Baby backpack carriers are for everybody, not just campers and caravanners. That being said they are an eminently suitable piece of equipment for those of us who like to take to the roads each year in our RVs.
Caravanners do like to explore the areas that we visit and many of us like to chose the healthy option and do it on foot. This thankfully does not exclude those with young children, especially when we venture into countryside that is unsuitable for wheeled strollers.
If your baby is very tiny then one of these packs is not yet for you. Use one only when your child is about 6 months old and able to control fully his or her neck and head. Smaller babies are probably better carried in front in a different type of carrier, and in any event are less likely to be taken for longer walks than the older ones.
Some backpacks will carry your child and will also accommodate some equipment, so do be aware of the weight. When you first put it all together, strap baby in properly an get it onto your back, following all the instructions of course. It may feel reasonably light. If you have chosen a well balanced pack that fits you properly you may well be impressed by this lightness, however this is down to good design and you do still need to transport all the weight You baby, backpack and anything else that you have taken along will begin to feel much heavier after a half hour or so. Therefore plan your journey and do not be too ambitious for the first trip or two. Your child’s boredom limit will also be a factor here and your ability to entertain from the front will be crucial. You may find that everybody enjoys the experience but it may be as well to limit the first trip or two to twenty minutes or so until everybody is happy with the idea.
Most packs are made from lightweight materials such as an aluminum or alloy frame and modern, strong fabrics. Weight will be distributed onto pads in the waistband and they will be designed to ensure that the load is supported by the hips rather than the shoulders or back.
Bearing in mind that these should never be used as seats for your child, do look for one that will have it’s own stand. This will ensure that it is stable while you load it up and make it ready for use.
Your new backpack may include a rain hood, a portable drinks holder, a removable pillow for the child and as mentioned earlier various storage compartments. If yours doesn’t, and some do, have a rear view mirror as part of the arrangement it may well be something that you would like to take along. This will mean that you can can see your child and monitor him or her for signs of happiness, boredom or distress, depending on what’s going on back there. It is also good for baby to have a look at you from time to time and may help to amuse both the carrier and the carried as you all make progress. Don’t forget to look forward as well as backwards!
When you get back to your pitch do remember to empty all compartments and store everything properly in order that it will all be in one place when you want to go out again tomorrow.
Decide if you’re going to do only short trips or are you going to take your child on longer hikes. Bearing in mind
a) your child’s boredom threshold,
b) your ability to entertain them or
c) their ability to sleep
Some of your trips while camping may be rather short. In any event if you decide that you will be taking short trips only, to the local shops, to and from the pool or the playground, then a lighter simpler backpack may be what you need. The larger ones can be bulky and will exercise your packing skills when taking it along on your caravan or camping trip. However with the extra comfort that they provide and the places for carrying bits and pieces you should definitely consider something a bit larger if you intend to walk regularly or that bit further.
Like a lot of things these days a high price does not mean better quality so have a good look around at what is available before you part with your hard earned cash. Perhaps you have friends who have used different models. This is a good opportunity to chat with them and to try theirs out for a short while before you buy your own. You can also go the shops and try a few on for size. This will give you a good idea of the balance and the build quality. It is however only over a period of time that the true performance of the backpack will reveal itself. You are unlikely to persuade store owners to allow you to take their stock models for an extended test drive. However if you do turn up with your child most will be happy to allow you to load up and strap the pack on in order that you can try everything out while you are in the shop.
When you make your choice and you’ve got your carrier home don’t wait until you are ready to go walking before you assemble everything. Your cargo is precious so make sure that you practice putting everything together. Check where everything goes and how it pops, fits, zips or buckles into place before you put your baby in there. Practice putting it on your back and securing it, preferably with some help from another adult, you partner perhaps or some other patient individual.
Make sure you always, without exception, read, understand and completely follow all instructions. If these are missing or lost, perhaps you have borrowed a backpack or purchased a pre-owned one, do not use it until you have found them. Read and understood them, and followew each and every one of them before using it. You really do not want to have an accident with a baby backpack carrier. You must choose good quality equipment and follow all the instructions to the letter.
If you can avoid it do not use second hand equipment, and definitely do not use second hand or borrowed backpacks if the instructions are missing. Follow all the instructions you get and enjoy your walks.