Packs for Backs

As tough as it is to accept, #HJS hit the nine month mark last week.  Nine months old.  The hours seem long, but the months seem very short.  I am planning on doing an annual ‘dad’ checkup in a couple of months, to include all the real deal, nitty gritty details of being a dad, but one thing that I am completely sold on is the use of a backpack.  Now that #HJS is mobile, I need two hands.  He’s a quick little guy: fast on the straightaways, and elusive side to side.  Very slot receiver-esque.  Kirby is scheduled for an in-house visit next week.

Using a backpack as a ‘dad bag’ is advantageous in quite a few ways.  First, what I mentioned above…you have full use of two hands.  Second, if you choose wisely, it can be used for A LOT more than just a dad bag.  Lastly, and arguably most importantly, it doesn’t look like a dad bag.  As a parent, we usually get a pass when schlepping all the baby gear around, but there is a sense of style that still comes into play.  At the same time, you don’t have to break the bank on a really good bag.  Here is what I’m talking about:

From top left:

1. Fjallraven Greenland Backpack:  Great price point.  Cool looking bag from the folks at Fjallraven.  Quick, efficient, and compact.  Like Ikea.
2. Orvis Safe Passage 800 Day Pack:  Here’s a GREAT way to procure a fly fishing backpack.  Use it for your kid during the week, and up to the river on the weekend.
3. Filson Ranger Backpack:  I’ve been carrying this for a while, and can’t give it enough praise.  It has ample space for everything #HJS would need, and I’ve used it as a weekender on a few trips.  And it’s Filson, so if anything goes wrong, help is a phone call away.
4. Ghurka #278 Leather Backpack:  For my New York friends.  These are all the rage in the city.
5. Patagonia Black Hole 25L Daypack:  Patagonia’s Black Hole line is incredible.  Very sleek looking, with everything you’d expect from Patagonia.  I missed on a couple of their dry bags, and am thinking about pulling the trigger on one for a waterproof backpack.
6. Topo Designs Y-Pack Backpack:  Topo has been around forever, and their stuff is pretty hardcore.  I like this backpack because of the quick function and ease.
7. Jones Utility Woodsman Backpack:  Jones makes some really great golf stuff, and just released their Utility Woodsman backpack.  I absolutely love the bag, and could see this getting use WAY after #HJS outgrows it.

Did I miss any?  Backpack thoughts?



  1. Nem
    04/23/2018 / 9:18 AM

    Maxpedition gets my vote for bags and packs of all types.  I carry their Falcon II 23L daily for work and travel and it is ideal.  The CCW options are the best in the business if that is your thing (it’s mine).  
    Remember that when HJS is no longer an only child you will quickly re-think your carry needs.  Efficiency is the name of the game when you double up on young’uns, and it’s a pity parents don’t recognize this with baby number 1.  As Sgt. Elias says in Platoon, “you’re humpin’ too much stuff troop.”
    But, you’ve got some great back pack options here that would be perfect for a day at the zoo or a game with the little dude.  Enjoy the time!!

  2. HL
    04/23/2018 / 9:53 AM

    I am 28 – have a 16 month old boy and another on the way. I live in Louisiana and we frequent the gulf coast every weekend for the beach, fishing, drinking, weddings, you name it. I use a Patagonia backpack as my “dad bag” but once they start walking and eating food other than formula or baby food its just for diapers, change of clothes, water, and whatever you want in it. My wife and I overpacked with my son at first – be a minimalist. It’s easier and more efficient. Nothing worse than traveling and seeing people push an oversized stroller or have 5 bags for one kid. Must mean you have a bad kid and they are only bad due to lack of parenting.

    • JB
      04/23/2018 / 1:57 PM

      I understand the desire to travel light, but sometimes that just isn’t an option.  I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old.  The 5 year old is on the autism spectrum.  If we want to do anything we have to be prepared for everything.  Until very recently we’ve had to haul along an ungodly amount of stuff with us if we plan to be gone for more than a couple of hours.  That being said, I don’t think that makes us bad parents, and my kids are certainly not “bad kids”.  I’m not trying to be confrontational, but if I’ve learned anything from this experience, it is to be less judgmental of others because you never really know what they’re going through.

  3. JMR
    04/23/2018 / 11:02 AM

    Once my daughter started walking, we got *her* a bag for diapers, wipes a bottle/cup and a toy or two. She carries it around, makes her feel like a big kid, it takes up very little space, and her mother and I don’t have to carry anything. Everyone is happy. 
    Until then, I found that messenger bags worked best. Everything is easily accessible, no digging around in the bottomless pit that is a backpack or diaper bag for pacifiers or wipes. 

    • Nem
      04/23/2018 / 5:13 PM

      Wife stopped by the office just now and we got to talking about diaper bags and our kids and such, remembering that we used a Vera Bradley diaper bag she’d received at a baby shower.  It had long shoulder straps that could go “messenger bag” style if carrying other bags or briefcase or whatever. It never occurred to us to have two bags, one hers and one mine.  When the time came, we shared nursery school drop off / pick up duty depending on schedules and I always just used the same bag…it was “the baby bag”.  As in, “hey, did you leave the baby bag in your truck again?”  Just made sense for us to have one bag instead of duplicating things. I certainly didn’t care about carrying an obvious diaper bag.  We did, of course, have car seats for both vehicles, but that’s an entirely different subject.

      • nachdrock
        04/23/2018 / 6:43 PM

        Same.  This is kinda dumb imo.

  4. Jeff
    04/23/2018 / 11:04 AM

    I went the backpack route when I no longer wanted to bring
    the briefcase on our family trips and needed the freedom of my hands to chase
    the kids.  The Mason from Korchmar was my
    choice, but my kids were out of the baby stage at that point.  It allows for all of my business essentials,
    and their ipads, and random whatever. 
    Plenty of space, can double as a weekender or be taken into the office
    as well.  You mention Filson, I would
    also include their Journeyman, which was a close second to the Korchmar Mason,
    but I ultimately opted for more room. 

  5. M
    04/23/2018 / 12:04 PM

    ……..or you could not carry a bunch of stuff!  I suppose I’m in the minority, but I go out of my way to not lug a lot of things around.  That said, if I did i would go with the Patagonia pack.  

  6. MER
    04/24/2018 / 12:00 PM

    i have a 2.5yo and 5 month old and never once have i considered carrying any kind of bag for them. Mom has a big purse (which she had before kids) and that seems to do just fine. Maybe we just aren’t very adventurous. 
    i will also take this opportunity to address backpacks in the workplace – if you are out of school and your office isnt a bicycle it’s time to put away the backpack and get a work bag. 

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