Dadsnet: baby carrier backpacks, any pearls of wisdom?

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  • Dadsnet: baby carrier backpacks, any pearls of wisdom?
  • Premier Icon mrsi

    Evening folks. the wee one has reached the point where she’s outgrown her array of carrying devices so looking to invest in a backpack style baby carrier for getting out into the countryside and such like. Thinking something along the lines of this:

    Given that they don’t come cheap, has anyone got any experience to share, what to look for / avoid etc?

    I had a little life, was brilliant. Don’t be out off by the price, for two reasons. You’ll not lose much on it, when the time comes to sell. But more importantly, I had a fab time with my little girl on my back, was an absolutely awesome time that I truly wish I could go back to.

    I used to carry a little mirror around, so I could see her smiling when being carried around, but the best bit was when she fell asleep. Super cuteness.


    I’ve got that very model and its very good.

    I think to be honest I’d get off gumtree or eBay etc as they are the type of thing that is probably bought a lot and hardly used.


    We went for the little life voyager SE for a number of reasons –

    It has an adjustable back so can be comfortable for both me and my half pint wife

    It has a large storage area so we can get everything we need for a day out in one pack (yes it means that the pack is heavy but it’s less hassle than having a pack, and a bag). Our three year old still fits comfortably in it, and because the pack is based around a good rucksack design she’s still comfortable to carry.

    It has a detachable day pack so that if we’re having a big day out, picnic etc we can split the load. This was particularly useful on holiday when we had picnic lunches most days.

    The other thing about the little life ones is that they have the pad for the kids head when they fall asleep, a little thing I know but our littlun regularly fell asleep in it, and drooled on it. Being able to take it off and wash it is a big plus!

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager

    We have that deuter model and it’s been superb – doubt you would go wrong with any of the carriers around that price range tbh.
    Ours doesn’t have support for sleeping heads that bigG mentions – that would be a nice feature. We always improvised some clothing wrapped up to do the same job, but a dedicated thing would be good – they fall asleep frequently in them.


    Obligatory pic of happy child in carrier, you can just about see the pad thing I mentioned.

    I wasn’t lying on the floor for this, for some reason flickr has flicked the pic around by 90 degrees,,

    Untitled by BigG1968, on Flickr[/img]


    Little Life second hand. Can’t go wrong.

    We went for the little life one – detachable, washable pillow thing, adjustable back and decent carrying capacity also. It came with a little ‘roof’ which keeps light rain off but the rain cover is recommended.

    Must admit, it took a few walks playing with the straps to get it comfy but it’s brilliant now. Don’t suppose you’ll go far wrong with any of these – I do like the sound of the detachable bag ^^^.

    Premier Icon JoeG

    Surely you want something more niche like this. 😉


    We ended up with a second-hand Phil&Ted Metro. Took wee fatty along to the shop (second-hand shop for kids’ gear, bargains galore) and tested out about half a dozen with him in it. Some were terrible, some ok, some seemed great, but it’s worth trying a few on with the kid aboard to see how they sit.


    oh, and another thing. (I’m awake with a crying two week old daughter)

    Don’t even think about being able to put it on loaded without someone’s help, in my experience anyway. Although there may be a technique that I’ve not mastered.

    Although there may be a technique that I’ve not mastered

    There really is (11.5 stone here and no bother with the chubby one year old) and laden luggage copartment.


    It’s not the weight of it I struggle with at all. I’m used to carrying heavier packs and slinging them on is fine. It’s the actual slinging it over my shoulder without tilting the thing at an awkward angle and terrifying the little princess that’s in it which got me.

    Sorry I should have been clearer.

    I lift it on to my knee then slide it round. If there’s a chair, I stick the carrier on that, get the straps on and lift. That said, there’s no way they’ll fall out so perhaps a bit of B-ingTFU is required 😀


    Got some good advice off here and got a little life ultralight convertible. Think I got it new for £70 from Sports Direct.

    It needed to fit the hand luggage restrictions for going abroad which some of voyager etc dont.

    They are brilliant and my little lad loves it…but when he falls asleep I always panic he’s going to break his neck as it flops all over the place!


    We had a little life that I sold on here.

    Ones with stands are pointless, I would never leave junior strapped in without one of us being close by.

    Try lots of brands to see which suits your back best, there are big differences.

    Make sure there is plenty of storage and also storage that is easy to access ie not zipped.

    Jnr FD would often fall asleep on the cushion thing at the front.

    was the most useful bit of baby/toddler kit we bought


    I have a MacPac Vamoose like the one here.

    It’s now surplus to requirements, let me know if you are interested and I’ll send some details.

    They get very good reviews too.

    Premier Icon stabilizers

    +1 for MacPac

    Try as many out as you can . The fit and support vary greatly. I didn’t want to spend much initially but after trying a few of the cheaper options I went for an Osprey Poco totally different league ,found it perfectly easy to get on solo and loaded up the grab handles and straps are well placed etc, some of the other models just seemed floppy and awkward.
    The Poco is an awesome bit of kit very comfy for both parties.

    An extremely well made and durable bit of kit so you should be able to find some nice examples in the second hand market if your open to that.


    Macpac +1 brilliant bit of kit Still using the detachable day sack even though little one is out of he carrier at 3 years old! Never really used the sun shade thing though!

    Premier Icon mos

    We had a deuter kid comfort 2, bought off ebay for £67, sold on ebay for £73 2 years later. A bit like you might do with a rothan.


    Totally agree with the little life endorsements, we had he cross country model, we sold it would on fleabay a few months ago and didn’t get much less than we paid for it originally. As for mounting I used to stick it on the tail gate and lift up or get the wife to steady it before going for it!!

    Premier Icon mrsi

    Thanks all, some great advice here. I had a feeling the STW hive mind might be the place to go.

    JoeG – That is tempting, I suppose it’s the rigid singlespeed of the progeny carrying world. Does it come with a free guardian subscription?

    razorrazoo – That sounds spot on, I’ll drop you an email shortly.


    Macpac was brilliant, did two kids till they were nearly 4 and then sold for about 70% of what we paid for it. Bargain


    Get a little mirror on a chain or cord that you can attach to the strap. Stops you trying to twist your own head off to check on them.

    Premier Icon oxym0r0n

    We had 2 macpac’s – they were great 🙂


    yossarian – Member

    Get a little mirror on a chain or cord that you can attach to the strap. Stops you trying to twist your own head off to check on them.

    If you buy the littlelife voyager you get the mirror with it, and the rain cover, and the sun cover, and the removable back pack, and the insulated bottle holder, and pockets on the belt big enough for wallet, mobile, camera and car keys, and the soft face pad cushion thing and a sense of wellbeing because your child is being welcomed into middle class life in comfort. Just saying,,,

    Subscription to the Guardian not included.

    Baby carrier? MTFU what do you think your arms are for?

    But seriously having used a crotch dangler, framed rucksack style carriers, stretch woven wraps, tied slings, a connecta. I would recommend carrying a kid in your arms or on your shoulders. If you get tired of that then a tied woven sling if you can be bothered to learn is a revelation in terms of comfort and how evenly the load is spread, connecta style carriers which use buckles instead of knots come a close second for me.


    My Littlelife has cost about £30 per walk. Hopefully it’ll get more use with our youngest this summer, if not it’ll be on sale in the classifieds on here. Quite a well thought out product though.

    ballsofcottonwool – that’s all well and good if you’re planning on pootling round the local park / supermarket. If you’re going on a proper walk, one of these ^^^ is plainly far more appropriate.

    We’ve been through dozens of slings (well, Mrs Removed has) and I quite liked our BabyBjorn crotch dangler when he was smaller but now he’s one, I wouldn’t walk more than a mile without a rucksack carrier.

    Premier Icon JoeG

    BabyBjorn crotch dangler



    Excellent timing.
    I’ve just moved to an area with hills and hopefully, a lot less pollution (for China)
    I have a 4 & 2 year old, and I’m very keen to get them outside.
    So this thread is just what I have been looking for.
    I know I’ll get more usage with the 2 year old on one, but I’m concerned about getting one for the 4 year old, as I don’t think it’ll get used that much, maybe just a summer.

    During my research, I did come across this article.
    100 mile Trek with a 4 year old

    I wouldn’t want to walk more than a mile carrying one of my kids in a heavy uncomfortable rucksack carrier.

    I found our macpac great, chosen because was in a sale.

    However like a rucsac might be worth trying them in shop to get what fits you best.

    Some extra pockets for stuff is recommended however detachable backpack? I’d get someone else to carry it, kids heavy enough!

    I wouldn’t want to walk more than a mile carrying one of my kids in a heavy uncomfortable rucksack carrier.

    Won’t your fella help?

    Seriously they’re neither heavy or uncomfortable if setup correctly. My Osprey really makes for easy going, hands free over stiles, walls up and down steps carrying a beer , controlling the dog etc


    Have the deuter kiddie carrier 3 it’s been excellent and taken my daughter from 6 months to about 3.5yrs and very comfy for everyone. Also got the additional rain cover which has been really useful

    We’ve got 3 kids aged 3,5 and 7 anc we often end up carrying one each to extend our walks until the eldest is worn out. we have both found soft carriers without frames much better as the child’s centre of gravity is lower and much closer to your own.


    +1 for little life… Bought one from Mothercare in an amazing sale and sold it for more then we paid for it on ebay! Crazy bidders!!


    We had a Bush Baby. Excellent piece if kit. I wish I could go back to those days. Now I can barely pick up my two, let alone carry them around all day (which I did!).

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