LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier review
In a nutshell
A stylish and adjustable back carrier that is incredibly lightweight and comfortable for short walks in the countryside, but storage options are limited unless you buy the add-ons
What we tested
- Comfort for baby
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Comfort for you
3.5A star rating of 3.5 out of 5.
- Ease of use
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
4.7A star rating of 4.7 out of 5.
4.8A star rating of 4.8 out of 5.
- Worth the money
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Reasonable price, extremely lightweight, easy to clean, ideal for short walks
- Sunshade, raincover and additional storage pouch cost extra, bulky to store, can be uncomfortable on longer walks
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LittleLife is a British company dedicated to designing products to help families make the most of the great outdoors. With a collection of six different child carrier backpacks, including the Freedom S4 and Cross Country S3, they aim to have all parents, babies and children covered, whatever their needs.
The LittleLife Ranger S2 is a light, streamlined backpack carrier for babies and children aged 6 months to 3 years. Winner of Silver in the MadeForMums awards 2022 Best Back, Shoulder, Hip and Hiking Carrier category, the Ranger S2 carrier is made from a tubular aluminium frame and weighs just 1.7kg – making it the lightest back carrier on the market that conforms to British Safety Standards. At £119.99 it's great value for a hiking carrier – well under half the price of our Bronze-winning Osprey Poco LT at £275. Designed for families who enjoy walking and exploring the countryside, this is a well made, affordable carrier to make sure the littlest members of the family don't miss out.
Lynsey Hope is a mum of three and tested the LittleLife Ranger S2 with her 21-month-old daughter, Ivy. The carrier was tested on the school run and in areas less suitable for a pushchair, including pebbly beaches and country walks near their home in Kent.
What were your first impressions of the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier?
My first impressions were really positive. The LittleLIfe Ranger S2 carrier looked stylish and felt really light to lift. My daughter hates being confined to a pushchair, so I was desperate to find something more suitable for walks.
I noticed straight away the two handy hip pockets which were a real plus, as sometimes it can be tricky to get keys and phones out of pockets whilst wearing a carrier.
How light is the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier?
The Ranger S2 is very lightweight and the lightest available on the market that conforms to British Safety Standards at just 1.7kg. This is far lighter than other back carriers such as the Bushbaby Premier Back Carrier, which weighs 2.5kg, and the Osprey Poco Premium Carrier which weighs over double at 3.7kg.
Although at 21 months my child is well within the suggested age range, she is big for her age and heavy to carry, so the lightweight aluminium frame on the S2 is a big plus point.
What age is the LittleLife Ranger S2 carrier suitable for?
The Ranger S2 back carrier is suitable for babies children between 6 months and 3 years of age (up to 20kg in weight).
My daughter is heavy, towards the maximum of the 20kg limit and personally, I don't think it would be possible to carry her in this carrier until she turns 3. I recommend therefore that you look at the weight of your child rather than the age recommendations alone.
How does the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier compare to previous models?
The Ranger S2 is a modernised version of the original LittleLife Ranger and has updated fabrics as well as a newly designed dribble face pad – a great addition. It's now available in duo-tone blue and a sleek black.
Can the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier be used straight out of the box?
Yes, the Ranger S2 does not require any assembly and is ready to use straight from the box. You simply have to adjust the straps to suit both the adult and the child.
What additional accessories are available for the LittleLife Ranger S2?
There are a number of useful accessories for the Ranger S2 (available to purchase separately) including
- Sunshade £24.99
- Accessory pouch £9.99
- Raincover £34.99
How easy was the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier to put on?
Whilst I can put the Ranger S2 on by myself, I do prefer having assistance to do this.
With the carrier on the ground, you first loosen the straps on the side wing and seat. The Ranger S2 has a helpful anchor point, which you can put your foot on to ensure the carrier remains stable whilst you place your child in the seat. You then tighten the seat-height strap until the child's chin is in line with the top of the face pad.
The harness then goes over the child's head, with the buckle fastening securely in the centre of your child's chest. Once your child is safely strapped in, you carefully lift the carrier onto your back, like a backpack.
How easy is it to adjust?
The back system on the LittleLife Ranger S2 is fully adjustable to ensure it fits comfortably for both you and your baby. I found all the straps and buckles very easy to use. The carrier is suitable for heights from 5' 1" to 6' 1", and we are easily able to adjust it for my husband to use it too.
The carrier also has an adjustable headrest, adapting to suit babies and children from 6 months to 3 years. This is also a huge plus point if you have multiple children of different ages, as you can simply adjust the carrier when swapping between a baby and toddler.
How easy is it to secure your child?
The S2 has a new x-buckle harness which is designed so parents can adjust and open the straps to the side and lift out a sleeping child. This is really helpful if you have a smaller or younger child who often naps on walks.
As my daughter is quite big, I did find it a bit fiddly to fasten the carrier’s central strap in front of my child, simply as there was not a lot of room to get my hands down inside. Once secured however, I did feel it supported her well.
I found it easier to clip the x-buckle if you loosened the side straps first and this view is shared by many of the otherwise positive reviews on Amazon. Clearer instructions may have helped with this.
How comfortable is the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier for your little one?
The seating position was comfortable for my daughter and her legs were positioned straight down. She was high enough and happy that she can see over my head and see her surroundings. The Ranger S2 has a removable front bumper dribble pad which I feel made a positive difference to my daughter’s comfort.
How comfortable is the Ranger S2 child carrier for parents?
For shorter walks, I found the Ranger S2 comfortable, but for longer walks or hikes you may want to invest in a more expensive model.
The base of the carrier is narrow and not too different to carrying a normal rucksack. With a heavier child, however, who is closer to the 20kg maximum, it did start to weigh down after a while, particularly on my shoulders. Despite being padded, I could feel the bar at the base of my back and on long walks, this did start to feel uncomfortable.
It’s worth noting however, another fellow MFM parent reviewer Liz tested the Ranger S2 with slightly younger children and she found the carrier to be as comfortable as a regular rucksack. The weight of your child therefore may impact your levels of comfort.
What storage space is included with the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier?
There are two small zip pouch pockets on the Ranger S2 carrier which I found incredibly useful for holding keys and phones. If you are going on long walks by yourself and need nappies and snacks you would probably need more space. A 6-litre pouch is available to purchase separately for £9.99.
How easy is the Ranger S2 child carrier to take off?
I found it quite hard to lift my child down to the floor and on one occasion, I actually toppled over due to the weight. I found it much easier to have someone to help.
Once the carrier was on the floor it was super easy to unclip the straps and get her out. The anchor point was really useful to keep the carrier steady.
Is the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier suitable for indoor use?
I feel the Ranger S2 is far more suited to outdoor use. I personally wouldn't put my child in this carrier whilst getting jobs done at home. In most rooms, her head was too high while she was in it and she would have bumped the ceiling. It would also be difficult to bend over or crouch down regularly with the carrier on.
How easy is it to use on public transport?
LittleLife does market the Ranger S2 for ‘town and country’ but I really think it is best for country walks.
When the child is in this carrier, they sit in a higher position than the person wearing it, so you do have to be mindful of door frames and low tree branches. I think this could be tricky on public transport, potentially needing to duck to avoid knocking her head. I feel it's best suited for people who want to use it outdoors where there are less overhead hazards.
How easy is the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier to clean?
I found the Ranger S2 relatively easy to clean. The first time I put my child in the carrier she was wearing dirty wellies and it was filthy when I lifted her out. A quick wipe down a damp cloth however and it was as good as new.
The dribble pad can be easily removed and machine washed with the foam removed, whilst the main frame can be cleaned with a soft brush or damp cloth and mild liquid soap.
A good tip, if possible, is to put dirty shoes on after the child is secured in the carrier.
Is the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier worth the money?
This is a great value carrier. It's lightweight and pops on and off pretty easily. I would describe comfort level as a medium. It's comfortable for short walks, but if you are planning longer hikes I'd consider investing in a more expensive or more comfortable model. Overall, it was stylish, secure and sturdy and made taking my daughter out for walks an absolute pleasure.
How would you improve the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier?
The Ranger S2 won't stand upright without an adult's foot on the anchor point, so I would love to see a stand or leg that could convert the carrier into a self-standing chair for rest breaks.
This view is shared on many of the Ranger S2’s online reviews, along with a desire for more storage without an additional cost.
How does the LittleLife Ranger S2 compare to other back carriers?
|Product name||Weight (Kg)||Dimensions||Age suitability||Max weight (Kg)||RRP (£)|
|LittleLife Ranger S2 carrier||1.7 kg||28 x 26 x 75cm||6 months to 3 years||20 kg||£120|
|LittleLife Cross Country S4||2.5 kg||31 x 26 x 70cm||6 months to 3 years||20 kg||£180|
|Osprey Poco Plus||3.65 kg||78 x 40 x 30 cm||6 months to 5 years||22 kg||£320|
|Thule Sapling Elite Carrier||3.3 kg||35 x 31 x 73 cm||7 months to 3 years||22 kg||£259|
Where can I buy the LittleLife Ranger S2 child carrier?
Available at Amazon and John Lewis.
I really loved the LittleLife S2. It's a great, good value carrier and a brilliant option for countryside walks where you are unable to use a pushchair. I wouldn't have felt comfortable using in a town, going through lots of doors and getting on and off public transport, but it was great in the open air. Great value for money.
|Model||Ranger S2 carrier|
|Child age (approx)||6 months to 3 years|
|Child weight||Up to 20kg|
|Washing instructions||Wipe clean|