Best For: 6 months—40 pounds (child must be able to support his head)
This carrier is aptly named, as it offers the tallest and roomiest child’s compartment. Side-entry offers convenient in-and-out loading (rather than trying to aim dangling, squirming legs into small leg holes.) The Vari Flex Hip Fins offer the utmost in comfort, making this backpack the luxury Cadillac amongst its competitors.
Like the other frame packs, the Deuter comes with an integrated sun shade, hydration compartment, and pockets galore—but instead of a changing pad, Deuter chose to supply a teddy bear in one of the mesh pockets. The changing pad would have been more practical, but a two-year-old may disagree.
PROS: This is the most supportive and comfortable option for larger kids, and larger loads. Great for long hours with a pack and multi-day excursions.
CONS: Because the pack is taller, low-lying branches can be hazardous if you’re not careful. For all the extra height and bulk, this pack, surprisingly, offers the least amount of storage space of the larger frame packs (1220 cubic inches).