For us, a week’s family holiday in the wilds of Northumberland was always going to involve lots of outdoor time. Four year old Roo is a fantastic little walker. Beth though, at just two, still struggles to keep up on longer outings. ‘Longer’ meaning anything over 40 minutes…or anything over 5! It entirely depends on which side of bed she gets out of.
The Deuter Kid Comfort II child carrier was therefore a bit of essential kit we were keen to test out on our adventures in Northumberland’s big wild countryside.
I say ‘we’. Actually it was entirely my husband playing pack-horse on this holiday. At eight months pregnant I am now well beyond the stage of being able to safely carry Beth out on hikes. As a result, the opinions in this review, particularly on comfort and ‘wearability’, are largely my husband’s.
Initial impressions of the Deuter Kid Comfort II Child Carrier
Fresh out the box the Deuter Kid Comfort II child carrier looked promising. Immediately obvious were its comfort features. Plentiful padding on both straps, back and side panels looked good for the child passenger. The generous and impressively well-designed head cushion for sleepy tots had to be best I’ve come across yet.
Rucksack material was rugged yet light, with seams and fittings finished to a high quality. For Roo and Beth the highlight was the teddy bear that arrived in the side-pocket of the Deuter Kid Comfort II. A child carrier with room to bring along a little teddy friend too? Deuter have got their target market spot on…
You expect quality from Deuter. They have a fantastic and long-established reputation for technical outdoor kit. When hiking on the continent and also during our month in California last autumn, I noticed that the majority of child carrier packs we passed out on the trail seemed to be Deuter. The well-loved but still high-performing carrier we borrowed from family for our recent hikes in Switzerland was also Deuter.
Deuter are a popular brand with outdoor parents for good reason. As well as their high-spec designs, Deuter were also the first company to produce a child backpack meeting German safety and quality certification requirements (TUV/ GS certificate) guaranteeing that their child carriers are free from harmful materials.
On the Road & Trail
One of the best features about the Deuter Kid Comfort II child carrier is its ability to fold down onto its frame for slimline travel. This is not something that our previous carriers have boasted. On this trip this was particularly handy: a week’s worth of outdoor kit, clothes for all weathers and a bunch of kiddy hand-me-downs we would be passing on to new parent friends en-route meant boot space was at a premium.
Staying just outside the historic village of Otterburn on the very edge of Northumberland’s National Park, we were spoilt for choice on outdoor excursions during our week away. The Deuter Kid Comfort II child carrier came with us on both hikes and family days out. We still used our soft sling for emergencies on very short outings where we expected Beth to walk most of the way. For longer trips though the combo of having a comfortable carrier with enough storage for most of our day items was a winner.
Child Comfort and Ease of Use
Beth is now of an age where she is increasingly independent. She wants to walk at least part of the time and often continues to resist carrying even when flagging. Persuading her to hop into a child carrier is becoming harder every day.
On the whole we had no such problem with the Deuter Kid Comfort II. One of the reasons for this was thanks to the aforementioned teddy pouch providing an in-carrier entertainment incentive. For Little Miss Independent, the ability to hop into the child carrier by herself via the cunningly designed side panel was another major plus as no doubt was the tempting pillow.
Fixing the secure harness in place is incredibly easy. You can clip the chest strap on first, helping free your hands to tackle the main buckle without having to wrestle a wriggly child at the same time. Access to all buckles is much simpler than other carriers we’ve used. This is largely thanks to the amount of space Deuter have designed in around the seat buckle area, meaning even those with large hands are able to secure the harness without problem. Other adjustments have been thoughtfully designed-in, such as the height adjustable child seat. This is a carrier that will take you right through to your child’s full hiking legs.
Check out the video below of one of our walks along Hadrian’s Wall to see what I mean by being easy to use and some of our other favourite features:
Two grab handles make the Deuter Kid Comfort II relatively easy to hoist up and down without help from a second person. The kickstand is a massive bonus for loading and unloading wriggly children frequently. We’ve had carriers before without a kickstand and definitely prefer those that have them. It can be pulled back in once wearing the rucksack.
Once in, Beth enjoyed a really comfortable ride, often nodding off. The Kid Comfort II child carrier has adjustable stirrups for little feet (“giddy-up, Daddy”), there are no space restrictions for older passengers and the carrier is designed to support little bodies well. It was also the first time using a child carrier that we didn’t have to stuff in an extra jumper or two to support the lolling head of a snoozing tot.
For the adult carrier the Deuter Kid Comfort II child carrier is a comfortable load. There are lots of technical features to help adjust the fit of the carrier to different people, from back length adjustment options to multiple settings for tweaking the fit around shoulders and hips. Unlike some carriers my husband commented on how easy the straps were to quickly adjust. The back and shoulder strap padding made for a comfortable, figure-hugging fit, keeping weight central. The breathable mesh helped on longer walks and uphill pulls.
Another big plus for the Deuter Kid Comfort II child carrier is the versatility of storage options. Admittedly we were unable to cram quite as much in the main storage compartment as our previous carrier. It remained generous enough to stow away rain layers, snacks and nappy/first aid changing kits though. At just over 3kg, the pack is also light enough to not be a burden when not carrying a child.
A separate hydropack compatible storage compartment, located right behind the back panelling, means easy access for both adult and child to liquids on the go. Its location also means the heaviest item in your pack ( child excluded) is hugged in close to your centre of gravity.
Other storage is provided in little slip-in and zip pockets, a hip belt zip (an absolute winner for quick access items – I don’t understand why more carriers don’t feature these) and the side pockets within fingers’ grasp of the mini-passenger. The latter is where the free Deuter teddy bear is stowed though the girls soon took teddy to out to play indoors, exchanging places with our adventure-prone hiking companion – Carlost the Lima.
The proximity of these pockets makes them handy for other bits and pieces you’d like to be easily accessible to older tots in the passenger seat. On the flip-side, this also means you might want to clip-on such items to prevent losing them overboard. As someone who has been forced to retrace many steps in search of Carlost the Lima in the past (the extra ‘t’ is intentional) this is a subject close to my husband’s heart…
Practicalities & Accessories
The Deuter Kid Comfort II Child Carrier comes as a standalone piece of kit. Sun shade/light rain combi cover and the full rain-cover are optional extras. It is a little disappointing that the sun/light rain cover is not included in the main package. I would never leave home on a hike with the kids without rain protection, no matter the weather.
The full rain-cover requires the sunshade/light rain cover to be fitted first. These two accessories cost an additional £25 each. On the plus side, from our experience to date they seem well-made and well-worth having.
We used our sunshade/light rain cover almost all the time.We had one issue with one of the clips of our sunshade but that was entirely our fault for hastily fixing it onto the wrong set of (hard) loops. If we’d used the soft loops as the instructions said, the problem would never have occurred and Beth would have had even more head & view-room inside than she already did. See below for a pic for where we went wrong.
Fortunately we didn’t need to get out the full rain-cover. It is an impressive bit of kit though and one that those hiking for longer than an hour really ought to carry with them. It covers both child, child’s legs and the storage sections on the pack. It also provides wind protection – the one weather element that causes most grief on hikes with young children.
Our trip to Northumberland’s famous Farne Islands provided the final test of the durability of the sunshade. On Inner Farne Beth’s pack became the centre of many dive-bomb attacks from the over-protective little arctic terns whose nests lined our path. It says a lot that not a mark showed on the roof of the sunshade at the end of trip. Neither was Beth remotely upset to be under constant avian attack. On the contrary, she seemed to revel in being so close to the birds whilst at the same time being tucked away safely in her little sunshade ‘house’.
The Deuter Kid Comfort II child carrier is by far the most comfortable and well-designed full-size carrier we have used to-date. At £200 without accessories it is not cheap. It is comparable with other market leaders for child carriers though and the excellent build quality and design helps to justify the price tag. Storage is good and loading a child passenger is super-simple. Comfort for both child and adult carrier are excellent, including for taller adult wearers. Overall, an excellent bit of kit for outdoor families who plan to spend considerable time on the hiking trail or on day adventures.
More information about, and purchase of, the Deuter Kid Comfort II child carrier can be found on the Deuter website.
Readers should be aware that I was sent a Deuter Kid Comfort II child carrier and accessories for the purpose of this review. As ever, all wanderings, ponderings and misreading of manuals remain entirely my own (and in this case, my husband’s too)!
Joining in with the Tried & Tested Linky:<