You know how mums get a bad rep when it comes to appearance? We are supposed to be covered in day-old crusted pasta, wearing sweatpants that haven’t been washed in two weeks, and if we were the epitome of M-U-M, we would smell like garbage? Well, okay, that may be true by virtue of our lifestyles with the kids, but that doesn’t mean we can’t clean up and style up!
In the first year of motherhood, I’d say that I couldn’t be bothered to look like a human being on most days, but beyond that, once sleep was sorted and stylish mums were all over social media, I started giving two hoots about how I presented myself and paid a little more attention to what I was wearing, carrying, etc.
Unfortunately so, for the most part of motherhood, while I tried to look decent during weekends when we are out and about, I went out with ugly diaper bags. You know, functional, roomy, but really lacking in the looks department, the sort that ruins an #ootd. Now that my firstborn has been toilet-trained and only my toddler requires minimal diapers and wipes while we are out, I am happy to hand that knapsack we call a diaper bag to the husband or chuck it in the car, and I opt to carry a slim, tiny cross-body bag because…V-A-I-N.
But there have been times when I head out on my own with the kids and I wish I was carrying a backpack that is more stylish, something that doesn’t look out of place with a sundress or shorts or pants, something minimalistic, yet roomy enough to contain a few diapers, wipes and more.
Gaston Luga, maker of the most stylish, minimalistic backpacks, contacted me more than a month ago to ask if I would like to pick a backpack and give it a try. I showed the site to my husband and for the first time ever, we AGREE on the aesthetics and I happily picked one out to suit our needs as parents to a 5yo and a 2.5yo.
I decided to go for the Pråper in Black (I really wanted the Navy & Brown too but figured that black goes with everything in both our wardrobes), and both M and I let out a sigh when we unboxed it. It truly is a handsome number.
Most parts of the backpack is made of thick cotton, and it feels strong and durable without being too stiff. The top flap, bottom panel and smaller parts such as the tag have semi-matte finishes, which give the backpack a more refined appearance, as opposed to the Clässic ones which look more rugged.
What I really love about the Pråper in Black are the tiered hook closures; the hooks are very strong and sturdy, and I’d imagine that the backpack is likely to be theft-proof as once the hooks are secured into any of the four levels, it is pretty darn hard for a thief to pry the backpack open. Also, the inner opening of the backpack is held together by drawstrings that come together pretty tight, so that adds to the security that the bag can offer to your belongings. The downside is that if you are in a rush, it won’t be that easy to open up the backpack to access the contents, as compared to a zippered backpack for example. This may be a disadvantage to parents of younger children and babies, for instance, as we know that we need quick access in a hairy diaper situation! We use the backpack for when we are out and about, often preoccupied with the kids, and I do put my wallet and valuables in it, so I’d rather be secure than to have easier access.
If you prefer easier access, all’s not lost though; travellers would be glad to know that Gaston Luga backpacks come with a hidden, secure pocket at the back, in between the shoulder straps and one can fit a passport and travel tickets in it. This is a really thoughtful feature as this means that one need not fumble for the most important travel documents or even spare cash when you are rushing during transit!
The bottom of the Pråper is studded with four metallic feet, which give the backpack some form and allow it to somewhat stand (when filled, of course), and they help to protect the underbelly of the backpack. I really do like this detail and wouldn’t appreciate this backpack as much without the feet.
Now, the inside of the Pråper might look small, but I was surprised when I could fit quite a bit of stuff in it when we went for a staycation recently. I managed to fit two sets of clothes, toiletries, makeup, my giant wallet, travel pack of baby wipes, hand sanitisers and diapers in them! For those who move around with their laptops, you’d be glad to know that there’s a sleeve in it for a 13-15″ laptop and two pockets that can fit larger phones. I must say that if you are a new parent who needs to carry more than a few diapers, bigger pack of wipes and all that jazz that you will need to clean/change/make a baby comfortable, you are better off with the Clässic backpack. I have been told by the good people at Gaston Luga that those are far roomier than the Pråper.
The only gripe I have with the backpack is the thickness of the straps. I’m used to thicker, cushioned straps which offer me more comfort because I have severely-strained shoulders from all the years of mothering. They aren’t an issue when the Pråper is packed with lightweight items such as when I brought it along for our staycation, but I suspect a laptop plus a charger in there, in addition to my other belongings might put too much weight on my shoulders because the straps are not as wide as what I am used to on my ugly diaper bags.
Still, it’s a really good-looking, functional backpack that I am happy to bring on my solo jaunts out (yay!) or when I am with the kids if I don’t have to pack their entire playroom with me.
If you are keen to get a backpack from Gaston Luga (yes, they have got backpacks suitable for men too!), don’t forget to use my coupon code pleasuremonger to get an additional 15% off. This means that on top of the free shipping + 20% off as tax rebate (from non-EU country), you get another 15% off on the remaining price after tax rebate. Please see the breakdown below as a reference [in SGD] – do check the local website for the latest prices. You get a massive discount and I reckon it’s a pretty attractive deal with the coupon code!
*I received a Gaston Luga backpack in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and no other monetary compensation has been received.