Casey and his wife Maya’s adventure lives changed when they welcomed their bub into the world. But Casey’s found one key piece of gear that helps them all get outside more often, together.

When you’re a new parent there are two things that are very important.

  1. Making your life easier wherever possible
  2. Making sure you can still do all the things you love

For us that was hiking – and getting a proper hiking child carrier has made outdoor family adventures easier and fun.

As soon as our son Koa could hold his head up enough (about six months old) he was straight in the classic backpack child carrier, which meant we could hike just like we used to, going longer, steeper, and more technically difficult.


Adventure boss baby


Now that he’s almost two years old, we’ve been through a few different carriers and have heaps of trail experience with a child carrier.

We’re currently using both the Osprey Poco LT Child Carrier and Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier. Here’s what they’re like.

What are the advantages of a hiking child carrier?

When you’re on a hike, do you carry your backpack on your back or chest? Well, the same goes for hiking with bub.

Keeping the precious cargo strapped to your back, mostly load-supported by a comfy waist strap and balanced by shoulder straps, is the only way to go.

This is not only better for your back but allows you to move much more freely with what feels like a normal trekking backpack on.

Plus bub is comfier with more space, more visibility, and protected better from falls by both the position and the structure of the carrier.

Beyond that, you’ve also got storage for nappies, bottles, food, and whatever else you want to bring, all neatly stored in their own pockets. So instead of getting 10km away from the car and realising you forget nappies, they’ll be stashed away in their own organised spot.

What’s the difference between the Poco Plus and Poco LT child carriers?

The way I think of these two carriers is like the difference between a sports car and a luxury SUV. Both great, but with different strengths and design purposes.

The Osprey Poco Plus is bigger, comfier, and with more storage, while the Poco LT is lighter, trimmer, and yet still comfy. The Poco LT has fewer pockets, and less bells and whistles, but is much easier to transport and store.

Here’s a quick breakdown of both carriers and why we’d choose one over the other.

Stats of Each Child Carrier

Poco Plus

Weight: 3.58kg
Dimensions: 73H x 40 W x 48 D (cm)
Volume: 1587 IN3 / 26L
Load Range: 10.84-22kg

Poco LT

Weight: 2.31kg
Dimensions: 61H x 33W x 39D (cm)
Volume: 282 IN3 / 21L
Load Range: 10.75-22kg

Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier

When I first put on the Poco Plus, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of adjustments and features, but this feeling was quickly replaced with the thought, ‘Wow’, after the first hike.

The ‘fit-on-the-fly’ system is much more than a fancy name, the strap adjustments have a simple lever and pull mechanism where you can easily adjust as you walk. So far with other carrier brands, I’ve only been able to adjust them properly after taking them off.

So after a bit of manoeuvring, I had it adjusted to my size and style of hiking and felt like I could walk all day – and we did! I find I slightly adjust the carrier as I go depending on the terrain and the extra load I’m carrying like water and snacks.


The many adjustable fittings are handy for long hikes


I’ve found the carrier so comfy I’m now planning our first multi-day hike with a baby. Plus I reckon it has enough storage to fit compact overnight gear.

The second amazing feature I haven’t seen on hiking carriers before is the mesh back support, which lets air flow through to your back and minimises the stuck-to-your-back-with-sweat shirt we all get after a hard hike. The shoulder straps also have a similar airflow feature.

On top of this, there are plenty of practical features like a removable drool pad, which you don’t know you need until you get one. There are heaps of external fly and zipper pockets for all your small baby items, as well as a huge 26L storage section at the base where we stash our water bottles, picnic blanket, and snacks.


Well-equipped to hold all your necessities


There’s a quick flip-out sun shade that acts like a car’s convertible roof and also helped a few times when we were hiking during a little drizzle. The Poco Plus also has a fold-away kick stand that allows you to stand the carrier on the ground with your bub inside.

To top it off, this carrier features a place for your water bladder just like other trekking packs, so you can safely stash about 1.5L of water without throwing off your weight balance.

To sum it up, the Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier is big, comfy, tough, and safe for both you and bub. It’s currently on sale at Wild Earth for $543.

Osprey Poco LT Child Carrier

When I first saw the flat-folded Poco LT, I didn’t think it could be very comfy or practical, but after folding it out and clipping it on I was shocked at how well it took weight and the high level of comfort it offers.

Plus the ingenious (patent-pending) fold and clip system designed by Osprey gives the frame heaps of tension and strength. It also creates a surprisingly good size 21L cargo cavity at its base.


Slimline storage and quick assembly are good for getting everyone to the beach ASAP


So far I’ve been very happy walking with this on my back for about half a day (we haven’t gone further, yet).

The first time we used this carrier, it was conveniently folded away in the car and Maya carried Koa for a quick hike over the Pass to Wategoes and back, and down to the beach for a swim. Plus the almost longer walk to and from the car a kilometre or so away during Byron’s summer holiday parking madness.

The Poco LT has a lot of similar features to the Plus, including fit-on-the-fly straps and a smaller version of its air-vent back support and shoulder straps. It has a similar pop-out sun shade (though a little smaller) and it can also be stood on the ground safely with baby inside.


A good lighter-weight option for quick zips around town


But overall it’s astoundingly light and versatile, with enough storage for big day hikes and trips, walks down to the beach, or even the shops!

The Osprey Poco LT is currently on sale at Wild Earth for $383.

So which child carrier is better?

I couldn’t say one is better than the other, but I find we use them differently and play to their strengths.

The Poco Plus is comfier, more sturdy, and has a lot more storage. I’d be very comfortable using this child carrier for a multiday hike or a hiking holiday with back-to-back walks everyday. You can load up the Poco Plus and know you’ll all be comfy and have everything you need with you in the bush.


The Poco Plus is a better option for longer adventures


On the other hand, the Poco LT weighs about half as much, though I don’t find the difference that noticeable when wearing them, just during transport.

This is the real strong point of the Poco LT – not only is it super light at 2.31kg, it can also fold flat to be stashed almost anywhere, from the boot of the car to your check-in luggage while flying, making travelling with your little one both domestically and internationally more streamline.


The Poco LT is a great option for easy portability


While it has less storage and is slightly less comfortable, you can still easily fit all your day hike needs and wear it for many hours at a time. Plus, this carrier is still just as comfy for bub, which I now know after he fell asleep in the Poco LT on our last hike up in the hills.

Most importantly, both carriers will make your life much, much easier and more comfortable when getting outside hiking with your baby or toddler, which is both a fun adventure and an amazing learning journey.

Good luck and happy hiking!


For full specs and features check out the Poco Plus and Poco LT at the WildEarth website.

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