We were overjoyed to have the opportunity to review the Idaho Jones Gallivant Baby Changing Diaper Backpack. It was hands down superior to the diaper bag we had been using for the majority of our year traveling in Europe, and we’d like to thank Idaho Jones for bag that was gifted to us. If you decide to purchase a bag through the affiliate link in this review, we will receive a commission at no expense to you, and you can save 15% by using the code jakeanddannie when you check out. But lest you think we are biased, we tested our Gallivant bag in Budapest for half a month, and when we left for Vienna, our old diaper bag made its way to the donation center.
Because we are traveling constantly, and our carrying capacity is at a premium, Jake and Lisa and I are starting to feel like experts on what we need in a diaper bag. It should be comfortable because we might wind up carrying it all day, or better yet, we should be able to hang it from our stroller. It should be spacious because Jake carries our photography gear, so our diaper bag holds not just Lisa’s necessities, but ours as well. And it should be attractive because even though I’m a mother, I don’t want pragmatism to completely rule out feeling stylish as we explore the world with our daughter.
The Idaho Jones Gallivant Baby Changing Diaper Backpack Review
Comfort and Convenience:
I don’t know how much our old bag weighed, but I do know that I was constantly going through it after a day out, trying to figure out what was making it heavy. It turns out it was just the bag itself. When we first received our Gallivant diaper bag, we held it side by side with our old one and the difference was astonishing. The backpack itself weighs only 2.4 pounds, which is basically nothing. But that’s not even the valuable part when it comes to comfort.
What really makes a difference is the way the shape of the bag distributes the weight on your back. Instead of being wide from side to side or sticking way out in the back, they opted to make the bag tall and narrow, so even if you load it up with bottles and wet wipes, it won’t make your back or shoulders sore. At first I was worried that the tall design would mean it was hard to access items on the bottom of the bag, but the abundance of internal pockets actually makes keeping things organized very easy. (More on that later.)
The bag also has adjustable straps that allow you to hang the bag over the handlebars of your stroller. We usually do this when we are traveling from city to city and Jake and I have other bags we have to carry. We also like to hang the bag when we are shopping and don’t want to knock stuff over when we turn around, forgetting we have a backpack on. Just note that if you hang this or any other bag on the back of your stroller, you need to be aware of the way it changes the center of gravity of the stroller. Make sure it is stable before you venture out.
Space and Organization:
As mentioned above, the Gallivant Baby Changing Diaper Backpack has a vertical design that makes it very comfortable. If you compared it to our old bag, you would see that they are almost the same size, but you’d be surprised to know that the Gallivant actually holds a lot more stuff. The nylon fabric is durable, thin and lightweight, and it is rigid enough that the bag does not collapse while you are trying to fill it. The main opening is a portal on the top, rather than a slit, which means it’s easy to reach your arm in and move stuff around inside. The downside of this shape is that the zipper has to go around a corner, which requires the use of both hands to pull and stabilize at the same time.
Packing and unpacking it almost feels more like working with a box or a canister than a bag, and I mean that in a good way. Think about what it’s like to pack eggs, cereal and some vegetables in the bottom of a plastic grocery bag, and how much easier it would be if the bag kept its form. For organization, there are also many optional pockets.
Inside, I have counted six pockets. Three are pouches with elastic rims, and another is identical to the first three except that it is also insulated and waterproofed for warm or cold bottles. We use these four pouches for Lisa’s snacks, yogurt pouches, my fujifilm camera and her small belongings/toys.
In the main compartment we pack raining day items, Lisa’s foldable waterproof pants, a quick dry towel for picnics and wet benches, two umbrellas and Lisa’s stuffed animal (she picks a different one to take out each day).
There is also a big flat pocket along the back of the bag for storing the soft changing pad that comes with the bag. We love this pocket because it is also (just) big enough for our 13 inch MacBook, or the iPad we bring to entertain Lisa during long train/bus/plane rides. The two side pocket are deep and wide, we pack one side with two water bottles and the other with reusable shopping bag plus an extra pack of baby wipes (handy not just for baby needs).
On the front of the bag there are two main pockets. The upper one has a soft velvet lining which makes it ideal for storying items you don’t want scratched (think cell phones or reading glasses). The lower is a good sized storage space with four smaller pockets on the inside, for loose items like keys, change or small toys. One of them has a zipper for things you especially don’t want to misplace (we used it to store our business cards).
Style and Appearance:
The exterior of the bag is black nylon with gold colored zippers and logo. The overall aesthetic almost reminds me of the design of a tasteful purse or traveling bag. I feel like a lot of diaper bags are designed to be cute, which isn’t really what I’m looking for. I’m sure that our daughter would appreciate polka dots, bright colors or pictures of animals, but realistically, she’s not going to be the one carrying it. Our daughter spends most of her time outside riding in the stroller or running around unencumbered. I’m the one who’s going to be wearing the bag, so it should be an accessory to my wardrobe, not hers.
The nylon is also surprisingly scratch resistant, and has already survived numerous drops and drags without the slightest mark. We were able to wipe off a couple of spills without difficulty. The interior of the bag is cream colored with white zippers, and the changing pad is black on the bottom and white on the top. The inside of the bag didn’t necessarily have to look good, but it does work well with the appearance of the outside when the bag is open.
Here are some times when we thought the Idaho Jones Gallivant Baby Diaper Backpack performed well.
- On our trip from Budapest to Vienna our train had technical problems and we all had to wait outside in the cold for four hours. Being able to hang the bag from our stroller made our lives a lot easier. We had packed Lisa’s favorite stuffed animals in easy to reach places, and we were able to keep her entertained during what could have been a truly miserable experience. I still give Lisa full credit for putting up with adversity, but a good diaper bag made it easier for Jake and me.
- We walked 5 miles across Budapest for a picnic in a park on a cold day. We made brie, pear and honey paninis and packed them in the main compartment of the bag (in a leakproof container of course). After traveling for an hour and a half outside, the paninis were still warm when it was time to eat them.
- We went shopping with the bag, and on our way home we got caught in a light rain. We had forgotten our umbrellas, and we were worried about the contents of the bag. Luckily, we could see even as we were walking that drops of water were beading off the backpack. I doubt that it would be waterproof in a downpour, but it’s nice to know that we don’t have to panic at the first sign of bad weather.
- On numerous occasions when we have decided to stop at the grocery store on our way home, we have put our groceries in the bag instead of wastefully getting extra plastic or paper bags to carry. The bag is really strong and well insulated, so heavy and cold items don’t create a problem when we want to have our hands free.
The Idaho Jones Gallivant Baby Diaper Backpack suits our needs extremely well. It’s stylish, capacious, durable, flexible, and easy to organize. It works great for carrying our daughter’s diapers, food, drinks and toys, and when she stops using diapers, we’re going to keep using it for our own belongings, because there’s nothing about it that limits its use to baby products. We have no problem enthusiastically recommending the Gallivant. The bag sells for $75, but if you use the offer code jakeanddannie, you can save 15%.
Update (October, 2018): We’ve now moved on from Europe and have been exploring Asia for almost a year. You can see where we’ve been on our destinations page. We’re still using our Idaho Jones Gallivant. It’s our go to carryon when we’re flying, and even though we are potty training now, we still use it because it has enough room for our portable baby toilet (and some changes of clothes).
For more reviews, and a list of other products and services we use as we travel the world with our daughter, visit our resources page. If you have any questions about this Gallivant bag that we didn’t address in this post, feel free to ask in the comments section below.