Our son (aka ‘The Monsta’) came into this world wired for adventure. He is a curious, adventurous and seemingly fearless little boy who never seems to stop moving until he’s either watching his latest fave show or unconscious (preferably through sleep). He wriggles and flops and climbs and runs and bounces. So to understand how much we love the Osprey Poco Premium Baby Backpack Carrier, you have to understand how challenging it is to contain our little ball of perpetual motion.
He hates to be contained. He hated his pram; he refused to sit in it. If he is obliging and sits in it while we’re at the shops, he can wriggle his way out of the arm straps and climb or jump out of it in a Houdini second. He ditched his high chair soon after his first birthday; he wants to sit at the table on a normal seat without being strapped in. He still won’t sleep with a blanket over him; too constricting. When we decided to buy a baby backpack carrier so we could get back into hiking, a very reluctant part of me thought it would be a waste of money. The Monsta does not like to be restrained.
How wrong I was!
He absolutely LOVES being in the backpack. Hooray! It is the one place where he is happy to be restrained. Maybe it’s because he’s up so high he can see everything. Maybe it’s the gentle rocking motion that throws him back into his womb days. I’m not sure, but I’m so happy that he will stay contained for an hour or two in this toddler carrier backpack.
Read on for my Osprey Poco review, or if you’re looking for pram for outdoor adventures, check out my friend Lisa’s epic guide to finding the best running pram in Australia.
Deciding which baby carrier backpack to buy
I already had the Ergo Baby Carrier (and the Ergo Baby Carrier Insert), a front type of baby carrier, which was great for a supermarket outing or a stroll around the block, but The Monsta and I would both overheat after a while and as his weight increased, so did the strain on my back. As much as I loved it, it wouldn’t be suitable as a hiking baby carrier.
If your little one is even younger and you’re interested in baby wearing, check out this comprehensive guide to baby wraps.
I looked into a few baby backpack carriers, including one by Deuter Kid Comfort III Child Carrier and the Kanga Kid child carrier backpack but I really liked the look, description and price of the Osprey Poco Premium. It’s easily adjustable which is great because TJ and I both use the backpack. You can adjust the backpack to suit your height and also adjust the ‘seat’ in the carrier. As The Monsta has grown, we have continued to get good use out of it, but he’s already started to do gentle hikes with us.
The Osprey Poco Premium has a detachable and washable dribble pad – anyone with a toddler or teething baby knows how wet and messy things can get. Mashed banana anyone? It also has a detachable daypack and a roomy area at the bottom of the pack for extra storage. And doesn’t toddler hiking carrier look good?
When it comes to the Osprey Poco Plus vs Premium, we opted for the Premium because it came with the extra features we wanted, like the sunshade.
Travelling with the Osprey Poco Premium
We found the Osprey Poco Premium great for travelling, especially for getting through airports. Apart from having to take The Monsta out of the pack to get through the security checks, he stayed in the pack the whole time. We used the daypack for things like nappies, wet wipes, snacks and changes of clothes and we detached the daypack before boarding the plane. We’ve taken the Poco right to the gate on several flights and put it into a large, somewhat flimsy but lightweight bag to contain and protect the straps and the airline staff took care of it for us. Like a pram, it wasn’t considered part of our baggage allowance.
But, you can buy a travel case specifically for the Poco.
When we went to Bali for a holiday when The Monsta was about 18 months old, we opted to take a cheap stroller instead of the Poco. That was a big mistake. We barely got through the departure doors at Melbourne Airport when The Monsta wanted out and we had to carry him all the way to the boarding lounge. At least the stroller doubled as a kind of bag trolley…
Using the Osprey Poco Premium
There’s not a lot of space for storage in the Poco, but it’s enough to carry a few nappies, snacks and drinks. We don’t hike long distances anymore anyway and only in fair weather, so there’s no need to carry excess gear on a hike.
We’re not the only ones who love the Osprey Poco. Crazy Outdoor Mama gives it a double thumbs up in her post about her must-have pieces of baby camping gear.
The sunshade is part of the Poco Premium model and it’s fantastic. In Australia and with our high skin cancer rates, shade from the sun is a marvellous addition to protect our Monsta from harmful UV rays. It’s really easy to put it up and down again.
The only fault with the Osprey Poco is the small size of the zip pouch on the chest strap. It’s way too small for a mobile phone. Maybe in 2006 when everyone went smaller, but not in 2018. I like my phone to be easily accessible and the chest strap would be an ideal place for it but I can’t get the zipper done up around my LG5 and it dangles perilously if I lean forward.
It’s not easy to put the pack on from the ground but it’s much easier to stand up from a sitting position. The Monsta experiences a few swings and jolts as I heave the backpack on. He loves the bumps, though! This is not a design flaw of the Osprey Poco. It will happen with any brand of baby backpack carriers.
You can fold in the bottom section of the pack in so you don’t bang it into everything when you turn around.
Multiple uses for the Osprey Poco
Every parent with a wriggly child that hates being restrained, regardless of whether or not they are a hiker, should get themselves a Poco. I often use the Poco when we go grocery shopping! It’s a great conversation starter and the amused expressions of fellow shoppers and the “Aha!” gleams in people’s eyes who ‘get’ why we’re using a baby carrier backpack in an urban environment, make it quite funny.
When my little guy was two, he was regularly doing a Houdini from his pram, easily escaping its straps and jumping out, stationary or not. In a cafe, escape is followed by me apprehending him when he tries to steal teaspoons and sugar from neighbouring tables. When we’re in the supermarket, escape is followed by me madly replacing every item he takes off the shelf while I try to catch him and futilely stuff him and his arched back into the pram again. I end up having to carry him AND push the pram, too.
Sitting him in a trolley resulted in much the same action and if I took my eyes off him for a few seconds, he managed to sneak something into my trolley that I wouldn’t discover until we get to the checkout. Sorry, I said to the checkout person. I don’t need this or that or these other things, either.
He happily sat or stood inside the trolley, but too many people don’t understand basic supermarket etiquette and it led to sudden stops and direction changes that catapulted him from one side of the trolley to the other. In other words, it wasn’t safe.
While musing over how comfortable, content and still he remained in the baby backpack carrier during our walks, I thought why not try him in it at the supermarket?
Two words: life-changing.
Putting him in the baby backpack carrier made him so happy that taking him anywhere in it was so easy. Maybe it was being so high up that he could see everything. I’m not sure why he loved it so much, but that’s less important than the fact that he loved it so much.
In a supermarket, I didn’t have to chase and catch and try and re-stuff a screaming toddler back into a pram, I didn’t have to clean up his selection of groceries randomly pulled from the shelves and I didn’t have to worry about weird things ending up in my trolley. Plus I always had two hands-free. Bonus!
We drew some amused and ‘hey crazy lady’ stares from people when we took the little guy in the baby backpack carrier into an urban environment such as a shopping centre. But when I watched parents struggle with toddler wrangling, I accepted that we looked weird but enjoyed having a stress-free shop. OK… I felt a bit smug 🙂
Walking the dog was also so much easier with The Monsta in the baby backpack carrier than in the pram. Two hands free to pick up poo! Hooray!
Buying the Osprey Poco
You can buy Osprey accessories such as a rain cover, the sun shade (for models that don’t have it) and a carry case for travel. We didn’t buy any of the accessories because we’re fair weather hikers these days and we have our other bag that is perfect for the backpack for travel.
Buying in Australia
We bought our Osprey Poco from Wild Earth. It arrived super fast and they had the cheapest price in Australia (plus free delivery for orders over $99). I can highly recommend this company.
When it comes to hiking with kids, I don’t think you can go wrong with an Osprey baby carrier.
Buying outside Australia
If you’re outside Australia, you can buy the Osprey Poco AG Premium Child Carrier from Amazon. Click here to find the latest price.
You can buy the Premium version with all the bells and whistles, but there’s also a basic version, the Poco, and the Poco Plus. These don’t have the sunshade but you can buy these and a rain cover as accessories. You can also buy a specific carry case for travel, but we’ve done OK with our large, foldable lightweight bag when travelling with the Poco.
We’ve now been using the Poco for years and there’s very little sign of wear and tear. It’s such a sturdy baby backpack. I’ll sell it once the Monsta ditches it for good (that day will be upon us soon, sob!) and I’m sure we’ll get a good price for it second hand.
Whenever The Monsta sees the backpack, he begs to go for a walk. When he first mastered the word “backpack”, it was amazing how many times a toddler could repeat it in five minutes.
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Last modified: April 9, 2019