One of the most important pieces of gear you can have for traveling is something to carry your baby in. We’ve tried a few and all have their merits, but for our ever-growing little man, the Kokopax is a clear winner. Great for a very light pack that looks good while walking around town. We are going to try out the Tough Traveler child carrier for more serious hiking. While the Kokopax made it 5 miles this weekend, it leaves a bit to be desired on longer walks.
We first looked at back carriers at REI and while there were a number of choices, everything seemed huge and heavy even before inserting our son. Not to mention 417 straps and possible adjustments. Our combined educations were not enough to figure out how to get the baby in a comfy position. Are people buying these things to climb Everest? What are you supposed to do if you want to throw the kid in and go get milk? We searched the web desperately for a back carrier “like the kind we rode in in”. Turns out that was a Gerry carrier, and someone else had the same idea, and did something about it!
So here we go:
The Kokopax classic carrier
- Baby loves it. Loves. It.
- Baby can see the world! He can turn his head without effort. He’s also getting a higher-up view of the world than in his stroller – no exhaust fumes, doggie tongues, or people leaning suddenly down into his face.
- The only comfortable way to carry a small, not-yet-walking person in the rain! All I need is a big umbrella and we’re off!
- No wrapping, winding, strapping, or adjusting needed. Pop the kid in and go!
- Easy to adjust the harness for babe. Has three height settings.
- Easy to buckle baby in without poking or pinching him.
- Easy to adjust the shoulder straps and hip rest for the grown-up (thus making it easy for someone else to take a turn carrying your child).
- Cool fabric patterns and colors – works for casual use or at a wedding and a nice break from cutesy baby prints.
- Not made for hiking but works for decently long rides (for both wearer and passenger).
- Comfortable for baby. (Wyeth can’t explain this to us, but he can definitely show us. He rides in the Kokopax MUCH longer than he would tolerate anything else. He’s even been known to sing! “wowowowowowoooooow wow wow wowwwww”) Enables him to lean back, stand up to look over our shoulders, reach over the front or side as needed, and sleep.
- Harness is situated in a secure yet comfortable location for baby. We find he’s not strapped it too tight and doesn’t have buckles poking him, but he still can’t fling himself out.
- Room for baby to snack or play or “read” a little book.
- Weighs about 2.7 pounds (this is great and about half of what other carriers weigh)!
- Carries a child up to 35 pounds.
- Has a sturdy kickstand so you can put a little person in and take him/her out without risk of toppling.
- Doubles as a seat for eating on the go. This is no small feat – our guy is a mover and a shaker and he’s willing to chill out and have a snack in this thing.
- Has a pocket (with a cute button!) on the back to contain the harness strap-ends and maybe a diaper and some wipes or a snack.
- Comes with a carry bag/cover.
- Has a tie and a ring on the inside to attach Kokopax-brand accessories or your own.
- There’s a discreet little loop on the left shoulder – perfect for clipping your keys. Could surely be used to rig up a little mirror (like those fancy hiking packs), dangle your cell phone or camera from a strap, or stash an emergency mini Hershey bar for yourself.
Disclaimer on the “cons” list: many of these are things that could perhaps make the carrier slightly more comfortable for longer wear; however, what makes this thing SO GREAT is that there are absolutely no extra dangly straps or sharp plastic bits hanging off it. When placing a squirmy child in a carrier and picking him up, this is a huge benefit.
- This thing costs serious money… not the ~$30 that the old school models used to cost.
- Yes, you read that right: $179.99. Nope, not cheap.
- No chest strap. We have talked about adding one.
- No waist straps.
- The shoulder strap padding might start to get “flat” with heavy use? (Whatever, I’d buy it again…)
- Can’t ball up and toss under the stroller like a soft carrier. It is so light, however, that you can carry it anyway.
- No accessible grown-up pockets or attachments. Again, however, this is not a hiking pack and if I have to go somewhere on a longer outing, I just carry the diaper bag anyway.
- Can’t easily wash the cloth part. (It can be spot cleaned, but with a little teether chewing and drooling on the side, plus sunscreen weather, plus playground sand, plus occasional cracker consumption, the poor carrier is up against a serious mess onslaught.)
- You might never use your stroller again.
Maybe Kokopax will come out with a washable model, or a heavy duty use model, or even a hiking model. I think I would still buy this scaled down, super-lightweight version though.
When I walk around town with it, people ask about it constantly and comment to Wyeth on how he’s “got it made”. It even fits in the top of one of those two-tier shopping carts at Trader Joe’s and Wyeth stays in it! I assume you’ll be seeing more of these around as they make their way into more stores and continue to get more rave reviews. Count us among the growing legion of Kokopax fans!