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Best child carrier

I have been looking for a good option for a child carrier for a few months.Since my infant is getting a bit bigger, I wanted to be able to hike with her and carry some snacks and trail gear too. The Osprey Poco AG Plus looks good, but I wonder how heavy it feels on a long hike and what experience you have had with it, vs a lighter Osprey/Dueter kids pack.

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6 Replies

We have two Pocos for our very large twins, now three. We have used them with them since they were about nine months old and although we have not done a lot of trail hiking, we opt to use the packs for events with lots of people. Things like the Christmas Market in Chicago, farmer's markets, and our state fair (Minnesota's great get together/sweat togehter) when it isn't abysmally hot, etc. Places where a stroller makes everyone annoyed lol. So we do a lot of walking on paved surfaces. I have never noticed it being overly heavy, even when loaded down with a kid, snacks, jacket and water. Since it is built by a backpack maker, it's designed very well to distribute the load well. I would try them out, though. We tested the Poco and the Deuter both and preferred the way both kids sat and felt in the Poco. AND it has a ton of storage space and a built-in sunshade.

We have the Osprey Poco as well, and it has been awesome!  My daughter is almost 3 now, and we've been using it since she was about 8 months.  The Poco is really easy to adjust as your kid gets bigger, which is a really great benefit, and we have also found that it's pretty easy to adjust for my husband and I to switch back and forth and both still find a comfortable fit for carrying.  As with most large backpacks, this pack will weigh really heavily on your hips if you have it cinched correctly- for women I find this is just fine and pretty comfy as it totally saves your back and shoulders, but my husband complains about it because he was never used to carrying things on his hips before.  (Men. Ha.)  Another nice thing about this one is that you can compress/flatten it and make it smaller for traveling and storing in the car.  We've carried a very heavy/tall toddler in this pack for a couple of years across many long trails, through festivals, and at rallies, and it's been great!

One other note- when hiking with a kid backpack on anything with much relief or slope, I have found that it is super helpful to have hiking poles.  I don't usually hike with poles, but having a wiggly kid and also needing to stay more upright than usual make climbing up and going down steep slopes (or even stairs) quite difficult sometimes.  I have to keep reminding myself that I can't lean over as far as I would if I just had on a regular backpack!


@meg_trow that makes a lot of sense with the hiking poles, I'll remember that. How much weight do you usually carry in it and how hard is it to adjust between you and your husband? My wife is shorter then me, so we would probably have to adjust the height of the straps between uses.

@fence007 I agree, we've tried both on in the store and I like the poco over dueter, mostly because it seems like it has really good straps over the kid's shoulders. So they aren't likely to fall out the top if I trip, and the cushioning is great on the sides.


Howdy @RunningOnCoffee! Have fun during this stage of hiking! I distinctly remember that first hike in a child carrier and the ability to start doing a few longer hikes again with our kids on our backs... great memories. I wish my almost teenager could still fit in the pack 🙂 It looks like you're doing everything right and exploring the fit between different pack options. Having fit many folks over the years in backpacks and kid carriers I can say that one brand is likely to fit you (or both of you) better than another. In addition, it just takes time for your body to get used to carrying weight that way. If you're looking for more info check out this article we put together on child carriers.

Happy Trails!

Jason O

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks @REI-JasonO,

We got the Osprey Poco, it's been great and fits my wife really well!

Happy hiking everyone 🙂