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There are some places that you just can’t take a pushchair, no matter how ‘all terrain’ it might be. Sandy beaches are a bit of a nightmare, and any kind of hiking, be it by rivers or up mountains, is generally tough with a buggy. These are the times when you want a child carrier, not a sling or a papoose, but a really strong, sturdy, framed backpack to carry your baby or toddler in, so that they’re safe, comfy and happy to enjoy the ride.
There are three carriers in the Poco series from Osprey – the Poco, Poco Plus and Poco Premium. I tested the Premium, which is the top end of the range. It has a few more added extras than the other two.
The Poco Premium is suitable for babies from 16lb (just over 7kg) as long as they can hold up their heads and sit up unaided, and can carry up to to 48lb (just under 22kg), though this includes any gear and the like you’ve got in the carrier, too. This means if you buy one when your baby’s young you’ll get lots and lots of use out of it.
What we love
The Osprey Poco Premium carrier is impressively light considering all the features that it has, and it’s also very easy to use. I was impressed when I opened it that it was all ready to go, with just a few adjustments to the straps to make it the right size for me and for Jamie, my 3 year old.
The carrier comes with lots of features that show Osprey’s really put a lot of thought into the design. It has a really cleverly designed sunshade that just slides out of pocket on the back and buckles into place.
I also really love the ‘drool pad’, which is a brilliant idea. What baby or toddler doesn’t dribble or, let’s face it, puke just a tiny little bit, on their baby carrier, particularly when they’re being jiggled around on a bumpy walk? Instead of having to wash the whole thing, you can just remove the little pad, clean it and pop it back on.
There’s even a built-in changing mat, a slot for a ‘camel’ style water bag for long hikes, and a very cute little toy attachment – in fact it’s hard to think of any features that Osprey hasn’t already thought of!
One thing that’s bothered me about back carriers in the past is the fiddliness of adjusting the fit, particularly if my husband and I want to take it in turns to use the carrier when out on long walks. This isn’t a problem with the Poco Premium. Adjusting the vertical fit of the shoulder straps is really quick and easy, and there are markers embroidered on it to make it easier. Once we decided that ‘small’ was the right length for me, and ‘large’ for him, it was no trouble to move the straps between the two levels. The hip belt adjusts very easily too, and this can be done while you’re wearing the carrier so you can get it exactly right – this is important as a lot of the weight is carried on your hips.
Adjusting the fit for your child is easy too, and I think the stirrups for an older child’s feet are a great idea – it certainly stopped my 3 year old from thinking it was amusing to kick mummy!
What to watch out for
There are two grab handles that you need to use to lift the Poco Premium onto your back, but even with these I found it hard to get it onto my back when I was on my own.
I think it’s great that a raincover is available, but I really think it should be included with the carrier, particularly when it’s being marketed in the rainy old UK – you’re pretty much guaranteed that it’s going to rain at some point on your walk, no matter what the time of year!
Who is the Osprey Poco Premium Carrier best for?
Families who enjoy outdoor pursuits, especially if both parents want to take it in turns using the carrier.
The Osprey Poco Premium Carrier is an impressively light and easy-to-use back carrier. It’s quick and easy to adjust the fit and share the carrying, and it boasts loads of excellent, well-designed features. Just be prepared to buy that optional raincover.
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|Model||Poco Premium Carrier|
|Child age (approx)||6 months to 4 years|
|Child weight||7.3kg to 22kg – includes any gear being carried in the pack|
|Optional extras||Raincover, carry bag|