As we do in all our reviews, we started out by researching the top-rated and most popular bags currently available on the market. From that group we narrowed down the focus to select only those that we think deserve to be included in our final hands-on testing round. We scoured the web and trend-setting shops for hot-new entries as well as standards that many parents have relied on. In total, we looked in detail at over 105 bags ranging in price from $25 to $450, before narrowing down to our list of 10 finalists that went through our complete series of hands-on tests.
Hands-on Detailed Testing
We put each of the bags through a grueling amount of testing. This included not only extensive work in the field but a lot of side-by-side comparison of their storage capacity, ease of use, carrying comfort, and style. After determining our Award Winners, we felt it was vital to our readers that we prove just how great they are by taking them on the road with us to Hawaii for a vacation with a toddler. This additional testing revealed some very important information about our award winners that we will discuss further in their individual reviews. More at http://bestrateddiaperbags.com/the-guide-to-the-best-backpack-diaper-bags-for-2016/.
Storage and Ease-of-use
To determine this sizeable portion of scoring for the bags we tested we took a multi-prong approach. Most important to us was how easy it was to organize and keep organized the contents of the bag. We took into account every pocket, zipper enclosure, and how well the bag stood on its own to determine this part of the score.
Capacity played another important part in determining how simple it was to use each bag. We packed each with as many necessities as they would allow. Even though some of the bags boast a larger size, that was not always an indication that they could hold everything we wanted, let alone maintain any sense of organization.
A smaller but important portion of the score was dedicated to the types of closures used to secure your valuables, namely: zipper closures on the main compartment and magnetic buttons for pockets. Bags that did not have a zipper enclosure on the main compartment did not perform well in this category. We also took into account the extra “perks” included with each bag such as multiple carrying options and special designated spots for keys, sunglasses, phones, etc.
No mom wants to be uncomfortable by choice, particularly when they have to schlep a baby and any needed gear around. For this metric, we took into account the stand-alone weight of each bag, the added bulk of its fabric and padding, different carrying options and their impact on clothing and skin.
We here at BabyGearLab care a lot about the quality of the products we test. We believe any major purchase, such as that of a diaper bag, represents an important investment. Because this type of bag will typically be subject to more heavy-duty use, we think it is vital that the materials it is made from are durable and that the companies who produce them have a good warranty in place.
To rate each bag on quality, we also considered factors such as how easy it was to clean, whether features such as metal feet were included, the materials used, quality of stitching/seams, closures, and the general durability of the product. Quality ratings were both multi-faceted and subjective judgments but there were clear and obvious differences between the bags. We also researched user-reviews, if available, to see if there was a pattern of complaints about specific durability or manufacturing quality issues on any specific bag. If so, we noted those complaints in the review and factored that research into the rating. More at http://bestrateddiaperbags.com/.
Although inherently subjective, we rated each bag on style. The ideal bag could pass for a high-end purse rather than the tell-tale “diaper bag”. We found several bags which we felt could easily be used as purses long after baby is potty trained, such as our Editors’ Choice Award winner, the Skip Hop Chelsea and our Best Value Award winning Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel.