Messenger and Tote Diaper Bags

Technically, messenger and tote diaper bags are considered two different styles, but they are so similar that I stuck them together. Plus, I didn’t want to bore you with the same information on two different pages with just some minor differences between the two.

The messenger and tote diaper bags are your classic diaper bags. For the longest time, they were the only styles available.My Baby Insider

I’ve tried many diaper bags, but the tried and true is the tote and messenger combo. No matter what, I always come back to my large messenger bag, she could be renamed Old Faithful.

Why take the time to choose the right style of diaper bags?

Just think about it, you’re going to be using your diaper bag for at least two years, and if you have more kids, even longer. This thing is going to be with you on all your outings; short trips, day trips, overnights and vacations. At times, you won’t have much in it, but other times it will be packed to the rim. You will have to put in down in some unsavoury places at times, and there will be pee, poo and puke on it occasionally, so you’re going to want something that can stand up to that kind of abuse.dragging your bag

After a while lugging around this bag will be like second nature to you, but it won’t start out that way. It can be big and bulky at times and feel like an inconvenience to drag around. But you know the one time you leave it behind is when a disaster like a diaper blow out will inevitably happen.

You want to make sure you choose a style that is easy for you to carry around. Something that won’t feel like an inconvenience to have with you; like a tote with terrible straps where one is always falling off your shoulder. You have enough to deal with; you don’t need that kind of irritation.

Some other key things to look for are structure, organization, straps, accessories, cleanliness and price point. I will explore all of these in greater detail later on.

What to look for in messenger and tote diaper bags

Similar to other styles of diaper bags there are some keys factors to look for when seeking out your ideal messenger or tote diaper bags. Most people don’t realize that these are things that should be thought about but learn from my trial and error mistakes. Everything must be taken into account.My Baby Insider

I have gone through many diaper bags over the years. Some didn’t stand up against the usage, others I purchased thinking they were what I wanted but once I started using them, they just didn’t cut it.

I find it useful to think of the qualities in my handbags that I like or dislike. Most often I will want the same things in my diaper bag with some minor adjustments to suit the baby items.

Space and Structure

Again, as with other diaper bags styles, messenger and totes bags come in a wide range of sizes. The size is important to consider when choosing your ideal bag. You may want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you an over packer?
  • Do you only like the carry the bare minimum?
  • Are you going to use the bag for specific outings? Such as quick errands or day trips?
  • Do you want a bag that can be used for all types of outings?My Baby Insider

The answers to these questions will help you to determine the size of diaper bags you want.

Another aspect to take into consideration would be the way it’s structured. A structured bag is one that will hold its shape when you put it down. A non-structured bag has a slouch when not being carried. Also, the way the bag is structured will determine the amount of weight you can comfortably carry by distributing the weight evenly within the diaper bags.

I think that a structured bag is a way to go when choosing a diaper bags. I’ve had a non-structured bag, and it was a hassle trying to find things in it when it wasn’t very full.


The organization of your diaper bag is a crucial element to surviving the parent life. When you don’t have some organization happening, chaos can quickly take over your life. I find this to be especially true when it comes to my diaper bags organization. When the baby is crying, and I have a 4-year old asking for something while running late yet again and I can’t find anything that either child needs, it can escalate an already stressful situation into overdrive. One of the best ways to stay organized is to choose a diaper bags that have a lot of pockets internally and externally. Not only do you need to make sure you have enough pockets, but you also want to make sure they are functional at the same time.

I tend to lean toward diaper bags that have at least 4-6 external pockets; this is just a personal preference on my part. There are many messenger and tote bags that have minimal external pockets and are still super functional.

There are lots of different types of pockets to look for, and most diaper bags have similar pockets. But, you can find some specialty pockets that are a little harder to come across.

Here are some great pockets to look out for, some are pretty common, and others are not.My Baby Insider

  • Mesh Pockets – With elastic at the top to hold things in
  • large Slip Pocket – Usually used for the changing pad
  • Medium Slip Pockets – Great for larger items that you use frequently
  • Insulated Bottle Pockets – To keep thing warm and cold for hours
  • Parent Pocket – To keep all your personal items separate from the baby’s things

Tons of internal pockets are great and all but I also like to have a large open space for pouch packing. This technique is great if you switch out your diaper bags on a regular basis.


When it comes to carrying your diaper bags around, the straps are essential. Though this may seem obvious, there are some factors to take into account that many people overlook.

Here are some questions that can assist you in looking for the right straps.My Baby Insider

  • Are the straps fixed or removable?
  • If they are removable, how difficult are they to switch out?
  • Do you want a bag that has both messenger and tote straps?
  • Would you prefer one type of strap over the other?
  • Is the messenger strap length adjustable?

If you are like me, you prefer to have both messenger and tote straps on your diaper and have them both readily available to use at all times. On occasion, I will remove the messenger strap and use it solely as a tote bag. But, that is usually only if I plan to have the bag hanging on my stroller majority of the time I’m out.

Aside from the general questions for you to apply to both types of bags, there some that are specific for messenger and tote diaper bags.My Baby InsiderWhen looking at the messenger strap you want to ensure the strap is adjustable to fit different heights. You also want to make sure it has a padded shoulder pad for maximum comfort. The shoulder pad can be fixed or move on the strap.

Tote straps are not adjustable. But, you will want to find one with a drop length of a minimum of 10 inches. The longer the length, the more comfortable the bag will sit on your shoulder. You will also the straps have enough room to fit over your winter coat if you live somewhere with cold climates like me that is.


In addition to all the space, pockets, and straps there are other accessories and features to consider. Many brands come with additional accessories, and features that are a must have and some nice to have. I have listed them below for your consideration.

My Baby InsiderChanging Pad – A changing pad is essential for diapering on the go. Most diaper bags come with this accessory

Pouches – These are great for organization, but hard to find as an additional accessory.

Stroller Straps – Many diaper bags brands have started adding stroller straps as an additional accessory. If your bag doesn’t come with one, not to worry, you can buy generic stroller straps almost anywhere.

Wipes Container – Typically if your diaper bags comes with a wipes’ pocket, there will be a wipes’ container that comes with it as well.

Key Ring – This is a handy feature to help you keep track of your keys. It’s especially handy if you can find one that has a detachable key ring.

Bottle Holder – Getting a bottle holder with a diaper bags is not a common additional accessory, but you can find some bags that come with this handy addition.


My Baby InsiderWhen most people think about buying diaper bags, how to clean it is usually overlooked. I didn’t think about how to clean my first diaper bags until my newborn projectile vomited all over it. Now, its one of the first things I look for.

Most diaper bags will be spot clean with a damp cloth only. However, you can find some diaper bags brands that have machine washable bags.

You’ll also want to look for something that either has stain resistant material or is treated with stain-resistant products. This will definitely aid in your battle against keeping your diaper bags clean.


Messenger and tote diaper bags sit in the same general price range of $50 – $200, with some designer options that are upwards of $500. That being said, you will find that most of them sit around or under the $100 mark.

Have you made your decision?

Are you still unsure of what you want to have in your ideal messenger or tote diaper bags? No problem, I have compiled a bunch of questions that are sure to point you in the right direction.

  • What do you like or dislike about your current handbags?
  • Are you planning to use it for everyday use or all day outings?
  • Do you want a bag that can stand up on its own?
  • My Baby InsiderWould you prefer a slouching bag?
  • Does it have enough pockets internally and externally?
  • Can you pouch pack if you choose to?
  • Do you prefer to have both messenger and tote straps? Or only one style?
  • Are the straps easily removed or adjustable?
  • Does it have the accessories and features you prefer?
  • Is the bag easy to clean? Or machine washable?
  • What is your price range for a good diaper bags?

Of course, what you look for in your ideal messenger and tote bag all comes down to personal preference. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to you diapering needs on the go.

I hope you have found this information useful in your search. Good Luck on your diaper bags search.

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