Photo: Down Range Baby
“Over 15 years of law enforcement and fire fighting, being a dad is the toughest thing I’ve ever done,” police officer Jeff Shepard tells KING 5 News. That’s why the Washington father says he wanted to create a diaper bag rugged enough for the task when his son was born. So Shepard crafted a tactical-grade baby bag that he enlisted Lakewood, Wash., military supply company Tactical Tailor to assemble for him. The outfit’s other offerings? Bulletproof vests and body armor. Now, the cop can add designer to his resume because Shepard has started selling the sturdy carryalls “for the man,” as he says, through the company he recently launched, Down Range Baby.
Inside Tactical Tailor (Photo: Down Range Baby).
“There was nothing masculine, nothing good for guys,” Shepard says of his search for a baby bag when his son was born a few years ago. The police officer’s black and grey $100 baby bags, on the other hand, look nothing like infant-associated apparel – nor are they about soft, plush features. “Each detail is not only designed to look like a carryall made for a man but outfitted with options to be prepared with all of the essentials of daily combat,” proclaims a note on the company’s site.
Jeff Shepard (Photo: Down Range Baby).
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Instead of firearms or ammunition, though, these bags are for stocking diapers, wipes, snacks and every essential a father could require to fend off baby hunger, mess, and the general chaos of parenting. “You’re holding baby bottles,” he says. “You’re holding formula. I mean, it goes to war, so that’s what I wanted. I wanted something that could go to war.”
Of course the military material takes this bag to a new level, but father-focused child products isn’t a new concept. JEEP sells masculine-style baby totes, as does Diaper Dude. And the guy friendly DadGear, offering backpack diaper bags and messenger style versions aimed at men, has been around for about 10 years, founders John Brosseau and Scott Shoemaker tell Yahoo Parenting.
“Masculine baby gear is definitely starting to gain popularity,” says Brosseau. “The idea is that we are proud to be fathers and like to participate in raising our kids but we just don’t want to look like moms doing it. I would carry a flower diaper bag to take care of my kids, but why do I have to?” Adds Shoemaker, “I wouldn’t carry a woman’s bag to work with my laptop in it. Why would I do it while caring for my kids?”
Photo: Down Range Baby