The following backpack review is by Sandra Muller.
To understand my love for the Osprey Poco Premium backpack carrier, you first have to understand my son, Alex. He came into this world a tiny, wiry, writhing human wired for adventure. He is a curious, adventurous and fearless little boy who NEVER stops moving unless he’s unconscious. Preferably through sleep. He’s into, onto and upon anything and everything.
Carrying him anywhere is futile. He wants to be put down so he can explore and create chaos. He escapes the straps in his stroller and climbs out so he can wreak havoc. He cries in the car during trips longer than 10 minutes. There’s a small window of time to feed him in his high chair before he wants out. He won’t even sleep with a blanket over his arms! So when it came to considering a baby backpack carrier, the reluctant part of me thought buying one would be a big fat waste of money. This is not a child who likes to be restrained.
How wrong I was…
Choosing the Osprey Poco Premium Backpack
When I researched baby backpack carriers for our first overseas trip with Alex, I looked at Deuter’s Kid Comfort Pack (I love my Deuter day pack), the Osprey Poco Premium and the Kanga Kid backpack. I already had the Ergo Baby Carrier, a front type of carrier, but Alex and I both overheated in it after just a few minutes and as his weight increased, so did the strain on my back.
I liked the look of the Poco Premium and how easily adjustable it is – this is very important because both my husband and I use the backpack. We can easily adjust the backpack to suit our heights. We can also adjust the ‘seat’ in the carrier as Alex grows, so we will get good use out of it during his first few years of hiking adventures before he’s ready to hike on his own two feet with us. It’s also well ventilated.
Other important features:
- It has a detachable and washable dribble pad – anyone with a teething toddler knows how wet and messy things can get.
- It also has a detachable daypack. We found this really helpful when getting through airports. We filled the daypack full of Alex’s things like diapers and wet wipes and were able to detach that part of the pack before boarding the plane and the airline staff put the carrier into the cargo hold for us. There’s not a lot of space for storage, but it’s enough to carry a few diapers, snacks and drinks.
- The sun shade is a marvellous addition. Living under the harsh Australian sun, we know how important it is to protect our skin from harmful UV rays so the sun shade is not only a desirable addition, it’s mandatory.
The only negative I’ve found is the size of the zip pouch on the chest strap. It’s too small. It’s made for the tiny mobile phones we carried way back in 2010. I like to store my phone where it’s easy to access but I can’t get the zip part done up around my Samsung Galaxy S4 and it dangles perilously out if I lean forward. A larger pouch would be much better.
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The Osprey Poco Premium in Use
It’s easy to put the pack on and stand up from a sitting position, but much harder from the ground when I don’t have someone around to help lift it up. Poor Alex gets a few unexpected swings and dips as I try and heave the backpack into place. This is not a fault of the Poco though. I expect it happens regardless of the brand of backpack carrier.
I now use the Poco when grocery shopping because he won’t battle to get out of it like he does in the stroller or shopping cart, and I can shop in peace and be amused by the surprised and bemused looks we get from our fellow shoppers. Wherever we go, out on the trail, in the supermarket, around the block or in an airport, the Poco is great a conversation starter.
Final Thoughts on the Poco Premium
The Osprey Poco Premium is at the top end of backpacks for babies and toddlers but well worth the dollars spent. There’s a basic version, the Poco Plus and the Poco Premium. You can buy accessories such as a rain cover, the sun shade (or models that don’t have it) and a carrying case for travel. We didn’t buy any of the accessories because we’re fair weather hikers these days and we have another bag that is a perfect for the backpack for travel.
Even after a year of regular use, there’s very little sign of wear and tear and we’re sure to get a good price for it when Alex grows out of it.
The best thing about the Poco is that Alex absolutely loves being in the backpack. If Alex sees the pack in the cupboard, he drags it out and begs (and begs and begs) to go for a walk. We’ve hiked and walked for hours and he’s never become bored or attempted to Houdini his way out of the pack. We love it.
About the Author: Sandra Muller is a reader, writer, editor, traveller and hiker. Since the arrival of her mini-hiker-in-the-making Alex in 2013, short local walks and hikes have replaced the multi-day and long day adventures in the Australian bush. You can find her at Heading for the Hills where she blogs about hiking and travelling with little people, on Twitter @thehikingfamily and on Facebook.