Congratulations. Your first child was just born. Now, before you even finish that cigar, let’s get one thing straight: your whole life just changed, your routine is now scrapped, everything from when (if) you sleep to how to see the world to how you drive, has now just changed. Thankfully, there is gear to help ease this transition — from big to small, and everything in-between, including the child-carrying, non-bjorning, Osprey Poco ($200).
Around the time my daughter turned one, I realized something fantastic: my daughter, much like myself, loves to be outdoors. We first began our adventures with short hikes in the canyons of L.A. using a front carrier, but as she got bigger and our hikes became longer the stress on my lower back became too much. I looked for an alternative, and I found it sitting plane-side.
Simply cinch the sides, deploy and connect the sunshade, tighten her shoulder straps and slide her feet into the stirrups.
A father had gate-checked his Poco carrier, and it immediately caught my eye. From the well-padded and wide Fit-on-the-Fly hip belt to the genius built-in sunshade, this aluminum-frame backpack, weighing in just over six pounds, teems with useful pockets, clips and straps. It’s the perfect way to enjoy nature with the new human you are in charge of raising.
The Poco comes in three trims, base, plus and premium. I chose the plus because it had all the things I needed and nothing more. The base doesn’t have a sunshade, side mesh pockets or the on-the-fly adjustable waist straps, and the premium was a little too much, offering a zip-on/zip-off daypack and changing pad (I’m not an extreme enough hiker to need either of those).
Each Saturday morning over the past few months, my daughter and I hit various trails in and around Phoenix, Arizona. They were mostly rocky with long, steep inclines. After arriving at the mountain, we’d slap on some sunscreen, toss in snacks, camera and hats in the lower compartment, and place water bottles in the side mesh pockets.
Last but not least, I’d place my daughter into the pack. The base is sturdy enough to make this easy — simply cinch the sides, deploy and connect the sunshade, tighten her shoulder straps and slide her feet into the stirrups. Before performing this routine at the base of an unruly mountain, make sure you’ve practiced a number of times with someone else around, ideally your spouse.
When adjusted properly, the Poco sits squarely on my hips, taking the pressure off my shoulders. The padding is firm and comfortable, there are plenty of zippered storage compartments and there’s even a space for a bladder, if needed. And among the throng of features, don’t forget the best one: the Poco allows you and your child to spend time together, outdoors. A solid piece of gear that also facilitates quality father-kid time is going to be worth every penny.