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Old 02-16-2013, 10:01 PM   #1
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Deuter Comfy Kid III frame pack hip toggle band

Just looking at buying a used Deuter Comfy Kid III backpack frame style carrier and wondering if it's a totally bad idea or not.

Backstory: I had a broken neck and spinal decompression and fusion surgery 6 years ago- fused from c4 thru c6.
My son is 10 months 24 lbs and I have worn him ocassionally last summer in an Ergo, on the front when he was up to 19 lbs with no problems.
I have a job opportunity for the summer working in a vineyard, good opportunity for me and I would be able to take him with me to work. I would work only from 8 am til noon. I am a single parent and finding childcare is not really an option as I would already be paying full price to hold his spot in dc in a different province. I would just be relocating for 6 weeks with him for this job, room and board provided, but it's out in the boonies so no daycares.

The vineyard is all fenced, steep terrain, but I would also have a stroller with me, but probably back in the truck, for him to nap in.

The frame backpack appeals to me because I could also take it off and he could sleep in it like a little chair at the end of the rows if needed (if my back started to kill me). I have not been able to successfully get him into a back carry with the Ergo because it involves twisting my back and I just don't seem to be able to do this. Also, I am freaked out because I will never have a spotter or anyone to help me get him on or off....so the frame pack seems like the best route.

I borrowed a MEC Happy Trails frame back pack from a friend to try and he loves it. I find it okay on my neck and shoulders...it for sure transfers all the weight to my hips....but my hips are crazy sore after just a short jaunt around the block because of pressure points from the frame. I tried adjusting the torso length to make it ride higher on my back, but it doesn't seem to help.

I found the Deuter version 3 on Kijiji for $180 and it has this moveable joint in the hip belt that allows it to move with your hips.
I am wondering if this is why the other pack is causing hip pain....it is a lot cheaper (I could get one for $50) but not sure it would be worth it if I'm in for hip pain. Just not sure about dropping $180 bucks to just use the Deuter for 45 days.

Does anyone know:

1. How to adjust MEC Happy Trails pack at the hips to reduce pressure points? Maybe add some neoprene pads or something....but is that safe to do?

2. How the Deuter is after a 2-3 hour hike? (Seems great at first but I have no opportunity for an extended trial of it.)

3. If there is some other pack that is better that I haven't considered? I don't know much about babywearing, as do it out of necessity only due to neck pain.

4. Is there some way to safely "trick out" an Ergo with a frame from a MEC Happy Trails pack?

I figure my son will probably ride in pack 1 hour, run up and down rows and play at least another hour, maybe sleep in stroller for an hour and ride in pack another hour....so maybe it won't be so bad if not continous???

Thanks in advance. I have very limited experience with babywearing and not interested in a wrap with loose hanging bits of fabric as this is a safety concern for me while working, and would never be able to figure that out anyhow.

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Old 02-17-2013, 12:25 AM   #2
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Re: Deuter Comfy Kid III frame pack hip toggle band

Our family likes to hike (mild terrain, just for exercise/fun, but not always on-trail). LO is 19 months old, and I am the one that carries LO (by choice, for the exercise) in a Deuter Kid Comfort III. A 2-3 hour hike is absolutely fine on my back (not so in other carriers), the only part that gets sore are the knees and feet from extra weight, no carrier is going to be able to do anything about that. The hip belt is wonderful, no pressure points at all, and both DH and I can pass it back and forth easily because of the quick-change torso length adjustment. Definitely want it adjusted right though (there are internet videos, as well as trial and error), because wearing it wrong is just as painful as wearing any other heavy backpack (kid or camping) wrong. There should be no weight/torquing on your shoulders/neck. It was worth full price to us, and resale value around here is 2/3 new, so you don't lose a lot if you're going to re-sell a used one after a relatively short use. The built in sun-shade isn't perfect, but it's a lot better than nothing. Be aware that the whole contraption sits quite high, if you're going through doorways, etc, and as soon as you start bending over you realize how top-heavy you are, it's not at all like carrying kid around on your back with your arms around the house (horsey-style).

One challenge, since I'm unaware of how working in a vineyard works, is that you can't really bend over while wearing it (see above). And crouching down/standing up is very awkward and hard on the knees.

Good luck! I'd love to know how it works out for you, if this is the route you choose.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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Re: Deuter Comfy Kid III frame pack hip toggle band

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Originally Posted by twood80 View Post
... as soon as you start bending over you realize how top-heavy you

One challenge, since I'm unaware of how working in a vineyard works, is that you can't really bend over while wearing it (see above). And crouching down/standing up is very awkward and hard on the knees.
Yes, I noticed that immediately as I tried it on with him inside a doorway. I think when I have to do work bent over I will have to set him at the end of the row. Luckily, I am short 5'4", so much of what I'll be doing I will be reaching up or straight in with my arms. I think I am going to have to practise before hand and get used to it because I am sure your center of gravity is affecting your balance when it is steep or you are on uneven ground.

I am glad to hear that you willingly use it for 2-3 hours and don't have hip pain from it. That was my main concern with the other pack.

I think I'm going to go for it and hope that by then (at 15 months) he will be able to play in the rows for at least an hour each morning, so it's not quite as long of a carry. ( Plus, I should be able to sell it and get maybe $100 back after if they have such a good resale value.) Thanks so much for the honest feedback on it.
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:54 PM   #4
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Re: Deuter Comfy Kid III frame pack hip toggle band

No matter what carrier, I'd recommend getting some mitten clips (or in the off-season, you can find non-stretchy kinds labeled as ironing board cover clips at fabric stores or as sheet grippers) and a pacifier clip if your baby's a pacifier kid. Then LO can have toys that they can't really drop attached to the carrier, and it's much less hassle for you. On the Deuter 3, I have the sun shade up all the time, and the front shade attachment strings are one good place to attach the clips.

There's not a great place to put a water bottle (for you or LO), that's one thing I wish they'd built into the carrier; although if you've got a stroller etc nearby that may not be an issue for you. They include a mirror, but it wasn't the best quality, I just bought a little hand makeup mirror at Target that had a 1x fold up compact that fit in the same flat front pocket and it works much better. Make sure to load the pack on a patch of flat ground, and don't leave LO unattended there as you load or unload as they could probably tip it over if they get determined.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:38 PM   #5
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We have some version...I just can't remember which. It's super comfy for several hours. As gas as water, ours has the option to put a bladder (such as camel back) hydration system in it.
We haven't used it since about 20 lbs, but it was totally comfortable and easy to put on without help.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:08 PM   #6
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Re: Deuter Comfy Kid III frame pack hip toggle band

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Originally Posted by mkrisel View Post
ours has the option to put a bladder (such as camel back) hydration system in it.
We haven't used it since about 20 lbs, but it was totally comfortable and easy to put on without help.
Good to know it's comfortable and easy to put on alone. Mine has the option for a water bladder, but not sure I want to add even more weight to it...will have to see how it feels after a few hours.

I am going to look for the clips to use for toys and also dig out an old compact to use with it. Going to get it cleaned up and adjusted tomorrow.

Then, the plan is to ease into using it for longer periods of time so it's not a huge shock in July to carry him for the mornings.

Thanks for the tips
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