Six years ago, when Jeff Shepard’s son Burke was born, he had a hard time finding a diaper bag that he felt confident carrying in public.
“They were all these pastel colors and flowers and pinks and purples,” Shepard said. “So there was nothing really cool for dads.”
Pinks and purples are not Shepard’s thing.
“I’m a police officer for a local agency here. I’m actually a motor officer, so I ride the motorcycles and give people tickets,” Shepard said. “For seven years before that I was a firefighter.”
Desperate to find a durable, manly bag, Shepard designed his own.
“And then I had people just, all the time, coming up to me, ‘Where did you get that bag? It’s so cool,'” Shepard said. “I was like, ‘I made it, I made it for myself.'”
“That’s really when the wheels started rolling for Down Range Baby,” he said. “It was like, ‘hey, you know what?’ Maybe there’s a market out there for something like this because there are no real cool, kind of like, cop/military type bags for dads. That are basically designed as a baby bag.”
Down Range Baby is the name of Jeff’s new diaper bag company, and he enlisted Lakewood’s Tactical Tailor to make the hardcore bags that, right now, only come in one color: black.
Tactical Tailor makes super tough, camo-colored packs for soldiers that can endure anything. They make bullet proof vests and now they make baby bags for dads.
“I love that these guys hire guys getting out of the military and put them to work here. So not only is it US made, but it’s made by guys who have done it and used it and know what they’re talking about. Like their motto, ‘For Patriots, By Patriots.'”
The bag has been bought by military and law enforcement dads around the world. And when your baby grows up, the bag is still useable.
“A lot of the baby bags out there, they are baby bags. When your kid grows up, and are now five, six, seven years old, you don’t need a baby bag anymore,” Shepard said. “But, the cool thing about my bags are, the dad has a cool bag that he can re-purpose and use for something else. So I use it as a carryall.”
“Or you can use it for a range bag, if you’re going to the range, if you’re a shooter,” he said. “These elastic loops in here, they hold baby bottles but they’ll hold magazines for an AR15 or something. Bottles to bullets.”
Steve Swafford, military sales manager for Tactical Tailor, didn’t wait for his baby to grow up to give his baby bag duel use.
“You can carry concealed and not be conspicuous,” Steve says. “When you’re in the store people are like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a gun!'” Swafford said. “My baby bag had that purpose. It had a change of clothes, snacks, everything for my son, and then in the back was my pistol.”
The bags come in two sizes, a smaller one called the Point Man and the original, Got Your Six.
“Got Your Six is that military term for your back, your six. It’s protecting your buddy, protecting your back. When I started thinking about it, I thought that’s perfect,” Shepard said. “Because when you’ve got a little baby, you’re their protector. So Got Your Six bag is perfect for that first baby bag.”