As a hiking family, there’s arguably one piece of gear that’s essential — a carrier. Choosing the right carrier can feel like climbing a mountain in itself, and as your child grows, she’ll probably graduate from a wrap to a soft-structured carrier and eventually to a frame carrier. And if you walked the aisles of REI or your local outdoor store before this summer to check out all the different packs, you might notice there weren’t any designed specifically for women, making the choice even more complicated.
Shanti Hodges, Hike it Baby founder, also noticed this and went straight to the source, asking if Deuter, a longtime Hike it Baby partner, could design a lightweight kid carrier to fit a woman’s body. And a few months later, the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL was born.
The carrier is lighter than most carriers on the market, has a shorter and adjustable torso length (perfect for petite women) and shoulder straps fit for a woman’s body.
“One of the things I saw with Hike it Baby was that women wanted to wear frame packs, but they were intimidated by the bulk and weight,” Shanti said. “We have entered an era where women are hiking a lot with their children, and it’s not always a family adventure where she has another adult to support her. Having a light pack like this creates space for longer adventures, carrying more gear and giving women confidence that they can put in serious miles with a baby in tow.”
We asked four Hike it Baby moms to try out the carrier and this is what they think of the new carrier made with them in mind.
Children: Koen, 9, Hendrik, 6 and Davin, 3
Where she hikes: Hanover, PA
Favorite trail: Swallow Falls
I’m very impressed with how comfortable and lightweight this carrier is! We are an active hiking family, but my tall (and heavy!) 3-year-old still gets tired on the longer hikes. I have tried many carriers and also struggle with lower back issues, but found this to be the best-fitting framed carrier I’ve tried. It’s super comfortable and easy on my back. I also love the storage and find that the framed design keeps us cooler when it’s hot since he’s not pressed up against me. I would definitely suggest this carrier!
Children: Neko, 8 and Levi,1.5
Where she hikes: Ann Arbor, MI
Favorite trail: Nichols Arboretum
About seven years ago, I swore off framed carriers altogether. I had an ancient generic framed carrier for my oldest son and after wearing it a few times on hikes with him, I promised to stick with soft structured carriers for life. I felt that the framed carriers were just too big and bulky on my small frame. Being in the Hike it Baby world and having seen Deuter as a trusted sponsor, I COULDN’T WAIT to try out the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL made with mamas in mind. I couldn’t be any more impressed with it! The Active SL has so many different adjustments to get the fit right. I wore it on a 10-mile day hike and I had zero problems — no neck, shoulder, back or hip pain! It felt more secure than my regular backpacking pack! It’s lightweight, has plenty of room for snacks (my husband couldn’t believe how much I could fit in it!), and the side entry system was AWESOME for getting the little guy in and out of it when we took breaks. The added touches of the pull cord on the storage area, the removable piece near where your kiddo drools/eats for easy cleaning, and the little zipper pocket on the waist belt were well thought out for mom-style functionality. My little guy also loves being in the driver’s seat on this one. He loves being able to sit high up and see everything. No complaints from him either! I cannot recommend this product enough — especially for mamas!
Children: Skadi (named after the Norse goddess of winter and mountains), 17 months
Where she hikes: Seattle, WA
Favorite trail: Gold Creek Pond
The kid pro comfort takes carrying a child to a new level!
I must admit I have the Deuter pro pack also, so I am already a fan of the construction and durability. But as a woman, the Kid Comfort Pro takes carrying a child to a new level! It fits my hips and frame so much better than the unisex packs, which makes me feel more confident carrying my daughter. Also, the easy-in-easy-out clip system makes letting our squirmy toddler out for short beaks so easy! She even sits up higher in the pack, which makes her ride a lot more comfortable. Thanks for designing for the mamas out there, Deuter!
Children: Griffin, 2
Where she hikes: Crested Butte, CO
Favorite trail: Delicate Arch Trail in Moab, Utah
We’ve had so much fun with this pack and truly do find so many features absolutely perfect for a toddler!
This pack is the most AMAZING thing for a wiggly and sometimes temperamental toddler. 😉
What I loved most compared to our old pack is that this one is woman-specific and I could absolutely tell from the first time I tried it on. I have a very short torso and most packs are made to fit everyone and that usually doesn’t include myself! So the fit is perfect, but also it is so much lighter and more comfortable to wear on multi-mile hikes and a 30-pound toddler! My actual favorite part is that my toddler can climb in the pack by himself!! This was a HUGE perk. Our old pack has straps that aren’t very adjustable, which isn’t something I thought much about until he started getting bigger and started to fight being strapped in. Well, now he LOVES climbing in himself and I can tell he is so much more comfortable cruising around with me because there’s hardly ever any whining. Mom win! 🙂 I can say without a doubt if you have a toddler, this is the pack you NEED!
Do you have a question about the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL? Leave a question for us in the comments below!
Photos by Deanna Curry, Jessica Human, Annie Fortunato, Megan Byrne and Emily Hearn.