Metal frame carriers? — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

Metal frame carriers?

Hi, I haven't posted here since DS was a newborn but you all gave me great suggestions on carriers. Now that my little man is bigger and the weather will be getting better DH has decided he wants to get a metal frame carrier so we can go hiking. When we do walks now he's currently in the Ergo and being over 20lbs he's getting heavy for me. I did a quick online search and saw Chico makes a few models but they didn't get good reviews. I went to REI and they had ones that were $300. I guess what I'm looking for are recommendations so I can keep an eye out for gently used ones on eBay or good sales.

Few stats
DH will be the one wearing it and he's 6'7 265lbs. DS is a tall baby too 90+% for height and weight. He's currently 8 months and 22lbs and almost 30inches.

Re: Metal frame carriers?

  • Honestly, framed carriers move baby AWAY from your center of gravity.  That makes them less stable, and less comfortable for the wearer over the long term.  I would go to REI and try them out with your kid in it and see what you think.  I find that just wearing my daughter regularly keeps me strong enough (it's a muscle and cardiovascular workout) to do it, even on 3 mile, hour long hikes.  (FTR, she's 39lbs and 3yrs9mo old.)

    I use an SSC (like an Ergo, but I have a wrap conversion variety).  I got a toddler size (which you might look at, since you're in the high percentiles for height as well), and I'll probably be able to use it for almost another year.  ('Cause I don't really know that I want to carry her when she's over 45lbs - I'm on 125lbs myself!)

    Also know that *all* the framed carriers are crotch danglers, and that's going to get tiring and hard on a baby (and affect circulation in his legs) as he gets heavier.  At the LEAST, you'd want footrests for the kid so he can elevate his knees, and you'd want to make sure he WOULD use them.
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  • Unless you need the benefit of a frame to protect baby/want leave baby in the carrier when you take it off or if you both need to haul gear on your back, another style of supportive carrier will do (SSC, woven wrap, mei tai). At 20 lbs and 8 months, I'd venture you guess that your Ergo still has lots of life for your family. Keep wearing baby to keep up your strength. That said, if  you are uncomfortable, it may just be that another carrier will suit your body type better. I'm under 5'2 with a large chest but small-boned and Ergo cannot tighten down enough for me in the shoulder straps.  For your DH, I'd have him try the Ergo out. You can get a waist extender if needed. If that isn't a fit, then start exploring larger SSCs.
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  • I agree that an SSC is going to be MUCH more comfortable for everyone.  Your DH would be more comfortable in a carrier with plus size straps - the standard Kinderpack would be a good choice.  If you are smaller, you won't be able to cinch those straps down enough unfortunately.  Does the ergo fit you in a back carry?  If LO feels to heavy, it might be an ill fitting carrier (if his weight is pulling away from you).  But a frame pack does a much poorer job of supporting baby's weight into your body and will feel even heavier.
  • Dh is also a big guy (6'6) and much prefers our framed carrier to the ergo or kinderpack. we have the kelty kids one we got at a yard sale for $20 and its held up well over 3.5 years.
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  • I asked this question a while ago because front-carrying hurts my back for long walks/hikes, and back-carrying in the Ergo doesn't work for me since you can't adjust the shoulder straps.  I got some really great answers - but I can't find the old post for you!  In any case, based on the input I got on this board we ended up splurging on an Osprey.  I've only worn it around the house with LO, but so far we both like it.  I agree with PP about the center of gravity...but if you have experience backpacking, you'll be used to how that feels.

    Dealing with the hot climate here in central CA is what sold me on the frame pack/Osprey ultimately.  DD isn't held close to me, so there is some air circulating around us to keep both of us cooler, and it has a GREAT sun shield.

    I'll report back after I've had a chance to use it in the field!
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  • We are a serious hiking and mountaineering family here and I will echo what most others have said, a Toddler size SSC is the way to go for comfort. FWIW, we outgrew the Ergo around 20 pounds. It really depends on the body type of the wearer and the child.

    My husband is a big guy with huge shoulders. Could not comfortably wear the Ergo but he was happy in a Toddler Tula (re. gular size) and slightly less happy but ok in a Toddler Kinderpack with plus straps. He hated the Kelty packs he tried on because they just didn't fit right. Deuter makes a great pack but 100% of the time we reach for a SSC. My husband always picks the Tula. Ihave carried my son on many many 10+ mile hikes and a Tula or Kinderpack is definitely the way to go, particularly if the other adult is willing to carry the water and supplies. ;-)

    Really you need something that fits the individuals involved. If you can go to a local babywearing group meeting, maybe someone will have them to try. If not, I know Tula has a rental program so you can try it out. Kinderpacks come up used pretty often on thebabywearer forum.

    I am really confident that at your husband's and child's size, you have just outgrown the Ergo. Your son may need to sit on a rolled up towel for a bit until he grows in a Toddler Tula or Kinderpack but your husband and son with both be more comfortable.
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  • While far from idea, you *can* carry a kid on your back and a backpack on your front (if you don't have someone else to carry the gear):
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    [Deleted User]
  • I would only try the pack on the front thing on easy hikes or ones where you don't need to carry much.
    We went on one hike with kids in ssc and had to do it and I felt really really unsafe, especially on the downhill parts where I couldn't see what was on the trail. And carrying a bunch of water like that killed my back.
    I vowed only to do hikes with someone else to carry stuff or in a frame carrier after that experience.
  • It definitely depends on your comfort level, and you have to keep the pack where you can see in front of yourself reasonably well.  I wouldn't do it on the talus fields even of some hikes I know very well, but there are plenty it does work on around here.  That's one other thing to note - how much you have to carry is definitely something you can make some accommodations around.  If we're just doing a three mile hike, I only have to carry a water bottle and small snack for her.  (If I'm carrying her, it's not going to take much more than an hour.)  But there are a lot of ways to minimize what you bring, at least once the cold weather passes...
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  • Sorry I meant have someone else carry the water etc on a 10+ mile hike. We go through a lot of water. :-)

    I usually use a tactical grade fanny pack for EMS workers to carry gear and water on shorter hikes with a SSC. Theywork great, are cheap and super durable and have more space than i need. There are also really nice fanny packs made for fishing. Sometimes I wear it on front and sometimes on back, giving my son a little extra support and my back too...
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    [Deleted User]TiffanyBerry
  • On a 10+ mile hike, do you have the option of just carrying a filter?  Will you be near streams?  Because if I could manage to figure out how to not have DD meltdown on a hike that long, even if I were carrying her the whole way, I would just bring my filter and tank up as we went.
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  • No I understood. It just doesn't work of the someone else is carrying the other kiddo :)
    I love my ssc but those hikes showed me a clear reason to use a metal frame pack in some specific situations
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