Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier Review

Helen shares her experience with the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL child carrier, including ease of use, key features and the pros and cons of this baby and toddler hiking backpack.

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As a runner who especially enjoys trail running and long trail hikes, I couldn’t wait to get back out on the trails in any way, after having my baby. This Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL child carrier was ready and waiting for him to ride in as soon as he hit 9 months and had the necessary size and strength to sit comfortably in a child backpack carrier.

After using it for hiking with my baby on board over the past months, I’m now sharing my thoughts and experience using the Deuter Kid Comfort child carrier, including its key features, tips for using it comfortably for you and your baby or toddler, some great things about it as well as areas that could potentially be improved.

Key features and specifications

Before I get into the details of what this child carrier is like for hiking, here are the key specifications worth knowing about:

  • Price: $270 at REI.com
  • Sizing and fit: Women’s specific fit with adjustable harness (read on for my thoughts on the men’s fit)
  • Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz
  • Maximum Load: 48 lbs (child, gear, and pack combined)
  • Ergonomic seat: Designed for maximum comfort for your child with adjustable height and padded straps
  • Ventilated back system: Deuter’s Aircomfort Sensic Vario back system provides superior ventilation, keeping you cool on those long hikes
  • Safety harness: Adjustable harness ensures your child is securely fastened
  • Best for: Hiking adventures with your child, or even wearing on less adventurous outings.
My baby is loaded in his Deuter Kid Comfort child carrier, and ready for some trail adventures!
My baby is loaded in his Deuter Kid Comfort child carrier, and ready for some trail adventures! Note the metal kickstand for when you place it down.

As well as being able to carry your child, it features a storage area underneath where they sit, which is capable of taking on board around 14 liters in volume of ‘stuff’.

Introduction to Deuter

Before we get into my review on the performance of the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL, I want to quickly introduce Deuter for those who might not be familiar with the brand yet. Deuter is a renowned name in the outdoor gear industry, especially known for their high-quality backpacks and child carriers.

Founded in 1898, Deuter has a long history of producing innovative and durable gear for outdoor enthusiasts. Based in Germany, the company has been at the forefront of backpack design, focusing on comfort, functionality, and safety. Deuter products have become a staple for hikers, climbers, and adventurers worldwide.

Hiking with the women's version of the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL child carrier
Hiking with the women’s version of the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL child carrier

Key design features on the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL – Women’s

The first thing to note about this child carrier is that it’s available in a women’s-fit version, like mine in the photos throughout this review, as well as a regular (men’s) version, so you have a choice to make regarding whether to get a women’s-specific version.

Men’s vs. Women’s Kid Comfort Child Carriers

As someone who is 5ft4 in height, I always opt for hiking backpacks that offer women’s fits, for the main reason that the hip belt is designed to fit around a women’s hips and sit on them in the right place – which is fundamentally important because your hips, not your shoulders, are going to be bearing the majority of your pack’s weight.

That’s no different for child carriers, which are basically a large backpack your child can ride on (or in).

A look at the padded, breathable mesh back and straps, as well as that 'Vari Quick' back strap height adjustment function on the Deuter Kid Comfort SL
A look at the padded, breathable mesh back and straps, as well as that ‘Vari Quick’ back strap height adjustment function on the Deuter Kid Comfort SL

The other main difference that is important to me is the adjustable back strap height, which is the distance from the hip belt to where the shoulder straps are attached to the pack. This needs to be sufficiently adjustable to fit someone of my height, and the shoulder straps are normally a little closer together than they are on men’s packs, to allow for the typically less broad female shoulders.

Now that said, many women, especially those of you who are taller, may find the men’s version to be fine for you.

My husband can comfortably wear this Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL backpack despite it being the 'women's fit version.
My husband can comfortably wear this Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL backpack despite it being the ‘women’s fit version.

My husband can comfortably wear this women’s-specific fit. So buying this version did not prevent him from being able to use it to hike with our son. He is 5ft8 and is well within the height range of this pack’s adjustable straps. This is particularly important for us because we can take it in turns to carry our son, either when out on a hike together or when one of us is hiking while the other runs… and then we can switch over to give the other person some time running, too!

Straps and adjustability

The chest, waist and shoulder straps are highly adjustable. It pays to take some time to get them all adjusted so the pack fits you correctly before you place your child in it for their first ride. Once you have a good fit, it minimizes bounce, and ensures the carrier stays secure while hiking. I also appreciate how there’s a mechanism to keep the excess strap help out of the way to stop it from flapping around.

It’s also worth noting how well padded the straps are, just like you’d expect from a high quality hiking backpack (like those Deuter is well-known for creating). This makes it comfortable for wearing over long periods of time, even while hiking over uneven ground where the weight is trying to shift as you navigate the terrain underfoot.

Next up is the adjustability of the child’s seat. There are a number of different points of adjustment, including the seat height and effective depth, and the harness itself that holds your child in there when they’re riding.

Storage capacity

Storage capacity is one thing but having choice about how to use it is also important. Just like with a hiking backpack or running hydration vest, if you have a few different locations and types of pockets you can customize what you store, where, to suit your personal preferences and needs.

The large stuff pocket below the child's seat on the Deuter Kid Comfort child carrier (Active SL)
The large stuff pocket below the child’s seat on the Deuter Kid Comfort child carrier (Active SL)

The Kid Comfort Active SL comes equipped with multiple pockets, including a large stretch compartment for your gear and a smaller pocket for valuables, and a zippered pocket on the hip belt. This provides flexibility in how you choose to carry your hiking essentials. The carrier’s gear capacity of 14L, combined with water-resistant and stretch overflow pockets, offers ample space for a load of hiking essentials, from snacks and water bottles to extra clothing and diapers.

The only thing that’s missing in terms of pockets is a dedicated water bottle pocket. However, I haven’t found that to be too much of an issue, because if I’m going to stop for water I usually take the backpack off and offer some to my son anyway, so I can just keep the water bottle in the main large pocket underneath his seat and get it out when the pack is off my back.

Ventilation and durability

The back system provides good ventilation. Having a system like this on a hiking child carrier is essential if you don’t want a sticky, sweaty back after 5 minutes of hiking, even in cooler weather.

Baby’s seating area and comfort

This pack is called the ‘Kid Comfort’ for a reason. Our son happily sits in it during hikes, he seems to really enjoy being up high with a different perspective to his usual crawl/toddle. It’s worth investing the time in getting the seat adjusted well for them before you put them in it.

Although there are little adjustable foot stirrups for them to use, we’ve found that he hasn’t wanted to use them so far; I expect that will change as he grows, though.

There’s a soft, microfiber covering (grey section) on the section of the pack in front of their face. This means even if they fall asleep while you’re hiking (it will probably happen, a lot!), then their face may rest on that and still be comfortable.

My baby enjoying the views and playing with my hair in his Deuter Kid Comfort child carrier. You can see the soft grey chin rest in this picture.
My baby enjoying the views and playing with my hair in his Deuter Kid Comfort child carrier. You can see the soft grey chin rest in this picture.

To add to their comfort I highly recommend getting the sun shade, which is extra and costs around $35. While it doesn’t provide total sun protection for their arms and face when the sun is lower, it helps protect them from UV rays up top. There are also other accessories you can consider, like a rain cover.

Parent’s comfort

As mentioned earlier in this review, I can wear this pack for several hours with no issues, it’s no different to wearing a backpacking pack except this one babbles and pats your head 🙂

The weight is going to start getting heavier overall as my child grows, so it’s great that the pack itself only weighs less than 6lb when empty.

Packing and storing the carrier

This carrier doesn’t fold down particularly small. It does collapse so it’s a lot thinner than when it’s set up for carrying your kid, but don’t expect to fit it in a suitcase or anything like that – it has a metal frame that is not going to fold down. That said, you may be able to get it in the bottom of a larger duffel bag like REI’s Big Haul, for example – but that’s not something I’ve attempted.

Durability

I have no concerns regarding its durability, our carrier still looks like new and I expect it to still look great and have many years and miles left in it even when our kid outgrows (thank goodness for REI’s used gear trade in program!). This is pretty much what you should expect when you buy Deuter gear, it’s really built to stand up to the trails and last many years, and that’s important for so many reasons.

WATCH ME HIKE WITH THIS CARRIER: I have been using this child carrier for a few months now – there are some clips of me (and Alastair) wearing it on our Trail & Kale Instagram account.

Is it worth buying?

If you want to get out on the trails with your baby or young toddler then this is an awesome way to do it. You get a great workout in and they get exposed to so much nature, sights and smells… and that’s got to be a good thing if you’re raising a kid who you hope will enjoy the outdoors as much as you do!

Its combination of optimized fit, safety features, capacity, adaptability, and comfort make it a great companion for parents looking to tackle their next hiking adventure with their little one.

Deuter Kid Comfort Carrier – More Photos

Helen
Helenhttps://www.trailandkale.com/
One of Trail & Kale's co-founders, a mom, and guardian of our resident trail dog, Kepler, Helen can be found trail running with Kepler and enjoying road runs with her mini in a jogging stroller, all while testing out the latest running gear for our readers.

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