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Child carrier Backpack

Original Post
Elizabeth Heugel · · St. Louis · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

Hi all, my baby is turning 8 months and I'm hoping sometime in the near future to get to a local crag and tow him along (maybe this fall) for some day trips.  My husband doesn't climb and I can probably still get him to come along,  but I'm wondering what might be available out there that i can accomplish this without him and go with my regular partners.   Specifically,  I'm looking for one of those child backpack carriers that also has storage.  I'd stick my partners with the rope lol, but on my person I'd need to have my kid on my back along with my climbing gear and stuff for him.  Yikes this seems impossible.  Idk does anyone have suggestions for a good baby backpack that has enough storage for the basic climbing and child essentials?  Thanks!

Peter S · · WI (St. Joseph) · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 450

Just to clarify, you don’t mean climbing with baby on you back correct? 

Elizabeth Heugel · · St. Louis · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0
Peter S wrote:

Just to clarify, you don’t mean climbing with baby on you back correct? 

Haha correct! Just need to get him and all my stuff to the crag.

Nate Farr · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 65

We used the Osprey Poco for years.  There is storage, not a ton, but probably as much as you'll get.

Bryce Adamson · · Burlington, CT · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 1,392

Do you already have a front carrier? You still have a while before he can go in a backpack. One he’s on your back you can also put a bag on your front like a boulderer. 

Mark Pilate · · MN · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 25

Sounds like you need a crag dog to help carry stuff and look after the little one while you climb….

Or….since Dad isn’t a climber, it seems your situation is solved -   Leave both back home to supervise Dad, and just climb at the crag un-encumbered 

Klaus theK · · Fruita · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 1

Deuter kids comfort 3. The best. 

Jim Urbec · · Sevierville, TN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 56

check out the deuter line.  multiple version with varied level of storage but all built very well with ability to add sun shade etc.  17-18lbs minimum weight.  we just got one for our grand daughter.

Mike Mullendore · · Hagerstown · Joined Nov 2021 · Points: 10

I tried this and it sucks.  You going to bring a pack and play to put the little mongrel in while you climb? We used the kelty line and it worked well.  But the logistics of taking a rug rat to the cliff sucks.  Have fun

Kevin Piarulli · · Redmond, OR · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 1,673

I have a Kelty Journey carrier for my two year old and just took him to the crag with me the other day. I was able to fit his stuff, my personal climbing gear, plus food and water, but it was tight. I wouldn't mind a pack with more storage. It's comfortable to carry, but I'm not excited about the 50+ pound load as he grows. Kelty does not make a rain cover that's compatible with this pack but I know other brands do, that may be worth considering if you want to be able to hike in rainy weather. +1 for Bruce's suggestion of a small backpack on front for extra capacity and to balance you out.

In my experience, taking my son climbing when he was under 2 was a challenge, he needed 1:1 supervision while crawling/toddling around so it depended on having a supportive third partner to belay. Just recently he is much more mobile and becoming able to entertain himself for short periods, which gave me a few minutes to climb and belay. We brought his bike helmet to wear for the inevitable crashes and I would continue to do that. Cragging with a little kid requires a ton of support and understanding partners. They will need to carry more of the gear and be willing to immediately stop climbing or help out if things go sideways. You will get way less climbing done than you would otherwise, but it's pretty special to be able to share your world with them.

Randy · · Lassitude 33 · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 1,279

We used an earlier version of the Osprey when our youngest was little. It worked well, allowed for kids stuff (books, coloring items, etc.), quickdraws and personal gear. My wife carried the rope, food, extra clothing, diapers, and her personal gear. 

When kids get mobile, a small collapsible playpen is very helpful.

I can't emphasize enough that one absolutely essential item is a helmet for your child. Rockfall is a real danger at any crag. You don't want an accident that you will regret the rest of your life.

We climbed pretty much every weekend for years with our kids. It can be challenging, but more than possible.

Mike D · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 845

We carriers from Osprey and Deuter. I find the latter to be much more comfortable. 

gtluke · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 1

I have an osprey poco plus and it's really well made. Though I'm not getting any climbing gear in it really.

I listened to a podcast with a woman explaining how children's core muscles are underdeveloped often due to them being in carriers and carseats and strollers all the time. I have a really bad back so I wanted to give my kid the best chance at now winding up like me. I was really compelled by what she was saying. Made a lot of sense. 

2.5 years in and besides the fact that I have a poco, I only use it on long hikes in the Adirondaks, like 4+ hours where I need 2 hands and he would fall asleep. Never used a stroller. I just carry him, everywhere.
It sounds nuts but really the kid learns to hold on and they develop a lot of grip and core strength. And I get stronger as well.
Just a thought. I'm only like 155lbs and I've really just gotten used to carrying him everywhere, and so has he. Bonus is that I don't have to carry a carrier or stroller and deal with that nonsense.

Kevin Piarulli · · Redmond, OR · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 1,673
gtluke wrote:

I just carry him, everywhere.

On your shoulders?

Nkane 1 · · East Bay, CA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 140

A soft front carrier with a light backpack is the best I've found at that age. None of the kid packs have enough storage for harness, draws, food, water, layers as well as diapers, kid clothes, toys, etc.

And an odd number of adults is almost mandatory, in my experience, for everyone to have fun including the kid.

gtluke · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 1
Kevin Piarulli wrote:

On your shoulders?

In my arm. He grabs onto my shoulders. 

Steph Evans · · Belgrade, MT · Joined Jul 2019 · Points: 0

Wow there's a lot of misinformation in this thread! The osprey poco plus can 100% hold an 8mo old on your back and your lower back will thank you for removing said child off your chest!!! I have been taking my child to the crag since around 8 weeks old and she is just about 3 now. We can definitely let you know that a 70m rope and harness/shoes can fit in the storage with a water bottle and some snacks. If you're going for a day and not carrying a rope you can fit more things in the bag. We've always made do whether I wear the harness or fix things to the  outside of the bag. It also acts as a good nap zone and shade. Plus, you can get a rain cover for it. These days she also climbs a bit so we have added things like her harness and shoes. That pack more than gets the job done. It also has a spot to put a bladder in for water which I think would help give more space vs waterbottles. Her water bottle fits the pockets as does her snacks/hat/sunnies and layers. Where there's a will there's a way and yes I have done these excursions with and without my hubs help meaning I've taken all necessities solo. Friends who volunteer to climb with mom friends with kids in tow are usually pretty good at helping take gear like cams, draws and rope for you if you find you don't have space. 

Steph Evans · · Belgrade, MT · Joined Jul 2019 · Points: 0
Mike Mullendore wrote:

I tried this and it sucks.  You going to bring a pack and play to put the little mongrel in while you climb? We used the kelty line and it worked well.  But the logistics of taking a rug rat to the cliff sucks.  Have fun

Wow, you must have crappy climbing friends lol we've had 3 years of some really solid adventures and never left the kid behind unless we did multi pitch. It's all in your mindset and having some creativity. We have even managed just us 2 and the kid. 

Taylor Owens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 10

Poco + is great!

Joe Kalis · · COS, CO · Joined Sep 2019 · Points: 0

Adding my 2 cents for the Poco Plus. Ours held up through 2 kids before we passed it on to friends!  At one point I shoved a single rack + draws in (the lower zippered compartment and the removeable day pack) and draped a rope across the shoulder straps. We found the adjustable kiddo harness/leg stirrups very helpful along with the sun shade. We got the rain cover but only really used it a handful of times.  

Ed O'Dwyer · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 0

We had Kelty carriers, limited storage, but plenty comfortable for long day hikes (e.g. Franconia Ridge). Wonderful memories of great hikes all over the country, and the warm reception from others all along the way, one guy even stopped to thank us!  Handed on in near perfect condition to someone else, I hope they got even a quarter of the use we did.

By contrast, my one effort to travel solo with a toddler to the gunks was memorably miserable, it just doesn't work. You can't expect climbing partners to babysit, and as soon as you tie-in, you know the kid will wake up, start screaming, fall over, lick poison ivy, or any combination of these. Bring another parent, or leave the kids behind. There's time enough when they've outgrown the backpack and can climb themselves, that's when the fun really starts.


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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