I put Kiddy’s Adventure Pack to the test last Saturday at Adams Canyon in the Wasatch Front of northern Utah.
It was a long weekend (happy Pioneer Day!), and my husband and I were determined to join the hordes of adventurers in the great outdoors, even if it meant strapping our little ones to our backs.
Because the Adventure Pack is designed to support kiddos weighing 16 to 40 pounds, I can use it to tote either of my tots—my 4-year-old daughter or my under-1 son. For this trip, my daughter got dibs.
Before we took off, I made some adjustments so we girls could both travel in comfort. (Well, relative comfort—a hike is not a day at the spa!) The Adventure Pack has no shortage of straps and buckles. First, I positioned the straps for my height; then, I fit my shoulder straps, waist belt and chest strap until I had them nice and snug. Two more sets of straps adjusted how close my daughter would sit to me (sitting closer means less strain on my back).
Then it was time to fit the straps to my girlie. She’s tall, so I positioned the shoulder straps in the top setting (there are three to choose from), and extended the depth of the pad beneath her bum. While the carrier rested on the ground against its sturdy kickstand, I lifted her in and buckled the five-point harness. She was snug and secure, so my husband helped me hoist the pack onto my back. I buckled the chest and waist straps, and we were off! Uphill, downhill, over a creek, among the cacti … it was a challenging three hours. My daughter called it our “family adventure”—she enjoyed the ride as much as we adults appreciated the spectacular view.
Now, it’s no easy feat traversing a mountain trail filled with soft, shifting sand, up steep switchbacks with a big old 4-year-old kid on one’s back. However, the Adventure Pack made the journey much more pleasant. I felt some strain on my hips and back—and a little on my shoulders and legs—but the heavy pads on the waist belt and shoulder straps were a great help. Plus, the breathable mesh fabric was a good choice for a 90-degree day. The Pack is lightweight—6 pounds according to the Kiddy website. It also features some very handy extras: two large storage compartments in the back held our water bottles, snacks, a diaper and wipes for baby brother, our phones and keys. There is an additional small pocket on the waist belt and a drink holder over the right shoulder. An optional sun/rain hood gives kiddo some relief from the elements, and light reflectors provide added safety in low light.
So how does the Adventure Pack measure up among the young crowd? My daughter said she was perfectly comfortable in her perch. And with all the padding at her sides, shoulders, chest, back and bottom, I’m not surprised! She was so comfortable, in fact, that when we stopped to rest midway, she asked to stay in the carrier rather than get out and walk around.
The sturdy, durable Pack held out through our rigorous 3-hour hike, but I wanted to make sure it would work with a baby as well, so I toted my little guy around the house just to get a feel for it. He was happy and giggling, and so was I—carrying him was a breeze! There is a removable, washable mouth protector at his face level to safeguard both his teeth and the carrier, and an extra mouth protector is included. This is the only part of the carrier that is machine washable; the rest can be washed by hand.
To sum it all up, I would absolutely recommend the Adventure Pack to any parents looking to head outdoors with their little ones. It’s comfortable, it’s convenient, and it’s good-looking to boot! The rugged yet sleek styling says, “I’m outdoorsy, but I also have good taste.” Where can you go wrong?!
The Adventure Pack is brand-spanking-new as of July 2011. German label Kiddy will also debut a new car seat and stroller later this year, adding to their U.S. line.
To buy: everything4kids.net