How much time have you spent searching endlessly for a diaper bag alternative? Even when you find a small diaper bag you love, it seems impossible to fit everything in it!
Large diaper bag with a small purse inside.
I went through all the iterations–small diaper bag in a large purse.
No diaper bag, ziplock diaper bag.
Wallet in a diaper bag.
Don’t go through this madness yourself! Learn from my experience and find the diaper bag solution that works best for you!
In this article, I tell you about my favorite diaper bag alternative. I also talk about my favorite full-sized diaper bags, how to organize them, and tips for choosing the best one for you.
Our Favorite Diaper Bag Alternatives
I’m going to interest you to our favorite diaper bag alternatives, showing you some of the benefits–and drawbacks–of each.
- Dwypeze: a pocket-sized diaper bag that you buy ready to go!
- Bratpack: just bigger than pocket-size, sturdy, pack-yourself bag that’s perfect for the simple parent who still wants room for amenities like hand sanitizer
- Backpacks: a great alternative to traditional diaper bags that are easy to use, don’t hurt your shoulder, and often hold more–and better! There are tons of options, but we’ll highlight our favorite!
I’m going to start with my favorite solution, the one I wish I’d found earlier and still use to this day.
Dwypeze is the epitome of the diaper bag alternative. It’s not just a small diaper bag or a bag that doesn’t look like a diaper bag. It’s truly another option, totally unique, unlike every other bag I’ll discuss here!
You can read the story of how Dwypeze got started in this post about simplifying parenting. It also tells the story of how I got super lucky one random Saturday, when I struck up a conversation with Alison, who told me she’d created a product for babies and toddlers.
Expecting to be unimpressed, I asked her to tell me more. Immediately–like, seriously immediately–I was a full-blown Dwypeze convert. I haven’t used anything else since.
This pocket-sized diaper bag alternative has everything you need inside. 1 diaper, 6 wipes, a changing pad, a dirty sack, and a distraction card to make changing a little squirmer easier.
It comes with different sized diapers, so it works for all ages, and each product is designed for sensitive skin.
The only downsides I’ve found are environmental friendliness and price, so I asked the owner about these issues.
Environmental practices: Dwypeze is working to make all components recyclable or biodegradable (many already are).
Cost: While Dwypeze look expensive compared to diapers, they aren’t something you run through quickly like diapers, and they contain much more. So, one purchase lasts a long time, making it well worth the money and an amazing gift.
I carry this extra small diaper bag in my tiny purse, and Husband carries it in his pocket.
We usually leave a larger diaper bag with spare clothes in the car, but I haven’t walked into a restaurant, store, park, ANYWHERE with anything more than my purse since the day I discovered Dwypeze.
Bratpack was created by Atlanta dad-treupreneur, Bill Lobe. An avid hiker who wanted to carry as little gear as necessary, Bill used a performance-grade material to create this durable, compact diaper bag. Bratpack was born.
Potential contents of Bratpack. Two pouches can hold diapers and wipes (tissues added to wipes pouch in photo), and zipper pouch holds extra necessities. Not pictured I the attached changing pad (you can see the beginning of the top of it), which wraps around the pouches to create the folded sack.
Backpack diaper bags are great alternatives to traditional diaper bags. There are tons of them out there, but my favorite is one that is amazing for bottles.
That is, after all, one of the most common questions moms ask.
What Is The Best Diaper Bag for Bottles?
If this is you, and you need a traditional diaper bag, this is my absolute favorite.
The HaloVa Travel Backpack is amazing because of its intelligent design and ease of carrying bottles. The front pouch is actually built to hold bottles.
What it’s missing that many diaper bags have is an insulated pouch for bottles. That said, the interior is waterproof, so you can put a small ice pack (I like the Lanisoh breast ice packs because they take up so little space) in the same pouch.
This isn’t a diaper bag alternative, but it works well for people who need the space and don’t want a small diaper bag.
I also love the feature that allows you to keep wipes on the side, so they’re always easily accessible. We all know those moments where we’re really, REALLY thankful for having wipes on the ready.
One word of warning about the HaloVa Travel Backpack. The description says it’s waterproof, but it’s referring to the interior of the backpack.
I left mine in a moist environment without realizing it, and it grew mold on the exterior. That was my fault, but it is worth clarifying the claim. (I was actually planning to buy a new one the same day I learned about Dwypeze, so I never did!)
Do I Need a Diaper Bag?
I can’t tell you how much time I spent researching different diaper bags before Jack was born, trying to decide if I even needed one. I still hear this question a lot, particularly from parents about to have their first baby.
It’s also an especially common question from dads, who often aren’t used to carrying around bags and really, really don’t want to.
The answer is yes and no. You see how much I love Dwypeze, and in some ways, it counts as a diaper bag. A diaper bag alternative, yes, but isn’t a pouch with a diaper still a bag with a diaper?
But do you need a “normal” diaper bag? That depends on you.
Atlanta is a driving city, so I always have my car. It’s easy for me to just toss some extra clothes and toys into a bag and leave it in the car.
But when Jack was little and we took bottles with us, we needed a traditional diaper bag. My picky little nurser was never willing to breastfeed in public. He must’ve inherited his Daddy’s modesty.
Jack was always strange about nursing. Had he nursed in public, we could’ve easily gotten by with just Dwypeze and backup clothes in the car.
With a product like Dwypeze, you can get away with sizing up on a purse and carrying what you need in there, but that doesn’t help dad (or purse-averse moms or nonbinary parents) if they’re carrying a bottle around.
Since we had bottles of breastmilk that needed to stay cool, we needed a diaper bag. Or a small cooler. Either would’ve worked.
What Is The Difference Between a Diaper Bag and a Regular Bag?
When I talk about diaper bags, I’m talking about products marketed as diaper bags, not just any bag you put a diaper in. They’re different from regular bags because they are made specifically to fit baby gear.
This is why having a traditional diaper bag was so important when we were carrying around bottles of breastmilk. A diaper bag alternative couldn’t have kept them cool.
Diaper bags tend to have lots of pouches, spaces for bottles and wipes, and perhaps even insulated sections to help keep bottles cool. Many also have waterproof interiors because of the amount of liquid parents carry.
The main reason I can see for needing a traditional diaper bag, whether a small diaper bag or a larger one, is for keeping bottles with you and keeping them cool. That was our main reason, at least.
Organizing Your Bag
If you choose to go the more traditional diaper bag route, I highly recommend getting a diaper bag organizer. Even the HaloVa Travel Backpack, which is full of pockets and pouches, has one big, deep main section.
As with any large diaper bag, it’s easy to lose things in it. And we all know that when baby is screaming, or spitting up, you don’t want to scramble to find what you need. That’s one of the many reasons I’m partial to a small diaper bag, specifically a diaper bag alternative.
You can simplify diaper bag organization, though, with an organizer.
You can organize the large space of a backpack and and still have room for larger items like clothes and toys.
If you aren’t using a backpack style diaper bag, I prefer using waterproof pouches to traditional organizers.
Not all organizers fit all bags equally, so they can get awkward. Also, if the organizer is on the bottom, you lose all the valuable the space above it.
But with pouches, like the multi-sized, see-through Travelon pouches, you can keep all your items organized but always see what you need.
One major note about diaper bag organization. Organize in a way that works for you, and then discuss it with everyone who will use the diaper bag.
If your partner, parent, or babysitter shares your diaper bag (the easiest and cheapest solution), you’ll quickly find it in disarray because they don’t understand your organizational scheme.
Talking from experience here. Trust me. Tell them how to use the diaper bag so that everything always stays in its correct place.
Choosing the Right Fit For Your Lifestyle
Ultimately, choosing a diaper bag comes down to choosing the best one for your family/lifestyle. Think about these questions:
- Who will be using the diaper bag?
- What items do we really, truly need in a diaper bag?
- Can we get by with a small diaper bag, or are we unable to be that minimalist? Be honest with yourself.
- Do we drive or walk? If you drive, basics in the car with a diaper bag alternative like Dwpyeze or Bratpack are perfect. If you walk, does your stroller have room underneath for a small bag with some spare clothes and toys? If so, grab a reusable grocery bag and toss your Dwypeze in it, or hang your Bratpack from the side. If not, you may need a more traditional diaper bag.
- Do we bottle feed? If so, do we need insulation? If you’re carrying bottled water and formula powder, you can carry it in anything. If, like me, you’re carrying pumped breast milk, you need to keep the milk cool.
Asking yourself these questions will help you choose the perfect diaper bag for your family, be it a small diaper bag or an enormous one.
And, of course, there’s always the diaper bag alternative!
What’s your favorite diaper bag alternative?
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Katy Huie Harrison, PhD, is an author, toddler mom, and owner of Undefining Motherhood. She lives in Atlanta with her husband (affectionately known on the internet as “Husband,”) son (Jack), and dog (Charlotte). She believes our society has historically placed too many expectations on women, defining womanhood and motherhood in a way that is restrictive. Her goal is to shift the paradigm about what it means to be a woman and mother, giving all women a greater sense of agency over their own lives. You can find Katy and her work featured in places like CNN’s Headline News, Scary Mommy, Motherhood and Social Exclusion, and various other podcasts and websites.