10 Ways to Survive Flying With Kids
The Expert: Corinne McDermott, founder and managing editor of HaveBabyWillTravel.com (www.havebabywilltravel.com), and mother of two (6-year-old Megan and 3-year-old Riley)
The Problem: Every parent knows that getting out the door for a trip with the kids can seem like an impossible task.
The Solution: “Being on time (or early) is key to making sure that you’re not feeling rushed,” McDermott says. “You won’t be sweating the minutes if the lines are longer than usual at security or if you have to attend to an ill-timed diaper blowout … What has helped us is having decent carry-on luggage, like Osprey’s Vector series. There are pockets and storage areas to keep things organized, but not so many that we can’t find anything.”
If two adults are traveling with the kids, divide and conquer. “When traveling as a family, one of us is responsible for our stuff and one of us is responsible for the kids. This helps us keep track of everyone and everything during bathroom breaks and snack times.”
The Osprey Stratos 24 pack stands out for its innovative back panel. This panel makes the pack one of the most ventilated packs out there, but it also means the pack carries weight differently and does not fit as many things as efficiently as a pack like the Patagonia Refugio. The Stratos does have convenient features for hikers such as an ice axe carry and an easy to use trekking pole stash system. The Talon 22 and the Gregory Z30 have similarly designed back panels, but both of those packs leave less of a gap between the main compartment of the pack and your back, which means they are less ventilated, but hold weight slightly better. If you are looking for a pack that can hold a lot relative to its weight and bulk, try the frameless REI Trail 25 or Deuter Speed Lite 20.
Two things stand out about the Osprey Talon 22: ventilation and extra super bonus features. This pack is for people who want clever features and are willing to pay a little extra and carry a little more weight. If adventure racing or mountain biking is your thing, the Talon is a perfect option for you. With features such as a helmet attachment, blinker clip patch, and a tow loop, the features of this pack will make your life easier. The Osprey Talon wins our Best in Class award for being the most comfortable and versatile pack we reviewed, proving useful in just about any application and being extremely breathable and adjustable. If you want the ultimate in lightness, check out the REI Flash 18 ($35), which is only 11 ounces. Or if you a looking for a balance of lightweight and comfortable, check out the Deuter Speed Lite 20 ($89), which is about the half the weight of the Talon but also has fewer features and is less comfortable for carrying heavier loads. For even more features and a truly innovative back design, see the review of the Osprey Stratos 24, but keep in mind that the Talon distributes weight more comfortably than the Stratos and still has a very ventilated back panel.
The low-profile, 1,700-cubic-inch Comet has all the features a commuter needs to get from home to the office to the trail and back: tons of pockets for gear and file storage, padded sleeves for a laptop, tablet and MP3 player, and adjustable, removable straps for a tailored fit. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this versatile pack. It’s loaded with other add-ons like a loop for a blinky light, a wire port for ear buds, convenient carry handles on the front and top, and reflective striping down the back for increased visibility. Some packs in this category are bulky, due to a long list of features, but the Comet’s collapsible main compartment, made from a combination of rugged nylon and pack cloth, cinches down in a second and sits close on your shoulders and hips. Whether you’re rolling by foot or by bike, for business or pleasure, the Comet is a perfect do-it-all companion.
Got Your Back Giveaway
Enter daily for a chance to win one of three backpacks from Deuter, Osprey, and Columbia.
You invest plenty of “gear” dollars into the best boots, a quick-fire stove, a lightweight tent, and more. But what about the essential item that helps you tote supplies from campsite to campsite—a backpack? A lightweight, comfortable, and roomy pack can help take you anywhere. But, like most gear, well-made packs aren’t cheap.
We’ve got your back. This month, we’re giving away three top-of-the-line backpacks built for Scouting adventures in the GOT YOUR BACK GIVEAWAY. Three randomly selected readers will receive one of these prize packages below:
Second-Place Prize: An Osprey Atmos backpack ($240), known for its high-quality design and comfort. Also a great long-distance pack, this bag boasts easy-to-adjust shoulder and hip straps that are built for an extra comfortable hike.
Osprey are expanding their collection of backpacks with two new additions: the Zealot and the Syncro, both part of the Osprey Hydraulics range. Coming with Osprey’s AriScape and AirSpeed suspensions, those packs are full of features.
The Zealot is the smaller of the two, available in 10 and 16 liters for a weight of around 800g and 900g respectively. They are not what you call ultra light but that may be because of all the “bells and whistles” Osprey put on those. The specs read like a wish list: AirSpeed suspended backpanel for ventilation, light attachment, large front compression pocket, full face helmet and vented helmet attachment, small top pocket for gadgets and at the bottom a special tool pocket coming with its own tool pouch for easy access.
The Syncro comes in three sizes: 10, 15 and 20 liters with weights of 700g, 750g and 850g respectively. It shares most of its smaller brother features except the backpanel being of the AirSpeed variety (which we tested in the Osprey Exos 34 review) and trades the tool pocket for an integrated rain cover.
The Porter is a deluxe gear hauler that offers padded top and side carry handles, StraightJacket compression, panel zip main compartment with lockable pulls, daisy chain webbing on front panel, vertical zip front slash pocket, foam structure sidepanels, zipaway harness with adjustable sternum strap and rescure whistle, tuckway fabric hipbelt, shoulder strap attachments, 2 grab handles, internal mesh front panel zippered mesh pocket and internal zippered side mesh pocket.
After using this deceivingly roomy bag for an 11-day trip to Quebec, I’m totally sold on it being my favorite carry-on backpack! Not only did it fit easily into airline overhead bins, but it was light enough for me to keep the weight of this pack (once loaded) down below 18 lbs. As more and more airlines are reducing the size and weight of their carry-on luggage, this allowed me to continue to carry it on, and not have to check a piece of luggage.