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Bags For Dads

by , June 6, 2012

Bags For Dads

We do some Q&A on small rucksacks and dad bag ideas for a reader

Being a dad gives your life a whole new perspective, but it’s not just joy that your child brings. It’s nappies and clothes and stuffed toys and bibs and assorted food concoctions, all of which must accompany you on a trip out or else your little one will voice his or her displeasure in a none too subtle manner. However, though being a dad is a top priority, there are other aspects of your life that need to be catered to. When you go to work, you’re not exactly sending out the most professional image rocking up with a flowery nappy bag. Not to mention, a nappy bag does not make for a convenient trail running pack. One of our readers, Alex, was keen to get our thoughts on how best to solve the dad bag choice conundrum…

The Question

I’m looking for a very small everyday rucksack for three main (pretty lightweight) uses [1] and you guys will have seen far more bags than me so I wondered if you had any recommendations that fit the bill. I’m looking for something that I can drop onto my back and forget about.
Given the number of dads I see out and about with their kids, a feature on dad bags (or nappy bags without flowers) would make a useful blog post.
I’ve been looking around and the bewildering array of options has me overwhelmed and maybe I need a couple of bags to meet my needs, your thoughts are very welcome. I’d prefer a rucksack over a messenger bag and smaller rather than larger, but a sling bag may be an idea. I do value a grab handle on the top of the bag, so this is a must.
Some ideas have included:
* Goruck echo (rather expensive to buy from the UK and the shoulder straps may be a bit small for me [2])
* Montane Anaconda 18 (mountain pack)
* Haglofs Ace S (very small)
* Qwestion Backpack (looking good for the commute but a bit big and not so good as a running option)
* National Geographic Africa Small backpack (again, great for commute but maybe not the rest)
* Cote & Ciel flat backpack
[1] Uses (in order of priority)
A) Day to day bus, train and walking commute bag (Kindle, moleskin, pen, soup, fruit, wind shirt, gloves, small brollie, torch – we have no street lights in our village or by the river after my train journey, packable shopping bag). I’ve got a larger formal bag (OK, a nice looking but ridiculously heavy Saddleback Leather backpack) if I need to take a laptop and A4 documents. I use a small Saddleback satchel for my commute bag at the moment.
B) Dad day bag (A couple of nappies, water & sippy cup, bib, cutlery, wipes, small changing mat/muslin, change of toddler clothes, toddler coat, snacks, bear, pad of paper, pens, chalk, wind shirt or fleece for me). I’ve got a Rush 24 for travelling, but while great it is far too big for day to day use.
C) Trail running / hill walking bag (wind shirt, keys, hydration bladder, snacks, fleece, torch, phone, hat, buff, gloves).
D) Gig extras bag (drink, sun hat, sweat shirt, money, phone, keys). This needs to have a grab handle as I’ll have my tuba on my back in a big rucksack style gig bag which also holds my music folder but no room for anything else.
[2] Size – I’m 6ft2in with a 46inch barrel chest, broad shoulders and a long back (OK, that also means stumpy legs).

Our Response

Hmmmm, tricky brief. I’m almost thinking this is 2 different packs…

Daddy Day Bag

Bags For DadsI find Daddy Day Bags need to be left set up, otherwise you’ll forget stuff. We have a Fjallraven Kanken Mini that keeps all the bits together (diapers, drink bottle, change stuff, snacks, sunscreen, hat, jacket, etc). Our 2 yo now carries this herself, giving a sense of responsibility. Then if we’re going longer distances, it can get jammed into one of our daypacks.
This works a treat, as the full zip opening lets you get at everything (rather than reaching right down for the fumble), and the grab handles are quick to find. It is small enough to work well on our lap with plane trips, but big enough for a kid’s daily stuff.
Worth noting is that the straps are a bit silly (they haven’t down-scaled sensibly from the adult size), but they’re not a deal-breaker.

Trail Running Pack

The only other particularly demanding task you list is trail running – so that’s the one you need to start with. Packs for this need to be long and skinny, have compression (to stop contents bouncing) and great harnesses (the sternum strap is the main one). This use rules out any of the Goruck, Qwstion, Cote et Ciel or National Geo type packs (which are more office or general use packs).
Bags For Dads
Essentially you’ll be looking to hydration packs for this, as they generally tick those boxes without being as full on as specialized trail running packs. You’ll also want to avoid the really fluoro/techie ones that will look odd on a train without your Lycra, so look more to Mountain Bike and Tactical and all-rounder stuff. Any of the brands like Camelbak or Dakine to the more Tactical stuff should work.
Bags For DadsSome that we like the look of are the Camelbak Transformer and H.A.W.G, Dakine Nomad 18L, Osprey Raptor 14, or a TAD FAST Pack Litespeed if you’re after something a touch larger (but this might feel like it’s doubling up with your Rush 24).
Bags For Dads
The bonus with a Tactical version is you might even be able to piece together your Daddy Day Bag as a MOLLE attachment, magically combining the two bag options.
Bags For Dads
Bags For Dads
Hope that helps as a start. Let us know your thoughts or if we’ve missed anything, and do let us know how your search progresses,
Ando and the Carryology team
A question to our Carryology readers: Are there bags not recommended above that you think meet Alex’s requirements? We’d love to hear about them!


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