How many photographer dads are out there? I guess we are a significant number and if you are going to be one soon, congratulations! I hope this article will be useful to you.
There are a huge variety of diaper bags with great choices. But maybe the best diaper bags aren’t currently marketed to parents; rather, they’re marketed to photographers because the best diaper bag is actually a camera bag.
Are You in a Rush?
No worries, let´s start with the resume of my thoughts and if you want to know more, keep reading.
Pros of using a camera backpack as a diaper bag:
- Appearance: A camera backpack will always catch the eye of a photographer
- Organization: Lots of compartments and customization options
- Comfort: They are designed to carry heavyweight for a long time
Cons of using a camera backpack as a diaper bag:
- Price: They tend to be more expensive than regular diaper bags
- Bulky: If you don’t do the right choice, you might fall into having something that is bigger and heavier than what you actually need
[Related Reading: Newborn Photography Workshop and Presets]
The Beginning of the Path
As an NGO photographer, I have extended experience documenting the labor from local charity organizations, and the reality of the people they are helping. These endeavors have brought me to travel to more than 50 countries around the globe. However, and before some months ago, my experience as a dad was close to cero.
Since my wife was pregnant, we started to prepare the nest to receive our little one and the topic of selecting the right diaper bag hit us without having any experience at all to choose the best option.
A Personal Need
Due to cultural traditions or governmental legislations, mothers tend to have a longer leave than fathers to take care of the children after birth. Therefore, is not a surprise that most diaper bags are marketed to females as they are the biggest consumers in the market. Of course, there are also more masculine options, but the availability of choices is less.
As I live in Germany, I had the fortune of choosing to spend a whole full year on paternity leave with the aim of taking care of our little girl. The moment I took the decision I knew that I needed an everyday backpack that could match my style and needs. Traditional diaper bags didn´t cover them. I wanted a solution that could be a hybrid between a diaper bag and a backpack to bring the camera with me for capturing those moments while taking care of the baby.
There is a big tendency for moms to adapt their diaper bags as camera slings or totes as the appearance and comfort appeal strongly to them. On the other hand, I found little information on the other way around; that´s to say, converting camera backpacks into diaper bags tailored to dads. Thus, I decided to give it a try.
Take Into Consideration
When choosing the right backpack to be used as a diaper bag, I recommend going for an option that could be flexible to be used to carry photography gear, but also that functions as an everyday bag. In that way, the configurations will be much easier to accommodate all the baby’s essentials, as well as personal items on a daily basis, and bigger personal equipment when needed.
There are many options regarding camera backpacks, some of them are simple enough to carry a body + a couple of extra lenses, and some others are much more complex to accommodate heavier gear. Baby stuff weights way less than all your photography equipment, therefore, you won’t need something that robust and your back will appreciate not carrying so much weight every day.
[Related Reading: 6 Safe & Easy Newborn Photography Tips]
Before giving you my two-cents about the backpack that I chose, it´s important to mention that most of the varieties from any brand, could serve the purpose of using a backpack as a diaper bag. It´s all a matter of personal taste.
I decided to go with WANDRD and their PRVKE model as I thought that it could really cover the need for carrying my baby´s essentials, while also conserving its pure essence as a camera backpack and travel bag, which I have already tested it on-field with satisfactory results.
- Aesthetics: Looks beautiful, is pure Instagram-fodder
- Flexibility: It can be used as a standalone everyday backpack (therefore, as a diaper bag), travel bag, and camera backpack
- Storage: There are two photography bundles to choose to carry as much gear (or baby stuff) as you want
- Extra space: The expandable roll-top creates an extra 5 liters of space
- Size: I chose the 31-liter version for using it on my photography sessions when I´m not with the baby, or to travel. However, a 21-liter version could be more useful for a city commuter
Also, and as a personal note, during my research about the company, I noticed that the roots from WANDRD are bundled with the unity of their co-founders, who are brothers and started the company as a family business. Therefore, my values matched with their family-approach, something that I liked and to which I felt connected, besides the design of the backpack itself, of course.
What I Carry With Me For The Baby
- A portable changing pad
- Diapers (1 to 2 for every hour I plan to be out)
- Travel pack of disposable diaper wipes
- Plastic bags to wrap up dirty diapers or hold wet clothes
- Diaper rash ointment
- Cloths for burping or for covering boys during changes
- Small bottle of hand sanitizer
- Change of clothes for baby
- Hat for sunny or cold weather
- Baby blanket
- Clean bottles and formula
- Baby toys or rattle
- A portable baby carrier/sling (sometimes)
- I use the extra 5 liters of space to carry groceries
- Camera + extra lens
What I Carry With Me for Photography (with the medium size photography bundle)
- Canon EOS R – 30,3 MP
- Tamron 45mm / f1,8 EF Di VC USD G2
- Tamron 17-35mm / f2,8-4 EF Di OSD G2
- Tamron SP 24-70mm / f2,8 EF Di VC USD G2
- GoPro HERO9 Black with Smart Remote
- Manfrotto BeFree Advanced GT Carbon with MSQ6T
- iPad Pro
- MacBook Pro Retina with touch bar, 13-inch
- Other accessories such as memories, extra batteries, remote triggers, etc.
- DJI Mavic 2 with Smart Remote Controller (optional)
- Diverse 100mm filters for long-exposures (optional)
- Speedlights and diffusers (optional)
- I use the extra 5 liters to carry a light jacket or hat, and other personal items
[Related Reading: Newborn Photography: 3 Quick Tips on How To Pose a Newborn Safely]
With the ever-changing gear they lug around, photographers need a bag that offers a lot of compartments and customization options; when shooting, they need to quickly access the gear they bring (and often with one hand); and, finally, to haul said gear, photographers need a bag that can not only handle the delicate products but also be comfortable to lug around on location. Sounds familiar right?
A camera bag offers everything a parent needs to lug around their baby supplies — and they look great, too. As it was mentioned at the beginning, there are no written rules about this game. The best photography/diaper bag will be a matter of personal choice. Feel free to choose your favorite solution among backpacks, shoulder bags, sling bags, tote bags, or even big holster cases. Any of them have the potential to carry and organize your child´s items while housing your camera to capturing those unforgettable moments between you and your little loved one.