If I had to sum up the Deuter 2001 Kid Comfort II Child Carrier in two words, those words would be “super easy.”
From the moment you pull the carrier from the box, there is zero assembly required. With only a few adjustments, the carrier is ready for action. Prior to your first test run with the babe, put the carrier on your back and adjust the (super cushion-y) shoulder straps, waist belt, and chest belt to fit you. This will make the final adjustments smaller and therefore much easier with your tyke on board.
The next thing to do is fit the pack for your little hiker. These adjustments took me a little bit longer. You can adjust the height of the seat, the length of the 5-point harness system, and the side entry buckles. I found it best to get these adjusted to what you think your babe needs first. Then, with the pack standing up with the easy-to-use kickstand, put your baby in the seat. (Side note: This carrier, and most of this genre, sit your baby very upright, so make sure he can hold his head steadily and sit up. More carriers recommend to hold off use until your infant is 6 months or older for this reason.) Then further adjust the 5-Point Child Safety Harness to give your babe a good, snug fit—just like you would in his car seat. The harness system provides safety and comfort with cushioned shoulder straps and keeps your babe sitting up against a breathable mesh cushion to prevent him from overheating on your venture. When properly fitted, your babe should be at a prime height to drool on the cushioned, sueded, removable and washable drool pad. (This may or may not have been one of Henry’s favorite aspects of the whole experience. He was so happy to have a new texture to chew on!) The next step is to close the side entry buckles and prepare for take-off. Make sure you’ve put on sunscreen and perhaps a hat for the little guy before you put him on your back and he isn’t as easily accessible.
OK, now we’re ready to get down to business. I found it best to move the carrier (with babe on board) to a large, higher surface like a bed (if testing it out in your house) or bench (if you’re at the trailhead) to make sliding on the shoulder straps a breeze. Then make final adjustments to perfect the fit so that the weight is distributed across your hips. Now y’all are ready to go!
For our first hike, I moved the diaper bag contents to the carrier. There are two mesh pockets sized just right for holding bottles and a large zippered compartment for diapers, wipes, burp rags, blankets, extra sunscreen, food, and anything else you could think of. Along the waist belt is a handy pocket perfect for a camera or cell phone and Chapstick. Basically, the folks over at Deuter have built the carrier so that you won’t be needing to carry any other bags on your hike because everything you need will fit it the carrier. Talk about smart. And convenient. Once the carrier was packed, I put the pack in the trunk and babe in the car seat and headed over to the trail.
At the trailhead, H was strapped safely into the pack, I put it on my shoulders, and buckled the waist belt and chest strap. Thanks to our at-home adjusting we went from car to trail in less than five minutes. Perhaps second to the drool pad, Henry loved being able to look all around as we hiked. I’ve often used front packs rather than strollers to take him for walks, but he would always fall fast asleep within minutes. I attributed this to being super close and cozy as well as not being able to see much when facing my chest. And don’t think I’m complaining about him falling fast asleep. Peace and quiet is nice and hard to come by. But I am excited that Henry can now begin to take in and enjoy nature the way I do. In the Kid Comfort II, he was free to move his head from side-to-side, flail his arms in excitement, and drool all he wanted. And I loved being able to hear his squeals of excitement. We kept our hike on the shorter side (just under an hour) because I was a bit nervous that H would get hungry or fussy and I wouldn’t be able to soothe him while he was in the pack and I would have to undo everything mid-hike and then redo it out in the wilderness. But thanks to a bottle before we left the house and a nap in the car ride to the trail, H was a happy camper.
After the hike, after triple-checking that the kickstand was out, I took the pack off without a hitch only to find H still content to be surrounded by so many new things to look at. I got him out of the carrier with ease, removed the drool pad so I would remember to wash it at home and then folded up the pack and put it in the trunk. The entire dismount took, again, less than five minutes.
The Deuter 2011 Kid Comfort II Carrier is uncomplicated, safe and comfortable (for both hiker and baby). After the initial fitting to your tyke, the carrier is quick and easy and practical for toting your kid on a hike, a jaunt around the neighborhood, or a stroll around the grocery store. To sum it up: super easy.
To buy: deuterusa.com