The JP CoPilot Carrier by the JP Outdoor Company is a baby carrier, diaper bag and backpack all in one. Does it sound like something you’ve been dreaming of to make life on the trail easier with your little one?
You’re not alone in that wish. Any product designed to make trail time more practical for families automatically receives brownie points in our home.
Although I’m often skeptical of products that try to do multiple things at once, I was excited about what the JP CoPilot offers.
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It’s a product that I’ve envisioned before in my head (when I’ve hiked with a front carrier while also awkwardly carrying a backpack). However, it’s not something I’ve seen in real life until the advent of this carrier.
I love that it solves a very real problem for parents wanting to get out outdoors with their littles.
It’s a baby carrier attached to a backpack, that has all the necessary features of a diaper bag.
JP CoPilot was kind enough to send one to our family to test. As always, our thoughts on the carrier reflect our own use and experience.
JP CoPilot Specs
- Front facing carrier that can hold a baby from 8-30lbs facing out or in
- Integrated cooler and cooler pouch for keeping items cold
- Integrated changing station that easily wipes clean
- Mesh bags to keep items separated
- 40 Liter pack
- Laptop sleeve
- 2 side water bottle holders
- Cost: $189
Who Will Love It
- Parents that often hike solo
- Babies that like to face outward
- Babies that are 8-30lbs and able to hold their head upright and unassisted
- Dads that want a “manly” diaper/trail bag
- Moms that want a versatile and practical diaper bag
Solo hiking parents
Anytime I review a product I always think of who this product will benefit the most. The person who came to mind over and over is the mom or dad who often hikes solo with their young kids.
There has been more than one hike when I’ve carried a baby in my front carrier and awkwardly thrown a backpack over my shoulders to bring all the stuff. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?
I love that this pack solves this problem. It is hard to get out with a young baby and one of the hardest aspects is, “How do I carry the baby and all the gear we both need?”.
Babies that like to face out
I also think this is a great pack for babies who like to be part of the action and see everything around them.
Unfortunately, my Tula baby carrier that I’ve used with all my kids doesn’t allow my babies to face outward. Yet when I’m outside my babies love to see their surroundings, especially when hiking.
I love that this pack has the option to let babies face outward so you can engage and show babies the beauty of their environment. I love that you can also turn your baby inward when they are ready for a nap.
If your child already loves a traditional Baby Bjorn (or something similar) then chances are they will love this carrier as well. It has a similar feel to the Baby Bjorn design.
The instructions for the carrier recommend using this for a baby starting around the age of 5 months. While I haven’t used this with a baby younger than 5 months I think I would personally feel safe using this carrier at an age when my baby is confidently holding their head upright.
My children have always been able to do this much younger than 5 months so I would feel comfortable using this carrier before the listed recommendation. I recognize that carrier companies need to use extreme caution on the recommendations they provide.
Also, the upper limit for this pack is listed at 30lbs. Although you could definitely carry a 30lb child in this pack I think the more appropriate range of use is a child that is 8-20lbs and younger than 1 year.
I trialed this pack with my 19 month old who is about 25lbs and it definitely felt like he was pushing the upper limits of how long I would be able to wear him using this carrier.
By the time your kid is a year I recommend transitioning your child to a hard framed hiking carrier that also has some extra pockets you can use for storage. You can check out our kid carrier reviews for lots of great options when your child outgrows the JP CoPilot.
Diaper bag that is great for both parents
Finally, this carrier is a great fit for both trail moms and trail dads. Dads will have no shame putting this on and carrying the baby and all the baby stuff.
Chances are dads will want to use this off the trail as a diaper bag as well. It can fit all the baby gear plus it has a laptop sleeve and tons of storage space.
Moms will also love this diaper bag. I prefer carrying a backpack versus an over the shoulder bag and I love that this bag cleans up well after spills.
What’s the final verdict?
If you think this might be a good fit for your family then you probably desire to know more about how it functions as a carrier, diaper bag and backpack.
Does it really work as a 3-in-1 product?
Read below for some honest thoughts on what I love about the carrier and what I’m not so crazy about.
How the JP CoPilot works as a baby carrier
As a carrier I’ll warn you that strapping the carrier attachment to the pack is not as intuitive as I was hoping. It took some time to initially assemble all the straps and buckles correctly.
Don’t be overwhelmed if the first time you try to assemble the JP CoPilot you think, “this pack has a lot of buckles and straps”. I had that same feeling on my first attempt assembling it too.
Because of this I strongly recommend reading the instructions on the website or watching a video tutorial to avoid incorrectly placing buckles.
I thought I would be able to figure it out on my own and was completely off on my first attempt.
It’s important to note that two of the key buckles can be tucked away so when the the carrier is not in use they are not dangling from the pack.
Once you get all the straps figured out you’ll find the carrier is fairly straight forward.
It’s comfortable for the baby and comfortable for the parent. The carrier is easy to adjust so you can get a nice snug fit or provide your baby a little extra wiggle room.
It’s also easy and convenient to put your baby in and out without needing extra hands.
What I would change about the JP CoPilot
The only things I would change about the carrier are simplifying the number of buckles or designing it in such a way that it’s more straightforward to know where to place them. Buckles that are labeled or are different colors depending on where you insert them would make this pack easy to put on quickly.
The other thing I would change about the carrier is a little extra cushion around the baby’s legs.
My son doesn’t seem to mind this but the carrier doesn’t have quite as much cushion in the leg area as other carrier products we’ve tried. I think extra leg cushion for those babies with roly poly thighs would only enhance this product.
Keep in mind
Another thing about this carrier that is somewhat inherent in all front carry baby carriers is that there is definitely a different kind of load on your back carrying your baby’s weight in the front.
If you have back problems or have a hard time with front carrying your baby then this is probably not the best pack for you. The weight from the backpack helps to counterbalance some of the weight from the baby in front but ‘weight is weight’.
Also the design of this pack results in a little bit more pull on your shoulders.
Although I found the backpack straps comfortable I don’t think there’s an easy fix to this problem other than lightening your pack or switching your baby to a different pack if they are too heavy to comfortably carry in front.
How the JP CoPilot works as a diaper bag
My first thoughts in thinking about this product as a diaper bag was how they nailed the discreteness with which this product functions as a diaper bag. This product does not come across as the typical “mom” diaper bag and I love that.
My husband totes around the diapers and wipes as much as I do; especially when we are in the outdoors together. It’s nice to have a product that has all the function of your favorite diaper bag while looking like an every day backpack.
And let’s face it, it can be difficult to change a diaper when hiking. Do you set the baby on the dirt, a rock or your lap?
The sleek, lightweight diaper changing pad that comes in the JP CoPilot backpack is super handy. I also love that the changing pad internally connects to the backpack with a velcro strap to avoid losing it or leaving it behind.
The internal cooler at the bottom of the pack and the separate detached cooler for storing bottles and liquids for baby are convenient as well.
It also comes with two cinch bags that internally attach to the pack. This is handy for separating kid items from adults items.
Finally the exterior pocket has the perfect internal pouch for wipes!
I cannot think of anything they didn’t think of for parents who want a well designed diaper bag.
How the JP CoPilot works as a backpack
As mentioned previously I love all the different features that are a part of the diaper bag. Another cool feature of this bag is that it also works great as a backpack when your baby no longer wears diapers.
The backpack has thick shoulder straps and a cushioned panel along the back that make it comfortable to wear.
My only complaint with the backpack is that it’s a little bulkier than I like; especially for an outdoor hiking backpack.
I’ve become accustomed to the sleek and more minimalist design of our Osprey and Deuter backpacks and wish this carrier came with a smaller backpack design or a more slimmed down look.
On the contrary, someone who wants a backpack with extra room will not be disappointed with how much this pack can hold. As a 40L pack it can hold a lot and you can definitely plan on fitting all the gear you’ll need for a full day of hiking with this pack.
On one of our hikes I was carrying quite a bit of food and water in the pack and still only filled the bag half full.
The backpack comes with a hip strap that’s pretty low profile. This is a nice feature. Considering the size of the backpack I would not mind an even thicker hip belt or the option of adding a thicker hip belt when the bag is fully loaded.
Overall, I am super impressed with this the JP CoPilot and love what this product offers. It’s so handy to be able to have a carrier, backpack and diaper bag all in one.
The backpack is comfortable and the carrier addition is a huge win for trail loving parents.
My child did not mind being carried in it and seemed both comfortable and safe when carried. I felt like the carrier kept him nice and snug while also giving him some room to adjust and interact with me.
If I could improve this product I would try to make the design a little simpler (or at least make the assembly more intuitive with color coordinating or labeled buckles), design the backpack to be a little slimmer (while keeping all the cool features/accessories) and have a little more leg padding for kiddos.
Other colors in the backpack and carrier would also be fun since a black backpack is a hot color to wear when hiking in the heat.
Parents are going to love this carrier/backpack and the freedom it gives them to continue hiking when they have a young kiddo in tow.
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