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 favorite backpacks for all types of mamas:
Why it's our fave: 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. And it's currently on sale, mama!
Why it's our fave: 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!).
Why it's our fave: From day care drop off to the gym to the office, TWELVELittle's On-the-Go 2.5 offers the features you need to be prepared for it all. Made from water-resistant fabric with vegan leather trim, this is actually the ultimate diaper bag disguised as a backpack. Not only does it have five easy-to-access pockets to keep you organized (including a laptop sleeve) the side pockets are insulated to keep water bottles and sippy cups cool. We love the classic stripes and crisp construction.
More to know: 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.
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.
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
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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