We have the Osprey Poco AG Plus. Our toddler is 2 1/2, almost three and she is about 30lbs. We used this pack successfully on a big backpack trip in the Wind Rivers last year but our child is too long to fit in this pack for this season of backpacking. I was looking at the Deuter backpacks- seems like the child seat area is more adjustable? Is the "Active" pack as good/supportive for long hikes? Our ambitious hike this year is a 29 mile backpack with our toddler but its really dependent upon having a pack that will fit a 3 year old. Need to order soon and your feedback would be greatly appreciated!
I was able to use the Poco until about 4.5 years (40 lbs.) by extending the foot strap webbing. I didn't hear any complaints about the pack. We kind of forced a hike after that weight for my back's sake, but we also cut our trips back to about 5-6 miles at the most. Used a collapsible wagon for part of the way and the grade was not too steep either. Good luck, I know this in between age of wanting to hike and wanting to ride really can slow a trip down.
@AubreyAlmas great question - you're in that tricky spot of having a kiddo who is independent enough to want to walk a lot more, but doesn't quite have the stamina to hike all the miles! @Diesseldorf was luckier than I was with my son, who started refusing to be carried for any stretch of time around your toddler's age...
So, a few questions: When you say your kiddo is too "long" for the Osprey, what are you experiencing? Are they sitting up too high? Are the shoulder straps too tight? If yes, have you lowered the seat to the absolute lowest setting and/or extended the shoulder straps fully? Also, is your pack a newer model that includes the foot straps? These can really help an older toddler push their weight up and off their bottoms for short stretches, assuming there's a little space in the shoulder straps, which can make the longer rides more comfortable.
Both packs you mention (the Osprey Poco and the Deuter Active) have similar weight limits (kid + carrier + any additional weight you carry) so you aren't gaining much by switching packs. That said, the Deuter packs open a bit wider where you put your child in, which can be very helpful with toddlers, and the kid's seat can drop pretty low in the pack, allowing bigger kids to sit lower and thus be less top-heavy for the adult - both of these features may help the pack be more useful as your child continues to grow and get heavier!
One last consideration - the Osprey and Deuter fit the adult differently, so you'll want to make sure that the Deuter fits you and anyone else who may do the carrying really well. As a woman with a short torso, I found that the Deuter pack fit me much better than the comparable Osprey pack, even after making all of the available adjustments. You can always head into your closest REI store, or schedule a virtual outfitting appointment, for help fitting a new child carrier.
Thanks for the lengthy reply!
Yes, she is sitting up really high in the pack making the shoulder straps tight. We think the sitting area is extended as far as it can go, unless there are additional adjustments we aren't seeing. I'll have to take closer look.
Looks like we will stick with the pack we have for the season!
@AubreyAlmas behind the adult's back, where the child's tummy is, you should see how the child's seat attaches to the pack. There should be strap there that allows for some up-and-down movement of the child's seat - this is to accommodate kids of different heights! You'll just want to make sure the seat is sitting as low as possible - and if this description isn't clear, you can always call or stop by a store - or set up a free virtual outfitting appointment - and our employees can walk you through the adjustment!