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jun 30 2008

Gear: For summer, a new family-friendly backpack

The Family Backpack's interior (Courtesy of Briggs & Riley)

On a recent visit to the Briggs & Riley Travelware showroom, the Family Backpack caught my eye.

The backpack, which hits stores this week, is tailored to parents on the go. It has a front compartment for a portable DVD player, a separate organizer for a cell phone or iPod, an outer side strap for a sippy cup or water bottle, and a side pocket with waterproof lining. A band in the back allows you to slip the entire bag over the handle of any carry-on rolling suitcase.

The main compartment features a sleek insulated lunch bag that rests on a collapsible shelf and is held in place by Velcro. The shelf makes it easy to stuff diapers, books, and other items around the lunch bag, but you can also fold it up when you want to maximize the backpack’s interior.

At $199, the Family Backpack isn’t cheap, but it is cheaper—and can get more day-to-day use—than the company’s current bestseller, the 22-inch Baseline rolling carry-on.

Last year, I visited Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory in Petaluma, Calif., with my then 5-year-old niece. I remember trying to hold my niece’s hand while juggling our picnic lunch and her sweatshirt. A backpack like this would’ve helped to streamline the chaos.

If you have any gear recommendations, share them by posting a comment below.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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