I have gone through one purse and one backpack in the past six months, the former because my baby decided to put a mostly unfinished ice cream cone in the main compartment, and the latter because one of her calorie drinks exploded in it. Neither were successfully machine washable: although, on the purse, I hardly tried because the mess was so terrible.
My now ruined Lassig backpack I scored on sale, and it did a good job of hauling enough supplies for long trips with all three kids, but in the Texas heat, it meant sweaty back syndrome. And possibly some sore spots depending on how heavy you packed that thing. But it lasted us over two years, so I can't really complain. Very few things can stand the impact of a high-calorie baby milk explosion.
So, I was left diaper bag-less. Which is miserable.
I stole one of my older children's backpacks they weren't using anymore while I decided what type of bag I needed to order for a few days. Man, that just proved to me how important the design of what you carry everything for your kids in really is.
From experience, if you are a pumping mom, get a backpack with a space to carry iced bottles. I had to do that separately for my baby, and it was a pain in my life I did not need.
Luckily, we are past that stage (though a compartment like that might have saved a diaper backpack from a milk explosion...). At this point, I just need a supply hauler. With drink slots, because sippy cups can leak and it's easier to hand the older kids a drink when I can see it. That left me a few choices.
I could go with the super cheap store generic baby-looking bags. They are roomy. And, cheap. Which is good, but right now I couldn't get myself onboard with carrying around something with a doofy looking cartoon baby animal or ABC blocks on it. If I had to, I'm sure I would. But, seeing as how I have to carry this everywhere I go, I don't want to.
On the other end, you have things like Jujube. With somewhat cute prints and collaborations and the promise of machine washable, it was on my list. But I can't see spending almost eighty dollars on a mini-backpack. Or over twenty on a clutch purse. Some people can justify it, I can't, and I wasn't even sure the largest thing I wanted to buy would do the job I needed it to.
I had a Skip Hop messenger bag for the first year of my youngest's life, and it functioned, but they are hard to pack for three kids and even harder to find what you packed. I wasn't interested in trying that again. Especially since we use cloth diapers and training pants and that requires more space than usual. I bet they work fine with one kiddo.
What I settled on isn't even marketed as a diaper bag.
Touted as a line of bags you can survive a long convention with, The Bag of Holding has several versions and is available on ThinkGeek and Amazon.
I thought, hey, I need that kind of room. I really do. And I wanted a messenger bag to avoid sweaty back syndrome in the summers.
And, thank goodness, it has drink holders on the sides. And compartments. For someone who loses everything they own on the regular, that has helped me tremendously.
Also, it's cute. Adult lady cute, and not adult carrying-around-printed-baby-thing cute. And the zipper pull is a 20-sided die. That's freaking adorable.
I'm okay to carrying this to doctor's appointments alone, it just reads as a roomy bag.
For long outings, it works fine. Everything fits. Including the cloth diapers and wet bag. Sometimes even the library books.
My one issue is that the material on the strap slides around on your shoulders, more often than not I will find myself holding it in place. That seems like a big deal, it's still workable, but it might be worth changing out the strap for if you can find something nice. I can position it fine while carrying my toddler in a ringsling as well.
I might buy from this line of products again if this somehow gets destroyed (though I think it's pretty hardy). They are functional and quite affordable. But, I will most likely try one of their other designs. Hey, by then, I might need to carry less stuff. However, for adventuring, being able to haul a lot is ALWAYS better.
What did you choose for your diaper bag?