Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote & Casual Cargo Purse as Diaper Bags?

A few months ago, my trusty Columbia (TM) diaper bag was laid to rest after almost 5 years of faithful service–which included multiple international flights, adventures all over Europe and rigorous daily use.  With Jocie nearing 2, and acting like she might potty train soon, I really didn’t want to invest any money in a new diaper bag.  So, I have primarily been using my Planetwise medium sized wet/dry bag (which I LOVE!) and when we have a day long outing, I have been throwing (literally) everything I needed into any large bag I can find laying around the house–included re-usable grocery bags!

Needless to say, when my friend Missy, a consultant for Thirty One, asked if I would like to try out two different Thirty One bags and see how I liked them as diaper bags, I nearly jumped through my computer screen to try and hug her!  Not only did she send me two to try out, she sent a third to give-away!!  Thanks Missy!

Check out this awesome Organizing Utility Tote bag (details can be found on pg. 37 of the Thirty One catalog) we’ll be giving away at the end of the month!

!  ***I received these bags for review, but I am not receiving any compensation or further products if you choose to purchase through the links provided.  Everything stated is my honest opinion***

Before I jump into reviewing these two bags, I’d like to mention that each parent’s needs and preferences are unique and my review of these bags reflects my personal needs and preferences.  In general, I prefer bags that zipper or snap shut, have lots of internal pockets and have a cross-body strap.  Because we live in Europe currently, we do a lot of sightseeing and it is necessary for me to have a bag that closes, making it a little more secure (you know, just in case a pitpocket tries to snatch my beloved cloth diapers!) and less likely to be accidentally dumped out in the stroller basket.  I like a cross-body strap so I can hang the bag across the stroller straps and carry it across my body messenger style.  Whether or not you share my preferences, I hope you will find these reviews and the pictures helpful in your decision making process :)

Organizing Utility Tote
Size:  Approximately 10.25″H x 15.5″W x 6.5″D; 12″ Handle dr.op
Features:  *Durable laminated nylon * Webbed handles secured with Grommets * 7 exterior pockets (2 mesh).
Care:  Wipe with a damp cloth using mild soap only and air dry.
Prints:  10 prints available.
Customization options:  Custom monogramming/embroidery available at an additional charge.

Missy was super sweet and even let me pick which print I wanted!  So, I chose the “Awesome Blossom” print, despite my usual aversion to yellow–and can I just say that even though I normally detest yellow, I LOVE THIS PRINT!!  It is so gorgeous in person!!  Check it out:

So now for the photo tour :)  Just to give you an idea of what it will accomodate, inside the bag I packed:
8 cloth diapers
1 package of disposable wipes
Planet Wise Medium Wet/Dry bag
Diaper ointment
A change of clothes for baby
2 embellished prefold burp cloths
A banana
A sippy cup
A 24 oz Camelback waterbottle
My wallet
My keys
Even with all that, I failed to fill all the outside pockets!


The inside is roomy, but there are no interior pockets.

 The Organizing Utility Tote excells in “grab and go” convenience.  The open top makes it fabulous for tossing in the items I need as I dash out the door.  Over the last few months, this bag was my favortie one to grab for running errands.  I love the two elasticized mesh pockets on either end–they work great for holding keys or a waterbottle/sippy cup/etc.!  It is sufficiently roomy enough, although I do find myself wishing that some of the 7 outer pockets were inside.

Now that we don’t use a changing table anymore, I especially liked using it as a portable changing station.  The tote kept our diaper changing supplies organized so well, that I just kept it stocked with wipes, Cloth Diaper safe “ointments” cloth diapers and covers and grabbed it whenever Jocie needed a change. This has been especially nice since most of our diaper changes tend to take place on the plush bath mat in our main bathroom (Jocie’s GI issues usually mean nasty, gooky diaper changes).  Before I received the Organizing Utility Tote from Missy, I just kept a pile of fresh diapers and cloth wipes in a wicker basket on the floor and the ointments on the shelf.  It’s been really nice to have everything I needed in one spot and just be able to grab it on my way in to change Jocie’s diapers! 

This way, it’s usually ready to go when I need to run an errand–all I need to do is add a few clean diapers and wipes and I can dash out the door with my girls :) 

Overall, I do like the Organizing Utility Tote despite the fact that it doesn’t zip/snap shut, have any interior pockets or a cross-body strap.  However,  I prefer it more as a mobile diaper changing station and diaper bag for running errands.  If I had to pick just one diaper bag, it wouldn’t work for my needs/situation.  For  instance, when I fly internationally this summer, it will be absolutely imperative that the diaper bag I use zipper shut.  I’ll be flying by myself with the two kids and I just can’t risk having it dump out during a security check or on the airplane, and there isn’t really a secure place to put my wallet or passports.

If you are looking for a good all-around town bag and don’t have to worry about pitpockets, the Organizing Utility Tote is a great option–especially considering it’s versatility and usefulness after your days of diaper bag toting are over :)

Casual Cargo Purse
The second bag Missy sent me to try out is the Casual Cargo Purse (found on page 42 of the Thirty One catalog).  I have to admit–I definitely prefer this purse to the Utility Tote–I love that it’s lined, has a zippered closure and interior pockets!  Don’t get me wrong, I still like the Utility Tote, but this Casual Cargo Purse is much nicer!

Price:  $62 (don’t forget that with the April Special, if you spend $31, you can get a purse for 1/2 off!!)
Features :  *Material varies by print–canvas or heavy canvas *Zippered closure *Two exterior flat pockets with magnetic snap closures *Interior zipper pocket, flat pocket and two elastic pockets.
Prints:  Available in three prints
Customization:  Monogramming/embroidery available at an additional charge.
Care:  Wipe with a damp cloth using mild soap only and air dry.
Just to give you an idea of what it will accomodate, inside the bag I packed:
8 cloth diapers
1 package of disposable wipes
Planet Wise Medium Wet/Dry bag
Diaper ointment
A change of clothes for baby
2 embellished prefold burp cloths
A banana
A sippy cup
My wallet
My keys

The print Missy sent for the Casual Cargo Purse is called “Lotsa Dots”–and it’s totally awesome in person!

I should have taken another picture of the other side of the interior–there is a large zipper pocket that you can’t see in this shot!  Sorry :(

As I mentioned above, while the Organizing Utility Tote is nice, I definitely prefer the Casual Cargo Purse.  I like to have LOTS of interior to keep me sane and organized, and the Cargo purse definitely satifies that need for me.  There are enough inner pocket compartments for my wallet, wipes, ointments, snappi’s, burp clothes and any other small items that might otherwise get lost/buried in the bottom of the main compartment.  The interior is big enough for us to everything we need for a daytrip, but it’s not so obtrusively large that it’s overkill for running errands.  The two exterior pockets are just the right size for keys and a cell phone.

As you may have guessed, I love that the Casual Cargo Purse zips shut!  I can wear it on my shoulder and not worry about sticky fingers trying to “lift” my wallet or I can shove it in the stroller basket and not risk everything dumping out. 

I especially love that it’s stylish and when I don’t need to use it as a diaper bag, it looks great as a purse !  I do wish that it had a cross-body strap, but that’s more of a secondary preference, largely due to the fact that I have poor posture and tend to slump my shoulders so shoulder bags tend to slide off ;)  Perhaps carrying this bag will force me to improve my posture !

Something to keep in mind is that the care instructions suggest spot cleaning.  For most this shouldn’t be an issue, but I tend to be a bit on the clumsy side.  Despite my best efforts, I end up spilling things in or on my bags and a simple spot clean just doesn’t cut it.  Now, before you jump ship, this is the case for many “designer” bags like Petunia Picklebottom and Bumble Bags (we won’t even talk about the new Bumble Bags diaper bag my husband spilled an entire mocha on!). 

I have definitely enjoyed using the Casual Cargo Purse as my diaper bag and enthusiastically recommend it !

Be sure to check out the Thirty One catalog for all the cool products available, and if you have any questions, you can find Missy on her Thirty One Facebook Page!  And don’t forget that we are doing a giveaway soon for this Organizing Utility Tote, so stay tuned :)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote & Casual Cargo Purse as Diaper Bags?

  1. Bonnie says:

    Hi! I stumbled across this post as I googled the use of the Casual Cargo purse as a diaper bag. I am a 31 consultant, but I had never seen this bag in person. I am almost 8 weeks pregnant and I am already thinking about a great diaper bag! I have like 4 of the organizing utility totes. I love them but I wanted something that zipped to keep all of baby’s goodies inside. I jumped on the chance to get this little gem 1/2 off this month. I ordered the Casual Cargo in Lotsa Dots with a -B- on the front and now I’m so super excited to get it in the mail! I also am thinking about cloth diapering our baby. This is out first and I have a lot of research to do. I am going to explore your blog some more!

    • Anna says:

      Congrats Bonnie :) That’s super exciting!! The Lotsa Dots print is so cute in person and I bet it will look even cuter with the -B- on the front!

      I (obviously) love cloth diapering–so if you have any questions, feel free to ask :)

  2. Laurie says:

    Hi there. :) This was so helpful! I’ve been searching for a photo of someone actually wearing the Casual Cargo purse to try to get an idea of the size, but seeing it filled works just fine, especially since I plan to use it as a diaper bag too. I’m going to suggest it to my husband as the perfect Mother’s Day gift, and hopefully he’ll throw in a matching wallet. ;) Thanks so much!

    • Anna says:

      I’m so glad it was helpful! That would be awesome if your husband got you a matching wallet too!!

  3. Emma Nation says:

    At my job we actually use the utility tote for toys & I love it! I recognized it after your review. Woulda love to have one of my own for when our baby comes! :)

  4. Kelly says:

    I love the lotsa dots one <3

  5. Amanda says:

    I currently use a Utility tote and LOVE it! Awesome Blossom is pretty! I have black/white dots on grey. I LOVE the Cargo Purse as a dipe bag since it shuts!! Great job on the review!

  6. Amanda says:

    I like the whole retro metro collection! I think some bags look like they might make a good wetbag too!

  7. Beth Hutchby says:

    Thanks for the awesome pics! I was just talking to a friend about diaper bag options from Thirty-One. Your review really helped. I just ordered the Casual Cargo purse myself for organizing all my things while running our 4 kids around town. My daughters absconded with my o.u.t.s for dance, gymnastics and road trips! Love those bags!

  8. Jaime Fueston says:

    I went to my moms Thirty One party last Friday. Its the first one I’ve been to and I am planning to have my party in July after I find out the sex of my baby. I’m was really considering the metro retro bag but wanted to see pictures of the casual cargo purse since there wasn’t one at the party. And I’m sold this will be the diaper bag I choose. Now I just have to decide on a print… THANK FOR POSTING THESE PICTURES!!!

  9. Pingback: Link Love :: June 22 |

  10. Shannon Lunser says:

    If anyone is interested in using the organizing utility tote as a diaper bag but is turned off by the fact that it doesn’t close, you can buy no-sew velcro (iron it on) at the top to make a closure. I saw this review and almost didn’t get the bag because it doesn’t close, but looked at another review on it and this is what that reviewer did. I’m glad I saw that, because I LOVE this bag as a diaper bag (I hate inside pockets). :)

  11. Jen says:

    Just the type of review I was looking for. The only bad thing that I can see about the cargo purse is the outside pockets, which I LOVE for bottles or sippy cups… but I may be able to overlook it. I’ve tried about 15 bags from Amazon and haven’t found one I’ve liked yet (thank goodness they have a good return policy).

  12. Tiffany says:

    I have the utility tote as mu sons diaper bag and I was wo dering if there is anyway to clean it ???

    • Anna says:

      The information I received from my 31 consultant is that you are supposed spot clean it. However, I have had success washing it on the delicate cycle. I do need to state thought that 31 recommends against washing their bags in the washing machine.

  13. Jamie says:

    Can you fit your camelbak bottle in the inside of one of the casual cargo bags? If so, which camel bak do you have? I have the large insulated one and was curious if it fit in one of them?

  14. Amy says:

    Anna- this was a perfect review for me! I simply googled, “what 31 bag is best to use as a diaper bag”& your review popped up! Your thoughts are right in line with where I feel mine will be once baby comes. I’m super practical. This is my first baby so I want to get some good staple “one and done” type items. Any other suggestions you have for car seats, strollers, cribs, etc? Like the “must haves” coming from an experienced mommy? I also saw that you use cloth diapering. I am on the fence, as I would LOVE to incorporate cloth in a practical way, perhaps supplementing with plastic for those “on the go” errand running or event days. What are your favorite brand name picks for me to begin looking into?

    • Anna says:

      I’m so sorry I didn’t see this post earlier! I loved our Peg Perego Viaggio car seat–and did not like our Graco Snugride 35 (the sun shade always drooped, it was time consuming to change the height on the chest straps, etc.). I loved our Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. I really loved our Maclaren Triumph stroller–that thing was probably our best purchase. I say get a budget full sized stroller and a nice umbrella (not a cheapie one) stroller because after baby passes the infant stage, a good umbrella stroller is indispensable.

  15. elaine says:

    I washed my bag on delicate cycle after reading this and a few other got destroyed! Bag is ruined .

    • Anna says:

      I am so sorry to hear that :( How disappointing. I appreciate the input as it will be helpful for future readers. Mine is still in good condition, but it is helpful to know other people’s experiences.

  16. Jean says:

    Thirty-One now carries a zip top version of the Utility Tote! I’m considering this for a diaper bag and found you through Google. Thanks for the photos!

  17. Heather says:

    I too am looking for a bag that my sister can use. I must say that Thirty-One must have been listening!! It now makes the organizing tote in a zip top! Both are the zip top and regular are now $35. You can also add a pocket to the inside which snaps on through the grommets on the bag. ($10 each) I have seen people using two pockets to snap an organizing tote closed!

    • Anna says:

      That is so nice to hear that they make the organizing tote with a zip top! Now things will stay put should a helpful little one (or clumsy mama) accidently dump it over! Oh, and pockets…I love me some pockets!

I'd love to hear your questions, comments and suggestions!