Strollers are fantastic, and allow a parent to keep on moving. Sometimes, you’re going to come across a “stroller unfriendly” zone. You want to go hiking but the wheels don’t handle terrain well or you’re at a venue full of stairs or a location that has ensured it is a headache to try to navigate with a stroller. This is why a child carrier is a fantastic invention that doesn’t limit where you can go with your baby. One of the premier child carriers is Osprey’s Poco Child Carrier.
The Poco Child Carrier is really easy to use, and if you know how to put on a backpack, then you’ll have no problems. Of course, your cargo is extra precious because it is your child, but I’m the master of making things extra difficult and even I was able to easily get the carrier on my back with my son seated in the carrier. The carrier is to be worn on your back, and the child will face the front (and enjoy a great view over your head). It is a breeze to put your child into the carrier thanks to a base bar you can pull out that allows you to stand up the carrier on a flat surface. Now, the base bar does stick out quite a bit, so you’ll want to remember to pull it back in after you put it on your back, unless you like knocking things over or hitting innocent bystanders (luckily, it is easy to reach and pull in or out even when the carrier is on your back).
The main purpose of the carrier is to use it for hikes or day trips to places like the zoo (which we did), but this means you need something that is secure for your child but also extremely comfortable for both of you. Like a high quality hiker backpack, there are adjustable padded shoulder straps and a hip belt designed for optimal fit and comfort, and there is an additional sternum strap to prevent the shoulder straps from sliding. As for the baby, he/she fits snugly in a saddle-like seat and the child can put his/her feet into the stirrups. The child seat is fully adjustable with secure shoulder straps and has side compression straps to keep the child from inadvertently moving around when you walk. Our son loves the carrier because he can see past our heads and get a view he wouldn’t be able to have in a stroller. Osprey recommends that your child is at least 16 pounds and able to sit up on their own before they use the pack.
The positioning of the shoulder straps is adjustable and is not only quick and easy, but is a better and more efficient design than any other carrier we tried. The adjustments allow the carrier to be comfortable and secure for all different sizes of parents. I am about 5’10” and it was not only really comfortable for me, but there was still extra length available for those who are taller. The downside is that the carrier doesn’t fit as well for those who are really short. My wife is 5’3” and the XS (extra small) setting was still an inch too long for her, which meant using the carrier for several hours got to be uncomfortable (but she had no problems using it for shorter trips).
The Poco Carrier is perfect for your day trips, because you can pack all your baby’s needs like extra clothes, snacks, and diapers right into the pack. In the premium model, you also have extra storage with a detachable daypack that can be carried by your child. The carrier has several pockets for easy storage such as two pockets on the waist belt (great for snack storage), left shoulder strap pockets for your cell phone, and four mesh pockets to store smaller items. The pockets are great (my wife always has something new that needs to be stored away), but I should note the two waist belt pockets are hard to open. Before you start packing your world into the carrier, it is important to realize that the maximum weight is 48.5 pounds total (this includes your baby). You can obviously tell with all this space that the carrier is quite large, and isn’t ideal for a quick run into the grocery store, but it is fantastic form of child transportation in the outdoors and large venues (my wife even used it in the mall and loved it).
There are a few extra features provided with the Poco Carrier that will make your travels much more convenient. The plus/premium models have a sunshade that is stored in the carrier and is very simple to clip onto the pack, and this is really important feature on those sunny days where you’re wishing there was some shade for your little loved one. Where the baby sits, there is a drool pad that can be removed and washed, which I know we find really helpful due to our little drool machine. It includes a diaper change pad that is easy to take out, but we found to be a bit of a hassle to put back in when you have the carrier full of stuff.
A feature that a profuse sweater like me appreciates on the hotter hikes is a mesh back for greater ventilation; because nothing ruins the day like an ocean of back sweat (you’re welcome for that image, by the way). The outdoorsy parents will really appreciate the whistle that is built into the sternums strap, but this may seem less spectacular if you just plan to use the carrier for walks in the park and more populated areas. You can also purchase additional accessories like a rain cover (so bad weather won’t ruin your outdoor adventures) and a traveling bag to easily transport the carrier. The only major thing missing that a few other carriers include is a small mirror, so that you can see your child, but my wife informs me this is something most semi handy people can rig up on the carrier themselves.
The Poco Carrier comes with a full colored and easy to read manual. It is concise but still contains all the valuable details. The pictures are incredibly helpful in showing how to use each feature. The handy manual ensures you won’t be stuck staring at your carrier and wondering, “What do I do with this thing?”
I’m sure this sounds great (especially if you want your child to experience the outdoors at a young age), but you may be worried about the cost. The base model comes in at $199(US)/$230(CAN), the Plus model costs $259(US)/$300(CAN), and the premium model come to $299(US)/$340(CAN). I admit this may seem a little pricey, but you really are buying a high end and high quality product. We tried out several top of the line packs, and the Poco was the most comfortable, easy to use, and equipped with valuable features. Osprey also stands behind the quality of their product by offering a lifetime warranty on the carriers.
Osprey prides themselves on producing high quality outdoor gear. They have strengthened their reputation with this great baby carrier. If you love the outdoors and can’t wait to expose your baby to this world, then I can’t recommend this product enough. It also is really handy for day trips and my son just loves being in it (he enjoys having such a great views of his surroundings). If you are just planning to make short trips to the grocery store and park, then you’ll need to decide if this product is worth the price tag for your lifestyle. The Poco Carrier is one of the elite forms of child transportation when you’re the adventurous parent who is always on the go.