I received this item at no cost to facilitate my review. All opinions remain my own.
As Huckleberry gets bigger and our adventures get a little more adventurous, we have quickly realized that our soft-structured carriers are not going to cut it. We needed something a little more rugged, with a little more support, that could carry more than just a trail baby. We needed a framed child carrier backpack, we needed the Deuter Kid Comfort 3.
This need first arose when we decided to try backcountry camping with Huckleberry in tow. When backcountry camping, all of your gear must be carried into your site…you can’t drive your car right up to the tent pad. We considered, just briefly, strapping a 6-month old to my front and carrying an enormous hiking pack on my back, but that seemed a little crazy. So we borrowed a framed child carrier backpack from a friend, stuffed it full of sleeping bags and diapers, and strapped Huckleberry into it for the short hike into our campsite. You can read all about that trip in this post.
We loved the experience of backcountry camping as a family but did not love the experience with that carrier and so we began our search for something better. We tried out the Kiddy Adventure Pack and there’s a lot to love about it, but it doesn’t have near the amount of storage space we need and left us wanting more in the way of comfort and support. Then we came across the Deuter line of child carrier backpacks. Deuter, a well-known outdoor gear brand, is a title sponsor for Hike it Baby and many Hike it Baby families use Deuter products. I asked for a few reviews from other branch ambassadors and was inundated with positive feedback, so we reached out to Deuter and haven’t looked back!
We LOVE our Deuter Kid Comfort 3! It fits both Bookworm and myself very well and it so easy to adjust between us. It super comfy and safe for our little guy, has bells and whistles galore, and allows us to be a little more adventurous than as we grow into our outdoor parenting roles.
Why should you consider a framed child carrier backpack?
We recently had a friend say that she sees no need for a framed carrier if she isn’t going to camp in the backcountry and we quickly squashed that theory with our many other reasons for choosing a framed carrier over a soft-structured carrier on any given hike. First of all, yes, it has a lot of storage and is perfect for backcountry camping, but we’ve done that just twice and have used this backpack at least two dozen times more than that since receiving it in the fall. We feel much safer hiking on rougher or slippery terrain with Huckleberry in the 5-point harness and surrounded by frame and padding. It’s also a lot easier to take the carrier off to remove a layer of clothing or take a break. Huckleberry can see so much more from his little perch and is better protected from the elements. And…well, I’m getting ahead of myself, read on for the features and what we love about this carrier!
The Star of the Show: the Deuter Kid Comfort 3 featuring…
- Softly padded ergonomically shaped removable chin pad
- Simple, convenient and safe side entry for child (max load is 18kg or 40lbs)
- Fastener for height adjustable footrest (higher setting for shorter legs)
- Zippered hydration sleeve designed to fit 2.0L and 3.0L hydration systems
- Height adjustable footrests help maintain ergonomic posture and support blood flow to the legs
- Zippered pocket on hip belt to accommodate cell phone, camera, snacks and more. Included is Velcro-attached rearview mirror.
- Hip belt load stabilizer straps
- High rising padded backrest and zippered storage for integrated retractable sun roof
- Stable grab handle for lifting and moving the pack (there is one on the front and back of the pack)
- Medium sleeve-style pocket and smaller zippered pocket with key clip
- Stretchy side pockets
- Large zippered main compartment (there is a total of 18L os storage space between all pockets)
- 3M reflector strips for visibility in low light conditions
- Sturdy aluminum frame and kickstand
- Padded anatomically shaped 5-point safety harness with just 2 points of adjustment for ease and comfort (seat height can also be adjusted, even while the child is loaded in the pack)
- Hose exit for hydration system (there is a loop on the shoulder strap to secure the hose)
- Colour-coded yellow buckles for child harness adjustment
- Aircontact ventilated back system for 15% less sweating, outstanding load transfer and secure , balanced fit
- Varifit system for easy and perfect adjustment to the size of the wearer’s back
- Zippered pocket on hip belt to accommodate cell phone, camera, snacks and more
- Integrated retractable sun roof
- Shoulder load stabilizer straps with 2 height adjustment points for short and tall wearers
- S-shaped padded shoulder straps with a gear loop on each side
- Sternum strap that can slide up and down
- Anatomically shaped padded pivoting VariFlex hip wings deliver ultimate comfort and precise load control
- Straps are “pull-forward construction” for easy adjustment on the go
- Not pictured: This pack comes with a wee little teddy bear for your wee little adventurer
There’s a great video of the features here.
What we love about our Deuter Kid Comfort 3:
- It has SO many features! We especially love the mirror and stirrups and waist belt pockets. But, did you see that list of 27 features? This pack has it ALL – even a teddy!
- It has a hydration sleeve! This was a MUST for us as we go on long hikes and need to drink a lot of water. We can fit our 3L Camelbak Antidote hydration bladder* into the hydration sleeve, and the side zipper makes it an easy task. Deuter also makes a hydration bladder that fits perfectly in the sleeve, buy it at Amazon.com*.
- It has SO much storage! We fit all of the cloth diapers and clothing that we needed for Huckleberry, plus my sleeping bag and some odds and ends into this pack for a 2-night backcountry camping trip last fall. Most of the time we are just tossing in a diaper bag and some snacks, but we don’t run out of room even on the big adventures.
- It has a 5-point harness! This is an awesome safety feature for hiking with a little one on rough terrain. You can rest (or keep moving) easy knowing that if you stumble, you will not launch your baby out of the carrier.
- It has a removable chin rest! The cushy pillow that your baby will (hopefully) fall asleep on, is attached with snaps and toggles and can be easily removed and thrown in the wash. How convenient! Especially when it gets drooled on, snotted on, and who knows what else!
- It is easy to adjust! It takes less than 2 minutes to switch it from my “settings” to Trail Dad’s, including all of the fine-tuning once the pack is on. And it is even easier to get a good snug, comfortable fit for Huckleberry. It adjusts in all the ways you want it to, and some!
- It has side access for the child! This means that you can unclip the side panel and slide your child in from the side instead of wrestling them into the pack from above. Only one leg needs to find a leg hole and if you are using a sturdy surface, like a picnic table, you don’t then need to lift the child twice as high to get them in. Also, older children can climb in on their own!
- It has a built-in canopy! The outdoors is full of rain, snow, and sunshine…and Huckleberry is protected from them all with the built-in canopy that can be easily popped out from its little zippered compartment.
- It is lightweight & compact! It weighs less than 8lbs when empty, which is impressive for the level of comfort and durability it boasts of, and the amount of features it has. Plus, it folds almost flat for storage, which is amazing in our small apartment.
What we would change if we could:
- It has no gear loops on the back. We have grown accustomed to clipping certain items to the outside of our packs, like our reusable trash bag, Kirby’s food & water dishes, sometimes our map & compass. But we cannot do that with this pack as there are no gear loops on it. Thankfully there is a lot of storage within the pack, but we would love some gear loops to round out our storage options.
- It has shallow side pockets. The only real issue with these side pockets is that they don’t hold water bottles well. This isn’t a major issue as there is the amazing hydration sleeve, but if you don’t have a hydration bladder or you also need a water bottle, it does tend to tip out of those pockets easily.
- The rain cover is sold separately. While the canopy does a good job of keeping Huckleberry dry in light rain that falls straight down from the sky, we need a little something more in heavier rain. The rain cover also serves to keep the pack (and all of its contents) dry on longer trips in the rain. It would be great if such an essential item was sold with the pack and not separately. If you’re interested in the rain cover, grab it from Amazon.com*.
If you’re interested in purchasing “First class travel for passenger and captain alike on any family expedition” then grab yourself a Deuter Kid Comfort 3. If you need less storage, the Kid Comfort 2 is a great option, and if you’re simply looking for a framed carrier with no extra frills, the Kid Comfort Air is the pack for you! The Deuter Kid Comfort 3 runs for about $435 CAD at MEC.ca and $299 USD at Amazon.com*.
What is your favourite feature of the Deuter Kid Comfort 3?
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