Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier review

from Osprey
RRP  £400.00
Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier

by Jim Foster |
Updated on

My wife, Daisy and I are both outdoorsy people, and as part of that, love to include our one-year-old son, Wilfred too. But walking and hiking long distances while carrying a young son who now weighs over 28lb/13kg can be no laughing matter, especially when you're an older dad like me with a dodgy lower back.

As a result, we decided to look for a backpack-style child carrier we could use on our family adventures in the great outdoors.

Our criteria? Simple. We just wanted a product that:

• Is easily adjustable and comfortable, so both of us can wear it
• Is resistant to wet and foul weather
• Doesn't hurt our backs after prolonged use
• Has decent storage capacity
• Is safe and comfy for our son (the most important consideration of all!)

After a lot of discussion - plus after getting recommendations from fellow parents who'd already got one - the Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier was the option we plumped for.


  • Lightweight
  • Durable (we think, but check back in 6 months!)
  • Excellent build quality and materials
  • Comfortable to wear when walking
  • One size fits all
  • Easy to adjust for me (6ft 1in) to wear, or my wife (5ft 6in)
  • Safe for our son
  • Comfortable for our son
  • Loads of storage pockets
  • Sun and rain protection


  • Bulky to store
  • Pricey
  • Build quality
  • Child safety
  • Ease of adjustment
  • Comfort when walking
  • Price
  • Durability
Load range:23.89 - 48.5 lbs
Volume:26 L
Dimensions:28.74H X 15.75W X 18.9D IN
  • Fully framed and padded cockpit 
  • Easily stores/deploys for on-the-go UPF 50+ UV protection
  • A ventilated tensioned mesh back panel with up to 6 in./15 cm. of torso adjustability.

Testing the Osprey Poco Plus child carrier

After I'd unpacked our Poco Plus, three things jumped out at me immediately:

1. The Poco Plus is a lot lighter and sturdier than I thought it would be
2. It's quite bulky!
3. It seems to be extremely well made, with multiple sensible/practical design features

Yep, the first bit of good news is that the Poco Plus is not a heavy bit of kit. I thought from the pics I'd seen when researching what carrier to buy that its aluminium frame - around which the Poco is constructed - might add substantially to its weight, but it doesn't.

The frame does, however, form an integral part of what makes the Poco as sturdy and child-friendly as it is.

Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier
Wilfred loves sitting in it, with the kicker extended. It's a very secure 'seat' for him

As you can see from the pics, when the Poco is on the floor/ground with the frame extended (I think this is termed an 'integrated kickstand') we can put Wilfred in it and it's properly stable. Wilfred isn't going anywhere (Wilfred is one and not quite walking yet. A bigger kid could potentially climb out by themselves), which is a very useful benefit, as any parent of a toddler will tell you. Having somewhere to put your little one for a minute or two where they can't crawl or run off really helps in any number of situations you might find yourself in!

This also helps with putting the Poco, complete with child, on your back. We'll come back to that in a moment.

It's vital to fit the Poco Plus to you BEFORE you add baby!

Setting the Poco Plus up

The carrier comes with a nice little instruction booklet that is clear and helpful, though we felt it would be useful if the step-by-step images were adjacent to the wording they relate to (which was somewhere else in the booklet).

Setting the Poco up to wear was easy, but (as the instructions stipulate) should be done without the child in it. Seems obvious perhaps, but worth pointing out here.

All the straps were easily adjustable to suit (shoulder, chest, waist etc) including an 'adjustable torso length'. Whenever I take the carrier off Daisy - or she off me, as we take it in turns to carry Wilfred - we have to adjust everything. It's easy enough to do that, especially once you've used the Poco a few times.

Important to mention here that this is a 'one size fits all' product. And on that note, the Poco passes our tests as both Daisy and I can use it despite me being 6ft 1in and rounder than Daisy (who is 5ft 6in tall). So if you're worried about you AND your partner being able to use the same Poco, don't be. Unless one of you is 7ft tall and the other 4ft, I think you should be ok!

The 'Deluxe Child Cockpit'

Putting Wilfred into what Osprey call the 'deluxe child cockpit' is a cinch. We just put the carrier on the floor/ground, ensuring the frame is kicked out, then lower Wilfred in, ensuring he's sat correctly before strapping him up securely using the double-halo harness. Once you're used to it, it takes seconds to do.

All the surfaces of the 'cockpit' are padded. This includes soft pads in front of and to the back of baby's head, in case you might lurch forward/back when carrying them. The sides are ventilated and there are stirrups your child can put their feet into, if they want.

When walking with Wilfred, we loved that his arms are totally free, as it allowed him to point at things he wanted to show us - plus he has full visibility of everything around him, which for an inquisitive kid like Wilfred is essential (he hates to be constrained and whinges continuously when he's in a buggy that has a rain-cover fitted on it!)

The child seat height in the cockpit can also be adjusted, so as your baby grows, you can ensure their fit in the Poco remains comfortable.


Osprey states on their website that 'child safety is at the forefront' of the Poco's design, and we'd agree with this. At no point thus far using it with Wilfred have we ever thought he might be in any form of danger (of falling out!) or discomfort, or bashing his head.

While we've not had cause to use either yet, there is a built-in sunshade that's easy to fit, plus a rain cover (which I think is an extra) - both of which afford your little one a good deal of protection from the elements, in addition to whatever clothing / wet-weather gear they might be wearing.

When it comes to lifting the Poco Plus onto your back (kind of as you would any standard rucksack, except with a bit more care seeing as there's a baby in it!) there is a procedure you should follow that's clearly outlined in the instructions.

This includes using sturdy handles in front of and behind the baby's head to help hoist the Poco onto a slightly bent leg, before manoeuvring your arms into the straps and then the whole thing - complete with baby - onto your back.

Storage areas and pockets

As EVERY parent knows, babies and toddlers need a LOT of stuff, so storage space on a product like the Poco is important. Nappies, creams, wipes, changing mat, snacks, toys, water bottles, cups - I could go on! All you'll likely need for a day's hike can fit into the pockets of the Poco.

There are open mesh pockets, an external 'hydration sleeve' that can accommodate a 1.5l bottle, a big lower zipped compartment, a 'zipper slash pocket' and further compartments internally and at the back of the carrier. A main compartment, which can be securely fastened, is located below the child seat - it's here you can keep bulk supplies for your trip.

Obviously, if you're going on a really long hike, it's unlikely the Poco will fit everything you, your partner AND your baby might need, but it'll still carry an awful lot. Suffice to say, for everything we have used the Poco for to date, there is more than enough storage space.

Plenty of storage space on the Poco Plus for nappy-changing kit, spare clothing, food and water

Comfort when walking

Finally, when properly fitted, the Poco Plus is very comfortable to walk with. I've done a lot of hiking in my time (without baby, before I became a dad) and it is every bit as comfortable as any hiker's rucksack I've used before when traipsing around the wilds of New Zealand, or the west coast of the USA, with the best part of 60kg on my back.

The only difference of course is that, with a standard rucksack, there isn't a miniature human making noises behind your head and occasionally pulling your hair!

Something we did find - which Osprey do emphasise in the instructions/guide that comes with the product - is that it's VITALLY important to fit the carrier correctly WITHOUT your baby in it, BEFORE you start wearing the Poco Plus.

If the straps are slightly loose when you do use it with baby, what you may find is that the movement of the carrier on your back can make balance when walking a little tricky, which can be disconcerting.

So please make sure you do all the necessary adjustments and ensure the carrier fits you snugly before taking baby out for a walk/hike for the first time.

Another thing I quickly discovered is to remember how high baby is behind you when the carrier's on your back. In my case, it rendered Wilfred about 6ft 3in in height, which almost became a problem one Sunday afternoon, when Daisy and I had a nice winter stroll to the pub for a cheeky pint, complete with Wilfred in the Poco Plus.

He loved the 30-minute stroll. But when we got to the pub, I almost forgot he was on my back, and nearly banged his head on the top of the doorway when we went in. Lesson - if you're a tall dad and put the Poco Plus on your back indoors, complete with baby, be very careful walking through doorframes or under low ceiling beams. None of this is, of course, the fault of Osprey or the product itself.

Head and arms are free - Wilfred loves pointing things out on his walks in the Poco Plus!

Final thoughts

The Poco Plus child carrier from Osprey, from our initial usage over the last six weeks, seems to us to be a super product - we love it!

It's lightweight and seems durable, given the limited time so far we have had to use it.

It's built with safety in mind for the kid being carried - and our boy, Wilfred, who's 13 months old, loves it. He particularly loves the visual freedom to look around him and see what's going on, pretty much on a 360-degree basis. He seems comfortable in it, which is important to us.

The product appears to be made with high-quality materials and the design has obviously been thought through with a high degree of detail.

Based on our use of the Poco Plus to date, if you are after a rucksack-style child carrier, you'd do well to think about having a look at one of the options Osprey has.

Dad-of-one Jim Foster writes The Geriatric Dad for Mother&Baby where he recounts everything he experiences being an 'older' dad - no holds barred. His day job involves helping look after this website, as well as various apps for Bauer Media. He was formerly a journalist, magazine editor and publisher.

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