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When I was looking for a new change bag for baby number 2 I did a great amount of reading around to find something that would tick all the boxes for me. I loved the look of a lot of bags but the thing that appealed to me about the Pacapod bags were the pods themselves as I liked the idea of removable sections for nappies and feeding so that you could either have in them in the bag or take them out just by themselves.
The Almora bag was my pick from the Pacapod range as it fitted not only my criteria but my budget too as some of the bags in this range can cost up to £265. The Almora is more modestly priced at £80 but is still not a cheap change bag.
When it arrived I was very excited as only a new mummy can be over a change bag and spent time looking at it and admiring the various pods. 9 months later I am still impressed overall with the bag bar some minor niggles and still love my change bag.
The bag is designed in various sections the largest section is for the two pods which opens via a zip and the side drops down opening up a full side of the bag. This I find to be great for access as it enables me to get at either pod easily and in the drop down section there is a pocket which contains the change mat supplied with the bag. This again is easy to get at for those nappy emergencies. The pocket section is also large enough to fit other items in such a paperback book or a note book. Inside you find the two pods nestled together they fit in nice and snug and whilst they are a tight fit they are not so tight as to be cumbersome to get at or put in and out.
The change pod is made from grey material and again opens via a zip. Inside there are various small pockets which all have little tags on them for suggestions as to what can go in each. These include a section for nappies, pockets for creams and nappy bags. I love these little pockets as it helps me keep everything in place so it is easy to find when doing a quick nappy change with a baby that rolls all over the place. Also it means it is easy to grab at things or check to see what needs to be topped up in the change pod. There is plenty of room I find to fit in with ease, 4 size 4 nappies, a small pot of Sudocream several nappy bags a pack of wipes and a change of vest and a top or trousers. My husband also likes the way the bag is organised as he doesn't use it as often as I do but compared to rummaging around our previous change bag he can find with ease the bits in this one. On the top of the change pod there is a loop with Velcro on it which can be used to attach the pod to a pushchair whilst out. This is really handy if you are just popping somewhere for a quick visit where you may need to change a nappy for example a quick trip to the local library in my case. This loop is nice and tough and never drops off when doing this despite the rough and tumble of bumps whilst out walking. Also to the outside of the bag there is a rear pocket that can be used either for putting in dirty nappies if you are somewhere where there is nowhere to put the dirty nappy. It also fits in nicely the change mat supplied with the bag if you are using the grey pod alone.
The black feeding pod is something that has only just come into use for me as I am breastfeeding my son so there was no need for me to put bottles into this pod. But it does seem roomy enough to contain several to my untrained eye. I now use it for all the weaning bits that I need. Again like the changing pod there is a loop to the outside of the pod for putting it over pushchairs to take out I don't tend to use this pod for that at the moment but I can see me using it in the summer months for trips to the park to contain a drink and snack. The pod I find to be nice and roomy and it is more than able to fit in my Thermos food flask for a hot meal for my son, a Tommee Tippee cup, a snack box a small bit of fruit, several spoons and a bib. The inside is lined with a heat reflecting material which seems to keep things for a short while either hot or cold but don't expect to last too long is my advice. There is also a bottle or cup wrap included that also has the insulating material on. Whilst I haven't used it for a bottle I have used it around small pots for food and it seems to keep things for at least an hour at a warm temperature.
To the other side of the bag to the pod section that are two pockets one with a zip that fits in nicely a standard size purse, a set of keys and a slim mobile phone with ease. These is a key clip inside but I find that I never use this as the pocket is not large enough to lose the keys inside and I would find it a faff to keep clipping and up clipping the keys. My only disappointment with this section is that there is a small tear at the top which has appeared over the past week I am not sure why this has happened but it doesn't seem to be spreading so hopefully it is just happened due to a chink in the material. The other pocket is only fastened by a magnet and whilst this means it is not a pocket that you would put valuables in I find it really useful for keeping tissues in for quick easy access for example for nose wiping children.
In the middle of the change bag there is a section that opens and closes via a large press metallic press stud this section is supposed to be I think for the mummy bits or a laptop even. I never use it for a laptop and to be honest I am not sure if one would actually fit in. It is mainly used by me for some baby toys when I take my older son to gym club and the baby needs to be kept occupied for a good hour or so. I find that it does fit in well several rattles or baby books with ease. However as bits can get lost in this section quite easily I do tend to clear it out regularly so things don't build up inside. The press stud copes well with closing the bag if you don't have it bulging but there is a fine line between it being closed and open. Even when closed the sides of the section are often a bit gaping which means if you are walking in the rain some water can get in there which I find a bit of a disappointment at this price. Also in this section are the buggy clips, these I find wonderful as they enable me to clip at either end the bag to the pushchair. They are fantastic and even when full with snacks, nappies and toys the clips remain fastened and never pop open leaving the bag hanging by one clip and for this alone I would recommend the bag. The clips are attached to the bag very securely and show no sign of any wear and tear after 9 months of constant use.
The bag also features a large shoulder strap that is easy to adjust and is sufficiently long enough to be worn across the body. I mainly have it at the length to wear over my shoulder but I do think as my son gets older and I need to hold hands whilst he is walking and run more then I will adjust to fit across the body more. As the strap is nice and wide it is comfortable to wear and doesn't dig into your skin at all.
The Almora is made from a "yoghurt proof" wipe able fabric and I can definitely say it passes the wipe down test after various spills on it whilst out with my son and after a quick wipe down it still looks as good as new. All the zips and fastenings are still working smoothly with no problems at all and never seem to get stuck or jammed at all.
Overall I am very pleased with the Almora, the pods are great for keeping everything in its place and stopping me losing bits in a change bag. The pods also make nappy changing less stressful when out as I can leave the main bag with friends and just carry the pod to the change room rather than luging the full bag. The buggy clips make it easy to carry whilst out too. The only few quibbles and niggles I have is the slight splitting of the fabric near the zip on the side and how sometimes the fact that that the main section is only closed via a metal popper means that water can get into the bag when it rains. However these are definitely outweighed by the positives for me so the bag gets 4 stars. The bag can be bought either via the Pacapod website or at John Lewis.