For a long time I’ve kept what’s in my bag pretty minimalist (when carrying a bag at all). With a dodgy back I can’t carry a huge amount anyway, especially if it’s in a traditional handbag which tends to weigh a fair bit on its own.
Nappy bags aren’t really known for their minimalism. Babies require a lot of stuff these days (or at least they seem to), and this usually means a very large, very heavy shoulder bag with a pocket for everything needed for every scenario. I knew this wasn’t going to work for me, but it took me a little while to figure out what would.
A friend recommended the Fjällräven Kanken Mini backpack, and although I tried a few other “nice” looking backpacks, this is the one that won out for me. Unfortunately the secondhand kanken I bought seems to be a fake, but since it does the job I haven’t bothered to replace it. The real Kanken Minis are very slightly larger and better quality than my bag here, but otherwise it looks and works pretty much the same.
Yes it was designed for Swedish school children, and the size definitely makes it look like a child’s backpack. And yes, the nylon fabric might not look as nice as leather, but it is far more lightweight. A whilst it doesn’t have as many pockets as a traditional nappy bag, it’s so small that pockets are almost irrelevant.
I’ve found that with some very intentional placement, I can get everything I need for a a few hours out and about with Felix into this tiny bag. Here’s my essentials:
- A cloth nappy with a cloth wipe and mini wet bag tucked in
- My backup kit – a disposable nappy, some cloth wipes, and a spare onesie in a zippered bag
- Face washer cloths for cleaning messes
- Little hand sanitiser bottle
- A flannel swaddle, which I use as a changing mat, play mat or blanket
- My 750ml water bottle
- My stuff – lip balm, keys, wallet and sunnies
- There’s enough space for one other item if I need it, like a ring sling, an extra cloth nappy, a reusable coffee cup, a toy etc
To fit all this in and have it all be usable, I have to put it all in in a specific way – less frequently used items like the backup kit and my wallet go in the pocket along the back of the bag, whilst frequently used items like the hand sanitiser and sunnies go in the (very tiny) side pockets. With all of the above in the bag, it’s completely full but I can still access the things I need frequently due to the way the bag opens up fully.
This works for me because Felix is breastfed (kudos to those mums carrying around bottles!), is happy to play with a cloth as a “toy”, and isn’t yet eating solids on the go. Sadly I’ll have to upsize to a larger bag when I start needing to carry baby meals and water bottle with me everywhere, but for now it’s a tidy little solution.
My bag lives on a hook by my front door, with the main contents replaced and ready to go next time we head out. One less thing to have to remember before walking out the door.