Let’s face it, mamas: An apropos synonym for “mom” could be “lady who holds things.” When you’ve got a baby, you’re juggling bottles and pacifiers, diapers and baby wipes. But all that gathering of items doesn’t end when potty training begins. No, you don’t need a diaper bag anymore (and if you’re like me, you were more than ready to say goodbye to yours!), but you still need a vessel to carry the many, many things that children need within arm’s reach at all time.

Like my 5-year-old son, for example. He’s allergic to nuts and gets wheezy if he’s running too much, so I need an Epi-pen and inhaler with me at all times. But he’s also a collector, asking me to hold the precious assortment of rocks he just gathered in a parking lot. And let’s not forget the other stuff I’m carrying around! You know, the water bottles and the snacks and the crayons—and I’m not even counting my precious few items.

Point being, you still need a bag, just not necessarily a diaper version. And while I love me a tote, those things get heavy and weigh you down when they’re full to the brim, which mine always is.

Enter: The mom backpack. Easily accessible and chock full of pockets, backpacks aren’t just for students anymore. We love that these chic carryalls allow you to have all your stuff close by and have your hands free when you’re traversing through the city or chasing kids around a playground. Not to mention the fact that the weight of the backpack is evenly dispersed across your back, whereas a tote or cross-body weighs down just one (aching) shoulder.

Below are the best backpacks for women who always end up carrying all the things

Dagne Dover Neoprene Backpack

Dagne Dover


Dakota Neoprene Backpack

It wasn’t until we slipped Dagne Dover’s Dakota Backpaconto our body that we immediately realized we need more neoprene in our lives! Sure, we love that the fabric is hand-washable and quick to dry, but more importantly it’s squishy and soft and oh my gosh, everyone needs this backpack. Luckily, the Dakota isn’t a one trick pony. Comprised of a lot of storage—we’re talking designated spots for your keys, phone, lip balm and your kids’ muddy soccer cleats in a separate (but matching) shoe bag—the backpack has five outer pockets and a nifty interior sleeve that locks in a 13-inch laptop. Back to that neoprene though! Because it’s such a fluffy, insulated material it is superb at absorbing and distributing the weight of your bag, making it the most comfortable backpack on our list.

More to know: The Dakota comes in three sizes (small , medium and large ) and nine colors, from a cheery lilac to a stately navy.

Prices vary from $155-$215

State Kane

State Bags



From their stylish and oh-so-thoughtful products to their inspiring give-back mission, there’s a lot to love about State. Their signature Kane style is sleek and slim, providing just enough space for the things you need without becoming a bottomless pit that weighs you down. We love the totally black coated canvas motif which is incredibly forgiving from a cleanliness standpoint, but can also easily be wiped down when it needs it. Want to make it truly your own? Add your initials or choose from an array of fun symbols that can be embroidered on the bag.

More to know: Each State Bag sold helps support American children and families in need.

Jansport Superbreak plus



SuperBreak Plus

If it got you through middle school, it can get you through anything. The brilliantly basic but ever-durable backpacks from JanSport has stayed popular for decades because they’re just that good. A favorite? The updated version of the classic SuperBreak style–SuperBreak Plus. It’s roomy enough for a day’s worth of must-haves, keeps your water bottle close at hand and can even fit a laptop. Padded shoulder straps and a fully padded back panel means it stays comfortable even when you’ve traded your text books for 16 playground rocks and goldfish crackers. And between the lifetime guarantee, affordable price tag and ability to beat the crap out of it without worry, there’s no better bang for your buck.

More to know: With nearly 50 colors and patterns, hardest part will be deciding on which to pick!

Paravel Fold Up Backpack



Fold Up Backpack

If you’re headed on a family trip and want to have multiple bag options when you reach your destination, Paravel’s Fold-Up Backpack is exactly what you need. (I hauled it all over LA, up Runyon Canyon, to the beach in Santa Monica, shopping in Venice and through farmer’s markets along the way and could not have felt more smug about remembering to shove it in my luggage at the last minute.)

Incredibly lightweight, the nylon backpack 13×16-inches in size when unfolded, but can be tucked into a 6×6-inch pouch when not in use. Beyond that, I love the bag’s preppy color options, the white piping details and the thick adjustable back straps (that are also framed in cute white stripes!). Just be aware it’s not at all structured, so it can be a little floppy depending on what you’re hauling.

More to know: For an extra $15, you can embroider up to three initials on the backpack in 11 different color choices.


Fjallraven Tote Pack 2



No. 2 Daypack

If you want to live the hands-free lifestyle but can’t really get into the backpack look, we’ve got you. Check out the smart Swedish style of Fjällräven’s No. 2 Daypack which comes in clutch from hiking trails to city streets. (We see you, Ms. Jill of All Trades.) With its tote-like silhouette, it’s armed with a collection of straps that allow it to be carried as a backpack, tote or by hand. Inside you’ll find a super roomy main compartment along with a smaller zip pocket for essentials and a convenient keyring strap. Now tell us again how you’re not a backpack person?

More to know: The hardwearing leather base means you can put it down anywhere while a rugged waxed canvas exterior gets better with age. (Just like you, mama.)

United By Blue 25L Convertible Carryall

United By Blue


(R)evolution 25L Convertible Carryall

A similar option we’re equally smitten with is the 25L Convertible Carryall from United By Blue. Made from their signature (R)evolution™ fabric that gives old plastic new life, this versatile bag can also be carried backpack or tote style and features tons of useful pockets including room for two water bottles. And though it’s perfectly equipped for all kinds of adventures, complete with a comfy straps and chest strap, with room for a 17 inch laptop, it’s a great option as a work bag too!

More to know: The rugged construction is Water-resistant, tear-resistant, stain-resistant, and even backed by a lifetime guarantee.

Momkindness Duo Backpack



Duo Backpack

There aren’t many backpacks that can take you from daycare to date night without missing a beat–but that’s exactly why the Duo Backpack from Momkindess shines. The ultra-clever 2-in-1 design is comprised of a durable canvas and faux leather backpack for your adventures along with a removable crossbody clutch that slides right out when you only need the essentials. Brilliant, right?! It’s got plenty of pockets to keep things organized and a big opening that makes it easy to access exactly what you need. Additionally it’s got a separate padded laptop pocket and a faux leather bottom with feet to keep it neat and tidy.

More to know: Yes, this one is technically a diaper bag, but no one would know it! If you’re still in that phase of life you’ll appreciate the included changing pad.

Caraa Cirrus Backpack



Cirrus Backpack

From day care drop off to the gym to the office, Caraa offers the features you need to be prepared for it all. Made from cloud-like water-resistant nylon, it’s super lightweight with a generous top-down opening that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. Not only does it have 11 easy-to-access pockets to keep you organized, it also comes with a removable shoe bag/wet pouch to keep messy cargo neatly sequestered. Available in two sizes with prices starting at $175.

More to know: Hitting the road? The travel-friendly back sleeve easily slides over the handle of your rolling suitcase to keep you as nimble as possible when you’re getting from point A to B.

Jujube Midi Backpack



Midi Backpack

Sometimes you just need the essentials. The Midi Backpack from Jujube has enough space and organization to keep you ready for whatever the day holds all packed up in a lightweight and minimal design. The stylish gold hardware and durable twill looks chic while also offering practical mama-friendly stain, mold and mildew resistance. Comprised of four interior and three exterior pockets including two on the sides that can accommodate generously-sized water bottles, this backpack is a bit more compact than the others on our list, but still offers lots of places to gather your stuff. (Like my son’s ever-growing seashell collection!).

More to know: This one is perfectly sized for your mini as well, so feel free to share (or not!).

Mina Baie Kinney Backpack

Mina Baie


Vegan Kinney

If you’re on the hunt for a daily backpack that’s as stylish and multifaceted as you are, look no further than Mina Baie’s Vegan Kinney Backpack . Made of microfiber vegan leather, the bag is water-resistant and easy to clean… meaning you don’t have to worry the next time a sippy cup leaks and soaks your entire bag. It has four exterior pockets and eight pockets on the inside (including an insulated bottle pocket), in addition to an attached key ring strap and and a built-in padded laptop sleeve. We love that no one would ever guess it’s actually a diaper bag.

More to know: If you’re not feeling the backpack style for the day, the Vegan Kinney easily converts to a cross-body or shoulder bag.😍

mom carrying her daughter wearing a No Reception Club backpack, a great bag for baby's first flight

No Reception Club


The Getaway Bag

Arguably, once you’ve got kids in tow, travel becomes more important–not less. The trick is having gear that makes it easier–like the Getaway Bag & Travel Bundle from newcomers No Reception Club. A rugged pack that has literally thought of everything, this is the only bag you need for an adventure with little ones. The innovative design is loaded with features that only an actual parent could have come up with including:

  • A flexible organization system inside the main compartment with movable shelves (yes! shelves!) and easy access along the side of the bag
  • A built-in wet bag compartment at the base of the bag for those inevitable messes
  • A removable fanny pack for when you only need the essentials or split off to divide and conquer
  • A spill-proof insulated lunch bag for snacks and small water bottles
  • Tons of pockets for both kid and adult needs

Ready to get out there? Us too!

A version of this story was published August 25, 2021. It has been updated.