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If you're in a hurry and just want to find out what the best car seat travel bag is, I'd recommend the J.S. Childress backpack-style bag.
Traveling with a baby can be nerve-wracking as it is. Lugging around a car seat is an added frustration. A good car seat travel bag will protect your car seat from dirt, grime and germs. Some are padded for added security or have straps that make it easier to carry.
In this article, I am breaking down the best car seat travel bags, and in the end, I'll choose the winner.
Here are the car seat travel bags I will be reviewing:
Who Needs a Car Seat Travel Bag?
If your car seat gets buckled into your minivan, never to be moved again, you probably don’t need a car seat travel bag. On the other hand, if you travel with your infant, you might want to learn more about the best car seat travel bag.
Most people use these to protect their car seat during flights. If you’re heading to a state that requires all infants to use child restraint systems even in taxis, you might need to carry your car seat around while sightseeing.
Car seat travel bags are primarily used to keep car seats clean when you check them on an airplane. If you click the car seat into your stroller and plan to use it on your flight, you probably won’t need a bag. However, if you don’t have a stroller or expect to check the car seat at the ticket counter or gate, you might want to cover it.
What Is A Car Seat Travel Bag Used For?
Have you ever had your luggage damaged or tarnished at the airport? The same risks apply to your car seat.
You can’t fit a car seat in the overhead bin on a plane. Therefore, you’ll have to use it on the flight or check it at the ticket counter or gate.
Airlines are not responsible for damaging your car seat. The product is more likely to be harmed if the straps are flailing around and nothing surrounds it.
Some airlines will enclose your car seat in plastic before checking it with your suitcases. The barrier protects it from grease and dirt but doesn’t safeguard it against impact.
Car seat travel bags prevent your expensive car seat from getting dirty as it gets moved around with the other pieces of luggage. Some are padded to offer extra protection.
Some parents prefer to keep their car seats with them until they reach the gate. If there are empty seats on the plane, the airline might let you bring the car seat on board as long as it’s approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. You can strap your baby in instead of holding him or her on your lap.
If your flight is full, you can check the car seat at the gate. You may choose this option to prevent the car seat from getting handled as much as it would if you checked it with the rest of your luggage.
But because car seats are so bulky, they’re hard to drag around with you. They become a bigger hassle when you need to use your hands to deal with your baby. The best car seat travel bag has straps that let you wear it like a backpack.
Features to Look for in a Car Seat Travel Bag
When shopping for the best car seat travel bag, there are a few features that you might want to consider.
You may not be picky about the color. However, a brightly colored car seat bag may prevent your expensive gear from getting lost. You’ll be able to pick it out from the other luggage more easily.
Consider the type of straps as well as their location. Backpack-style straps might be great, but sometimes, you need to grab the bag quickly, such as when you’re pulling it off of the baggage claim carousel. Baggage handlers will also appreciate multiple handles.
Padding will protect the car seat somewhat. It can also save your back if you wear it on your shoulders. Without padding, you may feel the friction as the car seat inside the bag rubs against your body.
A bag that’s made of a heavy material will weigh more. It will be more durable, though. If you’re going on multiple trips or have several layovers, you don’t want the material to split mid-vacation.
If your car seat is a monstrosity, it might not fit into some travel bags. That being said, some of the largest car seats don’t fit on narrow airplane seats anyway. Many parents purchase inexpensive car seats without the bells and whistles just for traveling. If your car seat travel bag is large enough, you can store extra belongings in it, like your child’s favorite stuffed animal.
The bag must close securely. However, you need easy access to the car seat. You may need to whip it out to click into your stroller as soon as you’re off the airplane. Zippers are usually easier to maneuver than drawstrings, and they’re more secure than hook-and-loop flaps.
My Top Car Seat Travel Bag Picks
I’ve made traveling a little easier for you by researching the best car seat travel bags. I’ve listed the top 5 below and let you know which one is my favorite. Read through the various features so that you can choose the one that’s best for your next trip.
A versatile car seat travel bag, the VolkGo is amply sized to accommodate most models. You can even throw in a couple of extras, like a booster seat or the car seat base.
The VolkGo has backpack straps so that you can transport it hands-free. The straps are somewhat plush, but they can create pressure points if you wear the bag for a while. The bag also features a few different handles so that you can carry it any way that you want.
Plus, the durable nylon material is water-resistant, and the seams are securely stitched to make it last longer. If it gets dirty, simply rinse it off and air-dry it. It also dries quickly.
The bag features two drawstring closures, which can be tucked into the bag and secured with a Velcro flap. The design prevents the strings from getting snagged or broken. Although this makes it easy to open and stash your car seat, it might not be secure enough to keep everything inside if the bag is mishandled.
Although the backpack straps have padding, the bag does not. The hard car seat material may rub against your back as you wear it, which can get uncomfortable.
Another downside is that the bag is black and doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
The manufacturer of the Gate Check PRO states that this bag is approved by airport gate attendants. It has a large label and bright blue color that makes it easy to identify.
Although this bag is not padded, it’s durable. It is made of the same ballistic nylon that was used in the military before the invention of Kevlar. The material makes the bag lightweight and streamlined. It’s also lightweight enough to fold down compactly and comes with an attached storage bag.
You can sling this bag over your shoulder using the large strap. It’s not as comfortable to carry long distances as an option with backpack-style straps, though. Also, the strap is not padded.
Because the material is stiff, the bag can be hard to close. The weight of the car seat can pull the drawstring open because the spring stop on it is not very secure.
You may need to knot the string to keep the bag shut during the flight. However, there is a large flap that closes over the drawstring opening to protect the strings and prevent small items from falling out.
You’re not risking much if you try this bag. The company offers a lifetime money-back guarantee. They’ll replace a damaged or defective product, no questions asked.
If comfort and protection are your priorities, you might want to look into the J.L. Childress padded car seat travel bag. It has a structured shape that makes it less bulky than some of the other options.
Because this bag is more tailored, you should check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure that your car seat will fit inside.
Still, this bag is roomy. It’s extra tall and designed to fit most popular car seat styles, including those with bases. Just place the base on top of the car seat. If you don’t have a base, you can use the extra space to stash diapers, jackets and other necessities.
This bag is fully padded. It includes interior cushioning throughout the bag as well as wings that protect the headrest.
The ergonomic backpack straps are positioned low on the bag. This raises the product’s center of gravity, making it more comfortable for the user. It won’t feel like it’s dragging you backward when it’s loaded with a heavy car seat.
The padded straps help prevent the bag from digging into your shoulders. You can adjust them to fit your body.
Accessing your car seat is easy with the zippered closure. The zippers extend around the entire bag so that you can drop your car seat inside without much maneuvering.
The material keeps the interior dry. It’s easy to spot clean with mild soap and water. However, it’s not as durable as it could be, and it’s prone to developing holes and tears with aggressive handling.
The ZOHZO is the most expensive car seat travel bag that I’ve reviewed here. It’s similar to the J.L. Childress padded option. It has a structured shape and fully padded interior. The 10-millimeter dense foam padding includes wings that keep the headrest safe.
A variety of durability features are integrated into this bag. It has protective feet at the bottom to prevent tears from developing every time you set the bag on the floor. The material has been updated and is tear-resistant. The water-resistant fabric protects your car seat.
To make the ZOHZO car seat travel bag more comfortable, the backpack straps are padded and adjustable. The product also features a waist strap to take some of the pressure off of your shoulders. It’s important to note that the waist strap is not padded, though. It can pull uncomfortably on your belly.
Another drawback is that the stitching could be sturdier. The straps aren’t attached as securely as they could be for carrying such a heavy item.
This bright orange bag is easy to notice from across the room. It reads, “handle with care,” which may encourage baggage handlers to be gentle with it. The extra-large size fits most brand-name car seats or small strollers. Even though it’s roomy, this bag isn’t bulky.
Two backpack straps let you transport the bag and keep your hands free. Because they’re not padded, though, the straps can be uncomfortable. A reinforced handle is located near the top of the bag.
The 420D nylon is durable and thicker than the material on some other bags. The handles and straps are reinforced on the interior of the bag.
Although this bag is sturdy and generously sized, the closure could be improved. The drawstring doesn’t always stay shut. A flap covers the opening, but small objects could still fall out.
A car seat travel bag is useful if you’re traveling by plane. I think that the J.S. Childress backpack-style bag is the best option because it’s thick, padded and comfortable. The ergonomic straps make it much easier to wear for long periods of time than most of the other designs.
You can also lock the zippers with a TSA-approved lock if you’re worried about securing your valuables. The color blends in with other travelers’ items, but you can purchase a style that features a bright color stripe around the body of the bag. If this one won’t work for you, any of the options that I’ve reviewed are quality products.