In the past (pre kids) I used a small backpack. Now fast forward over 9 yrs and I have 5 kids. Our trip last July we had 1 def in a stroller and 1 who would possibly be in a stroller. I used a Chicco Ct0.6. I LOVE that thing. It held our back pack, some odds and ends and the drinks. In March we are thinking about leaving the younger 2 at home and I’m thinking “What am I going to do with all of our gear???” My diaper bag is a Swiss Gear back pack, lots of compartments and semi waterproof. Sooo…I am thinking about still carrying that. I figure I’ll need a change of shirts for the 7 and 5 yr old. Plus wipes, camera, batteries, ponchos, etc. I love the padded shoulders and it feels awesome to carry. Even now loaded with a big pk of wipes, clothes, diapers, extra juice, baby food, etc you barely notice it. If i can’t find a different one before March (this one looks kinda rough) then I’m using it for sure.
As for the liking things where I can see them, I’m usually aware of what is going on with that bag. When I wear it, dh walks behind me and vice versa. Especially w/ a camera in it. Since you’re alone they have back packs with compartments that zip against your back, this way you can put cash, camera, etc in there.