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We are looking for a good backpack to carry a toddler and a bit of gear for overnight backpacks and such. Any recommendations?
 

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Go to the store and try them on

Some that fit me well did not fit my wife. The feature that has a sun and rain cover is awesome, as the kids seem to fall asleep in them. We settled on one other than the Kelty which is what everyone we knew at the time was getting. It's lasted through three kids. I'll get you the name tonight.
 

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It might be worth trying to find a used one. It seems many parents intend to use one, but few actually do. I see them at garage sales quite frequently.

We used to have a fairly cheap one and it had a major design flaw. My daughter would kick me in the back constantly, but she would hit her shins on the metal frame and get bruised.
 

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We bought a used Sherpani and love it. It has a fair amount of gear capacity. The newer Kelty's have incorporated some of the Sherpani design features so I'm sure they pretty good too. I used it for everything from cross country to snow shoeing to regular hiking.
 

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Buy one

Of all the Crap we were told we had to have on the first baby, the thing that straps them to your chest and the backpack are the two I would swear by. Baby gets upset while you need to do something, strap them in and go. From yard work to vacuming to personal sanity of getting out on the cross country skis or a hike, those things rule. The sun and rain roof over the top looks cheesy, but I've loved it. The frame on ours is all internal. The external frames were the ones that fit my wife weird. Flat out, that backpack has made me a better dad and husband.
 

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Sherpani Rumba

We looked at quite a few packs and decided on the Sherpani Rumba.....one of the best things we ever bought, and would buy it again no questions. Hauls quite a bit of gear comfortably, child compartment is comfortable and highly adjustable, VERY well made and comes with a easy to use sun shade and rain cover. Also it's weight capacity was WAY more that others available at the time, (I think 65lbs.?) In a couple months, our second child will be ready for his turn in it, and when he is done it will get passed on to friend/relative because it will still have plenty of life left in it.
 

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I second the Sherpani. It is a pretty good system, but needs a couple of mods. The straps are pretty worthless if you are carrying anything more than 20 pounds. I just superglued on some of my kayak foam onto the straps and it has worked out great. But with the zippered pockets, and the external frame, you will have no problem carrying everything you will need for an overnight trip.

I also feel the same as Canada. Getting outside which is something my daugther and I both love to do, helped me be a better dad too and we now have a better bond because of it. She has done about 50 trips in the backpack now and she in only 17 months old. About half of those in the snow, for two to three hours at a time. Just make sure to keep them warm (lots of down) and comfortable (make sure straps are on correct and not twisted). She went from sleeping most of the time, to now being awake most of the time, looking for wildlife and watching her four dogs run around. We are hoping to get out again today if the snow continues. The backpack was probably the best investment we have ever made.
 

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Another Sherpani vote

We have a Sherpani Ultralight and it's sweet... although the Rumba has that nice detachable kid's backpack that I think would be nice. If my 2+ year old had a pack of her own like Dad has, I am sure she'd feel even cooler running around in the woods so the Rumba might be worth the extra money (my Ultralight was a very, very nice gift so noone is complaining).

When she was littler (as old as about 18 months or so I think before going in the Sherpani all the time), we used an Ergo Carrier. No frame or anything for carrying gear, but it's got a nice big belt, and for a soft carrier it's awesome because you can go from front carrying to your back, and back to the front again, so if your little one falls asleep on your back, you can swing her to the front without getting her out, and put the hood up to keep the head and neck supported. She slept great in that thing, It was great way to get her comfortable and fall asleep on the go when she was littler.
 
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