There are the two obvious items you carry — psst, diapers and wipes — and then pretty much anything else goes. Yet you don’t want to pack the kitchen sink; the goal is maximum utility for minimum weight. 


Here are our 10 picks for lightweight, lifesaving gear you’ll be glad you packed. All together, these 10 items added only 4 ounces to our diaper bag below.


Extra Clothes


There will be random runs through sprinklers and puddles, falls in the mud, a variety of spilled food and drink, and diaper blowouts. You’ll never regret carrying an extra set of clothes from the time your child is born to the time you stop carrying a diaper bag.


Receiving Blanket


The MacGyver of baby gear, this humble cloth has a myriad of uses beyond the first few months of life. Folded flat, it fits neatly at the bottom of your diaper bag and serves as a base that can suck up random spills. Take it out and it’s a towel, spit-up rag, bib, emergency cloth diaper, changing mat, rain hat, mini picnic blanket, you name it.


First Aid Kit


When you need a Band Aid, you really need a Band Aid. Portable kits are lightweight, very small (less than 4” wide), and inexpensive. Love DIY and want something even smaller? You can make your own using an Altoids tin.


Aquaphor


Yes, it’s a wonder on tiny bums, but a portable tube will also handle chapped lips, cuts, scrapes, and mystery rashes. If you want to save some money, don’t buy the travel size, simply fill an empty travel bottle from your stash at home and label it


Pocket Sanitizer


Stash a small bottle in your bag or use a hanging dispenser, which is even handier


Plastic Bags


You’ve got approximately 1,293 of these stuffed around your home, toss a few in your bag. They crumple up small, fit in any space, and will contain the grossest of diapers and wettest of clothes (those two often related) — or anything else you need.


Multi-tool


A small multi-tool provides one of the most important pieces of equipment a parent needs — scissors — in addition to a host of other helpful implements (tweezers, a knife blade, screwdrivers) in a very tiny footprint.


Bribes


Do we like resorting to them? No. Will we? You bet. The only caveat: Make sure they’re age-appropriate.


Carabiner


Normally found dangling off climbing gear, the carabiner is an easy add to the top handle of any diaper bag, allowing you to hook anything onto the bag (pacifier, toy) or the bag onto anything (fence, bathroom stall door, shopping cart).


Hair Elastics


Your child’s hair may not be long enough for a hair elastic, but still carry a few. They can hold up loose pants, close an open snack bag, or secure something to anything else. Plus, feel free to use it on your own hair, too.