19/04/2000
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We were absolutely convinced that we wouldn’t become those parents who become hermits, terrified of breaking an ironclad routine

No, our daughter will be raised on a diet of adventure, fresh air and travel, with the odd bottle of milk thrown in for good measure. The goal is to instil in her a passion for being out and about; an affinity with the great outdoors to shape her own wanderings long after we’ve retired to a park home by the sea.

Speaking to other likeminded parents, the same message kept coming up: “you need to get a POCO”. Many other child carriers exist, including many good ones, but the POCO was spoken about with a reverence nearing adoration, as if it were some kind of cheat code for parents.

With that kind of a review, we couldn’t say no – we needed to find out if this classic child carrier from Osprey lived up to the hype. So here is our review of the Osprey POCO Plus.

Page contents

Words by Jack Hart

 


Overview: Osprey POCO Plus

Osprey POCO Plus

Description

This child carrier from Osprey has gathered a cult following among adventurous parents thanks to its robust build, easy-to-use set up and high-quality materials. It has several innovative design features, including an integrated Sun-Shade, external rain cover and folding arm braces.

The POCO Plus was tested on walks around fields and woods in South Lincolnshire, in both dry and wet weather.

Pros & cons

  • Pros
  • Easy to set-up
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Great in all weathers
  • Cons
  • Bulky to store
  • Not cheap

Specifications

  • Weight: 3.58kg
  • Dimensions: 73cm (H) x 40cm (W) x 48cm (D)
  • Load range: 10.84kg - 22kg

The POCO and its various iterations, including the Plus version that we reviewed, have been supporting adventure-inclined parents for well over 10 years, and it’s become one of Osprey’s most popular products.

Top search results for the child carrier include terms like “second hand” and “marketplace”, such is the demand for the POCO from new parents who have heard, as we did, of its legendary status. In fact, after using the Plus version recently, we have already got other parents hooked just from passing them on dog walks.

The POCO Plus is essentially a seat with straps for the child’s arms and stirrups for their feet, housed within a rucksack. It has a sturdy kickstand underneath to make mounting and dismounting easier, with arms that can be clipped into place to provide a more robust structure. A sunshade pitches from within the carrier, with a separate rain cover attaching around this profile.

It weighs just over 3.5kg and is a solid piece of kit, standing 73cm high and protruding 48cm in depth. There are various padded straps to make the carrier comfortable on the move, so the POCO Plus is certainly plus-sized when storing at home.

 


Materials and sustainability

The Osprey POCO Plus in use
The Osprey logo
Osprey POCO Plus set-up

The main fabric used by Osprey for the POCO Plus is their 210D Nylon Diamond ripstop fabric. It’s a lightweight material that can stand up to rough treatment – it is used widely across Osprey’s range but is certainly a good addition to a product that will house toddlers!

While we can’t find any specific details on this fabric, Osprey does p,ride itself on sourcing recycled materials, using bluesign approved fabrics and avoiding the use of PFAS, which are synthetic chemicals that can damage the environment.

One of the biggest markers of a sustainable product is its longevity. Rather than buying new each season, any rucksack, jacket or boots you invest in should last for years or decades, which both saves you money and avoids the high carbon cost of producing new fabrics. For the POCO, the thriving second-hand market is good anecdotal evidence for the long lifespan of this carrier. (If you’re curious, Osprey is running a competition to celebrate its 50th anniversary, searching for the best example of a rucksack that has stood the test of time!)

The frame of the POCO Plus is built from aluminium tubing while the sun shade has a UPF 50+ rating to protect your cargo from harmful UV rays.

 


Match report: testing the POCO Plus

Osprey POCO Plus before use
Osprey POCO Plus internal harness

Our first use of the POCO Plus did come with a small amount of trepidation – while placing our daughter in the carrier and strapping her in was simple, how on earth do you put it on without jolting her to the side?

Initially, my wife helped to hold the carrier while I shouldered it, but we did quickly reach a point where I was confident enough to pick it up on my own. All it requires is a short rotation of the POCO Plus to the side, holding the carry handle with one hand and looping an arm through the shoulder strap with the other. Any parent used to juggling a wriggling baby or toddler will find it easy enough.

A pair of paracord loops keep the POCO Plus compact while it’s not in use, and undoing these allows you to raise and clip into place two arms that brace the carrier, keeping the compartment for your child stable and secure. Once they’re in place, an internal harness straps them in securely and is adjustable, so the POCO can accommodate children up to the age of roughly four, assuming they’ll sit still!

Testing the POCO Plus

For our first outing, we were treated to a classic British summer’s day: grey, overcast and a bit of a nip in the air. As such, we had no need for the Sun-Shade or external rain cover and got on the move.

The POCO Plus weighs around 3.5kg and our daughter is only six months old, so the total load was not much more than 10kg. With the adjustable waist belt, chest strap and adjustable shoulder straps, it was comfy on the move and felt stable, and remained so after a few miles of woodland walking. It will be interesting to test the POCO Plus on more testing terrain, where the comfort will be under a more intense spotlight.

A few days later, I deliberately headed out in some mild rain (yet another glorious summer’s day) to test the external rain cover.

The POCO Plus Sun-Shade extends out from within the carrier itself, folding over the child’s compartment and clipping into place using tensioned fabric clips, rather than plastic ones. Once that’s secure, the external rain cover can be attached – it feels too small at first but the tension in the fabric helps to repel rain and it does fit securely.

The rain actually increased in severity while we were on the move, but I was impressed with the effectiveness of the cover – my daughter remained warm and dry, and seemingly fascinated by the bright green flysheet. It was slightly more difficult to see her and check she was comfortable with the Sun-Shade and rain cover in use, but it’s a small price to pay for an effective rain barrier.


Verdict: Osprey POCO Plus

Osprey POCO Plus being tested
The POCO Plus logo

Having used the POCO Plus multiple times in various weather conditions, it’s easy to see why this child carrier has garnered such a devoted following. It’s comfortable to wear, packs various innovative design features – like the extending Sun-Shade and arm braces – and feels just as robust as you’d expect an Osprey bag to be.

It is a large item and storage will be interesting for young parents, who don’t often have bags of space (sorry), but it will simply be another piece in the endless jigsaw that is storing all the paraphernalia a small child accumulates.

We will re-test the POCO Plus on future visits to more lumpy terrain and report back. Based on these initial impressions, though, it’s a worthy investment for any parents of young children who want to introduce their offspring to hiking, camping and generally exploring the great outdoors.

Rating: 9/10

Our favourite feature: integrated Sun-Shade and aptly named drool pad

Our least favourite feature: finding storage space when not in use

Buy it here: Osprey POCO Plus  


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