A peerless child carrier that includes everything you need from the get-go. It’s up there with the most comfortable carriers I’ve tested and has plenty of storage for toys, nappies, food and even an adult’s bits and bobs! With an innovative pop out sunshade and easy to attach rain cover, it’s got every scenario covered. It’s heavier than most, so isn’t the ideal option for hillwalking, but for the majority of uses, this carrier has it all.
Innovative buckle system
Lots of nice little touches
Heavier than most
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Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier: first impressions
Italians are probably puzzled by the use of ‘Poco’ (small) in the name of what is actually a rather large carrier. Of course, I get that Poco refers to the intended passenger and, in fairness to Osprey, there’s also a ‘Plus’ in the name. Plus indeed – I was hard pressed to find a child carrier with quite as many pluses as this excellent system.
List price: $395 (US) / £400 (UK)
Weight: 3.6kg / 7.9 lbs
Age range: 6 months and up
Weight limit: 18kg / 40lbs (child’s weight)
Materials: 210D Bluesign Nylon Diamond
Accessories included: Integrated sunshade (UPF 50+), raincover, mirror
Colors: Starry Black, Blue Sky
Osprey has really pulled out all the stops with the Poco Plus to deliver a child carrier that does pretty much everything. It’s big and bulky, but with that comes plenty of storage and it seems every square inch has been utilised in one way or another. It’s rugged construction and size makes it feel very stable, while it’s very comfortable, despite its weight.
There’s no getting away from the price, which is steeper than most of the competition. However, with the Poco Plus you get both an integrated sunshade and a rain cover bundled in, while it has enough storage to carry everything for the little one with space to spare for your own belongings.
The Poco Plus weighs 3.6kg, which is on the heavier end of the spectrum where child carriers are concerned. To ensure comfort, it utilises the same suspended mesh backsystem as many of Osprey’s leading hiking backpacks. It's also fully adjustable for that perfect fit, while the padded hipbelt takes the weight off the wearer’s shoulders.
The seat and harness are nicely padded, while adjustable foot stirrups take some of the child’s weight. The height of the seat is adjusted by either pulling it up by its little handle or pulling it back down, while pulling a little lever behind the headrest. The side support arms can also be unclipped to allow older children to access the seat from the side.
A whopping 26 liters of storage means you can carry everything you need for a day out and there are loads of places to stash items. Deep breath… There’s the main compartment beneath the child seat, another large, zippered compartment at the top, a large mesh pocket on the back of this, a small zippered compartment at the top, twin mesh pockets on either side of the seat, twin mesh pockets on either side at the bottom, two zippered hipbelt pockets and there’s even a little mesh pocket on one of the shoulder straps. Phew!
There are plenty of other nice little features, like a little rear-view mirror in the hipbelt pocket, toy loops, compatibility with Osprey’s Hydraulics hydration bladders and the removable and washable drool pad. The chest strap features the clever little emergency whistle seen on other Osprey packs.
One of the best things about the Poco Plus is the fact that the UPF 50+ rated sunshade and the raincover are included. The sunshade can be found in its own zippered compartment at the top of the pack and can be deployed in a matter of seconds. The raincover lives in a little stuff sack in the bottom main compartment and provides comprehensive protection. When fully deployed, it makes the carrier look more than a little like those green HAZMAT suits worn by shady government operatives in disaster movies. Maybe get the little one’s imagination fired with something different – an alien spacecraft perhaps?
On the trails
In terms of access and egress, the Poco Plus is easily the best carrier I’ve tested. The harness’ can be clipped back into separate buckles, clearing the way for the little one to be gently lowered onto the seat, without having to do all the fiddling around with straps and manoeuvring usually involved. Once she was in place, I’d simply unclip the harness and pop her arms through the straps, before clipping them in behind the headrest. The whole process is made even easier by the thoughtful inclusion of stretchy fabric in the harness.
Unlike with most other carriers, you don’t have to deploy a kickstand when placing the Poco Plus on the ground, as this is integrated – another handy benefit of its bulkiness. There are well-placed grab handles, which makes lifting the fully loaded carrier onto my back straightforward every time.
To wear, the Poco Plus is comfortable and feels reassuringly solid. Perhaps it's down to its size or the robustness of its frame but when my daughter was jiggling from side to side, I felt the motion far less with the Poco Plus than other carriers. It really does give a real sense of security. While being ferried around on my shoulders like some Egyptian pharaoh, my daughter always seemed content in the Poco Plus. I’ll see if she fancies doing a review too, but she’ll have to learn to write first.
After a really long walk, the weight of the Poco Plus does start to take its toll. This is probably exaggerated by its excellent storage, which often meant I was not only carrying the above average weight of the carrier but also more stuff in its many pockets. It’s probably not the carrier I’d chose for hauling the little one up a mini-mountain but it’s definitely my pick of the child carriers for everyday use.
When the sun made an appearance, deploying the sunshade was not only quick and easy, it felt like something from the Batmobile, so neat is the way it emerges from the top of the pack. In a matter of seconds, the cover is tensioned and its arms are hooked in on either side of the little one. The sunshade features mesh sides and a nylon roof that’s nicely resistant to rain too, so I’d often deploy it during showers, rather than going for the nuclear option of the full raincover.
However, sooner or later the often-wet British weather was going to demand the big guns. I found the raincover to be intuitive to setup, with easy fastenings and a buckle across the front. Handily, the cover doesn’t go over the main back storage compartment, so I could still get at essential items without having to remove it.
The storage options are excellent. As well as the two main compartments for larger items, the five mesh pockets are really handy for quickly stowing other things like toys, snacks, hats and gloves. I’d pop items that I need to hand into the zippered waist belt pockets.
One downside to its size is that I’d often forget just how far back it goes and I’d nearly whack people with it when turning around – something to bear in mind if you’re ever walking along a canal towpath.
Alex is a qualified Mountain Leader, adventure writer and content creator with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, his native English Lake District has a special place in his heart, though he is at least equally happy in North Wales, the Scottish Highlands or the European Alps. Through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors. He is currently the President of the London Mountaineering Club, training to become a Winter Mountain Leader, looking to finally finish bagging all the Wainwright fells of the Lake District and hoping to scale more Alpine 4000ers when circumstances allow. Find out more at www.alexfoxfield.com
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