How functional and family friendly is this stylish diaper bag from Skip Hop?
The Skip Hop Grand Central Diaper Bagis an adorable option for carrying all your baby gear. It’s stylish and trendy and not at all baby-gear looking. It’s about as functional and tactical as a cute bag can be. With two insulated side pockets, three main storage compartments, some inner pockets, and easy-access outer pockets, every baby (and parent) item can have it’s own place. The ease of cleaning, the sheer size, and the durability aren’t what they should be for a diaper bag in this price range, but it’s still a fantastic option for a diaper bag.
Best of Both Worlds
Okay, I’ll admit that I am a bit of a bag junkie. I have more purses and tote bags than any one woman needs. My most favorite bags are those that are either cute or have loads of pockets. That’s why I love Skip Hop’s Grand Central Diaper Bag. It’s got both the style and organization that I need.
Amazing pockets. This bag has a ton of pockets, and I do mean a ton. We are talking about 11 pockets and 3 main compartments for baby things and parent things. The biggest section in the middle is large and can be zippered shut. It has a couple of side wall pockets for holding things you don’t want mixing up with your other stuff. The baby side section has a clear zippered pocket in it that is the absolute best place to keep pacifiers.
It’s also a good place to keep teething toys so that they don’t get all linty and dirty in the bottom of the bag. It has some more pockets on the side, too, including a toy loop for hooking toys to. The mom and dad section has a fleece lined pocket to keep sunglasses from getting scratched, another side wall pocket for a phone, and a zippered pocket. Finally, there’s two outer zip pockets for quick access things, like keys and wallet and snacks, and two insulated side pockets for drinks (Note: a Starbucks cup does indeed fit in the insulated pocket).
Maybe even more pockets? You certainly can put everything in it’s own place. As long as you can create an organizational system and maintain it, you should have no problems with this bag. I do wish that there were more pockets in the main section. That section seems to be where I keep the stuff I need most, and I find that sometimes I have to unpack half of the section just to get to the bottom because it’s mostly all just mixed together.
My other wish is that all three of the main compartments were zippered. It is so easy for sunglasses or pacifiers or other things to slip out of the side pockets because they come unsnapped. These are really minor things, but if I could redesign the bag, that’s what I’d add.
Doesn’t scream baby gear. Now to the style part. I’ve never been a mom that liked cutesy baby gear. I know that the diaper bags with characters or baby prints on them are fun, but they just aren’t my style. I like to look like I have my own sense of style as a mother. This bag makes that easy. I love love love stripes because they are classically trendy.
This bag looks expensive without costing an arm and a leg. And finally, it doesn’t really look like a diaper bag. It just looks like a fantastic tote bag. Which is okay with my husband, because he doesn’t have to carry around a bag with flowers or Minnie Mouse on it.
How It’s Made
Most people probably don’t care what a diaper bag is made out of. But as a crazy bag lover, I have had a lot of experience with bags of all types of materials. This diaper bag has some important things that Skip Hop used or left out, and I feel like you should know about them!
The materials I love:
- The whole things is BPA and phthalate free. Since there’s a good chance my toddler will find a month-old, half-eaten granola bar at the bottom of the bag, I’m glad it won’t be laced with chemicals from the bag itself. And if baby chews on the straps when I’m not looking, well, worse things have happened.
- Cotton straps. Cotton is glorious and easy to clean. I have hand washed spit up off of these straps in my kitchen sink on a number of occasions. They still look brand new and they’re really sturdy. They hide stains well, too, because of the black color.
- Water-resistant lining. Sippy cups are gonna leak, that’s just an accepted truth of parenthood. Thank goodness it won’t seep through and ruin my whole diaper bag.
The materials I don’t love:
- Faux leather trim. This looks great and all, but it starts to show wear and tear via frays and cracks pretty quickly. Maybe more of a canvas-like material would look great and hold up better.
- Outer material. It’s cute, it’s lightweight, and it’s durable. However, it is HARD to get clean. I’m not brave enough to put this in the washing machine since it’s supposed to be spot clean only, and I just can’t get it 100% clean. I have used all kinds of natural cleaners and even disinfecting wipes, but there are a few grease and juice stains that just won’t come out. Such is life for a diaper bag.
Now you know all the specs of this diaper bag, so my infomercial-type spiel is over. Let’s look now at the nitty gritty details of how this thing operates on a day to day basis.
Getting everything in it. I now have the pleasure of packing a diaper bag for two. I need all the baby gear for my newborn, like diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, a wet/dry bag, and changing pad, etc. Plus, my older toddler still needs a change of clothes (just in case), snacks and drinks galore, and room for toys. I finally found a cute bag that I can actually fit all of my stuff for two kids in! Thank goodness this bag has all those pockets.
I’ve claimed a section, and each of my kids gets a section. Still wish there were just a few more pockets though, because I could keep that big section and the baby section better organized. Oh, and the changing pad that’s included? The padding is wonderful and it’s easy to clean. And it matches. I love it.
If you are packing for two and want free hands, check out a backpack diaper bag for twins.
Carrying it around. So you know how this thing has a ton of pockets and can fit lots and lots of things? Well, that comes at a price. This bag is big. I don’t mean kind of bulky, I mean big. It does sit flat on the bottom, which is great, because I have to set this thing down a lot. It gets really hard to carry this on my shoulder and look after my running toddler and holding a newborn.
I wish there was a cross body strap, but it would still be just too big to carry that way. I guess you give up a sleek size to get the room for all that baby gear. Also, forget about putting it in the bottom of a stroller. It just isn’t going to fit. Which leads me to my next point…
Stroller straps. I never had stroller straps with my first diaper bag. It was a small cross body bag and it worked fine for just one kid. Now with two kids and this upgraded bag, I find that the stroller straps are a lifesaver. I used to have to drape my whole bag somewhere on the stroller and hope it didn’t drag on the ground or fall off.
Now I just snap the stroller straps of the Grand Central onto the handles or sides of the stroller and off I go. I do get worried sometimes about the tiny straps holding the weight of a fully-loaded diaper bag. This bag probably weighs like 10 pounds or more when it’s packed to the top, and I have noticed that the material around the straps is beginning to tear, even without it being fully loaded. I wonder how long it will hold up?
Color and Style Options
- 4.7 stars, 35 reviews- Bed Bath & Beyond
- 4.8 stars, 32 reviews- Nordstrom
- 4.8 stars, 46 reviews- Target
- 4.8 stars, 308 reviews- Toys R Us
- Lots of pockets/organization
- Well-made with good materials
- Can fit a ton of stuff
- Stroller straps and changing pad are great
- Needs more pockets
- Whole thing should zip shut
- Hard to clean outside
- Very big
- Stroller straps and leather trim not very durable
The Skip Hop Baby Grand Central Diaper Bag is a wonderful thing. It’s got all the style of a normal tote bag combined with all the function of a fully-loaded diaper bag. It makes staying organized with two kids and one mom’s worth of stuff an easy task. It has pockets galore to help fit everything you could possibly need for either a day out or a longer vacation.
The few things I would fix, like the size and spot cleaning, are truly minor things. If my husband okays a diaper bag after years in the military using tactical bags and kits, you know it’s a good bag. And he loves the Grand Central (probably because it isn’t too girly or cutesy and it works!). The money you’ll spend is worth it to get this great diaper bag.