/ Which child carrier?
Thought I'd stop by in here to see the opinions of others. Any advice or help appreciated
The definitive answer appears to be that if you are serious about walking with a child on your back, you cannot beat the Macpac Vamoose. There are others out there that seem to offer more for the child, but lets not forget that toddlers are not exactly light as a feather and Macpac are the only serious rucsack manufacturer that make a child carrier.
I have one myself, but a back injury meant that I was unable to properly use it with my twins (not both at once, although such things do exist, I kid you not), and it will probably be the same with my 14 month old as well.
It is very comfortable when fully laden, obviously bombproof, and all my kids have found it comfortable when in it.
It is very heavy though, and easily the most expensive carrier out there, but it does come with a sun shade and waterproof cover (often an extra with other makes). Perhaps the biggest downside is that the back system is sized, so you and your partner need to both fall into that range if you wish to both use it; other brands such as Bushbaby are adjustable enough even if the height difference is a foot or so.
It depends what you intend to do with it.
Long days on the hill are a bit of a no-no with very young kids, unless they sleep through it.
One of the best I have had was a Mothercare one that converted to a four wheel buggy. Big advantage was it was stable for leaving kiddie in, very useful if you do pub walks as the kiddie stays in it safely at the pub while you eat lunch in the pub. Not the most comfortable but you don't wear it for long periods. We took it to the Alps and it was great.
Like a rucksack the best one if you use it for a long period is the fit.
Many of the sunshades are ineffectual and you need something else as well if it is hot.
Ours got claustrophobic with the rain covers so they were a bit useless as well.
Vaude ones are steel framed and heavy, I got a littlelife voyager with zip off day sack,very useful for putting your personal items in but you could detach without needing to drag the whole carrier into shops etc.
We got ours from Decathlon which is as cheap as anywhere.
Talk to the folks at http://www.littletrekkers.co.uk
They are very knowledgable and can help you choose. I would suggest going and trying a few on to see which is comfy, as good as any advice. For what it is worth, I have carried both my kids in an old Macpac Vamoose and am very happy with it.
The top of the range bush baby carriers are comfortable for a day in the hills, have an adjustable back length and the passenger compartment is comfortable enough for the young un to sleep for an hour or more.
At the time we got ours it was the only one with a long enough frame for someone 6ft plus.
We had a Vaude one which seemed to be pretty much the same as the Deuter one. Nice touches were having a folding changing mat hidden away inside, a sunscreen that easily converted into a rain cover/wind shield that seemed to produce its own snug microclimate, external mesh side pockets, ice axe loop and a carrying area for nappies, wipes, my waterproofs etc. It got good use for our two children and is now doing its job for a friend who is very happy with it.
PS I was joking about the ice axe loop.
It has got enough room for a weekends stuff for the nipper and me, and is dead comfy, with a massive hipbelt. I still use it a bit at 2 1/2, although she's getting a bit heavy and its hard to keep balance as easily with her flinging her weight about.
Also had a baby bjorn front carrier thing that she went in more or less from birth, and was loads better when she was little, up to maybe 8 or ten months, you can wear a proper pack as well, and she'll stay warmer, although it can make you hot. I'd definitely look at getting one of those for the earlier months, you can get them cheap secondhand, and move up to a rucksack when the baby's a bit bigger.
I used to take R out for an hour or two's walk, but any longer may be pushing it for her sake, they lose heat quickly and while you're sweating buckets, they can go blue. Ideas of 'long days in the hills' soon vanished and turned into shorter sessions. Get whatever one fits you both best and that you can afford, and hope your baby likes using it, because some don't! It ain't up to you any more
Another vote for the Vamoose and http://www.littletrekkers.co.uk , which were the cheapest place for this at the time. Also given how robust they are e-bay might be a good idea.
Personally I'd focus on the key features (comfort for adult and child, size of storage and robustness) and wouldn't worry too much about the other gimmicks/guff (e.g. mirrors, clips, etc...).
The vamoose was very comfortable, my daughter seem very happy in it (to the point she hardly ever goes in a push chair) and its bombproof. The storage is one of largest available and the removeable small sack acts like expandable storage (i.e. its only really used on long days out).
I have carried her a variety of distances and in various places from just going to the shops/around town, all the way to the top of the Old Man of Coniston.
Oh and started using the Vamoose at about 7 mths, and still using at 26 mths.
If you're looking at front carriers for when they are small, I've just bought a Lascal M1. Seemed to be a lot better back system (for me, anyway) than the baby bjorn, and I think it's also made with better materials. The Bjorn looked like it could get quite warm in summer - the straps appear to be made of cotton, and the straps are quite thick.
The Lascal seems to be made more of rucksack material - highly vented straps, and the back system was exceptionally comfy. It's also highly adjustable, so will grow with your child.
True, is it probably the most expensive front carrier on the market, but I'm guessing they'd probably hold reasonable second hand value after you've finished with it.
We will get a Deuter carrier when it gets older, as it's the only system that will fit both me and hubby comfortably.
The Bjorn looked like it could get quite warm in summer - the straps appear to be made of cotton, and the straps are quite thick.
> True, is it probably the most expensive front carrier on the market, but I'm guessing they'd probably hold reasonable second hand value after you've finished with it.
They do indeed get hot in the summer for the reasons you say, its like being strapped to a big black water bottle, with half your back covered as well, so a lighter design would be an improvement. Of course you could just use a sheet as a sling.... Our baby bjorn has been round a couple of friends now, and is still in perfectly good nick. I wouldn't buy either a front carrier or a rucksack new, save the money for babysitters...
If I recall the advice at the time, backpack-type carriers are not recommended earlier than six months. The critical factor is when the little beastie's neck can properly support its head. Before then you need a Baby Bjorn or similar. I found carrying a baby on the front gave me backache unless I carried a rucksack as well, although carrying both the baby and the daysack was a bit sweaty (but earned me lots of brownie points).
For backpack carriers, another vote for Macpac. We went for the Possum as we couldn't see the need for the extra features on the Vamoose.(Zip-off daybag anyone?). Very comfortable and the kids were happy in it until about 3 - 4 years old. When they got too big for the Macpac, they started to find it a bit uncomfortable if they were in if for too long. This had the advantage of making them want to get out and walk.
We bought our Possums in about 1999 and 2001 (so it's possible there may be something better on the market now - although if there is, I haven't seen it) and they have lasted very well. The periods where we needed two Possums were quite short so our 1999 Possum basically did for all three of our children, has been lent on to a couple of other families and is apparently still in reasonable shape. Which is good, as it seems we'll be needing it again ...
Ive a vaude one thats in excellent nick and you can have for £10 = P&P
i can send you photos if you PM with an email adress.
it can be used 6 - 36 months maybe even a bit older
its pink, and there is no intrgral hood for this design but its a light and practical carrier.
my kids are 5 and 7 so dont use it anymore
One thing is how much else you can carry in the carrier. The bushbaby has a large stowage compartment - some carriers are very limited in this respect.
> If I recall the advice at the time, backpack-type carriers are not recommended earlier than six months. The critical factor is when the little beastie's neck can properly support its head.
There I'd say absolutely not. Baby Bjorns are famous amoung 'babywearers' for giving the adult a bad back. Many of the other similar soft-structured carriers are supposed to be better but wraps are widely thought to be the best for newborns beacuse they support the full length of the spine very well. . Try something like a Moby wrap http://www.mobywrap.com/c-15-moby-wrap.aspx - I found it fine for my daughter till well after six months when she couldd go in a Vamoose.
I get a bad back with the standard Baby Bjorn carrier but not with this one:
got a macpac one and a little life one, both fine to 3+, both similar to carry- have hoods etc, not used them a lot. Going to ebay them soon, will sell them for £50 each if any use to you. sheffield.
As already mentioned in other replies, you have little choice about minimum age for using a child carrier, YOU CANNOT USE UNTIL THE CHILD CAN SUPPORT ITS OWN HEAD WEIGHT. The only real limit in maximum weight, in most cases, is until they get too heavy to be able to carry on your back. In some cases they are strong enough to take the weight of a fully grown adult, not recommended though. Most brands quote 15 - 20kg max weight for safety sake.
I'd go with the Bushbaby with the carrying compartment. Great for a day out as you can get all the stuff you need together. We have had ours for 6 years (our kids are 5 years apart) and it has had a lot of use and still going strong. Our daughter is almost 2, and she loves being in it. Even at the minute in the baltic conditions when we stick her in a 1 piece arctic suit. It has a fully adjustable back which means my wife can carry it as well, but it does not adjust really quickly (which means i get to carry it all day anyway). Probably the best bit of baby kit we bought (along with the Tripp Trapp high chair)
In reply to Lurcher:
> got a macpac one and a little life one, sheffield.
Which models? Colours, age etc. I'd be interested, whereabouts in Sheff?
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