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- Age suitability: 6 months until 3/4 years (20kg)
- Weight: 2.7 kg
- Features: Retractable sunshade; airflow back system; bottle pocket; toy loops; base pocket
- Suitable for adult height: 1.57 – 1.87m (5’2″ – 6’2″)
- Total cost: £189.99
Littlelife is a brand that has earned a reputation over 25 years for top quality baby and toddler back carrier equipment. A growing range of choices includes a range of carriers with lightweight yet sturdy tubular aluminium frames priced between £100 and £200. It also keeps little ones amused with its range of fun animal-shaped toddler ‘daysacks’, safety equipment such as reins disguised as mini backpacks and colourful ID wrist straps.
With a son of six months and a daughter of three we don’t travel quite as light as we used to. However, as we strive to build little bits of adventure into our lives, we are always on the look out for kit that enables us to be active and outdoors as much as possible.
We have a regular front-carrying sling for everyday use but for longer walks a more supportive and robust option really starts to make sense.
A sturdy travel companion, the Littlelife Freedom S4 carrier is designed for babies aged six months to three years. Product rivals include the Phil&Ted’s Escape (£179) and the Osprey Poco AG Premium (£300), premium carriers which are designed to allow the wearer and the little person cargo a comfortable and enjoyable trip.
Lighter weight options such as the Mountain Buggy Juno (£120), which is designed to carry children of up to four years of age, also wrestles for space in this market.
First impressions of the Littlelife Freedom S4 carrier?
The framed back carrier gives the impression of a safe and comfortable piece of equipment for both parent and child. It has so many features that it can be initially intimidating but once you’ve tinkered with various straps, clips and bits of Velcro, it is a straightforward piece of kit.
Watch how to use the sunshade on the Littlelife Freedom S4
It is described as being suitable for all-day use – could you use it all day, do you think?
Yes, depending on how happy your child is being up on your back. My 6-month old had limited tolerance for being up on the back, away from eye contact. However, I believe an older child would enjoy the experience of watching the world going by from up on high. Added to that, the myriad range of built in features include lots of padding, a fun animal print on the head rest and toy loops.
Tell us about the airflow back system – did it keep you cool?
The high spec fabric is designed to wick away sweat and allow air flow and it did keep me dry even when walking little one up some steep hills.
How many seating options does it have?
One. Your child sits in the carrier and faces forwards against the wearers back, looking out over their shoulders.
How easy is it to put on and take off?
There are instructions on how to put the carrier on and off by oneself but I didn’t feel confident with doing this. When there are two adults involved it is a super simple operation.
Can you put it on and take it off by yourself?
Theoretically, you can take this carrier on and off by yourself and there is a thoughtful anchor point to place your foot on and enable additional stability when you put the child in and out.
However, I felt nervous about that manoeuvre and opted for help from my partner.
How is the weight of the carrier – is it light/heavy?
It is 2.7kg and in back carrier terms, this is a reasonably light-weight option. The carrier feels similar in weight to a good quality travel ruck-sac and is similarly structured to distribute weight well across the wearer’s body so it feels comfortable to carry even with a baby or toddler inside.
Does one size fit all?
It is suitable for adults between 1.57 and 1.87 metres (5’2″ – 6’2″). It certainly felt comfortable for me 1.70 (5’7”) and my partner 1.82 (6’).
Is it comfortable for your little one?
Yes, the little person is given a carefully designed seat, a comfortable harness, a neck rest and a face pad.
What do you think of the face pad and neck support?
This product comes up trumps on comfort for the child and the neck support and face pad are part of this.
Is it comfortable for you?
Yes, this is a product designed for comfort and the fact it is light to begin with, coupled with the hip and lumbar support, mean it scores high in the comfort stakes.
Would you be able to use it comfortably for long hikes and active holidays?
Yes, for as long as your child is happy. It is super comfortable for the wearer and therefore worth bearing in mind that the child might well tire of the arrangement before you do.
How does it compare to other carriers you have used?
With the pivoting hip belt, lumbar support and clever ventilation, it is definitely up there in the comfortable to wear stakes. It also has lots of adaptable aspects – it can accommodate wearers who are between 1.57 and 1.87 metres (5’2″ – 6’2″) – and gives good protection for the child come rain or shine. It is a little tricky to put on, though, and does not stand up alone unless you are anchoring it with your foot.
What do you think of the design?
The carrier looks fun and functional. It is clearly hard wearing as well as cutting a sporty silhouette.
Is the base pocket big enough to carry all your essentials?
Yes, you can stash both baby essentials like nappies, wet wipes and sun cream along with those things you would normally have in a handbag: keys, wallet and phone. There is room for plenty of snacks, bit of clothing and the odd luxury too!
What do you think of the shoulder straps and hip belt?
I found the hip belt and shoulder straps comfortable and easy to adjust.
Would you recommend this carrier to someone with a child of a particular age?
I think a baby a little older than my bundle of joy would feel happier riding around in adventurous style and I look forward to him growing into it. Things like the soft face pad, adjustable ‘X-buckle’ harness system and sun shade, give comfort and security to little people of varying ages. Features such as the leg stirrups and toy loops offer thoughtful extras to toddlers.
Is it easy to clean?
Yes, the fabric is wipeable. Littlelife advises brushing away dirt and cleaning the carrier with a damp cloth. The face pad is detachable and washable.
Is it compact and easy to store?
This is not a carrier for those short on space. It is rigid so it won’t fold neatly away but it will squash into places e.g. a cupboard or the boot of a car.
How effective is the built-in sun shade?
The sunshade functions as a roomy area of shade above the little one’s head and shoulders.
What’s in the box?
- A one-piece backpack child carrier
Is it easy/hard to set up the product?
It is easy to get to grips with the Freedom S4. It is straightforward to unpack the product and start using it right away. As well as a concise, helpful instruction booklet, there are videos available online which help with anything that is not intuitive.
Who would the product be most useful for?
Older babies and toddlers up to the age of three approx. The maximum load for this carrier is 20kg.
Is there anything unique about this product?
Like many other carriers in this market, there is an emphasis on load bearing design. Built in comfort extras are also seemingly must-have details and the Freedom S4 has features such as sunshade and foot stirrups keep the child secure and happy.
What is the price?
Littlelife prices this carrier at £189.99. Everything is included in the price.
Perfect for stowing away little people and all the other essentials for a fun day’s hiking. Great quality and design deliver comfort and security for both the wearer and the precious cargo inside. Lots of handy additional features such as spacious storage compartments, sun shade and toy loops means your little one doesn’t have to rough it. Fun and functional. Let the journey begin.
Looking for more ways to carry your little one?
MadeForMums product reviews are independent, honest and provide advice you can have confidence in. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links. However we never allow this to influence our coverage. Our reviews and articles are written by parents who are professional journalists, and we also include feedback from our parent community and industry experts.
Latest deals from trusted retailers
|Model||Freedom S4 back carrier|
|Child age (approx)||6 months to 3 years|
|Child weight||Up to 20kg|
|Washing instructions||Wipe clean|
|Carrying positions||Back – 1|