There are a million lists online that claim to offer “chic diaper bags” for stylish mamas-to-be. Here is what I have to say about that: Do not fall for the hype. Scroll through those so-called chic diaper bags — most of which more closely resemble Ally McBeal’s briefcase than a practical but not hideous bag for dragging around 16 sandwich baggies of goldfish — and you’ll end up disheartened. Functionally, they’re rubbish. You’ll find a lot of skinny straps designed to dig just deep enough into your shoulder blade that they’ll leave some sort of burn. Or they might have vast yawning internal cavities into which a whole host of vital child-calming toys will slowly disappear. Or worst of all, they’re made of leather, which sucks up milk and vomit like an extra-expensive sponge.
Around my eighth month of pregnancy, I called it quits on the search and tossed all of my daughter’s crap into an old black leather Madewell tote. It was essentially a hole from whence no crumb has returned. It did the job, but crappily.
Then I started noticing that a little coterie of nannies at our local Washington, D.C., playground were all sporting the same backpack (albeit in different shades). They were all fanatics about the bags, and pressed me to just look on Amazon. Lo and behold, that backpack is the $30 answer to every parent’s needs.
The Land diaper bag checks off all the boxes. It’s super lightweight, which is key because you’ll be slowly adding fruit pouches, granola bars, and wipe packages, and you’ll rarely ever take anything out. It’s a backpack, so you won’t need to play the wobbly game of trying to balance the weight of the bag with the weight of a 15-month-old who can walk home from the playground but really would prefer not to. It’s lining is water-resistant, so milk spills don’t turn into probiotic samples in the bottom. An insulated zipper pouch keeps bottles chill. Plenty of stretchy side pockets keep your crap corralled. The top opens wide, but doesn’t let anything spill out. A sturdy bottom keeps the bag upright when you put it down.
And my favorite feature of all is the cleverly designed zip opening on the side of the backpack that means you can reach directly into the bottom without digging wildly and throwing extraneous items out onto the sidewalk in a fit of mania. (Not that I’m speaking from personal experience.)
Aesthetically, the Land bag is somewhat derivative of a Fjällräven — and I mean that in the best possible way. The design is clean and simple, with only that little tag on the front (which you can snip off with embroidery scissors, like I did) to identify it as baby gear. And best of all, it comes in a ton of inoffensive colors.