Credit: All photos by Darrow Montgomery

Get local news delivered straight to your phone

When the Washington Nationals announced in February that all backpacks would be banned from Nationals Park, fans were upset—and confused. The team carved out exceptions for backpack-style diaper bags and backpacks used for ADA or medical needs, and OK’d drawstring bags and totes that were less than 16 inches long. What, then, was the problem with backpacks? Drawstring bags, like backpacks, have two straps, and small backpacks are exceedingly trendy—would those bags get into the stadium? What about a single-strap bag worn on one’s back? We sent a team to the April 17 game with a variety of bags to put the policy to the test.

Bag 1: Green canvas backpack with drawstring cinch and snap closure

Measurements: 14 inches tall, 11 inches wide, 4.5 inches deep

Did it get in? Yes! Security staff searched the bag’s inner pocket and some bags packed inside the bag but quickly ushered me into the park. —Caroline Jones

Bag 2: Small gray backpack with zip closure

Measurements: 15 inches tall, 11 inches wide, 5 inches deep

Did it get in? No! When I asked why I’d seen other women with backpacks enter the game, I was informed it’s because they contained diapers. Which raises the question, do I also need a baby or would packing some Pampers suffice? I was banished to the lockers where I had to exchange too much personal information to store my small, diaper-free bag for more than $5. —Laura Hayes

Bag 3: Black backpack with drawstring cinch and buckle closure

Support City Paper!

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Measurements: 16 inches tall, 10.5 inches wide, 4 inches deep

Did it get in? No! The authorities took one look at those double straps and immediately turned me around. Never mind that the bag was basically empty and had a drawstring. The exasperated security guard just pointed around the corner and directed me to the lockers. —Mitch Ryals

Bag 4: Standard blue backpack with zip closure

Measurements: 17 inches tall, 12 inches wide, 5.5 inches deep

Did it get in? No! Security at the center field entrance immediately turned me away. The backpack didn’t appear larger than some of the bags that were allowed in just ahead of me, but the two straps meant the odds were not in my favor. I took a walk of shame to the lockers near the right field gate entrance. —Kelyn Soong

Bag 5: One-strap backpack with zip closure

Measurements: 15.5 inches tall, 9.5 inches wide, 5.5 inches deep

Did it get in? Yes! The single strap didn’t phase bag checkers, though they did ask if it was a camera bag. (It technically was, though it contained no cameras on game day.) —Darrow Montgomery

Bag 6: Blue leather satchel with shoulder strap

Measurements: 9 inches tall, 13 inches wide, 3 inches deep

Did it get in? Yes, without a hitch. I got it in a Harlem boutique in 2008, and the label inside says “Lie down i think i love you.” It’s the only non-canvas tote bag I’ve ever purchased. If it didn’t make it through security, I would have chosen the bag over the game. —Alexa Mills