When you have a new baby, anything that makes your life easier becomes like a best friend. And, for me, that’s exactly what the BEABA Stockholm Open Bag has been. The first time I ever used the bag was the night that I received word that my ill mom might not make it through the night. I would be flying cross-country from Atlanta to California with four hours notice. I was eight months pregnant and traveling with my toddler son. Thanks to the Stockholm, packing was a breeze, leaving my mind free to focus on more important things.
In the past, trying to pile everything I’d need for a toddler and myself for a long flight into one bag was a daunting feat that required a carefully thought-out plan and a time-consuming, just-so arrangement of items. Not so with the Stockholm. The bag is unbelievably ample in size. I had no trouble fitting outfits, snacks, toys, makeup, reading materials, water bottles, and even my laptop computer, with room leftover.
Like any best friend would, the Stockholm has come to my rescue again and again since that night. The design of the bag is pure genius. The pockets are plentiful and well thought out. On the outside of the bag, there are two exterior pockets, perfect for keeping keys or a cell phone within easy reach. In between those and the main interior compartment is my favorite feature: two large magnetic, snap-close pockets. (To give you an idea of size, they can hold my Apple laptop.) They’re the perfect spot for diapers and wipes. I can just pop open the button with one hand and grab what I need, no fumbling with a zipper. As a mom of two, I also love the divided design. Because each side of the bag has the snap-close pockets, I don’t have to worry about trying to weed through baby girl’s things to find something for my toddler son or vice versa. One side of the bag is for him, the other for her.
In the center of the bag, a zip-top compartment offers plenty of room for extra clothes, toys, snacks, etc., along with four smaller, elastic-top pockets, perfect for tucking away lip gloss and a compact. This middle area has a unique (and amazing!) feature of its own—a full, 180-degree opening. Because my previous diaper bag was deep with a narrow opening up top, I know how frustrating it can be to spend ages feeling around in the dark to find a bodysuit or a diaper. The Stockholm’s design banishes the black hole effect (and, with it, the potential frustration). The only drawback: I have to be sure to keep one zipper at the top of the bag, otherwise closing it with one hand is nearly impossible.
While the Stockholm certainly delivers when it comes to design, it falls short on carrying options. The straps are sufficient but don’t offer as many configurations as I’d like. They include soft leather handles and a longer nylon strap with a shoulder pad that can be worn across the body. While both are comfortable and stay in place quite well, I was left wishing there was also a backpack option, especially while toting a toddler, a carry-on, and the diaper bag through a busy airport.
Still, the bag has way too many perks for me to mind the limited carrying options too much. Take, for example, the smart “extras” that come with the bag. Besides the standard changing pad, the Stockholm comes with a number of smart extras, including stroller straps and an an antibacterial pacifier case that promises a sanitary spot for my little one’s paci. (Now, if only they could figure out how to keep the paci in her mouth rather than on the floor.) Other bonuses are a drawstring sack to pack out those post blow-out outfits (this has saved me a mess—and my sanity—more than once) and a thermal pouch for toting bottles or snacks and drinks, which is ample enough for baby food, my toddler’s snacks and a bottle of water.
The Stockholm also features a durable, waterproof exterior, which has kept my light-colored bag clean and pretty even after being schlepped across the country more than once over the past couple of months.
And, speaking of pretty, when you’re struggling through those first few days (or weeks or months) with an infant, staying on top of your appearance isn’t often at the top of the Mom To-Do List. Thankfully, the Stockholm is as stylish as it is functional. The hip grey silhouette gets a sweet boost from pink strap accents. So, even if I haven’t had time to dress up for an outing, I feel instantly chic when I slip the coral-colored straps over my shoulder. Or, at least as chic as any woman can feel while wearing yoga pants and a shirt spotted with spit up.
In sum, the Stockholm is smart, stylish, and makes me feel good about myself. No wonder I’m beginning to think she’s my best friend.
To buy: amazon.com