Osprey’s new Poco Child Carriers have been getting rave reviews since the line was released earlier this past spring, and for good reasons. But we wanted to get a review straight from the source, a real life Mountain Mama who knows what it takes for a child carrier to really hold up to whatever the trail may bring. We asked our friend Amelia, the creator and author of the uber informative outdoor family friendly blog, Tales of a Mountain Mama to write a guest blog post reviewing the Osprey Poco Plus. Here’s how the Osprey pack performed for Amelia:
As a family, we have had the opportunity to check out a number of different kid carriers. We have had kids only a few months old up to kids over 3 years old in them. Wearers have ranged in size and shape and conditions on the trail have varied from rocky terrain to easy paths to back country ski slopes. While testing continues on our end, we feel like we have put a few of them especially through the ringer.
Previously, we reviewed both the Deuter Kid Carrier III and the 2012 Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 and then compared them side to side on our blog. Both are excellent packs and come highly recommended by us. Please note that we recommend trying on any kid carrier before purchasing to test for comfort to your own body. It’s a pretty personal decision! However, thanks to Osprey’s new Poco line just released this spring, our family has a new favorite.
The Osprey Poco comes in three different models – the Poco, the Poco Plus and the Poco Premium. Osprey seldom disappoints with their packs and this is no exception. Engineered to work for younger children AND older children and with a variety of different sized wearers, it’s an ideal all-around-pack. Features we thought were missing on the Deuter and Kelty all seem to come together fairly well with the Poco. The market for kid carriers is definitely becoming more competitive and companies are rising to the need of active families.
We tested the Poco Plus so this review is based on that pack. However, I try to highlight features on the Plus that are different on the other models so you can easily see the differences.
What we love:
- Integrated Sunshade (which works for rain and sticks to an extent too!) **The Poco does not come with a Sunshade, but can be purchased separately.
- Stirrups for bigger kid comfort (A HUGE plus for taller/older kids)
- Incredible Torso Length Adjustment (15.5” – 21.5”) that is easy to change from wearer to wearer.
- Wide range of size for the hip belt (26” – 48”) which is SO crucial because that is where most of the load is supported. Also, the padded part of the hipbelt itself extends in length for greater comfort for bigger hips.
- Easy to adjust to different heights for children in the pack. The shoulder straps are adjusted at their shoulder (instead of near their crotch or sternum like the Deuter Kid Comfort III) which makes getting kids in much easier (especially when they are bundled up!)
- Mesh back panel for the wearer leaves room for air and plenty of comfort.
- Removable droll pad (our kids dirty this up pretty quick when eating snacks on the trail.)
- Vertical hydration sleeve means better placement for the wearer and better functionality of the hydration bladder.
- Rail-based adjustments on the wearers’ sternum strap mean easy movement.
What we weren’t so crazy about:
- The pockets on the waistband weren’t thought out perfectly and one of the straps covers the zipper making it more difficult to access. They did include an extra strap to try to keep that zipper more available, but we don’t think it works that great.
- Cell phone pocket on shoulder strap isn’t big enough to carry our smart phone (not that we think smart phones should be on the trail anyway, but they are certainly becoming the norm!) However, it would carry a smaller smart phone, our Razr + Otterbox is just BIG!
- The Poco Plus does not come with a detachable daypack like the Poco Premium. However, both the Poco and the Poco Plus DO have four cord loops that allow for the attachment of an Osprey Daylite AddOns series daypack. It works fairly well, but isn’t perfect and the Daylite hangs low enough that it could take up valuable “packing room” if you wanted to attach a sleeping bag or tent to the carrier. If you don’t have a pack to attach already, I would just go with the Poco Premium.
- The storage space on the bottom of the Poco disappears when you put in the kickstand because the pack is attached to the stand itself.
- Max load: 48 lbs (child, gear and pack combined)
- Weight of pack: 6 lbs. 15 oz. (the Premium weighs 7 lb. 9 oz. which is just one oz. lighter from the other companies’ top packs and the Poco is slightly lighter.)
- 1404 cu. in. carrying capacity (Poco Plus)
Bottom line: If you are going to be doing a lot of hiking, skiing, backpacking or adventuring of any kind with your kids, a kid carrier is absolutely worth the money. We suggest trying them on before purchasing if you can and buying the top carrier you can afford. If you don’t anticipate having to carry a lot of extra gear (no backpacking or winter adventures) then the simple Poco would be plenty.
Amelia lives with her husband and two young boys at the gateway of Yellowstone National Park. She loves to bike, run, walk, hike, backpack, ski and play. She also writes over at Tales of a Mountain Mama in an effort to help inspire families to get outside, even with young children. The blog features stories of their outdoor adventures as a family, tips and tricks, and plenty of gear reviews and giveaways.