My husband and I first bonded while hiking together. We now have a little one, but we still love to get outside to hit the trails as often as we can. We were delighted to put the new Osprey Poco AG child carrier to the test. The child carrier is designed to safely transport your child while keeping your back, shoulders and hips from aching; we found that it more than delivered.
As anyone who has gone on a hike knows, carrying anything on your back matters. Osprey has been making hiking packs for 40 years, so they have a great deal of expertise in how to design and build packs that conform to a hiker’s body and appropriately distributes a variety of weight. This explains the anti-gravity technology featured in the Poco AG—a seamless, suspended mesh that runs from the shoulder to the hip to disperse your load. The carrier is supportive, but it still manages to be light, weighing in at around 7 pounds.
The pack is supportive and easy to adjust—both my husband and I were able to wear the pack comfortably. I stress this point because, if a family goes out hiking, it can be important to trade off on carrying a heavy child (up to 48.5 pounds). It is essential for us both to be able to fit the pack to our individual body types, and the Poco makes this a breeze.
The torso of the pack can be adjusted 6” to accommodate our different heights. The harness and hipbelt are also easily adjustable. My husband and I switched carrying duties mid-hike and found that it was easy to adjust the harness and hipbelt on the go with a quick tug. The hipbelt had less cushioning than my women’s backpacking pack but still plenty of padding to ensure that my hips did not ache. The harness is made of a soft mesh wrap that is not only comfortable but also breathable, allowing me to stay relatively cool while carrying my 20-pound son.
The backpack proved to be comfortable not only for me, but also for my son—who fell asleep in it mid-hike! He remained happily snoozing as we set the carrier down on the lightweight folding aluminum platform frame. This is another area where Osprey thought ahead: The Poco includes a folding kickstand that lets the entire carrier, with child in it, stand on the ground. This makes it easy to get the little one in and adjusted on the ground without risk of tipping over, as well as set him down when you need a break. When we got going, we folded the kickstand away to reduce the profile of the carrier in the forest brush.
The carrier features a harness and child seat that is fully framed and surrounded by padding. Once loaded into the pack’s “cockpit,” our son grabbed reinforced handles and happily drooled away while taking in the scenery. (For once we did not need to worry about his drooling, as the carrier includes a soft, removable drool pad at the front.) His feet were secured in adjustable stirrups that helped support his little legs.
Since we live in Georgia, we were happy to find that the carrier is also well-ventilated—a critical feature for summer strolls! Additionally, the pack features a built-in sunshade that can be quickly deployed from a dedicated zippered pocket to shield your little one from the harsh sun. An add-on raincover can also be used if braving the elements.
The carrier also has a bounty of helpful pockets—perfect for stashing trail mix and having sunscreen at the ready. The top of the pack features a small zippered stash pocket with a secure key clip, there’s a larger stretch mesh harness pocket at the base of the pack so you can easily access an extra layer or necessary diaper, and stretch mesh pockets line the pack’s side and provide a space for spare toys and wipes.
The Poco AG is comfortable to wear and I felt that my son was stable and secure—he did not bounce around on my back, and we both were able to enjoy a fun hike. I know that the Poco AG will be a family favorite this summer as we take to the trails!
To buy: amazon.com