Backcountry Lessons from the Throne of the Deuter Kid Carrier III (+ pack review)

There is something to be said about what kids can learn from their conversations with Daddy (or Mama) while they ride along on adventures.  I love that our Deuter Kid Comfort III allows J to ride comfortably along while Daddy takes advantage of a perfect opportunity to show J a little bit of this country we love so much.

This weekend we ventured out in the backcountry mountains with both boys in packs.  P managed to sleep almost the whole time, but J was a chatterbox until the last 20 minutes of a 5 hour adventure:

I’ll be honest – I was struggling today.  I haven’t been able to be on backcountry skis (going up mountains, mind you) in two winters now due to a P’s high risk pregnancy last winter.  I am definitely trying to get used to my skis, skins, boots and carrying an infant +gear on my back again.

However, it was all worth it to listen to the (surprisingly advanced) interactions between J and Daddy:
- Discussing the differences between pine, spruce and fir
- Talking about different routes to get to the top of the bench
- J’s concern over how Mama was doing and him telling me which way to go (ok, Mr. Toddler!! :))
- Packing the trail for Mama
- Who packed the other trails that we saw in the woods
- Where were the other people he was hearing talking above us
- Why we couldn’t go straight up the mountain (and why switchbacks could be so difficult on steep terrain)
- Why Katmai (the dog) was trying to bring a small tree with us (who needs sticks when you can go big?!?)
- If P’s eyes were still closed (and why he was sleeping?!?)

J was engaged, curious and having the time of his life.

I love that it was a bonding experience for J and Daddy.  I love that J’s perspective is so positive about skiing (for hours) and he truly takes in everything around him.  He wasn’t whining, he wasn’t worried, he was comfortable and he was secure and safe with Daddy (plus he got trail mix at the top!)

I, personally, can learn a lot from my toddler.  When I was frustrated with the challenge of the ski, exhausted from the conditions and feeling pretty sorry for myself, he was encouraging me with his innocent love for what we were out there doing.

And THAT is exactly what we want for our kids – to be up for a challenge, to be safe and to love the outdoors.  

I was thrilled to get back to the car and have P all smiles (despite getting a face-full of snow earlier with Mama…which is a whole story in itself) and loving life.

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Today we were singing the praises of the Deuter Kid Comfort III and I wanted to take the opportunity to share it with you all (because, really – this carrier is the King of comfort for kids.)

At first, Husband and I were both pretty skeptical of the carrier.  Our first impression was that it had a very high back which initially really seemed to get in the way.  I felt like it sat WAY high up on my back and wasn’t super practical.  Husband didn’t like how it took up more room in the car just because of the length of it.  However, we both have come to really appreciate the protection it provides and J loves how he can easily see over our shoulders.
So, like we do with all gear we review, we put it through the test time and time again.  We took P in it, we took J in it.  We skied, we hiked, we snowshoed.  We traversed flats and mountains.  We adjusted.  And we adjusted some more.
After months of that, this is what we found (and yep, this is exactly what we would tell our family and friends!)
What we love:
- Pivoting Vari Flex Hip Fins! (translation: the hip belt flexes and moves so that your load does not shift side to side with your movement.) AWESOME for skiing and carrying a heavier kid.
- The protection the higher back provides for the rider.  Full support.  Takes a bit to get used to, but we love it and our 30 lb. 2.5 year old is very comfortable (and so are we carrying it.)
- The way the sun/rain roof is attached to the carrier and comes out from a zipped pocket.
- Side entrance for the kids (J can almost do this completely on his own.)
- Plenty of storage space for gear, snacks, etc. (1220 cubic inches)
- Exterior pocket perfect for stowing a snow shovel.
- The pack folds up quite flat (flatter than any other kid carrier we have found) and therefore stows smaller (despite its height.)
- Pockets on the waist belt (including a mirror you can use to check your kid out)
- Great pillow/headrest for the kid (removable and washable.)
- Straps that adjust easily for different sized riders
- Hydration system for carrying a water bladder.
- The pack comes with a stuffed bear (we could honestly really care less about this, but J loves it.)
What we think could be better:
- This is not the best carrier for a young kid.  P was really much too small for it at 4 months, despite excellent head control (plus, not recommended until a kid can sit well on their own.)  Even at 6 months and sitting on his own great now, he can barely see over the carrier.
- The chest strap does adjust, but we wish it was on “rails” so would adjust even easier.
- Quite honestly, the mirror mentioned above is a bit clumsy.  When you are skiing or wearing gloves, it is not very easy to get out of the pocket, and while we haven’t done this yet, I could see it easily being dropped and lost.
- There are mesh pockets on the side of the carrier, but we wish one was better equipped to handle a Nalgene-sized water bottle.  The hydration system is great, but we always carry additional water bottles.  Out skiing this weekend, the water bottle fell out every time Husband had to lean down and adjust his boots or skis.
- We wish there were loops on the carrier to be able to strap extra gear on the pack (for backpacking trips with the kids.)
All in all, we are THRILLED with the Kid Comfort III and J loves his “throne”.  It retails for $299 at REI and is absolutely worth the money because it gives you a way to comfortably get outside with your kids.
We were also given the opportunity to test out a Deluxe Rain Cover.  My hope was that it would provide a little more protection for the boys when the wind started to whip (like it does often in Wyoming).  We don’t really deal with a lot of rain here, but plenty of wind!  We did find that it provided some side protection from the wind (he was in a little “fort”) but it is not the easiest thing to get on and off.  And there was still plenty of openness in the front (which makes sense so the kid could see out well.)  If you are truly hiking in the rain or wet snow, it would protect your pack well, but it just didn’t serve the purpose we were hoping it would.  We wish the cover could somehow be attached and zippered into the pack like the sun/rain roof.
If you have any questions we can answer about the Deuter Kid Comfort III, please feel free to contact us.  We would be more than happy to share!  mountainmamatales@gmail.com
Deuter very generously provided us this carrier for our review.  However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own.  Additionally, some of these links are affiliates. See our disclosure here.

Amelia lives with her husband and three young children in Yellowstone National Park. As a family, they believe that life is precious, short and should be lived to the fullest. That includes introducing a life of adventures for their boys in the form of skiing, hiking, biking, running, camping and lots of outdoor playing. Amelia writes at Tales of a Mountain Mama in an attempt to inspire others to get outside daily too with tips and tricks, stories and lots of gear reviews.

Comments

  1. What a cool family adventure! We, unfortunately, don’t get much snow here. Also, nice review! We have the KC II and really like it. Deuter makes great stuff :-)Pablo

  2. Okay, as if skinning up a mountain isn’t hard enough, you guys have to go and throw your kids on your backs while you do it. I’m sure you’ve got some killer muscles (that are hopefully not too sore). Way to go!

  3. What a fun adventure for you and the boys! We just got the Deuter Kid Carrier II and love it. Our 5 month old couldn’t be happier sitting up high with a great seat to support him. We also got the detachable sun/rain protection and like how big it is. My favorite feature is the side entrance and quick harness adjustment. What a great pack! You Kkep inspiring me to get in the backcountry this winter!

  4. I can relate to the non-stop chatterbox. We have a couple of those around here too. What a fun adventure! That’s a lot of work kicking up a mountain with little man on your back…good job!

  5. Ok, so now you have me wondering…what is the difference between spruce, pine and fir? Is it just needle length?

  6. We have the deuter III too and LOVE it. Can’t wait until our newborn’s bobbly head is strong enough for us to pick up a second pack and GET OUT!! Any tips on getting out at 0 degrees with a newborn??

  7. Make that a newborn and a 2 year old, for clarification : )

  8. Hmm…with a newborn I always just layer them up and then wear them in a soft structured carrier, like a Boba. Or a Moby Wrap works great too! Then they are close to you so you can check on them and you know they are staying warm! Check out my review of the Kowalli too (a great way to add a layer to a carrier!) But, I must admit I am not a huge fan of that newborn stage! I can’t wait for them to be old enough to at least hold their head up well! :)

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