My friends might describe me of late as a bit of a baby-carrying junkie. I have bought or been given various soft buckle, stretchy and woven wraps over the past year of parenthood. So it was with some eagerness that I waited for the new LittleLife Ranger to arrive, being a backpack-type carrier.
Granted, carrying/wearing your baby has some hippie connotations, but it needn’t be like that. Think of it more as an utterly practical way to get out and about and see both town and countryside.
The LittleLife Ranger is suitable from 6 months to 3 years (or 20kgs) and weighs in at 1.7kgs, having an aluminium frame, so feels lightweight and claims to be the lightest British standard carrier on the market.
Wanting to put the carrier fully to the test, what better way than to hike up a mountain in Wales on a drizzly morning. If you’re not used to carrying your child in this way, it feels a little top heavy at first. But after a few adjustments to the back (length) and a few purposeful strides I’ll admit to it feeling as comfy as any quality rucksack. There was no fidgeting around from the little fella as they tend to feel so secure being carried. Various straps fit over the child’s head and side and compared to a previous model I own, I found it less fiddly to secure.
I’d say the benefits of this type of carrier over the previous slings mentioned, is that your child can see out and about way above people’s heads. Lifting him off your back takes a little practice on your own, but if he falls asleep (which he has done on test) you can remove the carrier and place a foot on the anchor point and leave him snoozing. Bliss!
Aesthetically, it’s a matter of taste. Compared to fabric slings it’s not as beautiful, but for a carrier it’s a very fine looking one and little boy’s dad is more than happy to share the carrying.
You can buy an accessory pouch for the Ranger, which clips underneath the child’s seat. We didn’t try this, but I would say it’s indispensible if you’re using the carrier on your own as you can’t easily carry another bag for supplies.
One minor niggle: the little fella thought that undoing the Velcro on the face pad was a great game. It detaches for (essential!) washing, but perhaps a more secure fastening would be better.
I mentioned the weather as this carrier does not come with a hood to keep off the sun or rain, however a peek at the LittleLife website shows me that you can buy additional sun shade and rain cover accessories. During our trip in the wet Welsh hills we popped the boy into a waterproof oversuit which also did the trick.