Thursday, July 3, 2008

Precious Cargo on Your Back (Physical Culture | Gear Test, Backpack Carriers)

When You Carry Precious Cargo on Your Back
HIKING with backpacking gear is a matter of balancing weight and necessity. Add a baby and the equation gets complicated.

You want a pack that will allow you to also pack in other items besides the child, or your hiking partner will get stuck with a very heavy load,” said Tim Hauserman, the author of “Monsters in the Woods: Backpacking With Children.”
The latest backpack carriers promise a greater variety of storage, including diaper bags. A few can now carry 60 to 70 pounds of baby and gear; older designs held only 40 to 45 pounds.
The weight of carriers has been reduced using technical fabrics over aluminum frames, and five-point safety harnesses are added.

Cole Kelly, the associate director of Camp Winadu in Pittsfield, Mass., took turns hiking in the Berkshires with his sons, Jack, 2 years old, and Luke, 10 months, in 4 new carriers. He also tested a more economical four-year-old carrier that has remained popular despite not having been updated.

All of the featured carriers adjust as children grow. For safety, babies should be at least 6 months old and able to hold up their heads.

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