Friday, May 13, 2016

Review: Deuter Kid Comfort III Baby Carrier

In 2013, I killed the Kelty FC 3.0 Child Carrier. My rule with equipment is that if I kill it once, I'll exchange it at REI. If I kill it twice, I'll shop for something better. In this case, I got a coupon which got me the Deuter Kid Comfort III for under $230, as opposed to the regular $300 price.

I just came back from a 2 week trip in Japan where I didn't bother bringing a stroller and just carried Boen around in the backpack whenever we needed to transport him. The backpack is rated for about 40 pounds of kid and 9 pounds of gear. It has a built in sun shield/rain shield, but is an open configured backpack, so don't expect it to keep your kid dry in rain without him wearing waterproof clothing. In practice, mommy will probably scream at you long before kiddie gets wet and cold.

The major problem with this pack is that it's not really made for skinny men with no hips. As you can guess, I fall into that category, so I cinch up the waist belt all the way to minimum, clip it on, and luckily that's enough that it doesn't slip. Once you do that, all the weight is on your hip and you can definitely move around with the kid all day.
As you can see, I could bend down and shoot one kid and still have the other one in the backpack. I wouldn't call it the most comfortable position in the world, but it's doable, and I was doing this multiple days during the trip. At various points during the trip, I'd have Boen in the backpack, be towing a rolling luggage, have my CPAP sling bag around my neck, and the EOS M3 kit in a bag around my neck as well, and then walk to the hotel from the train station. That I could manage it all was a testament to how comfortable this pack was.

Boen seemed very comfortable as well, falling asleep in the backpack more than once. When Boen wasn't using the bag, Bowen would try to get into the bag and sit in it. I've carried Bowen in it a couple of times (he weighs about 10 pounds more than Boen). It's OK, but it's not more comfortable than just carrying him directly on my shoulders, though it probably is more comfortable for him. Since the pack itself weighs almost 10 pounds, whenever I can carry Bowen on my shoulders I do so rather than using the pack.

The one bug is in the kick-stand. It is possible for the kick-stand to fold in under the lowest metal bar at the bottom of the pack. Then when you reach back to unfold it you'll have to yank and yank to get it to unfold so you can put the pack down. If there's any improvement feasible, I'd say that limiting the motion of the folding kick-stand to eliminate this possibility would be high on my list of priorities.

I consider baby backpacks much better than any of the alternative carrier systems. They scale up better than any front carriers, and this one provides nice features like a built in hydration setup. It's expensive, but I guess having kids is just plain expensive and there's no way around it. Recommended.

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