Convertible (3-in-1) Diaper Bags

My Baby InsiderMaybe you’ve heard of a convertible diaper bag, or perhaps you’re new to the whole diaper bag game. Either way, these diaper bags are a fantastic addition to all new and growing families.

They are great for ALL activities. It’s like owning the Macgyver of diaper bags; it has everything you need and is ready for all possibilities.

Before I get into all of the different things you need to consider when choosing your convertible diaper bag, let’s talk a little about what these bags are and how you can benefit from owning one.

What is a Convertible or 3-in-1 Diaper bag?

A convertible diaper bag is one that can you can carry in multiple ways including; tote, messenger and backpack.My Baby Insider These bags usually transition between carrying option with ease and come in a large variety of sizes, styles, and colours. They also have the biggest selection of gender-neutral bags on the market.

The Benefits of a Convertible Diaper Bag

Versatility. Pure and simple.

My Baby InsiderThese Diaper bags are a thing of creative genius! Seriously though, how many times have you wished your messenger bag had backpack straps? Or thought that your backpack diaper bag would be convenient to carry as a tote occasionally? With these ingenious bags, you get to have it all.

I generally like to carry my diaper bags via the messenger strap and wear it cross-body, just a personal preference. But there are times when I take my kids out for a fun activity such as the playground where having a backpack is super handy. All I have to do is unclip the Messenger strap and attach the backpack straps. It’s like getting a whole new diaper bag in under a minute that I don’t have to repack.

What can be better than that?

What to look for when Choosing your Convertible Diaper Bag

My Baby InsiderThe fact that you can get so many different styles means that you have a lot of options to choose from. You can go for the more functional bag. If you care about appearance the most, why not find a stylish choice. You can also find some great unisex convertible bags that your partner will also want to carry. I mean, anything that encourages your husband to take the kids on an outing and give you some alone time is indeed worth the investment in my books.

Like with all styles of diaper bags, there are different things you can look for to choose the best one to suit your needs. Here are some of the most important aspects to consider.

Design

How critical is the look of your diaper bag to you? Some people put a lot of stock into the appearance of their diaper bag while others couldn’t care less. I prefer to have a bag that is good looking and functional. If I don’t like the look of my diaper bag, I don’t want to take it anywhere with me.My Baby Insider Some other aspects of design to consider would be pattern and material. You can find some funky patterns if you like the flashiness. Or you can get a sleek design that is very fashion-forward. When looking at the material, you will want to make sure you choose something that won’t wear out quickly. Thicker material, like canvas, will stand up well against everyday use.

Architecture

I would say the architecture, or structure is one of the most important things to look at when purchasing a convertible diaper bag. The structure will determine how you pack the bag and how long the bag will last.

When I think about architecture, diaper bags don’t exactly spring to mind for me either. Let me put it into perspective for you. Like the architecture of a building you must first start with a good foundation, then you begin to build the outer walls and roof. Next is the internal structure configuration and then comes the aesthetics.

How does this relate to diaper bags again? I’m glad you asked, allow me to elaborate.

The foundation, or bottom, of the diaper bag, must be well structured to withstand the abuse it will inevitably endure. You will be laying the bag down in some unsavoury places on occasion, and it will likely be thrown and dragged on the ground at some point. If the bottom isn’t able to handle this kind of abuse the bag will fall apart on you. To help alleviate some of the stress to the foundation, look for a diaper bag that has feet, this will do wonders for how it fares against the trauma.

Next, we’re onto the external walls and roof of the diaper bag. These have to be structured to stand up against the forces of nature. When it comes to diaper bags the forces of nature include; sandboxes, grass stains, water (pools, lakes and ocean), sun damage, extreme hot and cold conditions, and the occasional toddler encounter. My kids use our diaper bags as their personal jungle gym all the time. As with the foundation, if the walls and roof cannot withstand this abuse the whole bag is doomed to be demolished. You need to size the bag up a bit to ensure it is reinforced in the right areas, mainly where the straps attach to the bag.

When it comes to the internal structure, you will want to make sure it is well built. The structure is what will hold all of your items within the diaper bag. You don’t want a pocket busting a hole or have things continuously falls out of where you placed it. You also want to ensure the pockets inside the bag are balanced. If the larger pockets are all to one side, this can cause all of the weight of the bag to be off center. Which in turn will throw off your balance.

The final step to any building project is to make it aesthetically pleasing. This is where we get into the hardware, which you want to make sure is metal. This includes zippers, D-rings for stroller straps, handle attachments, snaps on pockets, and key ring clips. Generally, the zippers on the inside of the bag will be plastic, and that’s ok, these pockets won’t get as much use as the external ones.

Size

Most people don’t realize that diaper bags can be chosen by the type of outings they will be used for. But if you think about it, you don’t want a large diaper bag for your everyday use, unless you’re an over-packer like me. And you probably don’t want a medium sized diaper bag for an all day trip. For this reason, I have 3 main diaper bags that I switch out regularly depending on what I have in store for that day.My Baby Insider When trying to choose the right diaper bag, think about what you want to use it for. This will assist in deciding what size of bag you will need. If you want it for quick errands and everyday use, look for a smaller bag. If you want it primarily for all day and weekend trips, you’re going to look for a larger bag. And if you want it for all sorts of outings, I suggest finding a midsized bag. Besides, if you’re going somewhere all day, you can always take a second bag to throw in the bottom of your stroller if you need to.

Pockets

I’m referring to both the external and internal pockets in this section. These can be in place to assist with the architecture or for aesthetics. Either way, they should also be functional and practical at the same time.

Here are some pocket options to look for:

Insulated Bottle Pockets – Perfect for keeping the baby bottle warm for hours. This is a common pocket found on all styles of diaper bags.

My Baby Insider

Mommy Pocket – This pocket should be located on the exterior of the diaper bag and should be large enough to fit your most common items such as wallet, phone, keys, sunglasses and a few other small things.

Mesh and Zippered Pockets – Different types and sizes of pockets can be crucial to your packing needs. Not all baby items are the same size or have the same function, and a variety of pockets will help with your organization.

Change Pad Slip Pocket – This is a convenient pocket to have on any diaper bag. I think it’s best when they are located on the outside of the bag for quick and easy access. But you will sometimes find it on the inside.

Wearing Options

There are some things you should keep in mind when it comes to the straps.  Here are some questions to consider:

  • My Baby InsiderAre they easy to switch from one wearing style to another?
  • Is there padding on the backpack and messenger straps?
  • Can you adjust the length of the messenger and backpack straps?
  • Does the messenger strap adjust long enough to wear cross-body?
  • Are the tote straps fixed or removable?
  • What is the drop length of the tote straps?

It’s great to have so many options when it comes to carrying your diaper bag around, but you want to make sure the carrying features are what you want.

Additional Features and Accessories

Aside from all the great things I’ve already told you about, most diaper bags also come with other unique features and accessories. I have listed some of the most commons ones for you to look for.

My Baby InsiderChange Pad – This is the most common additional accessory that comes with convertible bags.

Stroller Straps – This is a great bonus when purchasing a diaper bag and one that I usually look for when looking to buy a new diaper bag.

Magnetic Closures – You can often find these types of closures on external pockets instead of snap buttons. This reduces the noise factor so you don’t wake a sleeping baby.

Detachable Key Ring – Sometimes you can find one with a key ring that attaches to your keys and uses a clip for attaching them to your bag.

Wet Pocket – This is for storing damp or soiled clothing. It’s not a standard feature, but I have seen wet pockets in some bags.

The Clean Factor

This is often overlooked when choosing a diaper bag. People often only focus on the features and functionality. The thought of how to clean the bag doesn’t usually happen until it’s already too late and the bag is dirty.

My Baby InsiderYou’re going to want a bag that;

  • Can be wiped clean easily
  • Is stain resistant
  • Is mildew resistant
  • Is machine washable

Though it’s rare to find a bag with all of these qualities for keeping it clean, some brands offer them.

Price Point

Like all other styles of diaper bags, the convertible bags come in a wide range of prices depending on the brand you buy. You’re looking at paying anywhere from $40 all the way up to $180 USD.

I’m confident that you will be able to find a suitable convertible diaper bag in your price range.

Making the Final Decision

After reviewing all the information that I have to offer, now is the time to decide if a convertible diaper bag is right for your needs.

Still unsure? No problem. Review the below list of questions to help you decide.

  • Would you prefer a classic looking diaper bag? Or something more fashionable?My Baby Insider
  • Will you utilize all of the carrying options?
  • Do you find carrying a backpack comfortable?
  • How likely are you to use the messenger strap?
  • What do you want to use the bag for? Errands, everyday use, or all day outings?
  • Are you an over packer or a minimalist?
  • Do you like a lot of pockets or prefer to pack with pouches?
  • Can you give it a wipe clean when spills happen?
  • Is it stain and mildew resistant?
  • Can it be placed in a washing machine for a deep clean?
  • Do the additional features and accessories interest you?
  • What is your budget?

You don’t have to make the decision today, but I hope that I have been able to assist you on your journey. I believe that there is a perfect diaper bag out there for every family and sometimes you may have to go through a couple to find ‘the one.’

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