How to pack a daypack for a day with a baby

It’s the first post with the new domain!  And to celebrate, I’m going to bypass funny and deep and contemplative and instead, I shall pack a backpack.

Are you thrilled? Can you stand it?!

Backpacks are a matter of preference among travelers; I’ve had it beaten into my head that they are easier for thieves, heavy, blah blah.  But with a baby, especially if you’re using a carrier, an across-the-body contraption is just too much.  So use at your own risk, your mileage may vary, so on so on fishcakes.  Onward.

I have a basic day backpack, picked up on sale at Sports Authority.  It has two compartments and nice wide straps, which is good because I have the back of an 80-year old arthritic woman.

Next, the essentials.  We use cloth diapers, so that absolutely adds bulk to our pack.  For a 4-6 hour day, which is about all a small kid can realistically be expected to handle, three diapers ought to do it.  The purple is a wetbag for dirty diapers, and an extra outfit.  Since we’re always in warm climates, a singlet outfit is sufficient.  The wipes case has a spray bottle of California Baby Diaper Wash, powder, and diaper cream.  There’s also a changing pad and a single prefold cloth diaper, because you never know when you’ll need extra surface area.

After that, we have amusements.  Do not go unprepared; we have a couple of books, a flexible toy that can be twisted and summarily abused, and a container of dry trail mix.  In Maggie’s too-young-for-nuts case, it’s Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies and Graham Crackers and dried cranberries.

Ahhh, the emergency kit.  $16 travel toiletry case from Target with bandages, sunscreen and sunscreen stick, hand sanitizer, bug spray, all my assorted lip balm and contact lens stuff, and my favorite: the Leatherman Juice.  It is amazing how useful this contraption is; it’s also purple.  It’s one of my favorite things ever.

Zippered, it’s about the size of a large paperback.  Not bad.

And finally, my stuff.  Wallet, camera and a case, and since I’m a hipster-in-training not one but TWO graph-paper Moleskines.  I don’t know why, but I really prefer taking notes on graph paper instead of lined.  The larger one is kind of my catch-all; notes on crochet patterns and projects, shopping lists, to-dos, notes for story ideas, etc.  The smaller is where I take calendar notes for appointments and other projects and I enter it to Google Calendar later.  My phone (not shown because it lives in my hip pocket where Maggie can take it and chew on it) actually can do all that for me, but I really prefer a pen and paper.  There’s also a zip-top reusable shopping bag that folds into an ittybitty cube.  My big stash of reusable bags lives in my trunk, but this is handy for use at little shops or farmer’s markets while wandering around.  When I have a companion or a stroller, I carry my Canon 7D but if it’s just me, that’s a lot of weight and shuffling (though I love that camera with every fiber of my being).

All together, it looks really heavy but isn’t.  The cloth diapers make up a lot of bulk and there’s a fair amount of room left in the bag for…whatever.  I don’t know.  Life with a kid is weird, you run into all kinds of odd cargo.

And that’s that!  Easy enough, light on the back, and not covered in pastels or Disney characters.  You’re welcome.


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