Living in Colorado, a backpack carrier for our kiddo is a must. We knew we wanted something easy to transport to the mountains for an afternoon jaunt, but it also needed to be sturdy and comfortable enough for long hikes and camping trips. The Deuter Kid Comfort Air meets all of our requirements and more.
After months of deciphering manuals for cribs, shelves, and strollers, my husband was excited to learn that this carrier was ready to roll right out of the box. And I was happy to learn how light it is. Although it’s quite sizable (26”x15”x13”), it weighs less than 6 pounds!
A backpack carrier is an investment, so we hoped to find something that would survive long after baby number one. Thankfully, the Kid Comfort Air is built to last. At first glance it’s easy to see that the contoured straps are sufficiently padded, the air mesh lining is taut and tightly woven, and the sturdy buckles, latches, and zippers are up-to-par with any reputable outdoor gear. Plus the ripstop fabric is nearly indestructible, and as a bonus the granite/emerald color combo we chose is classic, gender neutral, and downright snazzy.
The nice thing is that this carrier is as simple as it is attractive. After a few quick strap adjustments, I pop out the kickstand, latch our little girl into the harness, and we’re ready to go. The setup is so speedy thanks to one truly impressive feat—the adjustable straps. The shoulder straps can be adjusted to fit torsos 15-21” and the belt fits waists 24-54”. My husband is a foot taller than I am and we can both use this carrier without any difficulty (something I can’t say often). Most importantly, the straps that keep our baby safe are adjustable and feature bright yellow latches, so it’s easy for us to see that they’re all buckled and snapped properly before lift-off. These safety latches include a harness, side adjustment straps, and a simple side opening strap that allows you to place your child in from the side or, if she’s walking and feeling independent, to step in on her own. We found most of these straps and buckles to be relatively intuitive, but to overcome any confusion Deuter has created a helpful video and FAQ page online.
As the video and FAQs point out, you can put on and take off the Kid Comfort Air by yourself. Personally I find it much easier to have a helping hand, but my husband is able to take it on and off without much assistance. However, we’ve taken the carrier on a couple of short, easy hikes and have been impressed by how long we can wear it without needing to rest or transfer the carrier back and forth. Other than our wee one wiggling around, it’s not too unlike carrying a camping pack. It’s stable and comfortable, and because the straps are all comprised of dense foam layers, neither of us has experienced any chafing or rubbing. I also love the mesh frame that rests against my back, which prevents my jacket from riding up and provides great ventilation.
Of course, the carrier isn’t all about mom and dad; our little girl enjoys her outdoor treks in her new perch as much as we do. The headrest, seat, and straps are all extremely cushy and haven’t caused any rubbing or discomfort. The padded chin rest is also soft enough for her to rest her face on, and it’s removable and machine washable. There are even enough pockets and pouches to carry her favorite toys and a few snacks.
Our daughter is 13 months old, and we’re happy that this carrier will grow with her until she’s big enough to conquer a trail on her own two feet. Deuter says the carrier is safe for babies as soon as they’re more than 16 pounds and holding their heads up well (about six months) and the seat height is adjustable so it can grow to fit kids up to 40 pounds.
Deuter really was thoughtful about perfecting this carrier—from the safety straps and comfort features (for parents and baby) to the sweet little teddy bear tucked into the mesh pocket, I don’t think they missed a single detail. This isn’t a carrier that I would use to tote my little one around the mall or to use for an afternoon stroll downtown. That’s not to say you couldn’t use it as a daily carrying device, but it’s big enough that you’d certainly run the risk of knocking down a display or two trying to maneuver through a grocery store. However, I think the Kid Comfort Air is perfect for using it as intended: A safe and comfortable way to share your outdoor adventures with your growing baby. As far as backpack-style carriers go, I consider this one a winner for the outdoorsy crowd!
To buy: Available spring 2014