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My accidental love for Osprey packs came well before I had ever thought of traveling with kids.
We were in the height of living and traveling in Europe and hopped on the “Carry On Only” bandwagon and came across a cheap, used Osprey pack on E-Bay. Not quite willing to commit to the price tag of a new bag, we decided to give it a go.
Funny enough, the ONLY bags we have bought since then have been Ospreys….and no, I have NO affiliation with the brand! I’ve just been THAT impressed with the quality and versatility of their bags.
Over 40 countries explored later and I honestly wouldn’t consider another backpack brand right now.
So, when we welcomed our first bundle of joy into the world, without even considering slowing down on the travel (he visited 6 countries in his first 6 months!), I knew I couldn’t be weighted down with a traditional diaper bag.
Like I do with just about any purchase (big or small), I started my Amazon research of “Best Backpack Diaper Bag” and got swallowed up in the backpack diaper bag reviews. But what I found was really frustrating.
What You'll Find In This Artcile
- 0.1 Baby Diaper Backpacks
- 0.2 The Problem With Marketed Backpack Style Diaper Bags
- 0.3 Using an Osprey Backpack as a Diaperbag
- 1 The Best Backpack Diaper Bag: Osprey Nebula
- 1.1 Benefits Of Using An Osprey Diaper Bag as a Baby Backpack Diaper Bag
- 1.2 Cons To Using a Normal Osprey Backpack as a Diaper Bag
Baby Diaper Backpacks
I read a few sites that talked about how you NEED a TRUE Diaper Backpack and that anything else was rubbish. HA!
A few things that they claimed only the LEGIT baby diaper backpacks had were:
- Wipe Pouch for quick access
- Pockets, Zippers, and Compartments- the more the better!
- Insulated Pockets. Only an insulated backpack diaper bag would do!
- Built In Changing Pad
The Problem With Marketed Backpack Style Diaper Bags
After reading countless backpack diaperbag reviews, it seemed like even the best sellers had a lot of flaws.
One of the biggest complaints I read over and over, regardless of the brand was that the zippers kept breaking. I mean, this makes sense since you are using a diaper bag all the time, especially if you are using it as a travel diaper bag, like we were.
Others complained of weight, straps breaking, or simply just not being comfortable (Cute! But not comfy!)
So I just kept asking myself, “Why was I going to spend upwards of $100 on a travel diaper bag that would just bust??”
Using an Osprey Backpack as a Diaperbag
After a bit more research, I decided that I didn’t need a bag that was specifically marketed towards a baby diaper backpack. So, I’ll address EACH of the aforementioned “musts” more below and how I still have almost all of them in just a well researched, Osprey backpack that I now use as my diaper bag.
The Best Backpack Diaper Bag: Osprey Nebula
There are a lot of reasons to just have a normal backpack to use as a diaper bag instead of paying for an overpriced baby-marketed bag. Since I knew I wanted to go with a brand that I already trusted, I started my long research in filtering through ALL of the Osprey packs that could double as a diaper bag.
It is actually just one of the Opsrey laptop backpacks, but it had absolutely everything that not only I needed in a diaper bag, but from what all the “experts” said was essential, must have features as well. It checked all the boxes (and a few more).
Benefits Of Using An Osprey Diaper Bag as a Baby Backpack Diaper Bag
Life Time Guarantee
The Osprey brand is known for its rugged durability in its packs. When I kept reading about zippers breaking on other bags, I kept thinking about just how much
crap luggage I have shoved into my Osprey packs on adventures before.
As in, I’ve literally had to SIT on my backpack just to get it to zip before!!!
And never have they busted.
However, in the off-chance that something DOES break, the other real reason why I fell in love with Osprey was their lifetime guarantee and warranty.
If you follow our other posts, you know we are extremely
cheap frugal!!! No way am I going to drop a $Benjamin$ on a backpack….unless it was going to last FOREVER!
And in true to “me packing” fashion, I have packed the Nebula to the BRIM!!! In fact, when our firstborn was our only mini traveler, I often packed this bag to be not only his diaper bag but his travel bag as well, meaning it had all his diapering supplies and everything that goes with that but also all of his clothes and daily essentials for the trip as well.
If I was going to be wearing a diaper bag all day while traveling, I needed it to be comfortable to wear.
Waist and Chest Straps: I particularly liked this feature that a lot of “normal” backpacks don’t have. It helps evenly distribute weight, making even heavier loaded days easy to carry around for long periods of time if needed.
Mesh Backpanel: If you are going to wear a backpack in the heat, you are going to sweat, but I do appreciate the help of the mesh on the back to help with airflow on hot days.
Men’s Diaper Bag Backpack
Aka: Daddy Friendly!
A big complaint from a lot of Dad’s out there is that they don’t want to carry the diaper bag because his wife picked out the cutest one possible. Read: It isn’t MANLY enough!
I purposefully wanted a bag that both hubby and I were willing to wear equally.
The Nebula came in a variety of colors, so we chose one that was not only on the cheaper end but also that we both had no problem wearing, fashion-wise!
A backpack is clearly hands-free. But what I like about it is that you can throw it on your back and basically forget about it there. Unlike a diaper bag that often sits uncomfortably across your body or that you have to have a stroller to carry it in.
Since we babywear more than not, we rarely take strollers anywhere, which meant there was no easy place to stash a bag.
Tons of Pockets and Compartments
I looked through just about every Osprey backpack to figure out which Osprey backpack is best for a diaperbag. I had A LOT of requirements!
Luckily, the Nebula Had:
Deep/ Large Compartment: This would be where I would stash the main goods, like the diapers, extra clothing, food, etc.
I then used packing cubes in various sizes to help keep this compartment even more organized and easier to grab and go specific items without needing to dump everything out.
Pro Tip: Use Packing Cubes To Make Organization A Breeze!
Multiple Small Zippered Pouches: I wanted several spots for keeping organized and being able to stash other smaller items. The front pouch of the Nebula is zipper compartments galore making it really easy to stay organized
Cup/Bottle Holders: I wanted easy access to water bottles for all of us (not just the baby), so my top pick for a backpack style diaper bag needed to have at least two.
The Nebula has two expandable pouches on each side. The expandable part has proven to be quite useful for various sizes of bottles. I can tuck a small sippy on one side and a large water bottle for me on the other and they both stay put.
Front Mesh Pocket: I love that the Nebula has an expandable mesh pocket on the front outside. I personally stash things like a few burp rags, bibs or other small items that I may need to grab at a moments notice without needing to open the whole pack up.
Laptop Slot Doubles As Diaper Pad Holder: The Nebula backpack is technically just a laptop backpack. But, I knew I could use that to my baby packing advantage!
What should be the laptop slot is the perfect size for a diaper changing pad and an extra muslin blanket. I’ll also slide in a guidebook or loose papers into this slim pocket on occasion as well. No need for a fancy schmancy built in pad!
Ideal For Travel
Since we travel so much, I knew I needed a travel diaper bag that could also double as my every day diaper bag. The Nebula has been great for that for all the reasons I’m listing here.
But basically, I love traveling with backpacks instead of luggage, so it was the perfect fit!
Can Easily Carry YOUR Stuff As Well
I chose to go for just a slightly large diaper bag backpack because I wanted an all in one bag for when we were not only traveling but just out for the day.
Therefore, it needed to carry not only the essentials for the babe but for us adults as well.
The Nebula is actually a great middle range sized backpack (more on this below). When comparing it to other Osprey’s I kind of found it to be the Goldilocks of packs in terms of perfect size for a diaper backpack.
I can also easily pack my own snacks (an absolute necessity as I get hangry quite easily!), my DSLR camera, a guidebook, a jacket/sweater, and an umbrella all in addition to the baby gear.
*And again, even with all of this packed in, it never felt too heavy or uncomfortable, which was great so that we only had to carry ONE bag!
Great For Families With More Than Just A Baby
Our Osprey Nebula transformed into a toddler diaper bag backpack as he got older. I didn’t feel silly carrying around a baby bag when out and about or traveling with a 2 year old.
And Now that we have both a toddler AND a baby, it’s even more essential to be more streamlined in what and how we pack a day or diaper bag. I love that it’s really easy to use for more than just one kid and/or family member.
Especially since we utalize the packing cubes so much, it’s easy for each kid (or family member) to have their own cubes, keeping organization super easy.
Because of the Osprey lifetime guarantee policy, I love that when our baby packing days are over, we won’t have just another useless piece of baby gear lying around (same can’t be said to a traditional diaperbag).
I’ll be able to use the Nebula as a legit laptop bag or just another durable backpack in general.
Cons To Using a Normal Osprey Backpack as a Diaper Bag
There are only a few cons to using a backpack as a diaper bag and they are going to be true whether you are using a normal backpack, an Osprey or even a “true” diaper backpack.
Slightly Large Diaper Bag Backpack
By no means is the Nebula huge or cumbersome. In fact, I find it just about perfect for carrying all the essential baby gear whether I’m traveling or just doing errands around town.
But I would argue that it’s also not a small, compact bag either.
It doesn’t fold and pack down terribly easy but it still fits well under strollers and in overhead airplane bins just fine.
If you are looking for a small diaper bag backpack, I absolutely ADORE my Osprey Daylite. This is perfect for when I need something smaller, lighter and more compact.
If You Are:
Back Baby Wearing
This is really only an issue if you are traveling solo and are already wearing your kiddo on your back.
Luckily, I do most of my family travel with my husband, which means that one of us wears the babe while the other wears the backpack.
If your nugget is still young/light enough to be worn on your front, it is still REALLY easy to wear both the baby on the front and the Nebula on your back comfortably! I’ve done it countless times with no problem at all.
Already Wearing a Backpack
This is pretty much the same concept as the babywearing. I’ve only encountered this issue when traveling by myself, as I only take carry on backpacks when I travel. So, if I am already carrying our luggage on my back, it’s hard to juggle another backpack on my front AND the baby.
This is where a stroller would come in handy to dump some things into.
Osprey Diaper Backpack Runner-Ups
When it all boiled down to deciding which backpack to choose for a diaper bag, Osprey’s 24/7 line of packs all pretty well fit the bill as well as most of their laptop bags.
I found anything larger than the laptop bags would start to be too bulky for everyday use. (I have several actual packs for travel
The reasons why the Nebula won out over the following bags were:
- Very large internal compartment
- Perfect Size
- Front Mesh Expandable Pouch
These are the two Osprey Bags that I seriously considered for my diaper backpack. I think either of them would be great options as well, but for me, either the size was slightly too small or too big, not enough compartments or simply that the Nebula had a better price point when I was ready to purchase!
Ok, so it’s clear we’ve become an Osprey family over time. However, I am well aware that there are plenty of other really good, quality brands of backpacks out there that you can convert into a diaperbag just as easily.
Some other top rated brands that I know a lot of traveling parents love are:
The North Face, like this classic looking pack
Timbuk2: Another “workhorse” quality backpack
Marmot: Choose from more “kid friendly” colors for your backpack diaper bag
Have you converted a backpack into a diaperbag? What did you like or dislike?
Do you know an on-the-go family or parents-to-be? Share this with them so they can pick the best diaper backpack for their busy lifestyle!