*This piece features my personal opinion on the Cora Backpack from POPFLEX, a sister brand of Blogilates. All thoughts are based on my individual experience with the product(s), including features that I loved and those that I didn’t.
Great diaper bags are underrated – and durable, stylish options can be hard to find. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t jam a handful of diapers, two different kinds of wipes, pacis, burp cloths, hand sanitizer, a nasal aspirator, changing pad, dirty clothes bag, toys, pureé pouches, my wallet, keys, favorite lipstick, sunglasses and a protein bar into an over the shoulder purse-sized “diaper bag” for the last 6 months.
Hear me out. My son is almost 1 and we had been using a carseat that converts into a stroller which has a compatible diaper bag-meets-purse accessory. This detachable add-on hooked neatly onto the stroller’s handlebar. It was easy to bring the bag into the store while running errands or latch it onto the stroller for walks through the park.
The reality was: it’s way too small to function as a diaper bag.
I know, I know. You’re probably wondering why I used it for so long. Honesty hour: I kept intending on swapping it for something else, but life was hectic and it wasn’t a high priority…until it was.
ISO The Perfect Diaper Bag
When I began my diaper bag hunt, I had to get clear on my non-negotiables:
- More space
- Comfy straps that don’t fall off my shoulder (the worst)
- Easy to wipe down
- Plenty of organization
That last one was huge. There were countless times where I dumped the contents of my bag onto the passenger seat or flippantly pulled items out and tossed them aside as I tried to uncover a paci, toy or wipes as quickly as humanly possible. Mamas, you know the feeling when you need it ASAP. 🆘
I also wanted a bag with usability that would extend beyond my years as a mom to infants. As opposed to finding an inexpensive option that may last a year or two max after wear and tear, I was searching for an alternative that was made to last. One that could withstand years of use with multiple children and easily transition into a work, gym or travel bag. When I found the POPFLEX Cora Backpack I was so excited because it checked all my boxes, plus some.
Crushing on The Cora at First Glance
Designed for the gym, this bag truly has every mom’s needs at heart. The backpack – which comes stuffed to help maintain its shape 👍 – is buttery soft at first touch and has supremely spongy straps. Both features were an instant win in my book because comfort and support as a mama is supreme!
I was drawn to the intentional construction of the bag. From its exterior dual water bottle holders with bungee cord fasteners that would finally prevent me from dropping both mine and my son’s bottles, to its four interior mesh compartments and key ring so I would stay organized and never have to frantically fish for my keys again, I was sold.
Oh, and can we talk about the discreet waterproof compartment on the bottom of the bag which is ideal for storing dirty clothes? No more stuffing them in a bag that 9 times out of 10 I’d forget in the car until I was searching for the precise outfit which had been left on my passenger seat..sometimes for days. The Cora was clearly giving me bag functionality I didn’t even know I needed – and it felt awesome.
When I pulled the bag out of its box and threw it over my shoulder to show my husband – as one does when they’re amped about their purchase – his reaction said it all. That’s sick! A.K.A. he was down to rock it if we’re out and about. I opted for the Blue Steel color, a soft blue-gray hue, that felt neutral enough to blend in with my fairly mono wardrobe of blacks, beiges and off whites. The bag is also available in a beautiful dusty rose for my girlie girls out there. Both colorways feature fun, patterned, fully lined interior fabric for a stylish little touch.
Packing Up The Cora Backpack
Let’s talk about my diaper bag checklist. I was able to comfortably fit everything I had in my previous bag into The Cora, plus an 8 oz baby bottle, my 32 oz water bottle, more toys and double the amount of diapers – all while leaving ample space to add more. I’m guilty of running out of diapers and forgetting to refill my on-the-go supply, so the ability to fit 6 instead of 3 (and realistically many more if I desired) was great. There was still plenty of room in the backpack to add more toys, snacks (we always need more snacks) or my portable pumps, everything was visible and easily accessible. It was a relief to zip the diaper bag closed without using a bit of force for the first time in a long time.
Made of neoprene fabric with natural give, the backpack molds to its contents. When I filled it to the brim for a quick zipper test, I had no issue closing it since the fabric stretched easily and the high-quality zipper moved smoothly. One of my favorite features is the double zipper. There are two zippers which meet from either side of the bag, so if you’ve slung the backpack over one shoulder and have your kiddo on your hip, no matter which way you’re accessing your bag it’s easy to open.
I felt incredibly accomplished when I looked into the bag and saw diapers and wipes neatly lining the back mesh pocket, two bottles secured on either side, pureé pouches, cheerios and sanitizing wipes in what I decided was the “snack compartment,” a couple of entertaining toys, a burp cloth, change of clothes, pouch with pacis and an aspirator and, most importantly, keys hooked exactly where they should be. It was organization at its finest, which gives me calm in the chaos of motherhood and helps when I ask my husband to hand me something if we’re out together and he claims he can’t find it. 😅 No more searching for either of us – it was all at our fingertips in a flash. The exterior small pouch on the front of the bag was a perfect fit for my wallet, shades and lipstick – the things I always need at the ready when jumping in the car.
Mom-ing It With Cora
Even with a hefty load including a filled metal water bottle, the Cora Backpack didn’t feel heavy to carry. It was a manageable weight and the straps didn’t cut into my shoulder.
As it goes being a mom, you often have one hand to do just about everything. On that note, adjusting the backpack straps was easy with a simple single-handed pull on either side. The smooth ribbon-like straps tightened seamlessly.
My son is growing like a weed, and we just upgraded him to a standard stroller with a seat that attaches to a base. In his new ride, the backpack fit in the basket, but didn’t leave room for much more than a blanket, fan and the seat bar attachment. This leaves you two options if you’re out and about and need to pack more: wear the backpack while you push the stroller so you can utilize the basket beneath your child’s seat or put the bag in the basket and use a stroller organizer if you want more space to hold personal items.
Not having ample extra space in the basket wasn’t a make or break for me, since when I do errands I don’t typically put items in the bottom of the stroller as I wander through the store. For my friends who rely on that space heavily when running errands (ahem, going to Target) with their littles, it’s a consideration when thinking through the size diaper bag that’s best for you.
We love being outside, and taking advantage of gorgeous weather is a must when you have tiny tots. Taking the Cora Backpack to the park was ideal since we usually camp out in the grass and let my son crawl around, investigate the grass…try to eat the grass…you know, the usual.
The bag’s material was resistant to the blades which I love and any bits that did attach themselves dusted off instantaneously. There’s no avoiding dirtying your baby gear when it comes to taking care of kids, but opting for items that clean easily and don’t attract dirt is always a plus.
Gets a big thumbs up:
- Neoprene fabric is buttery soft and waterproof – I spill…a lot!
- Easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth
- Durable fabric that’s made to last
- Padded straps are ultra comfy
- Straps are easy to adjust with one hand
- Waterproof shoe compartment is perfect for storing dirty clothes
- Bungee cord keeps bottles (water or milk/formula) in place
- Bright floral fabric makes it easy for me to find items in the bag
- Chic aesthetic with pleats on outer zip compartment and mesh water bottle holders
- Versatility – perfect for diaper bag, gym bag, weekender, work or laptop bag
What I didn’t love:
- Would love an alternate color (bring the black back!)
- Size is slightly larger than necessary for 1 baby – ideal with multiples or if you’re out for the day (fits snacks, water, change of clothes, diapers, iPad, all the things)
- Doesn’t come with a changing pad (but it’s not meant to be a diaper bag, so this is an inexpensive and easy item you can add)
- Don’t necessarily need yoga straps for diaper bag use, but excited to use in the future
- Pen holders aren’t necessary for diaper bag use, but awesome when functioning as a work bag
Cora Backpack For The Win
The Cora was the perfect solution to my diaper bag dilemma. It’s spacious, long-lasting, easy to clean, stylish, comfortable, supportive and fits in the basket of my stroller. Durable diaper bags can be an investment, so why not opt for a style that’s made to last and will function as a gym, work or travel bag when you’re done using it for your littles?
While the backpack’s size is on the larger side when compared to other diaper bags, it’s ideal if you have multiples or are spending the day out of the house and want to pack extra bottles, snacks, changes of clothes and beyond. The color is soft and the bag is designed with chic touches but not so much that my husband doesn’t want to wear it. All in all, I highly recommend the Cora Backpack as a diaper bag for all of my rockstar moms and dads out there.