Deuter Kanga Kid

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This pack is truly a cool tool. It’s the size of a daypack, yet zips open into a child carrier backpack. It’s so cool because it’s small enough to use as your everyday diaper bag, and then when your little one’s legs get tired (or you get tired of chasing your little one), you can put her in the pack.

I highly recommend Deuter’s Kid Comfort II for hiking with a toddler on board, but frame packs are about as portable as strollers – not very. The Kanga Kid, however, can really go everywhere with you. It has an internal frame (more of a shaped metal wedge) and a lumbar belt, so it’s strong enough to hold a child up to about 30 pounds (total recommended capacity, with cargo, is 33 pounds) without killing your shoulders.

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We bought this pack when my son was about six months old. It got a bunch of use until he was about 18 months. Included in that time were a few short impromptu hikes and innumerable trips to the grocery store. Use started to taper off mostly because my son preferred walking when we went out. He’s tall for his age and after about 20 months was too tall for the Kanga. Smaller kids could maybe push it up to two years. But the Kanga was really golden when he was just starting to walk (at about 1 year) and would get tired and need to be carried when we were out on the town. Since I used it as my diaper bag, and therefore always had it with me, I never had to worry about going back to the car for a stroller. I just packed him up and kept on going. It’s not easy to get a child into this pack without the help of another adult, but I managed to do it.

Kelty’s TC 2.1
is a very similar design, though I haven’t used it for comparison. Both companies have a number of backpack styles at parallel price points with comparable features and quality construction. I’m tall, and have found Deuter packs, both the Kanga Kid and the Kid Comfort II, fit me well.

-- Meghan Hedin  

Deuter Kanga Kid
$120

Available from Amazon

Manufactured by Deuter