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 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 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 our five favorite backpacks for all types of mamas:
1. For the Traveling Mama: Paravel
Why it's our fave: 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. Incredibly lightweight, the nylon backpack 13x16-inches in size when unfolded, but can be tucked into a 6x6-inch pouch when not in use. Beyond that, we 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!).
More to know: For an extra $15, you can embroider up to three initials on the backpack in eight different color choices.
2. For the Daily Grind Mama: MZ Wallace
Why it's our fave: If you're on the hunt for a daily backpack that can take you through the entire school year and still look pristine come June, look no further than MZ Wallace's Metro Backpack. Made of a shiny, quilted nylon, the bag is ultra-lightweight and water-resistant… meaning you don't have to lose your mind the next time a sippy cup leaks and soaks your entire bag. The Metro has three exterior pockets (one zipped and two on the side that each fit a 21-ounce water bottle) and six pockets on the inside, in addition to an attached key ring strap and one detachable pouch. We love that no matter how much cargo you're lugging around the ultra-padded straps evenly distribute the weight and don't pinch your skin.
More to know: It fits a 15-inch laptop and comes in 10 colors, from the flashy graffiti (above) to a smoldering hunter green to a serene light grey camo. Oh, and it can be compressed into a tiny ball when you're packing it for a trip.
3. For the Cozy Mama: Dagne Dover
Why it's our fave: It wasn't until we slipped Dagne Dover's Dakota Backpack onto our body that we immediately realized we need more neoprene in our live! 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.
Prices vary from $135.00-$149.00
4. For the Mama Looking for a Deal: Ev1 from Ellen Degeneres
Why it's our fave: We'd be lying if we said price wasn't a factor on this pick—at under $20, this backpack is a steal, mamas. The Ev1 From Ellen Degeneres Convertible Backpack can be used as a satchel thanks to the two top handles or worn as a backpack. Because Ellen knows we need options! Dual functionality aside, we love the crisp twill fabric of this bag and the cute, contrasting light blue faux-leather zipper. Comprised of four interior and three exterior pockets, 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: The backpack is currently on sale for $18 (it's regularly $30). Who loves a good deal? You do!
5. For the Working Mama: Holly & Tanager
Why it's our fave: Equal parts luxurious and practical, The Professional from Holly & Tanager is comprised of beautiful soft leather and gold hardware that make the backpack hands-down the most elegant option on our list. But get this: It actually converts from a backpack to a cross body to a tote via removable straps! What's not to love about that?! Well, fear not, there's more to love because the Professional has five interior pockets, one bottom zip pocket (perfect for keeping less-needed items like charging cords separate from your essentials in the main compartment) and a travel sleeve to slip your suitcase handle through. Let us be clear: This is a splurge. But having tested the goods, it's one we feel confident in saying is 100% worth the investment.
More to know: The Professional can hold a 17-inch laptop and we're obsessed with the ultra-wide shoulder straps.
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