Traveling with a baby is stressful enough without having to constantly hunt for nappies, wipes or a clean bottle.
Having the right diaper bag when you travel makes a huge difference.
In this guide we’ll run through what features to look for in a diaper bag, and share our picks for the best travel diaper bags.
At a glance: Our top travel diaper bag choices:
- Best all around travel diaper bag – Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack
- Best lightweight travel diaper bag – Ju-Ju-Be Legacy Be Right Back
- Best budget travel diaper bag – Cateep Baby Diaper Bag
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The 5 Best Diaper Bags Reviewed for 2020
1. Best all-around travel diaper bag – Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack
The Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack is our top pick because it’s durable, convenient, lightweight, and has tons of storage.
It’s made out of high-quality twill polyester, which is durable and water resistant (great for rainy destinations and spills). Bag Nation also includes a lifetime warranty with your purchase.
Backpack-style diaper bags like this one are great for traveling because they allow you to carry all your baby’s stuff hands free. This bag also comes with built-in adjustable straps that allow you to attach it directly to your stroller (no need for separate stroller clips, hangers, or hooks).
You also get a large changing mat and sundry bag with your purchase, making diaper changes on the go super quick and easy. There’s even a dedicated pouch for easy access to baby wipes, which we love.
Our absolute favorite thing about this bag, however, is how much storage it has. It comes with 14 multi-sized pockets and compartments. Having all these dedicated pockets makes it so you don’t have to root around too much to find what you’re looking for, which is especially nice when you’re traveling.
What we like:
- The fact that this bag has so many pockets helps keep you organized and makes it easy to keep dirty items (cloth diapers anyone?) away from clean bottles and clothes.
- It’s super durable, with strong twill polyester fabric, fray-resistant stitching, and sturdy zippers.
- It comes with a changing mat, sundry bag, and built-in stroller straps.
- We love that this bag is unisex, so mom and dad can both use it.
What we don’t like:
- It’s a bit more expensive than some other options.
- For a travel diaper bag, it’s on the larger side. If you’re looking for something ultra compact and lightweight, this may be a bit too much bag for you.
Overall, this diaper bag by Bag Nation is a great option for traveling and everyday use. It’s durable yet lightweight, has tons of storage, and makes traveling with your baby (and all their gear) much easier.
2. Best lightweight travel diaper bag – Ju-Ju-Be Legacy Be Right Back
If you’re looking for a diaper bag that’s light and easy to carry for long periods of time, our top pick is the Ju-Ju-Be Legacy Be Right Back.
If your travel plans include long days of hiking, sightseeing, or traveling on public transportation, we definitely recommend choosing a bag that’s comfortable, doesn’t weigh too much, and doesn’t require you to keep adjusting the straps.
The Be Right Back weighs less than 2 pounds with nothing in it and, like the Bag Nation one, it’s backpack-style. This makes it easy to tote around for longer travel days when you’ll no doubt have other things to carry.
One of the things we love about this bag is that the main compartment opens just like a suitcase, so it’s much easier to pack than other backpack-style bags. It’s also easier to find what you need quickly, without having to root around too much.
The bag also has a secondary main compartment, 2 exterior bottle pockets, and a dedicated cell phone pocket.
What we like:
- The backpack straps and easy-grab handle, combined with the fact that the bag only weighs 2 pounds, makes it ideal if you’re looking for something lightweight and easy to carry around.
- The Be Right Back is super cute and will last you a long time. It has metal hardware for style and durability, and its exterior fabric is teflon treated, so the outside of the bag won’t stain.
- The bag comes with a memory foam changing pad that’s stored in the back zipper compartment. The pocket has an 11.5-inch opening, so you can also fit your small laptop, tablet, e-reader, or other device.
- The entire backpack is machine washable.
What we don’t like:
- The hardware on this bag is super durable, but the seams on the fabric have a tendency to rip or tear with repeated use, especially if you load it with lots of heavy items.
- It’s on the pricier side, so you’ll definitely want to make sure it meets all your travel needs before you decide on this bag.
It’s tough to find a more lightweight and easy-to-carry diaper bag for traveling. The backpack-style straps and extra compartments make carrying your bag hands-free super easy and convenient, so it’s a great option if you’ve got other things to carry.
3. Best budget travel diaper bag – Cateep Baby Diaper Bag
For traveling parents shopping on a budget, we recommend the Cateep Baby Diaper Bag. It’s comfortable and convenient to use, and still comes with all the essential features.
This is another backpack-style bag, and our favorite thing about this one is that, like the Bag Nation diaper bag, it has lots of separate compartments (16 in total), which each serve a particular purpose:
- 2 main pockets for clothes, extra diapers, etc.
- 2 mesh pockets
- 2 waterproof pockets for used diapers or wipes
- 4 insulated bottle pockets
- 1 spoon pocket (which can hold 3 spoons)
- 1 front layer pocket
- 1 padded pocket for electronic devices
- 1 interior zipper pocket
- 1 tissue pocket
- 1 pacifier pocket
Like our recommendation from Bag Nation, the Cateep diaper bag comes with stroller clips, although these are attachable, while the Bag Nation clips are built in. While the Cateep stroller clips work great, the fact that they are not attached does make them a bit easier to lose.
This bag also has an easy-grab handle and padded shoulder straps, which is nice for carrying heavier items.
What we like:
All of the pockets are fantastic for staying organized, especially while traveling. We especially love that this bag allows you to carry 4 bottles hands-free in the temperature-controlled pockets.
The waterproof pockets are really handy for travel, especially if you use cloth diapers and need a place to keep used ones for a bit until you have access to laundry.
The fabric and hardware is pretty durable, especially for the price.
What we don’t like:
- It’s a little on the smaller side. The fact that it has so many compartments is a great feature, but you want to be able to fit all your things in the bag, especially while traveling. Depending on how much you need to carry with you, this can be a bit of a bummer.
If you’re on a budget, we definitely suggest checking out the Cateep diaper bag. If you don’t have a lot of big, bulky items, but want to carry extra bottles and have a place to store dirty bibs or cloth diapers, this is an ideal option.
If you have lots of stuff to carry, the DadGear Backpack diaper bag has tons of extra space and 13 separate compartments, designed for holding diapers, wipes, bottles, clothes, toys, and just about anything you need while traveling.
The bag has a simple, durable, and waterproof design (and a super dad-friendly look), making it ideal for hiking, camping trips, or just carrying in rainy weather. It also comes with built-in stroller straps and a changing pad.
What we like:
- The main compartment’s “clamshell” design makes it easy to find what you need quickly and conveniently, without having to root through all your other things.
- The bag’s pockets are well-designed to make accessing items quick and easy. We especially like the diaper hammock, designed to keep diapers at the top of the pack so you can easily grab one during on-the-go changes.
What we don’t like:
- The bottle pockets are not insulated. Not a must-have for many parents, but it’s nice to have while traveling and can be an essential feature in extreme temperatures.
Another alternative to consider is the Skip Hop Diaper Backpack, which has a cute and simple quilted design and tons of extra space. The bag is super lightweight (only 1 pound) but structured, and has several separate compartments to carry all the essentials.
The backpack has 3 interior pockets (one designed for a changing pad and two for other items) and several exterior pockets, including two insulated bottle pockets and two zippered compartments. We love this bag’s simple, multi-purpose design, and how easy it is to carry and use.
What we like:
- The bag’s front compartment comes with 2 removable packing cubes that can store snacks, small toys, or toiletries.
- The interior of the bag contains elasticized pockets, which helps keep everything in place, and the pocket for the changing pad doubles as a laptop holder.
What we don’t like:
- The shoulder straps don’t have a ton of padding, so it can get uncomfortable to carry during long travel days or if you have heavy items to carry.
- The changing pad that comes with the bag is a bit narrow.
Every parent has their own needs and preferences when it comes to choosing the right diaper bag. Your baby’s age, your plans, and how much stuff you need to carry with you are definitely worth considering.
Do you need a diaper bag for travel?
If you’re traveling with a baby or toddler, you’ll obviously need a bag of some sort to hold their bottles, diapers, baby wipes, bibs, food, and other essential items.
However, if you already have a decent sized backpack or tote (we prefer backpacks for travel), you may choose to use that instead of buying a dedicated travel diaper bag and save some money.
Any large-ish bag can fulfill the same basic purpose as a diaper bag.
That being said, some diaper bags come with added features that can be pretty handy, especially for travel. These include: insulated bottle pockets, stroller straps, special pockets for easy access to wipes, and changing pads.
Diaper bags are especially useful for plane trips when spice is limited and you need a well organised bag so you can easily grab whatever you need.
When deciding whether to use a bag you already own or to buy a dedicated diaper bag, it’s important to consider what items you’ll be carrying with you and whether or not you want or need these added features that most regular bags don’t come with.
What to look for in a diaper bag
There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right diaper bag for traveling. You’ll likely be using your bag frequently during your trip.
That’s why it’s important to take note of all your family’s needs and preferences, and make sure you find a bag that’s right for you.
Here are some features we recommend you check out before you making a final decision:
Size and weight
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to find a bag that can easily hold all of your baby’s necessities, including their diapers, wipes, bottles, extra clothes, and maybe a toy or two.
It’s also really helpful if you can use your diaper bag to store a few of your own things as well, like your keys or wallet. Having enough space in your diaper bag can save you from having to carry a purse or separate bag.
We also recommend checking the weight of the bag itself. You’ll already have to carry all your baby’s items in the bag, so you don’t want the added weight of heavy hardware or unnecessarily thick fabric.
You obviously want your diaper bag to be functional and convenient to use, but let’s face it: a diaper bag is also an accessory. You want to find something you like the look and design of, and that you can see yourself carrying around often.
Some diaper bags have lots of hardware or patterned fabric, which can be cute, but you want to make sure that you can pair your diaper bag with many different outfits. Choosing a relatively simple, but stylish design may be the way to go.
You’ll also want to think about whether only one parent or two might be using the bag. If both parents will be carrying the diaper bag, you want to make sure it’s something you will both feel comfortable wearing.
This really comes down to preference and where and when you’ll be using your travel diaper bag.
For example, if you expect your destination to be rainy or windy, or if you’ll be spending time by the beach, we recommend looking for something waterproof, like the DadGear Backpack diaper bag.
On the other hand, if you’ll be spending most of your time inside, on tours or in museums, you might want to look for a more stylish fabric and design, like the Ju-Ju-Be Legacy.
With just about any bag, though, you’ll likely want to look for durable fabrics and hardware.
Leather, heavy-duty canvas, and weatherproof vinyl are examples of super tough fabrics that will hold up through spills, accidents, and rough weather. It’s also helpful to look for a bag that’s double-stitched or sewn with tough vinyl piping.
We definitely recommend staying away from suede, velvet, and other hard-to-clean fabrics.
We’ve all had those experiences when our bag’s straps dig into our shoulder or hurt our back or neck after carrying it for awhile.
When you’re choosing a diaper bag for traveling, you’ll want to pick something that’s extra comfortable, since you’re likely to have plenty to carry.
Depending on your travel plans, you may have to carry the diaper bag for extended periods of time. It’s a good idea to look for a bag with extra padding on the straps and a cushioned back wall, to avoid your gear poking you in the back.
We definitely suggest considering a backpack-style diaper bag, since backpacks distribute weight across both shoulders and your back, and leave both hands free to carry other luggage.
Compartments and Organization
Not only will you want to choose a bag with enough space, it’s also important to make sure you can actually use the space to store your gear.
We recommend checking the internal and external organization of any diaper bag to make sure it has all of the necessary pockets and compartments you’ll need.
Here are some compartments you may want to look for:
- A pocket for your changing pad
- Insulated, temperature-controlled bottle pockets
- A waterproof compartment for used wipes and diapers
- An extra pocket for your keys, phone, or other small items
- A padded pocket for a laptop, tablet or e-reader
In addition to being easier on your back, backpack-style diaper bags tend to have more compartments than tote-style ones, although some have more than others.
The Cateep Baby diaper bag, for example, has a total of 16 compartments, including 4 insulated bottle pockets.
Not everyone wants so many separate compartments, though, as it can be a hassle to find what you need if you don’t remember which pocket you left it in.
If you’re someone who hates rooting around in multiple pockets (or if you’re carrying mostly large items), you may prefer a more simple design with just a few compartments.
Either way, it’s helpful to look for a list of pockets and compartments when you’re shopping, to make sure you pick a bag that works for you.
Airline policies on diaper bags
Most airlines allow you to bring a diaper bag in addition to your carry on and purse.
It’s generally a good idea to bring one that’s small enough to fit under the seat in front of you.
Even if there’s extra space in the overhead bin, you’re likely to need something from your diaper bag at some point during the flight, and you don’t want to have to stand up to retrieve it while holding your baby.
If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the airline’s website, you may need to call them to find out what you are (or aren’t) allowed to bring.
The bottom line
There you have it! We hope you found our recommendations and suggestions helpful.
We love certain things about each diaper bag we’ve included in this post, but our number one pick is the diaper backpack from Bag Nation. It’s stylish, durable, great for traveling, and most importantly, it’s got a place for everything.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below, and please feel free to share this article if you found anything of value in it. Thanks for reading! We wish you safe and fun (and organized) travels!