Dads try diaper vests on for size

Marcus Melnick, with his son, Ari, in their Buffalo Grove, Ill., home, wears the Daddy Diaper vest that he invented as an alternative to the diaper bag. The Associated Press

Marcus Melnick, with his son, Ari, in their Buffalo Grove, Ill., home, wears the Daddy Diaper vest that he invented as an alternative to the diaper bag. The Associated Press

By The Associated Press

Marcus Melnick had issues with his wife’s diaper bag.

The Buffalo Grove father of two sons thought it was too cumbersome, too unorganized, too what’s the word? … Feminine.

That’s what drove Melnick to create a diaper bag that he could live with.

Only, this diaper bag is not really a bag. Instead it’s a 17-pocket vest that Melnick calls the “Tactical Daddy.”

He’s marketing the garment as a sleeker, more manly vessel to lug diapers and other baby supplies around in.

The 33-year-old Melnick came up with the idea in June and has already sold some of the diaper bag alternatives on eBay.

“It’s really funny,” said Melnick, a research analyst with the Glencoe Public Safety Department. “People laugh at me. And after they laugh, they say ‘Wait, that’s kind of cool.'”

Or, at least, cooler than his wife’s diaper bag.

The “Tactical Daddy” has a two-way zipper and pockets spread across the chest, flank and back, giving dads plenty of room to hold diapers, formula and that all-important sippy cup.

For Melnick, the best part of using the vest is no longer having to overturn his wife’s bag to find the baby wipes.

If he needs them, he knows which pocket to flip open.

Melnick, the son of an inventor, originally bought the tactical vest to wear on the frequent trips he takes to the Caribbean.

His wife, Heather, never let him don the khaki-colored garment on the beach because it made him look like a tourist. As a result, the vest was relegated to the back of Melnick’s closet, until recently when it found an unexpected second life as a diaper bag.

Melnick doesn’t stitch the vests himself. He has teamed up with 5.11 Tactical, a California-based clothing manufacturer, to sell the ready-made vests for $69 and $79 on his Web site: http://www.tacticaldaddy.com. The vests come in green, black and khaki.

“It was viewed initially as a gag gift,” Melnick said. “But it’s not a gag. It’s a practical thing. It’s a masculine way to care for your children.”