How We Tested Dad Diaper Bags

By:
Natalie Hale & Juliet Spurrier, MD

Last Updated:
Friday
July 1, 2016

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While a bit large when fully loaded  the Pacapod can still be worn while doing difficult tasks like wrestling your toddler into the car.
While a bit large when fully loaded, the Pacapod can still be worn while doing difficult tasks like wrestling your toddler into the car.
To begin our testing, we first scoured the internet before finally selecting eight top rated bags - some of which were made specifically with dad in mind, while others simply had a more masculine or unisex appearance. We were pleased to see that many of the top brands that make bags for mom have branched out to making bags for dads as well.

We spent several months testing these bags in rain, snow and sunshine. They went with us to work, daycare, school and out to play. Much like our Best Diaper Bags Shoot-out for mom, we did extensive work in the field and a lot of side-by-side comparison. Selecting winners from the group was a challenge but it was clear by the end of the testing which ones deserved designation over the others.

Storage and Ease of Use


We encountered trouble when it came to fitting the Comotomo into one of the front pockets of the Diaper Dude Original. We finally abandoned this effort and placed it in the main pocket.
We encountered trouble when it came to fitting the Comotomo into one of the front pockets of the Diaper Dude Original. We finally abandoned this effort and placed it in the main pocket.
The most important aspect we found in a diaper bag is the ability to pack everything you need and keep it organized. When calculating the scores of these bags we counted every pocket and zipper. We accounted for what mechanisms are used to secure the pockets: zippers are best, magnets are OK, velcro is the worst of the bunch. We wanted to know just what would fit in the bag and how it could be organized. There is certainly a balance between enough organizational options and too many, so we checked whether or not the contents of each bag would be easy to identify and access.

The raspberry jam exam - We spread raspberry jam on every bag we tested to see how easy it would be to remove the sticky substance. Read on for more details!
The raspberry jam exam - We spread raspberry jam on every bag we tested to see how easy it would be to remove the sticky substance. Read on for more details!
Next we moved on to how easy it would be to keep the bag clean. Being on the go with a little one, we learned that it is a perpetual challenge to keep a diaper bag clean. Inevitably there will be incidents of spilled milk, crushed crackers, a rogue GoGo squeeze with a loose cap… we could go on forever. It is important you are able to quickly and easily remedy the situation without going to drastic measures to clean the bag. We tested this by spreading raspberry jam on both the inside and outside of each bag and then seeing what lengths we had to go to in order to clean it up.

When transporting temperature labile items such as breast milk, insulation is necessary. We tested all the bags with the Top Pick Comotomo 8oz bottle, the widest of all baby bottles in our Best Baby Bottle review.

Comfort


Mesh fabric on the shoulder straps of the DadGear Backpack helped us keep cool and made the bag more comfortable to carry when fully loaded.
Mesh fabric on the shoulder straps of the DadGear Backpack helped us keep cool and made the bag more comfortable to carry when fully loaded.
When determining our scores for comfort we took into account the weight of each bag and how they carried on our backs when full. This included the impact of the straps against our shoulders, the weight distribution and how convenient overall they were to carry.

Quality


The stitching and the materials used to make the OiOi Wax Canvas Satchel were very high quality. While the magnetic closures are an attempt at convenience  they simply could not keep the contents of our bag contained.
The stitching and the materials used to make the OiOi Wax Canvas Satchel were very high quality. While the magnetic closures are an attempt at convenience, they simply could not keep the contents of our bag contained.
Quality is important. A diaper bag is an investment that has the potential to make life with baby just a bit easier, and a good bag should last you for years to come. Ensuring it is made from materials that will hold up well against daily abuse will prevent you from making this purchase more than once. The fabric each bag is made with, the hardware, stitching, seams, and closures were all included when determining this portion of the scoring. We also took into account online reviews of each bag where appropriate.

Style


The OiOi Wax Canvas Satchel is a handsome bag that keeps its diaper carrying capabilities under wraps.
The OiOi Wax Canvas Satchel is a handsome bag that keeps its diaper carrying capabilities under wraps.
Style is important but also subjective. We looked for more masculine styles and colors that leaned away from the stereotypical "diaper bag" look and feel. We were pleased to find many great options to work with.

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