I get asked about backpack baby carriers a lot, or proper carriers as some people call them. These are the hiking carriers you get that are made by all the big names in outdoor equipment.
The one that I’ve got is the Deuter Kid Comfort II and we took this out for a test last weekend to the Peak District.
Both me and my husband tested it although he used it for longer than I did. We had our youngest who’s two and a half in the carrier.
We had her wrapped up with a thermal top, t shirt, jumper, warm leggings and quite a thick padded all in one suit. And a hat and gloves too. So she had plenty of layers on to keep her warm.
Let’s talk about the pros. First of all, it comes with inbuilt storage. It’s got a little bag at the bottom which we used to carry extra layers for everyone. It’s got a few little pockets at the back as well so we could put snacks and a drink in there and it’s got a cool little pocket right on the hip. Which was really, really handy for a few little snacks. For any of you that have gone on walks with little kids, snacks, snacks, all the snacks to keep them going.
The extra luggage space was really useful. I carried a daypack with our other stuff. I would definitely have needed a bigger bag or Mark would have had to carry one as well because we would not have been able to carry everything otherwise.
Mark liked the fact you could take it off with the little one still in. So for a short stop, you could just rest her down.
Although, she was able to touch the ground with her feet so she very easily could have kicked herself over with the whole thing. So we did have to ensure one of us was standing by it just to make sure that it wasn’t going to topple.
It started to feel quite heavy on Mark’s shoulders even after a short while. He prefers the weight in his shoulders rather than on his hips. I think it depends how much you tighten the hip belt.
It’s definitely a lot heavier to carry in this than with a standard buckle carrier. I only managed about 20 minutes carrying out of the 4 hours we were out walking. I found it very very uncomfortable pretty much right from the start. It sat very heavily on my shoulders. And after a very short while. I could feel that it was really lopsided and all the weight was in one shoulder. I realised afterwards when my husband put it back on again, that this was because my daughter was not centered in it. It seemed to be very difficult to adjust and keep her in one place. I think she just shifted with the movement of me walking. There’s no way that I could reach her to be able to centre her in it. The seat part is quite narrow, so doesn’t support the child in a knee to knee ergonomic position. This is not unsafe, but it does contribute to the carrier not being as comfortable as it could be, both for you and your child.
The other big downside was that our daughter got really, really cold by the end of the trip despite all the layers. Obviously, I realise that we were walking in January and that wouldn’t be everyone’s choice. You wouldn’t be dealing with the same temperatures in Spring and Summer. In a regular baby carrier children get a lot of your body heat because they’re very close to your body and that does count for a lot in keeping them warm. Whereas in this they’re very far away from your body and there’s just no way they’re going to get any of your body heat. And because they are not moving, it’s harder for them to keep warm.
We agreed that we wouldn’t use it again on another walk. We use an Integra size three or a Lenny Lamb Preschool. And I occasionally use a woven wrap to carry her.
However, as I always say with baby slings and carriers it’s just really unique to each person. Neither of us find it the most comfortable carrier. But that doesn’t mean to say that it isn’t the baby carrier for you.
What I would say is that backpack carriers are very expensive compared to other baby carriers, it can be as much as double the cost. It’s probably going to get a lot less use than a sling or carrier that you might use more around the city.
You know, we’re surrounded by beautiful national parks here in Manchester. I think they’re an occasional use thing that you might take on holiday or for a weekend away. A trip up to the Lake District, to Wales or the Peak District.
I think that the companies that make these are really good at making comfortable backpacks. I’ve got a big backpack that I’ve taken travelling or out hiking and they’re really good at making them really, really comfortable. They’ve paid a lot of attention to that in the whole design of these carriers. What they haven’t paid as much attention to is the position of the child. And I just feel like they’ve not really thought about that in the same sort of way and in how we know that children like to sit and how they’re comfortable and how much they can wriggle around. This then translates as not as much comfort for you because of how they then shift around.
Hire instead of buy
So having access to a hiking carrier would be really really useful but it doesn’t mean you have to buy one. You can hire it for the weekend from us. You pick it up on a Friday and bring it back on a Monday. Rather than wasting lots of resources and money on all the ones that get bought and used about three times before it sits languishing in your garage.
It might be then that a backpack carrier is just something that you rent whenever you need it. Or it might be that you try it and you really like it and so you buy your own because you think you’re going to get a lot of use out of it.
This review is my opinion. I purchased the carrier myself and wasn’t asked to review it by the company.