Now that Bear is getting big enough to sit up on his own and really engage in what’s going on with his surroundings, we wanted to get a back-carry pack for him to ride in during hikes and backpacking trips.
I’ve been doing a ton of research online on backcountry camping with babies, but there isn’t a lot of information out there and I’m having to rely on other blogs to for tips. One place there has been a huge void of information is backpacking – most of the bloggers I have found do variations of car camping. So we’re playing trial and error over here. Retailers and manufacturers also haven’t provided adequate information, with me having to physically go into REI to even find out how many liters of storage different packs have.
I took the plunge and bought the Osprey Poco AG Plus.
We took it (and Bear) for a test run backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail to Max Patch, and I was really impressed with how comfortable it was. He enjoyed riding in it with no fussiness, and it was a great carrier after we set up camp to throw him in and wander around. It’s rated for up to 48.5 lbs, so minus our 18lb child and the ~8lb frame, you’ve got ~22lbs of carrying space available. If we hit that weight limit I couldn’t tell, the way that it fit on my back was really ideal. I never felt like I was being pulled backward, or like the weight wasn’t evenly distributed.
- 26 Liters of storage, the largest of any of the packs I could find.
- Lightweight – under 8 lbs
- Easy to load the child, and easy to clip him in
- The sunshade comes out so easily and quickly retracts
- Large sturdy handles at the top made it easy to put a loaded pack with baby on my back by myself and take it off alone
- Easy to swap between wearers – Matt has almost 4 inches of height on me, and we were able to quickly adjust the pack fitting for him
- Adjustable stirrups were nice for putting Bear’s feet in and giving him something to put resistance on
- Zipper pocket on the hip-belt was big enough for my iPhone 7 Plus
- Has a spot for a camelback pouch – I was able to stay hydrated easily
- Breathability for baby – Mesh sides and the fact that he wasn’t directly on my back seemed to keep him cooler and more comfortable
- Folds up flat for storage
- Storage – while it’s 26L, it’s a spread out 26L. We weren’t able to carry as much as we would have liked, so Matt ended up with the bulk of our gear and I took all of Hunter’s items, plus a tent and a camp chair. (See photo of what we fit in the pack, and pack list at the bottom of this post)
- No external clips or daisy chains. This would have been awesome to allow more carrying ability – I tied on the tent with some paracord, but it still kept sliding no matter how tightly I pulled it
- Access to back pockets – I didn’t have the flexibility to reach a Gatorade bottle I stashed in a side pocket
Overall, we really loved this pack – but not for overnight backpacking. The lack of carrying space made it to where Matt carried a bulk of everything and I got to lazily stroll. In a situation where we’re going to be with several people who are willing to take distributed weight, this would work, but it doesn’t appear to be a good solution for just the two of us and it definitely means we couldn’t do any solo parent + baby trips with just this pack.
I would recommend it for long day hikes and travel. I could see this thing being awesome at the airport to throw the child in and move easily between people in the crowds without the child or a stroller getting bumped.
Pack List- What we fit:
- Tiny Human. Bear weighed 17lbs, 13oz on this trip.
- Gathre Maxi Mat.Gathre Maxi Mat. Extravagant and not needed, but we knew it was a short trip so we wanted something comfortable and easy to clean to lounge on.
- REI Passage 2 Tent.
- Thermarest Quadra Chair. Side Note: We got this in our latest Cairn Obsidian box and it is awesome. It packs up really small and is intuitively easy to put together, plus it’s comfortable.
- Half Cube packing cube. I like these ones from Amazon.
- Speaqua Barnicle Bluetooth Speaker. Because we always gotta have jams. This was also in our Cairn Obsidian box.
- Grayl water purifier.
- Diapers + wipes.
- Sunscreen for tiny humans, sunscreen for adults, and big spray.
- Snacks: a Gatorade and some trail-mix.
- Burp cloths.
Note: All Amazon links are affiliate links. This post was not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned. Just an honest review of what worked for our family.