Outside Baby: Get Outside, and Stay There!

04/27/2008 at 07:00 AM ET

Coolerbackpack Recently I had one of those totally vivid, totally surreal ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ moments, as I tested the Cooler Backpack by Outside Baby.  You know the feeling.  Empty.  Bitter.  But whatever self-loathing I might have been feeling over having not been the person to come up with the idea behind the backpack — which combines all the elements of a diaper bag with a built-in cooler — was tempered by my downright glee over getting to use the backpack in the first place.  Celebrity moms like Christy Turlington, a fan of Outside Baby and mom to 4 1/2-year-old Grace and 2-year-old Finn, know that its hard to stay bitter when you’re toting a bag like this! 

Click ‘continue reading’ for the full the review. 

I don’t know about you, but insulated bottle holders have never been a big draw for me when it comes to choosing a diaper bag.  I mean, they’re nice … but they’re not something I find myself anxious to use.  I’m always paranoid that it won’t keep the beverage cold enough or that the bottle will leak, leaving me with a stinky diaper bag.  In any event, with two kids, a bottle pocket (or two) is rarely enough to sustain us for any extended period of time away from home.  For those reasons, with the vast majority of our outings, I find myself packing two bags — a diaper bag with clothes, diapers and wipes, and an insulated bottle bag for sippies, bottles and food.  Getting out the door with two bags and two kids is tricky;  I’m continually amazed that both kids even make it to the car, let alone both bags.   

Coolerbackpack1 With the Cooler Backpack ($79.99) that process is simplified exponentially, however, because everything I need is safely (and efficiently!) tucked away in one place.  The lower insulated cooler compartment measures 12"W x 7"H x 6"D and easily fits several bottles, sippies or juice boxes with room to spare for some sandwiches or fruit.  Just pack it, zip it closed and begin packing the top compartment with your diapering and clothing supplies.  You’re ready to go!  We tested the Cooler Backpack over two weeks and have no complaints.  There was never any crossover between the cooler portion and the ‘dry’ upper portion, even with a leaky bottle incident, and it did a great job of keeping the perishable items we packed cool.    

Still not sold?  Other features include a secure internal valuables zippered pocket, an integrated changing pad with quick-stow pocket, an on-strap cell phone holder, a front organizer pocket, side compression straps and an external watter bottle holder.  The Cooler Backpack comes with wide range strap adjustments for both the shoulder straps and the waist belt, making it easy to switch off between mom and dad.  And, speaking of dad, you won’t get much grief from him about carrying the Cooler Backpack.  Its three color combinations — Gray/Sunrise, Black/Gray and Khaki/Green — are completely gender neutral.  It’s just a great option for extended outings, whether you’re planning a hike with your toddler or a picnic lunch playdate at the park with a friend.

Minimessenger Have a little one who wants nothing more than to be just like mom and dad?  Now they can at least look the part.  Outside Baby also sells mini-backpacks ($19.99) and mini-messenger bags ($29.99) available in the same color combinations as the Cooler Backpack.  The mini-messenger clips easily onto a bike or doll stroller and is small enough that it’s not unwieldy for a toddler to use, but big enough to easily fit a coloring book or two and a box of crayons.  The mini-backpack isn’t large enough to carry books or the like, but is perfect for some snacks and small toys.  Like the Cooler Backpack, both the ‘mini’ offerings are made of rugged cordura and ripstop nylon.

To purchase these bags and backpacks, or any of Outside Baby’s other products, click here.

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