Obersee Rio has a key clip on its internal panel.
 

Comfort


Comfort is key and composes 30% of the overall score in this review. Ultimately, the backpacks garnered higher comfort scores as they are easier to carry and put less strain on the body by evenly distributing weight. Messengers with a cross-body carry inherently do the opposite as when fully packed and heavy, they tended to cause muscle fatigue.

In general, the heavier a bag is when empty, the less comfortable it will be when fully loaded compared to a lighter bag, indeterminate of its carry style. Other key features that swayed this score up or down included:
  • Padding — Nice, thick padding on straps and back panels can mean the difference between a good and a bad day out with baby like with the PacaPod Picos (below left).
  • Material — Soft materials feel best on exposed skin and breathable waffling helps minimize sweating like that found in the Boken Every Day Bag's shoulder straps (below second to left).
  • Clips — With a backpack, a chest clip like that in the PacaPod is key in securing load to the back and shoulders. With messenger bags, an adjustment piece or attachment clip in the wrong spot on a the cross-body strap can really be a deal breaker. We found this to be the case with the Diaper Dude messenger bags (below second to right).
Both the shoulder strap and back panel on the Pacapod Picos are well-padded with waffled fabric creating comfort and breathability for long days.
Though the shoulder straps on the Boken Every Day Bag are thin  they are wide with comfortable  waffled fabric to minimize sweating. Its nylon is lightweight and soft to bare skin.
Though the Diaper Dude Original has targeted cross-body strap padding  we found the multiple plastic adjustments along its entire length to be uncomfortable  especially when the bag was fully loaded.
The OiOi Satchel is the heaviest bag in this round-up review at 2.7 pounds. With a mere canvas carrying strap without any extra padding  this became uncomfortable quickly. Here  a MacBook is crammed into the back pocket which isn't ideal for safety and ease of carrying.
 

The Boken Every Day Bag at a mere 1.2 pounds excels in comfort with three utilitarian carry options (backpack, shoulder strap, tote) and soft nylon fabric. Our preferred mode was backpack with wide and waffled mesh straps that are comfortable distributing weight nicely across the shoulders and back. Because the bag is so lightweight, a chest clip isn't missed.

To the other extreme, the OiOi Wax Canvas Satchel is downright bulky with the heaviest empty weight in this review at 2.7 pounds. As a messenger, this weight was distributed to one side, feeling awkward. Bending over to pick up a child meant that the bag would swing forward simultaneously, a nuisance to say the least. It also scored poorest in comfort with a canvas cross-body strap with zero padding (above right).

Quality


The DadGear Backpack is robust and ready for hearty use with heavy polyester canvas fabric. Here  packed with all our gear and ready for a day out on the town with baby.
The DadGear Backpack is robust and ready for hearty use with heavy polyester canvas fabric. Here, packed with all our gear and ready for a day out on the town with baby.
Quality comprises 15% of overall score in this review. A diaper bag is a workhorse and the right one ought to last years and be a one-time purchase. While quality is priceless, you don't need to break the bank to find a great bag. Ones with top notch quality are Editors' Choice PacaPod Picos Pack and DadGear Backpack with 8 of 10. Both of these bags are made with high quality, durable materials that last. Alternatively, the Diaper Dude Original received the lowest score with a 2 of 10. With a zipper pull that fell off almost immediately upon opening and polyester fabric that both looks and feels cheap, we were not impressed.

Style


Style is inherently subjective and we awarded it 15% of the overall rating for each bag. We had many men rate the bags side-by-side and took notice of current trends such as with the popularity of messenger bags. Once again, the PacaPod Picos Pack rose to the top with an 8 of 10. Its modern, sleek appearance resembles a nice piece of luggage rather than a youthful school backpack.

Conclusion


BabyGearLab's 2015 Dad Diaper Bag line-up. We tested 8 bags to see which would land on top.
BabyGearLab's 2015 Dad Diaper Bag line-up. We tested 8 bags to see which would land on top.
When trying to find a diaper bag for dad, you want something that functions as well as any other bag, minus the flowers and polka dots and other feminine patterns. This tends to limit your options to a select few, but even then, it's hard to know which bag is really worth having. A diaper bag, for men and women both, is a product that should last throughout the duration of the diaper wearing years at least, so it's important to find a good one. We hope that our tests will help you narrow it down to the one. If you're not quite convinced, head over to our Buying Advice article to find out more.
Natalie Hale & Juliet Spurrier, MD

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