When the task of shopping for baby items falls to mom, dad is often left with gear that he’d rather not sport in public (flowery diaper bags being the primary offender). But Osprey’s Poco Child Carrier accommodates any wearer, both aesthetically and functionally. The pack’s torso length adjusts easily, with a handy embroidered size label to use as an approximate guide.
The series has three packs (Poco: $199, Poco Plus: $259, and Poco Premium: $299); we tested the Poco Plus and think this model gives you the most bang for your buck. All of the packs feature torso adjustment, but only the Plus and Premium offer a Fit-on-the-Fly Hipbelt that lets you tweak the length of the hipbelt pads while you’re wearing the pack. These two models also come with the must-have sunshade, which is ingeniously slipped into the back of the pack and springs out (with a near-audible boing) when you pull it out. The Premium features a removable daypack and a changing pad, so it’s up to you if that’s worth the extra $40. Regardless of the model, all the packs are for kids who can sit-up unassisted and weigh at least 16 pounds. The adjustable seat and shoulder straps also mean that the pack can grow with your kid. The stability proved to be reassuringly perfect after several outings. The maximum load is 48 pounds (carrier, child, and gear combined). The Poco Plus weighs 6 pounds, 15 ounces, so with a 25-pound kid in tow, you have 16 pounds to play around with. That’s a heavy load for a day-hike, but the pack has a hydration sleeve and a mesh back-panel to aid in staying hydrated and cool.