Parental Unit in Deep Blue (dark blue) 525 Ballistic. Parental Unit in Aubergine (dark purple) 525 Ballistic. Reverse shot of Parental Unit in Aubergine (dark purple) 525 Ballistic. Parental Unit in Aubergine (dark purple) 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit in Black 525 Ballistic. Reverse shot of Parental Unit in Black 525 Ballistic. Parental Unit in Black 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit in Burnt Orange 525 Ballistic. A reverse shot of the Parental Unit in Burnt Orange 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit in Burnt Orange 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey) 200 Halcyon interior. A reverse shot of the Parental Unit in Deep Blue (dark blue) 525 Ballistic. Parental Unit in Deep Blue (dark blue) 525 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit in Nebulous Grey (medium grey) 525 Ballistic. Reverse shot of the Parental Unit in Nebulous Grey (medium grey) 525 Ballistic. Parental Unit in Nebulous Grey (medium grey) 525 Ballistic with Island (blue with white grid) 200 Halcyon. Parental Unit with Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon. Reverse shot of the Parental Unit with Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon. Parental Unit with Black (black with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Ultraviolet (purple with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Verde (green) 1050 Ballistic. Reverse shot of the Parental Unit with Verde (green) 1050 Ballistic. Parental Unit with Verde (green) 1050 Ballistic with Ultraviolet (purple with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Black 1050 Ballistic. Reverse shot of the Parental Unit with Black 1050 Ballistic. Parental Unit with Black 1050 Ballistic with Iberian (red with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Black 1050 Ballistic with Ultraviolet (purple with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Black 1050 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Steel (medium grey) 1050 Ballistic. Reverse shot of Parental Unit with Steel (medium grey) 1050 Ballistic. Parental Unit with Steel (medium grey) 1050 Ballistic with Iberian (red with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Steel (medium grey) 1050 Ballistic with Ultraviolet (purple with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Steel (medium grey) 1050 Ballistic with Island (blue with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Steel (medium grey) 1050 Ballistic with Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Navy (dark blue) 1050 Ballistic. Reverse shot of Parental Unit with Navy (dark blue) 1050 Ballistic. Parental Unit with Navy (dark blue) 1050 Ballistic with Iberian (red with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Navy (dark blue) 1050 Ballistic with Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon. Reverse shot of Parental Unit with Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon. Parental Unit with Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon with Ultraviolet (purple with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Original (black with white grid) 400 Halcyon with Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Coyote (tan) 1050 Ballistic. Reverse shot of Parental Unit with Coyote (tan) 1050 Ballistic. Parental Unit with Coyote (tan) 1050 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Coyote (tan) 1050 Ballistic with Steel (dark grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Burnt Orange 1050 Ballistic. Reverse shot of Parental Unit with Burnt Orange 1050 Ballistic. Parental Unit with Burnt Orange 1050 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Aubergine (dark purple) 1050 Ballistic. Reverse shot of Parental Unit with Aubergine (dark purple) 1050 Ballistic. Parental Unit with Aubergine (dark purple) 1050 Ballistic with Northwest Sky (light grey with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit with Aubergine (dark purple) 1050 Ballistic with Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior. Parental Unit in Nordic (blue with grey grid) 400 Halcyon. Reverse shot of Parental Unit in Nordic (blue with grey grid) 400 Halcyon. Parental Unit in Nordic (blue with grey grid) 400 Halcyon with Wasabi (green with white grid) 200 Halcyon interior.
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Parental Unit

$150.00

The long awaited TOM BIHN diaper bag.

13 liters (793 cu. in.)

We've retired the Parental Unit to make way for new designs. Stay tuned for what we come up with next!
Parental Unit with all compartments open, showing the interior pockets. Close shot of zippable interior pockets in the main compartment. Close shot of zippable interior pockets in the main compartment. Close shot of zipper for the interior pockets in the main compartment. Close shot of zippable interior pockets in the main compartment. Parental Unit top zipper. Full Parental Unit. Close shot of front zipper and main zipper. Close shot of the main compartment's zipper. A close shot of the Parental Unit's snaphook. A close shot of the triangle metal hook on the Parental Unit. A close shot of front compartment zippers of the Parental Unit. A close shot of the Parental Unit's open side compartment. A close shot of the o-ring inside the Parental Unit's side compartment. A full open Parental Unit. A full open Parental Unit. A person carrying a Parental Unit cross-body. A possible Parental Unit loadout A person attaching the Stroller/Wheelchair Strap to the snaphook d-ring. A person attaching the Stroller/Wheelchair Strap to the snaphook d-ring. Parental Unit hung to a stroller using the Stroller/Wheelchair Strap. Parental Unit hung to a stroller using the Stroller/Wheelchair Strap. A person retrieving keys from a Parental Unit hung to a stroller using the Stroller/Wheelchair Strap. Parental Unit hung to a stroller using the Stroller/Wheelchair Strap. A person attaching a Parental Unit to stroller using the Stroller/Wheelchair Strap. A person attaching a Parental Unit to stroller using the Stroller/Wheelchair Strap. A person attaching the Stroller/Wheelchair Strap to the snaphook d-ring. A person attaching the Stroller/Wheelchair Strap to the snaphook d-ring. A person attaching the Stroller/Wheelchair Strap to the snaphook d-ring. A person shoulder-carrying a Parental Unit. A person wearing a Parental Unit as a cross-body. A Parental Unit with a toy in the front pocket.

Description

Our design mission was this: a brilliantly useful diaper bag that could be used even beyond the diaper stage.

The Parental Unit has been on the drawing board for a very, very long time. Preliminary prototypes went in all sorts of directions: variations on current designs were proposed and discarded; crazy and cool but impractical accessories were tested and rejected. It spent time on the shelves in the design studio—a sad place not unlike the Island of Misfit Toys. With a growing realization that we were, if anything, over-thinking the whole thing, and had perhaps gone down one too many rabbit holes, Tom returned to the concept in mid 2014, designing from the ground up.

The Parental Unit you see here is the result of Tom's resolve to build a "diaper bag" that does more than just assist parents with changing diapers: it'll help organize and mobilize any parent or parents that participate in the modern world with their young kids. Unless you're just letting them go feral out on the back 40, you're likely to appreciate how the P.U. can make trips to the store, to the in-laws, daycare and even the museum less stressful and perhaps just as much fun as they should be. Plus you won't look like a dork with some huge encumbrance slung over your shoulder, whacking nice people in the face as you navigate the narrow aisles of public transit or cozy restaurants. We particularly eschewed goofy printed fabrics: if you want a bag that screams "I'm a parent!", you'll have to look elsewhere. The Parental Unit was designed to be as svelte as possible, and equally stylish for all genders: long after the kids are out of diapers and on their way to college, the P.U. might still be your favorite go-to bag for everyday carry.

The P.U. is a shoulder bag, intended to be carried over one shoulder or with the strap cross-body, like a bike messenger bag. It comes with the Standard Shoulder Strap, but you can upgrade to the Absolute Shoulder Strap

In terms of organization, the Parental Unit has it in spades. It is symmetrical front-to-back: both facets have gently curved zippers that open to generous, but not excessive, organizer compartments. Both of these are further divided into three vertical sub-compartments; the dividers themselves are more generous at their tops so that the wearer can easily see down into the sub-compartments. The center of the three is sized to fit most diapers, wipe dispensers (travel or home size both fit) and/or a changing pad; the spaces on either side are good for baby bottles, water bottles, or snacks. Most parents tend to divide the utilization of the bag by putting food and drink on one face and diaper changing accoutrements on the other. Both front and back have smallish zippered pockets that are nonetheless more than adequate for big phones or even phablets, a wallet, keys, etc.

And while we’re on the topic of organization: inside The Parental Unit are 10 O-rings — small, round, plastic rings to which you can secure Key StrapsOrganizer Pouches, and other accessories for custom organization. We've included one 8” Key Strap in Black.

The center compartment opens with a top zipper with two zipper sliders. We assume you'll leave that unzipped most of the time for fast access to a toy or a spit-up cloth, but you can zip it shut in bad weather or if you need to stow it during travel. Two billowy open-top pouches are sewn front and back inside this main compartment—you can choose to leave them empty and just take advantage of the large space, or you can use them to further organize changes of clothes and more diapers, or stash food, wipes, rags, etc. The outer surfaces of these pouches have zippers that allow you to join them together, dividing that one big space into four smaller separate ones (we know that's hard to picture—see the images above). You might find that our Travel Stuff Sacks keep changes of clothes better organized, but of course zip-lock type bags are fine too.

Two simple 1” / 25mm webbing handles can be found inside the zipper of the main compartment. These two handles give you an easy way to grab and move or carry the Parental Unit while its main compartment is zipped open. This is mostly to use while loading the Parental Unit: say, moving it from the kitchen to the nursery, for example. Because the handles are sewn inside, they politely disappear when you zip the bag shut.

Outside, near the top on the back, is a 1" / 25mm flat triangular snaphook: if you require fast access to your keys you'll appreciate this, but Junior would probably prefer you put a small teddy bear or binky there instead.

The P.U. is made of easy-to-wipe 525 ballistic nylon, and lined with 200d Halcyon/nylon ripstop. We agonized over whether to use YKK Aquaguard zippers; in the end, we went with standard #8 YKK coil zippers instead because they are noticeably easier to use, and we know that parents often do whatever they are doing with one hand. Otherwise the Parental Unit has the usual TOM BIHN attention to detail in construction: top-shelf materials, taped seams, and lots of bartacks.

Materials

Specs

Sewn in USA with globally sourced materials 100% finished seams

Dimensions: 16.1” (w) x 9.6” (h) x 7.9” (d) / 410 (w) x 245 (h) x 200 (d) mm
Weight:
525d Ballistic: 19.8 oz / 560 grams
400d Halcyon®/420d nylon ripstop: 15.3 oz / 433 grams
Volume: 13.5 liters, 825 cubic inches (ASTM Standard Measure)
What's Included:
1x Standard Shoulder Strap, May be Upgraded to Absolute Shoulder Strap
1x 8-inch Black Webbing Snaphook/Snaphook Key Strap
1x Black Zipper Pulls w/ Plastic Ends (8-Pack)
Total O-rings: 10 (4 in the main compartment, 2 in the front top pocket, 1 in the front bottom pocket, 2 in the back top pocket, 1 in the back bottom pocket)
Want to see the specs for all of our bags?

Sewn in Seattle

Our bags are designed and sewn right here in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

That allows us to be control freaks in the best way possible; we have direct control and oversight of the quality of our materials, our products, and the jobs and working environment that we help create. It also offers us a unique spontaneity: when we have an idea for a new product or accessory, we can design it, figure out how to build it, add it to our website and be ready to ship it out our front door all within just a few weeks. How cool is that?

Intrigued? You can find out more about the unusual way we do business on our Company Philosophy page.

THE BIHN Guarantee

Everything you buy from us here at TOM BIHN is satisfaction guaranteed. We’ve been in business for over 30 years and we stand behind what we make.

If something goes wrong and it's our fault, we'll fix it for free. Repairs due to normal wear and tear or due to other things that are not our fault will be performed, when possible, at a reasonable charge right here in our Seattle factory where your bag was made. Defects in materials or workmanship are uncommon and almost always evident while the product is still new. Keep in mind that bags and packs are often subject to extreme wear in everyday use: do not expect them to last forever. Only true love lasts forever! You can expect a TOM BIHN product to give years and years of hard service.

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average rating 5.0 out of 5
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100% of reviewers would recommend this product to a friend
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Reviewed by Emily S.
Rated 5 out of 5

This bag has been great

I bought this in 2017 for our first baby. Now, in 2021, we still use it with our second baby. It’s roomy, but not oversized. We can find whatever we need in it. It’s been a great bag.

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