- Buyer's Guide
Kids are challenging, that’s a universal truth. Challenging doesn’t mean bad, it just means lots of adapting on the go, adjustment of priorities and maximising efficiency. Diaper/Nappy bags are crap on the whole (figuratively and literally) often promising too much and delivering too little. This is a common theme in specialist bags, as they can aim to solve every single issue rather than focusing on doing a few things really well. That’s where No Reception Club comes in, and today, we’re looking at their brand new Hideaway Duffel. Is this the answer to those asking “How do I travel with kids?”
Who’s it for?
Those who like to travel with their kids, and keep things organised. With multiple carry options, a thoughtful layout, and a few tricks up its sleeve, the Hideaway duffle makes travel with offspring a breeze.
Who’s it not?
This is a function first travel bag. It isn’t for those who are minimalist travellers.
Who are No Reception Club?
The brainchild of Daniel and Gemma Ng, No Reception Club was founded from their desire to travel with their two children. Disappointed at the lack of functional options, they took to Kickstarter with their first two products – the Getaway Bag, and the Sidekick sling. These proved to be a huge success and have gained a feverish following.! Many of the Carryology team (myself included) have become reliant on the Getaway and Sidekick as a non-negotiable when travelling with a little one, it even came with me to the hospital to bring my daughter home. So, what does their newest addition bring to the table?
When the opportunity presented itself to test the new Hideaway Duffel, my wife and I jumped at the chance. We were fortunate enough to spend some time with Daniel and Gemma in Sun Valley, Idaho to dig deeper into the philosophy behind their brand and their designs.
Once you use the Hideaway Duffel, that thoughtfulness is clear to see. I’m pretty convinced that many specialist bags are pointless, and I had found that to be the case with most bags labelled as diaper bags. As you might imagine, I have a library of wonderful bags, and my wife and I have found great success using those with our own internal set up of pouches for our day to day. However, travel is a different beast. If you’re a parent, chances are that you know wrangling a child while juggling seat assignments, your own luggage, and your sanity can be quite the task. Daniel and Gemma have been through that struggle many-a-time and have come out the other side with the Hideaway Duffel.
The Hideaway Duffel aims to make it easy to go from home to the plane to holiday. That’s quite the challenge to take on, and one that they’ve succeeded in. The premise itself is straightforward, a carry-on approved duffel that saves time at both ends of your trip, while making the travel portion as seamless as possible. My wife, daughter and I have used this for multiple trips over the past six weeks, and we come away impressed each time.
Build it and they will come.
One area that kickstarter bags can often fall down in is the construction and materials used. Not here. The manufacturing standard on the No Reception Club bags is flawless, and I’ve not once worried about durability as I’ve tossed it into overhead bins or thrown it on top of a wheeled carry on. Almost the entire bag is constructed from CORDURA® Recycled Polyester and nylon fabric, simply meaning it’ll take all the beatings it needs to when carting around your little one. The leather trims are vegetable tanned too; this is an eco conscious product. The locking zippers are from the beloved YKK® – this might be a diaper bag but it is a premium product too. All of the hardware that you interact with is slender, unobtrusive, and sleek. If someone didn’t know that it was a diaper bag, they’d be none the wiser from the exterior. Personally, I think this is one of the reasons for NRC’s success. The idea for their products is undoubtedly strong, but the execution and attention to detail is fantastic. When investing in anything for a child, our first thought is focused on giving them the best, and spending money on products that you can rely on!
Good construction and pleasing aesthetics are one thing, but function is the name of the game when it comes to travelling with children. I have similar feelings about the camera bags that I review, it simply has to deliver at “crunch time”.
Crunch time with kids is running between gates, getting unpacked quickly once you’ve arrived, and swapping the bag between parents seamlessly at the airport amongst many other crisis moments! A bag that helps, rather than hinders, in those moments is critical to a successful trip.
Let’s start with the airport. There are three main carry options with this bag: 1. Grab handles–simple, comfortable, reliable. They are on three sides of the duffel (four if you include the leather snap grab handle on top!) 2. Luggage pass through–if you have a roller suitcase or carry-on with you, pop the Hideaway over the handle and keep another hand free ready for wrangling! 3. Backpack carry–the straps neatly stow away behind the luggage pass through, and have an adjustable width. Meaning you can easily adjust for whomever is playing pack mule! This feature is an epitome of NRC design. It isn’t some grand overhyped feature for marketing purposes, rather a simple and elegant choice that makes a real difference in use. Also on the exterior you’ll find two compression straps attached to the lid of the Hideaway, this is a natural spot for any overflow items such as a jacket or extra blanket.
Now you’ve arrived at your destination, and inside the duffel is where things get really interesting. We have to start with the cubby. The cubby will quickly become your best friend when travelling with your little one. It is designed to be your portable drawer, and it makes transferring from your home set up to your holiday one a breeze.
Thanks to the customisable walls inside the cubby, you can configure this to match your drawers/clothes storage at home. This allows you to rely on that muscle memory and save precious seconds mid blowout change. It has a charming printed pattern depicting all things travel, its own zippered lid, and even a handle that can be used to hang inside a wardrobe if that’s how you roll.
The cubby also attaches to the main bag via Velcro tabs to stop it rattling around while on the move, and is easily detached to give you use of the Hideaway as a more traditional “open” duffel. We’ve done this a few times where we’ve popped the cubby in a drawer and then used the hideaway as an impromptu grocery bag or day bag.
Elsewhere on the Hideaway you’ll find pockets galore, and not just for the sake of it either. Each of these pockets can pull triple duty, but in a way that is truly useful. While listed at 42L, with these pockets, it feels like the Hideaway can carry a whole lot more. In the main cavity you have one flat zippered pocket that we use as a pocket for an airtag, extra tissues, and extra wipes. This is right at the opening of the bag, so easy to grab in a pinch. On the interior lid there is a mesh pocket divided into two, roughly a two thirds to one third split. We’ve found this to be a great home for extra bottles, bibs, and overflow accoutrement. We’ve also used this for a vest or jacket.
On the roof of the bag, there are two exterior access pockets, again in a two thirds, one third configuration. The two thirds pocket is a cooler pocket. With its mesh dividers, it is home to pouches, snacks, and even a pre-made bottle or two.
As is the way with children, it’s in one end and out the other–the bottom third pocket is where we’ve kept extra diapers for immediate access.
On the top end of the hideaway there is a zippered pocket with volume, perfectly sized for a smaller dopp kit, so it’s quick to grab hand sanitizer, Aquaphor, Desatin when the time calls. Also on the exterior, behind the grab handles are two magnetic water bottle pockets! This comfortably houses water bottles up to 20oz, perhaps even larger depending on how stuffed the main volume is.
The rear of the bag is the Hideaway’s best kept secret. Upon first inspection it may just look like the back panel, but a closer look will reveal a zip that runs three sides of the bag. Open this and you’ll be greeted by a wet/dry compartment. Look closer still and you’ll realise that this liner has some give to it.
Imagine it’s the end of your holiday, you’re reluctantly admitting that reality awaits, and you have a hotel room or airbnb full of dirty kids clothing. Well in tandem with the included laundry bag, you can collapse the cubby and pack it flat in main compartment (using those Velcro tabs to keep it in place). Pop all the soiled clothing into the laundry sack, push through and voila, you’ve transformed your portable wardrobe into your portable laundry for the journey home. This’ll stop any smells or stains finding their way into the clean compartment and you’ll be ready to hit the washer when you get home. Another thoughtful and practical design choice that is a lifesaver on the road!
This is a product I didn’t know I needed, and now I can’t envisage travelling without it when we’re on the road with our daughter. It simplifies our travel, it carries very well, and it is a streamlined and understated bag, which is my style! When you have a child, there are many items that you’ll be told you need to get, and only a few of them actually end up making the difference you hope they will. The sound machine was the first one for us, the portable bottle brush tray was the second, and now the Hideaway is the third. We want our daughter to be able to see the world, we want to find ways to say “yes!” to travel when opportunities present themselves, and we want to do it together. The Hideaway Duffel just made that a whole lot easier.
Carryology readers can take $30 off their NRC purchase with code ‘CARRYOLOGY30’!