Kids are amazing and can do amazing things. However, if you’re like me, you’ve had moments when you’ve overestimated your child’s ability to walk or keep up on a hike. That is where the Our Expedition Carrier comes in.
In these moments it’s not uncommon for my child to end up on my shoulders as a way to avoid a meltdown. The shoulder carry has saved me many times.
However, it’s a hard position to maintain for long. There’s bound to be moments when my child clutches my neck in such a way that I start to go red in the face or shifts positions so much that I feel like a trapeze artist.
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Our Expedition Carrier
Outside the box thinker, Hongming Zhu, developed this product and the Our Expedition brand because he too found himself frequently using the shoulder carry for his daughter. He knew there had to be a way to make this position more comfortable and went right to work making prototypes.
Is this carrier one that will work for our family?
That question is probably best answered thinking about your family’s needs.
- Do you resort to carrying your child frequently on your shoulders as a way to go longer distances or to keep your child happy?
- Do you like the idea of being able to quickly transition from carrying your child to letting your child walk to carrying them again?
- Does your child tend to frequently run off or wander on the trail?
- Does your child fall behind when trying to keep up with older siblings on the trail?
- Do you want to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors but have a child with unique physical needs or limitations?
- Do you need to save space when traveling and don’t have room for a bulky backpack?
- Are you wanting a carrier but not wanting to break the bank?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then this carrier might be a great fit for your family as these are the barriers this child shoulder carrier addresses.
Easily transition from hiking to carrying position
First, this carrier allows you to easily transition from having your child hiking, to carrying your child and back to hiking again. This is a great feature for a child that likes “mini breaks” to keep up their morale on the trail. I found I really liked this aspect of the carrier because my toddler is able to communicate with me when she wants to go from being carried to walking and it wasn’t a big ordeal to switch between the two.
Keeps your child safe and everyone together
Another great feature of this carrier is that it is an easy way to keep your child safe. If you have an older toddler that you’re wanting to let have more “trail independence” but not yet ready to give free reigns this carrier may be a big help. This is especially true if your trails are super busy, if you share your trails with bikers/horses, if there’s other obstacles on the trail that make you nervous or if your child tends to wander off.
Where we hike there are often bluffs with scary drop offs. I’ve made lots of efforts to teach my children to “stay on the trail” but there are moments when I feel nervous trying to keep watch over all my kids.
The OE carrier has been so helpful in these moments. When the trail is close to a ledge I have my 2.5 year old daughter sit in the carrier and when we’re back in a safe section of the trail I let her start walking again.
This carrier is also helpful for a child with physical limitations or lower stamina. When my toddler is trying to keep up with her older sisters on the trail her stamina fades quickly. I’ve found this carrier is helpful for giving her a much needed break when she starts lagging behind and keeping everyone at the same pace.
Compact and Affordable
Finally, this carrier is super compact. You can fold down the backrest portion of the carrier and the carrier looks like a normal backpack. This is a nice feature for when you don’t know if you’ll need to carry your child or not. This carrier is also at an affordable price point.
How does this compare to other carriers on the market?!
I’vs thought about this a lot and this carrier is sort of its own thing. It has different uses than your traditional hiking backpack and is designed to be much more functional than any other shoulder carrier options.
The frame is made out of stainless steel and aluminum and the fabric is made out of waterproof polyester. The frame weighs 5.5lbs with the backpack and 3.4lbs without it.
The carrier fits people with torso lengths ranging from 19-25 inches. If you fall outside of this range then you can contact the company for customization.
The suggested weight limit is 55lbs and the suggested height limit is 45 inches. I personally think the listed weight limit is generous but a child in the 20-30lb range may be comfortable carried.
The product also comes with a sunshade. I tried this feature out; however I found I didn’t use it much.
The suggested hiking time limit for this carrier is 2 hours and I think that this is accurate. Even though the hip belt and setting up the pack correctly help to distribute the weight to your hips there’s still some weight on your shoulders. I do not think this is a carrier you could wear for hours on end and find comfortable without a break.
There’s no age limit listed on the website (only weight and height restrictions), but I think this product is best suited for kids 1-3 years.
The website says this product can be used as soon as a child can sit; however, my 7month old who can sit is still not tall enough to have his legs properly strapped. And as I mentioned previously an older, heavier kid may also be able to sit in the carrier but I think the 1-3 age range is the sweet spot.
What I love
Kids love it!
Are you wondering what my 2.5 year old thinks?! She loves it. My daughter is more timid and prefers to be carried in my arms rather than be up on my shoulders. I did not expect her to love it so much but she feels secure and safe when carried and loves the awesome view she has.
Hands free for me
I wondered if my balance would feel off wearing the carrier and if I would have to keep putting my hands on my daughter’s legs to feel stable but my experience was quite the opposite. I didn’t find my balance was thrown off and I liked the hands free experience.
If your child tends to wiggle a lot then your balance could be impacted. In my experience the backrest, ankle straps and safety strap helped my daughter stay put.
This carrier is much more compact than any other similar carrier I’ve seen. It folds down small enough to fit as a carryon under your seat when flying.
This feature is great. I love that even in situations when we plan on bringing the carrier with us we have the option of bringing the backpack instead. The backpack has lots of pockets and storage space as well as a place to put a hydration pack.
This is part of what makes the pack so versatile. You can load the backpack with snacks and attach it the carrier or remove it from the carrier and make use of the backpack in other ways.
Not many products come with a lifetime warranty. So if there’s anything missing or if anything breaks you can get a replacement by contacting the company.
Keep in mind
I find this carrier works best for shorter distances. The pack is designed to distribute weight to your hips but even with part of the weight offloaded to my hips there is still a load on my shoulders.
Important to note is that both my husband and I tested this carrier and he was able to the handle the load for longer lengths of time then I was. He also is more likely to carry my kids on his shoulders when they are worn out.
There’s a little bit of a learning curve when figuring out how to best fit and use this pack. The OE website has lots of videos that are easy to follow. Watch them! They help in knowing all the features and also help in knowing how best to fit your pack.
One of the website warnings is to remember that your child sits higher than the carrier. I learned this the hard way as I walked into a branch forgetting my daughter was up on my shoulders. She got a little scratch on her cheek and I’ve been mindful of overhead obstacles ever since.
The Bottom Line:
There is a lot of creativity and ingenuity in this product and I appreciate the vision of Our Expedition for seeing a need and addressing it through the creation of this carrier.
Do you have other questions about this carrier? Do you wonder if a carrier like this would be a good fit for your family? Ask away!
You can also contact the OE team directly. They want to go above and beyond in providing excellent customer service and have a lifetime guarantee on their products. They will happily respond.
For all the moms and dads out there bound to end up doing the shoulder carry check out the newly designed OE child shoulder carrier. It’s the only carrier designed with shoulder carrying moms and dads in mind.
Find it on Amazon or directly on their website.
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