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Travels with Baby: The Osprey Poco Premium Backpack Carrier

Osprey Poco Premium Baby Backpack

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…

The happy boy in Korea in the Osprey Poco Premium.
The happy boy in Korea in the Osprey Poco Premium.

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.

Taking the backpack to Vietnam.
Alex and TJ: Using the backpack to Vietnam.

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.
Sandra and Alex, demonstrating the sun shade.
Sandra and Alex, demonstrating the sun shade.

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.

sleepy time in the backpack
Sleepy time in the Poco Premium Backpack.

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.

Heading for the Hills profile pic

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.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Danny says

    My wife and I are Poco fans too, and we’re wondering what bag do you use to protect the Poco when traveling internationally? We’re considering the Osprey one, but honestly, it looks flimsy (and reviews on Amazaon, REI, etc say that it doesn’t withstand international travel) and you mentioned above that you use something else for international travel.

    Also, do you usually gate check the Poco in the bag? How has your Poco held up through the whole airport process? Any tips/thoughts would be great! (We’re leaving for SE Asia in two weeks.)

    • Sandra says

      Hi Danny,

      The bag we use is a large, flimsy bag with a zip. I’m not sure of the brand or anything like that. It’s very lightweight and it folds down/scrunches into a ball and we can easily put it in the bottom compartment of the Poco – that’s why we take it. We checked the Poco in at the gate. So far, so good. The bag we have is not going to offer any serious protection to the Poco but it will stop it getting dirty in transit and also protect the straps – a few years ago my backpack strap was ripped out the first time we used it on an international trip.

      We have to take Alex out to get through security – but otherwise it was fantastic. See my comment to Stephanie below re bringing the stroller on our very recent trip to Bali. BIG mistake. Wish we had brought the Poco instead.

      I hope this helps. Happy travels! Where in SE Asia are you going?
      Sandra

      • Danny says

        Thanks! Yeah, we have a similar sack that we used when gate checking our carseat that I think we’ll use. Won’t offer any protection to the frame, but will definitely save the straps from getting snagged.

        We’ll be in Vietnam and China, mostly in rural areas. Between trains and mountainous areas (with questionable roads), bringing a stroller is definitely a no-go for us. Plus, like your Alex, our little Sonia won’t stay in a stroller, but she loves the Poco.

  2. Stephanie says

    Do you gate check your Poco? Traveling to Ireland in a few weeks and considering bringing our Osprey.

    • Sandra says

      Hi Stephanie,

      Yes, we checked our Poco at the gate. We had to take Alex out of it while getting through security but otherwise the Poco made getting through the airport very easy. We just got back from Bali and ditched the Poco in favour of a stroller – BIG mistake. Alex wouldn’t stay in it so I had to carry him through security, immigration, to the gate etc. AND push the stroller. Oh well, the stroller doubled as a kind of cart and we could put our hand luggage in it. Next time, we’ll use the Poco. We’re off to Cairns next week 🙂

      Cheers,
      Sandra

  3. Sarah says

    Hi there! We have a Poco and can’t wait to use it! Wondering if you’ve ever tried to use it as a carryon bag (not gate checked, but put in the overhead compartments). I’ve done that with my normal Osprey trekking pack in the past and figured the Poco wouldn’t be much different. Also wondering – do you just bring the Poco in the place of a stroller when flying/traveling? Thanks!

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