Way back when Melissa and I first found out that Eli was on the way, we started “Bean Updates” on the blog. In the first one, we talked about the baby carrier we wanted for taking the baby hiking. We raved about how much we liked the look of the Deuter Kid Comfort II pack. If you need a reminder, you can read that post here. And here is an image of said pack, just to remind you.
We finally got Eli’s pack (joined REI’s co-op while we were at it. More on that later). As soon as we finished paying, Melissa and I looked at each other, and pretty much simultaneously exclaimed “We need to test it!” So that afternoon, we pulled on our hiking clothing, loaded our gear, strapped the Tiny Boy into his car seat, and headed for the closest hiking terrain–which happened to be Pocahontas State Park.
Let’s face it, Richmond does not have the hiking resources that Harrisonburg did. In Harrisonburg, we could have driven 30 minutes in either direction, and had our pick of Shenandoah National Park or the George Washington National Forest. Richmond pretty much has Pocahontas State Park, located about 20 minutes away. Despite being comparatively small, there are plenty of hiking trails, it only costs $5 to get in, and turns out to have a very nice campground. It was the perfect place to put the new pack through it’s paces. We decided to hike the Beaver Lake Trail, a 2.5 mile loop around a scenic lake.
Eli wasn’t too sure about the pack at first. This is a kid who hates being strapped down, and would rather be out scooting around under his own power. Sitting still is not his idea of a good time. Once we got him in the pack and moving, he loved it. He was able to be up and get a good view of the area around him (he loves being able to see). He was also able to be close to mommy and daddy. Mommy was right there, and could come up beside the pack to talk to him. He loved it when I would bounce him around, and the steady rocking as we walked eventually (almost) put him to sleep.
On my end, I loved the suspension system. The hip belt made it easy to care pack and baby. Honestly, it felt just like carrying my standard climbing pack. The pack has a clip on the side, which allows easier loading of the occupant. Instead of having to “thread the needle” and place a wiggling child into the carrier straight down from the top, the side can unclip, and the pack can be loaded from the side. Much easier. The shoulder straps inside keep the tiny passenger securely seated in a very comfortable seat. The trunk length is also adjustable, so 5’4″ Melissa can carry the pack, and 5’11” me can take over easily at any time. The pack stands on it’s own as well with a retractable stand. And the small looking pack underneath the child’s seat is actually quite roomy, and can swallow a daypack amount of gear pretty easily. It’s also hydration system compatible, so I can clip my camelback water bladder into a hidden pocket.
I wish it had better carrying pockets for a Nalgene sized water bottle. While there are mesh pockets, they are better for carrying bottles, baby toys, and sippy cups. A standard sized water bottle would not fit.
Despite the shortcoming I mentioned above, we already love this pack! We are anticipating a lot of good use out of it, both with Eli and with future little brothers and sisters. This pack fulfills everything I’ve come to expect from Deuter!