I didn't realize how OCD I was about organizing until I started diaper bag shopping!! I purchased so many bags over the past few years and I had issues with all of them not fitting my specific needs: either not enough compartments, or if there were compartments- they weren't usable sizes- or they were designed to where if you actually use the pockets then one pocket would block another- OR the diaper bags didn't have an appropriate closure, or they toppled over rather than standing-- you get the picture!
Since being blessed with baby # 2 (now with a toddler and a newborn) I needed a better bag and I started my search for the perfect diaper bag all over again... but this time I happened upon the BFF and I fell in LOVE (actually I am in love with a LOT of Ju Ju Be bags, but this is my FAVORITE)!
All the good things:
* Gusseted pockets! The main compartment opens so ingeniously- you can see what you have and GET to anything on the very bottom without pulling everything out, or clumsily knocking items out of the bag!
* The fabric is stain resistant, teflon coated, microbial treated, and MACHINE washable!
* Lots of pockets, usable sizes, some zippered, some open, and also a large open space in the middle for awkward shaped things
* Quality metal hardware everywhere (no cheap plastic stuff): zipper pulls, d-rings, buckles, and the zipper itself is super smooth
* METAL FEET (seems so obvious, but so many diaper bags don't have them- GROSS!)
* LOVE the 2 photo pockets- very cool (my hubby also pointed out a practical yet scary benefit- good to have in the case of the un-thinkable like losing a child in public)- canNOT imagine that- makes my head hurt typing that, sorry.
* 3-way carry style (top handle, shoulder/messenger, or backpack) with fully adjustable, padded straps- cool I have choices!
* 2 Thinsulate lined bottle pockets on the outside (they are not SUPER insulated, since they are not "sealed-all-the-way-around" the bottle) but do the trick at keeping things from getting hot so fast)
* Mommy pocket is well designed for today's things (can fit an iphone, reading/sunglasses, wallet, keys, lipstick, pills, and more misc)- no need to dig through the kids' things to get to mine quickly and no need to carry a separate purse!
* Since there are no magnetic closures anywhere on the bag, all of my electronic devices are SAFE!!
* Love the fleece lined pocket (and placement)- perfect for my slim camera, or anything else I want to protect from scratches/dings (expensive glasses)- and the pocket placement is high on the bag- so it is not battling the lower/full part of the bag (like not pressing against items on the inside of the main compartment- genius)
* Can't forget the key scrunchy- that is SUPER helpful! I can move my keys out of the way, to get to other things in the mommy pocket without setting them on the counter (no more losing my keys) they just hang from the pocket AND anytime I need my keys from the bag- NO more digging- I pull the string!
* Memory-foam padded changing pad included-- memory foam? yep, squishy and comfy! Huge lifesaver in places with super hard surfaces (like the wooden shelves on planes or the marble counter top area at Disney)!!
Now for the one disappointment:
Just like other reviews have noted:
The original design of the backpack straps were set too low on the bag which makes the bag (when worn backpack style) sag, droop and is too uncomfortable to actually wear-- but that problem was rectified in 2011 made ones-- but nobody advertises which model you will receive.
I ordered 2 BFF's (in 2 different prints) and crossed my fingers hoping I would receive the newer style.
I ordered Sangria Sunset from Amazon and Shadow Waltz from Little Dudes and Divas
Sangria Sunset OLD style, Shadow Waltz NEW style
Much afterwards, I learned that most retailers will happily check their stock for you if you ask so I would definitely suggest doing that.
Second thing I learned is that 2 prints (Sangria Sunset and Dizzy Daisies) are NOT made in the new style AT ALL because these prints are being discontinued (at least in the BFF, not sure if they will use the prints on other bags). I am bummed I can't attain one with the 'fixes' in that print (you can find this info in the ju-ju-be forum Pink Room).
Truthfully I had no idea that I would even use the BP feature, until I received the Shadow Waltz one and had the option of throwing on my back-- WOW that is nice- hands free- and I didn't realize how lop-sided I feel carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder tote style!
So with my Sangria Sunset one, this problem takes away ONE cool feature of the otherwise totally awesome bag. Since I cannot carry it BP style with the weight distribution causing instant back strain/discomfort- I removed the B/P straps (since they are useless) but I decided to keep the bag since it is cute but mostly because it looks good with my stroller (the orange/grey city mini double- which is a hard one to match). Honestly, it will probably always bug me a little that my Sangria Sunset one is less than perfect- and I do miss the B/P feature on it. If there was any other print that looked as cute with my stroller (with the fixes)- I would exchange it in a second!
Sorry for the super lengthy/detailed review, but I hope it helps anyone that is considering this bag to know the features and other info. I have MANY different Ju Ju Be bags, and although I love them all, this is my favorite as my everyday diaper bag. It holds all of my needs for my newborn and toddler for the day.
On longer days/trips, although I considered the BePrepared, I felt it was WAY too big/heavy (when full) to actually carry (without my hubby) so I found the MightyBe to be a GREAT companion to the BFF. The MB is great for handling the "extras" (my DSLR, extra drinks, and 3 sweatshirts (me and 2 kids), coloring books/doodle board- yep in one load) for long days at Disney or long days in general. To my surprise it is easy to carry BOTH bags when I need to (BFF backpack style, MightyBe on my shoulder/tote style) although I haven't had to do it for long distances, since I attach both to the stroller for the most part. So I highly suggest picking up both bags which will give you so much flexibility, plus the MB folds TINY and FLAT which makes it cool to take with you empty and grab all of your loose goodies from the car when you get home! BFF + Mighty Be = Match made in heaven!!
Other bags I purchased for extra organization- to go INSIDE my BFF/MightyBE's are the: Fuel Cell, Be Quick, and Be Set- they are fabulous- and they make my bags uber-organized!
I only wish I would have met my BFF sooner!