/ Recommendation needed: child carrier backpack

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Twisty 04 Mar 2020

I'm after a child carrying system for a 5 month old (through to toddler - to last as long as possible) best suited for long days in the mountains, easy scrambles, Via Ferrata and just walks and treks.

Its highly likely that on all scrambles and VFs we will rope up for any steep sections - if not the whole route, accounting for the higher than usual centre of gravity with coils / full body harness etc. 

Something lightweight, secure (child into carrier), sun/ rain protection and with some decent space for other kit.

Has anyone used anything for similar days out? 

Cheers

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d_b 04 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

We got on well with a little life carrier. The limiting factor with our daughter was that she didn't want to ride much once she could walk. We still use it very occasionally at 4 though.

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iccle_bully 04 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

I never liked the rucksack things, baby's weight is away from you altering your centre of gravity and baby never seemed snug and secure. Also, I think they need to be able to sit unaided before using one.

Have you considered a buckle carrier or woven wrap? Can be a lot cheaper and a lot more versatile. I found them more comfortable and have found ways of being able to carry stuff in a rucksack too.

Not sure where you are based but there are a lot of Sling libraries across the country who offer free advice and cheap hire. I would always recommend that anyone considering baby wearing goes to see them to make sure you and baby are both as comfortable and safe as you can be.

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Sealwife 04 Mar 2020
In reply to iccle_bully:

I’d second what icicle-bunny says.  Soft structured carriers such as mei-tais, buckle carriers and wraps are far more comfortable, adjustable, lightweight, packable and comfortable.

As a former baby backpack user, soft carriers were a revelation to me.

Find a slingmeet to borrow, try and get some help to get you started (wraps have a steep learning curve).

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Graeme G 04 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

Call me overprotective, but a baby carrier on a Via Ferrata? Seriously? 

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cb294 04 Mar 2020
In reply to Graeme G:

Sure, why not? Not all VFs are in danger of rock fall. The really irresponsible thing to do is to put your baby or toddler in a backpack carrier for cross country skiing or other snow sports: You stay warm, through exercise, but your child gets hypothermic rather quickly. A few years ago there even were some deaths by hypothermia here in Germany.

Anyway, it has been a few years, but back when we had small children the Macpac model was light years ahead of all other brands, featuring the same carrying system as my trekking backpack.

CB

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Jabbott 04 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

As mentioned above, your centre of gravity is altered significantly with a child carrier, much more so than with a large climbing  / backpacking sack. The load is also more 'dynamic' and able to throw you off balance more than a sack full of kit!

I wouldn't have wanted to do much more than easy grade 1 scrambling ground when I carried our daughter in a LittleLife one. 

Cheers,
Jamie

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jonfun21 04 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

We used a little life s3 with both of ours 

https://www.littlelife.com/products/child-carriers/cross-country-s3

along with the full waterproof cover

https://www.littlelife.com/products/ll-spares/rain-cover?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiaqp1LmA6AIVzLHtCh3J4wETEAQYASABEgIfIfD_BwE

was good for walking in the Lakes (got to the top of helvelyn, Skidaw etc). Found the following out along the way:

- need very warm clothes for child (think like a down suit)

- walking poles really helped with stability

- going down was much harder in terms of knees and stability - worth thinking about before you over commit in an attempt to get to the top

- be prepared to abandon for weather / child reasons (I.e. have a lower threshold ref turn back situation)

- hand warmers are really useful if they get cold (found this out now ours are walking - thanks to the people who gave us some on skidaw last autumn for my 4 year old....now have some in the rucksac every time we go out)

- enjoy the comedy moment when you realise the running commentary you have been providing was to someone who is/has been soundly asleep!

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Graeme G 04 Mar 2020
In reply to cb294:

> The really irresponsible thing to do is to put your baby or toddler in a backpack carrier for cross country skiing or other snow sports

Think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

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cb294 04 Mar 2020
In reply to Graeme G:

You are right, it can of course be done responsibly, but ever so often you see parents walking through the snow feeling warm enough, while their children first turn blue and then into little icicles.

As I said, there were a bunch of deaths in Germany a few years ago when there still was winter, and in the Black Forest in 1998(ish) I once alerted a father who thought that his child was happily asleep that his toddler was instead already apathic from hypothermia.

CB

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cb294 04 Mar 2020
In reply to jonfun21:

My comedy moment was taking my daughter bird watching on the Norfolk Coast with her new toy binoculars. A friend and I were scanning a flock of wading birds, commenting on the various species we identified. My daughter stopped banging the binoculars on my head, looked the other way, and perfectly imitating our detached expert tone, alerted us to the presence of cows.

CB

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gezebo 04 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

> Its highly likely that on all scrambles and VFs we will rope up for any steep sections - if not the whole route, accounting for the higher than usual centre of gravity with coils / full body harness etc. 

 

I’m not sure there are any rated for climbing 😉

Anyway 5 months is very young and once they get bigger they get very heavy, a bit wriggly and it’s much for fun to do things a bit lower key. Lowering your personal aspirations and enjoying their company might be more relaxing and they don’t stay small for long. 

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Graeme G 04 Mar 2020
In reply to cb294:

Apologies. You’ve misunderstood me. I meant to reference that the ONLY irresponsible thing to do is cold weather activities. I put Via Ferrata in the same category.

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jonfun21 04 Mar 2020
In reply to cb294:

I met someone near Glyder Fach who had a child in the back who kept saying "quack" continually.....his comment was we told her ducks say "quack" and now everytime she sees a bird she says "quack".....got the impression whilst cute this was wearing thin a couple of hours into a walk

Post edited at 12:43
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Toerag 04 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

> I'm after a child carrying system for a 5 month old (through to toddler - to last as long as possible) best suited for long days in the mountains, easy scrambles, Via Ferrata

Will a child stay in a carrier if you have a fall and invert on a VF? Will the carrier stay on your back? will you be able to turn yourself back up the right way if you're dangling upside down?

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cb294 04 Mar 2020
In reply to Graeme G:

No worries, but then I have to disagree!

I did some easyish, short to mid length VFs in the Alps with my daughter on my back. I could safely balance that weight even if she threw herself around. The issue for me was whether I would prefer a helmet for a given VF, in which case doing it with a child in a backpack would be an unacceptable risk.

CB

edit: The VF would have to be easy enough that I would happily solo it.

Post edited at 12:51
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cb294 04 Mar 2020
In reply to jonfun21:

We always had crows on the balcony of our flat, so all birds were "aaarrhh", including the angel sculpture at the local church.

CB

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cwarby 05 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

I'll second the LittleLife sack. I like the fact that you have to stick your foot in the stirrup to stop it calling over. Far better than the Vaude style that you just hope stays up on an uneven surface.

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TobyA 05 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

We've got a Deuter one - it carried (one of) our two older kids until they both to big for it, went to a mate and he used it with his son until he was too big as well, he subsequently returned it to us when we had our little surprise 2.5 years ago! So it must be 15 years old now and still going strong.

I've done a fair number of via ferratas in France and one in Sardinia, I wouldn't consider taking a kid in the carrier on any of them. from my experience of via ferratas I think its a really bad idea, but I have done them with my older kids probably from when they were about 9 and that was great.

I don't think I would do even an easy scramble with the child carrier either.

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Si dH 05 Mar 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Same here. We have a Deuter one,  which is good for walking once they can sit up. 

My son moves around way too much for it to be safe on a scramble or via ferrata. It's very easy to be knocked off balance.

I also disagree with those recommending soft carriers as a long term solution. Up to somewhere between 6 and 12 months,  yes. After that I could not carry my son in one for more than 30 minutes or so,  he was too heavy. Have only used the rucksack since then (he's now just over 2.5).

Edit our Deuteronomy was new rather than old and also has good storage space. 

Post edited at 18:42
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d_b 06 Mar 2020
In reply to cb294:

We are going through a stage of being told all birds are naughty.

Back on topic: I kind of skim read the op as I was traveling and missed the vf bit. I will stick with the littlelife recommendation but my limit would be the kind of vf that is basically a path with handrail.

My experience is that from about 2 up kids become unbelievably good escapologists and you can't assume they are contained unless you can see them 

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iccle_bully 07 Mar 2020

> I also disagree with those recommending soft carriers as a long term solution. Up to somewhere between 6 and 12 months,  yes. After that I could not carry my son in one for more than 30 minutes or so,  he was too heavy. Have only used the rucksack since then (he's now just over 2.5).

There are so many different kinds of carrier and ways of wearing those carriers that most people can find something that would fit comfortably far beyond 12 months which is why I recommend going to a Sling Library where they will have a variety of options and be able to teach you how to use them safely and comfortably for child and parent.

Post edited at 14:20
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In reply to Twisty:

Ours is a deuter one though I don't know which model.

As already said though, I wouldn't use it for VF. I'm generally pretty accepting of many risks if it involves new (but not life altering/shortening) experiences for the kids but that sounds like f***ing madness.  I plan to take mine on VF but not until they are old enough to do it themselves.

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Si dH 07 Mar 2020
In reply to iccle_bully:

> There are so many different kinds of carrier and ways of wearing those carriers that most people can find something that would fit comfortably far beyond 12 months which is why I recommend going to a Sling Library where they will have a variety of options and be able to teach you how to use them safely and comfortably for child and parent.

To be clear as it was my post you replied to, I still think expecting to be able to use a soft carrier for long after 12 months is very optimistic. We did visit a sling library and tried several of our friends' carriers. I'm not anti soft carriers at all - they are brilliant for small babies and we got one we were really happy with. But if was to carry my son in it now my back would be f*cked in half an hour.

I suppose it is feasible that people with kids in their early 20s might be ok with it, I was certainly more indestructible then. 

Post edited at 20:17
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pavelk 07 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

I use this http://www.corazon-sport.cz/sm/sedacky-na-deti/ and my daughter is very satisfied - as well as me

I don't know how it is available in the UK but the Deuter equivalent should be easy to get (at almost double the price)

My friend has Saleva carrier and it's not too comfortable to carry

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Philip 08 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

The Little Life rucksack is really comfortable but you'll only just manage to fit the baby stuff in. Which means your partner has all the kit for the two of you.

It's not the most comfortable for the child, the nappies will leak quicker in that position, they easily get cold (Snugons or similar spelling are arm length mittens they can't pull off, booties essential too). You won't be able to go as far.

Anything with risk you will fall over against rock is impossible. You can't secure the child into the rucksack, the centre of gravity is off so you'll more likely go over on rough terrain.

Google Menna Pritchard.

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stuartf 08 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

No one has mentioned the osprey Poco yet. We've got one and it's good, fairly light and comfortable. Comes in a variety of options with different amounts of storage for other things, and the rain cover is excellent. Only issue is the harness can be a bit tight for larger kids (3+?) if they're bundled up in lots of warm clothes.

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In reply to Twisty:

It's a long time since we've used it but if you're after something solid, comfy and with plenty of space to carry extras then Deuter carriers are great. Review of the old Kid Comfort III here, and I think they still make something very similar:

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/gear/rucksacks/deuter_kid_comfort_iii_child_carrier-4322

There's no way I'd ever scramble or VF with a child on my back, that seems a terrible idea.

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IainWhitehouse 08 Mar 2020
In reply to Si dH:

> To be clear as it was my post you replied to, I still think expecting to be able to use a soft carrier for long after 12 months is very optimistic.

Nope. My eldest was regularly in a soft carrier of one sort or another up to four years. When she was a bit younger I would also carry her yougner brother in a sling on the front although that was only really viable when he was little. Middle on was in a sling until three ish? Only the youngest wasn't carried that long and I think that's cos she wanted to walk and chase her siblings.

I was in my twenty-teens and beyond so don't think I can thank youth

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Tringa 09 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

> I'm after a child carrying system for a 5 month old (through to toddler - to last as long as possible) best suited for long days in the mountains, easy scrambles, Via Ferrata and just walks and treks.

> Its highly likely that on all scrambles and VFs we will rope up for any steep sections - if not the whole route, accounting for the higher than usual centre of gravity with coils / full body harness etc. 

> Something lightweight, secure (child into carrier), sun/ rain protection and with some decent space for other kit.

> Has anyone used anything for similar days out? 

> Cheers


I could be talking rubbish here but your second paragraph is ringing alarm bells. You want to take a young child in a carrier on a scramble where you consider it serious enough to rope up?

Dave

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StuPoo2 09 Mar 2020
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

+1 for Kid Comfort iii ... waste belt and back support is excellent - very comfortable. Done my 1.5 kids (bought it half way through #1) and tbh hardly has a mark on it.

+1 on scrambling or VF.  I think you'll have social services at your door if something goes wrong.

Winter/cold proves a challenge.  As someone pointed out above, keeping a little person warm when they are  sitting still is a challenge.  They are liable to start moaning.

They market these things like you could climb a mountain in them, which technically you might be able to do, but unless you have a little one who is happy to sit still for 3/4 hrs ... it just doesn't happen.  They're board after 30m and want to get out for a poke around.  Eventually they don't want to go back in at all.

If you've ever made the mistake, like me, of walking out too far from the car only to find they won't go back in and you have to carry them back in your arms/on your shoulders for an hr ... you don't make that mistake too  many times again.

Worth investing in though.  Kids love the view up high.

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Twisty 15 Mar 2020
In reply to Tringa:

The roping up would be due to having a child on my back and the consequences of falling. Obviously I would only choose a VF or scramble where I would be happy soloing, that much goes without saying. 

I wonder what people's thoughts are with child seats on bicycles? 

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Graeme G 15 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

> I wonder what people's thoughts are with child seats on bicycles?

On a Via Ferrata? Now you’re just taking the mick!

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adamholden 16 Mar 2020
In reply to jonfun21:

"enjoy the comedy moment when you realise the running commentary you have been providing was to someone who is/has been soundly asleep!2 

I remenber those days fondly! I shall add that it's even more fun trying to contort your arm to feed the constant desire for snacks whilst this tiny T-Rex arm waves around attempting to grab said biscuit/cake etc!

I also second the recommendation for a Littlelife backpack, ours had a waterproof Vibram covered base plate with for hold to allow much easier loading and unloading. It also works as a high chair at a well earned pub stop. The added rain covers and sun shield were very useful too.

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benp1 17 Mar 2020
In reply to adamholden:

I bought one recently, and have used it a fair bit already. Looked at a few, Osprey and Deuter mainly. 

Then discovered the Thule Sapling and found one at a good price. Massively overbuilt so therefore heavier than it needs to be, but hugely adjustable (so my wife can wear it, at 5'5, but mainly me at 6'3). Lots of very clever features, excellent stand, good storage, massive hip belt pockets

Not sure I'd do any VF with her on my back but has done plenty of walking with the other 2 kids in places that a buggy could definitely not manage

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Tringa 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

> The roping up would be due to having a child on my back and the consequences of falling. Obviously I would only choose a VF or scramble where I would be happy soloing, that much goes without saying. 

> I wonder what people's thoughts are with child seats on bicycles? 


Can you say if you are roped up and take a fall where the rope saves you, the child on your back will not be injured?

I have some concerns about using child seats on bicycles, especially where the child has a helmet but the parent doesn't.

If there is an accident involving an adult and a child on a bicycle the most important person is the adult who might be incapable because their unprotected head has connected with the road.

Dave 

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geordiepie 21 Mar 2020
In reply to Twisty:

If there are sections you think are steep enough to be roped up then you should be using equipment which is designed and rated for that purpose. Child carriers are most definitely not designed for the use you’re describing. 

Would you climb in a harness with plastic buckles?

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