View Full Version : If you are looking for framed backpack, consider the MacPacs

09-24-2003, 11:56 AM
Previously, you had to order them oversea and have them shipped (w/ somewhat higher shipping rate). But there is now a US retailer carrying it. Check the archive for reviews and discussions on them.

Here is the original post on Strollers board http://www.windsorpeak.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=14&topic_id=23882&mesg_id=23882&page=

09-26-2003, 03:05 PM
Are the MacPacs comfy for the kids? My dd doesn't really like our Kelty but I would love to have her in a Pack to hike and for walks on rougher terrain where our stroller won't go. She is almost 9 months.

09-26-2003, 04:38 PM
It seems these are great pack for serious hikers. What makes them a great pack? My guess is that they are good for longer amounts of time.


09-27-2003, 11:55 AM
I replied in your posts with some links to reviews/discussions/comparisions between the various backpacks.

10-08-2003, 12:02 PM
Tam or anyone else,

I am seriously looking for a framed carrier for our DS for mostly moderate hiking trips. Didn't the old posts talk about the MacPacs being geared towards comfort of women. I (6'1") will be using the carrier 95% of the time on hikes and weekend walks, but my DW (5'4") will be using it during the day mostly, only until she will go back to work (in 3 months time).

I want a pack that is comfy for both of us and our DS. You recommend the Possum over many other packs, but I never read a comparison to the Kid Comfort II or III or the top of the line Keltys. I also hate to purchase expensive items without trying them IRL.

Also, Is there a carrier that is good for a child under 6 months? Our DS is about 3 months and we would love to hike a couple of times before it gets too cold.

Sorry to be redundant, but I am extremely detail oriented.


Dreams do come true - Joshua 7/14/03

10-08-2003, 03:44 PM
I ordered a MacPac but haven't received it yet. My dd is 9 months though. I am not sure if a framed backpack style would suit your needs until the baby is at least 6 months old. I was given some other links to backpack carrier threads in a thread I posted http://www.windsorpeak.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=62&topic_id=630&mode=full

I am sure someone else can help. How long will the hikes be for your DS when he is under 6 months? We used a bjorn until about 5 months and that seemed to work well, but did not go on long hikes.

10-08-2003, 04:50 PM
I will probably use the bjorn for these early hikes (1-3 hours) as well, but wanted to see if any of the packs have support for a younger child. Hopefully we will go on longer hikes next Spring.

The main questions are if the harness is made to fit a woman (Says so on website). I know that regular packs that my wife is comfortable in are way too small for me by my neck, so if the harness is more narrow in design then I might not be comfortable.

My other questions are how much weight can they hold (I can't find anywhere)? I know that Maddens can hold 75lbs, Kelty - 45lb child, 60lb total, Deuter - 48.5lbs.

Not being able to compare IRL any backpacks, except Kelty, I want to know why the Possum is preferable over packs like Kid Comfort II or III, Madden Voyager and Caravan, and the high end Keltys (Summit, Pinnacle).


Dreams do come true - Joshua 7/14/03

10-08-2003, 05:53 PM
I emailed the vendor about the weight limitations and he said it would hold up to a 40lb child. The harness is adjustable from 5'0" to 6'4". I hadn't read about them being made for women, so I didn't ask about that. My dh and i are both pretty small so the harness width wouldn't be a problem for us. I can give you a review once I receive mine which should be in about the next 10 days or so. If you have more MacPac questions you may want to email Rodney, the vendor, [email protected] He answered my questions right away. He said he would accept a return within 15 days if I didn't like it. Do you have REI near you? I hear they have a lot of carriers.



10-09-2003, 02:38 PM

Every framed backpack I've seen has an age requirement of about 6 months or sitting up. I would advise that you hold off on the framed carrier until Joshua is a little older and can sit unsupported.

10-09-2003, 08:31 PM
Hi Steven,

You should consider a front carrier like Baby Bjorn, Baby Trekker, etc. or a sling for carrying Joshua at this stage. Backpack is okay for a baby/child who can sit up properly, supports his/her own head, adjust his/her own posture w/o help, etc. and honestly, 3 months is too soon.

Having said that, lol, here are a few things on the framed backpack...

- If the old posts said anything like the MacPac were made for women, it's not entirely correct (I don't have time to go back and check). What they should mean was that MacPac made their gear (child carriers, backpack, etc.) with lots of consideration for its female consumers, as well as male. Most other child carriers are made w/ the average male body frame in mind, ie. long torso, broad shoulders, wide hip/waist, etc. For example, some of the Kelty packs that I tried when I did up the waist strap, I had to do it to the minimum setting and some barely narrow enough for my hips. And I'm 5'6" but torso length would almost always at the shortest adjustment on most carriers and I was still not comfortable. I din't have these kind of problems with the Possum.

It should be said that male/female can be comfortable with a MacPac (especially women who are usually not comfortable with other types of carriers). In fact, MacPac has a whole line of gear "Designed for woman" like sleeping bags, packs, etc.

- I am not an avid/die-hard hiker and neither is my dh (2-3 hrs is our max). Hence, something as loaded and big as the Kelty Summit would not suit our purposes. Therefore, I never tried any 'big' carriers out. If you require something with more padding, better comfort for longer wear, the MacPac Vamoose might be a better choice.

- What I didn't like about most other carriers that I tried was they were just either too bulky (eventhough they were the basic carriers and not those for serious hiking), comfortable for dh but not for me, etc. The number one pet peeve when it comes to carriers is the front of the cockpit for all carriers hit the back of my head. Therefore I have to somewhat crane my neck and lean my head forward to avoid hitting the cockpit front. I don't have this problem with the MacPac.

- The one carrier that I had not had the chance to try personally was the Madden (couldn't find it in Canada at the time). But I believe Stephanie/hardymom talked about why she decided against that and bought the Vaude, Bush Baby and recommended the MacPac.

- The Deuter KC II and III were 'tall' for me and I was not happy with either one. Although, the KC III was very nice, but the back of my head bumped the front of the cockpit, big time.

- I'm not sure how big you are, but if it helps at all, the width for shoulders/neck is 6". I'm 5'6" and dh is 5'11" but neither one of us would be considered big. Of course, the best way to shop for a carrier is to try them out personally, but since it's hard for you to do so, I'll try to answer specific questions if you have more.

Imo, the MacPac is generally more compact (even the Vamoose), less bulky then many, especially the Kelty because of its wide/deep kickstand. Don't get me wrong, there are certain things that the Keltys are nicer or that I prefer those features on the Keltys more -- like the 5 pt harness. But overall, fit and comfort for us is the most important when it comes to carriers, therefore, the MacPac Possum fit my and dh's purposes and bodies better.

10-10-2003, 09:22 AM
Thanks for all of your responses and I will not even consider or inquire into using a carrier until 6 months...

I wrote to MacPac to ask my questions and got this response:

Hi Steven,

Thank you for contacting us with your queries about the Vamoose and Possum child carriers.

Both of these model of child carriers can carry a total load up to
20kg, although the Vamoose will be more comfortable than the Possum because of the slightly different hip belt.

Regarding the comfort of carrying the carrier for you and your wife,
the harnesses are unisex on all our child carriers. The Possum comes in a standard size which will accommodate heights between 5'2" to
approximately 5'11". So it would fit your wife but be a little short for you. The Vamoose comes in an additional size which will fit people between 5'7" and 6'4", so would fit you but be a little long in the back for your wife. We would suggest that if you are going to be doing 95% of the carrying you would choose the Vamoose with a size 3 harness. It will be slightly longer for your wife, but will provide a good enough fit for shorter periods of use.

Hopefully this answers your questions fully and helps you make a
decision about the Macpac products, but should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us again.


Andrew Dixon
Product Support
Macpac Wilderness Equipment Ltd
PO Box 8399, 11 Moncur Place,
Christchurch 8002, New Zealand.
Tel: +64 3 338 1106 Fax: +64 3 338 1198

So basically he says that the backpack is for people from 5'2" and 5'11", which scares me into buying something that is 2" short for me. I will not get the Vamoose size three, because my wife will never be able to use it.

I am leaning against the Kelty because of all the fit issues I have heard, but I am comfused about things even more. I was leaning towards the Possum, but can I use it comfortably if it will be short.

Has the front cockpit hitting the back of heads been an issue for most women with the backpacks? That is a huge pain if that is very common.

We are normal size people. I don't know either of our torso length, but we are both average weight (my wife is small once she loses the pregnancy weight) for our sizes, but a big difference in height (5'2" and 6'1").

I would have bought the Possum for sure if the height was up to 6'1" or above. Is there any tall (over 5'11") men that have used this and been very comfortable?

Thanks all,

Dreams do come true - Joshua 7/14/03

10-10-2003, 08:30 PM
Hmm, it's a hard thing to decide, but maybe all is not lost. If you read this store's policy http://www.kiwi-kid.com/Index.html, Rodney (the owner) doesn't charge shipping for anything over $50 and you can get 100% refund if you are not happy.

You can try both MacPac out and the Kelty in your local store(s) and decide. The most you would be out with the MacPacs would be shipping to return them both or just one. Heck, you might even want to try the Kiwi Carriers too, lol.

Email/talk to Rodney and tell him your concerns/confusions over the MacPacs and he'll be able to do something for you. He is a very patient man and many people on this board and the Parent's Place are happy customers of his, including myself.

Let us know what you decide. Good luck

10-11-2003, 03:25 AM

I just wanted to give you some info I collected during my search:

My wife was one of the people that would not fit in the Kelty's, so that started the search.

If you can visit an REI, REI carries 2 of their own child carriers that may interest you. We liked the Piggyback very much. It is much lighter than comparable Kelty's, and the child sits closer to the carrier (person). I never liked how far the child was away from the carrier in the Kelty's. It seemd to throw off my balance more having the child further away from me. Also, the Piggyback has a very neat harness adjustment system, and could possibly accomodate your wife AND you, and quickly. (Some harness adjustments are more complicated and some even require a tool.) The serious drawback to the Piggyback IMO is that for $150, you don't get very much carrier. No sunshade, not much if any extra pack space. But if you must try something before you buy, you could try REI if you have one near you.

You may want to try Madden carriers. They supposedly are better for taller people. That may not work for your wife, but then again you might get lucky.

If you can, try the Deuter packs. They make 3. I certainly wish we could have tried the Macpac, but at the time we could not, and trying on beforehand was a definite must, given the situation with the Kelty's fit for my wife. We ended up with the Deuter Kid Carrier II and are very happy with it. Deuter makes popular hiking packs, and I think their experience shows in the child carriers. The KC II is a very light pack, 5lbs 6oz, compared to 7lb 11oz for the Kelty Ridgeline (comparable), and 5lbs 12oz for the Piggyback (which lacks a sizeable pack). The harness is very nice, and even has 2 shoulder strap load adjuster attachments instead of one. The sternum strap is even adjustable in height. The hip belt is very comfortable. The harness for the child is very comfortable and secure for the child, as is the whole seating area. My soon to be 7month old DD has been riding in it for about a month and enjoys it very much. Also, I am 5'6", my wife is 5'5", and the front of the cockpit doesn't hit either of us in the back of the head. And one crucial point: it has an identical (as far as I can tell) harness adjustment system as the REI Piggyback. Thus, if the Piggyback fits both you and your wife, the KC II will most likely fit as well. Just a thought.

Some helpful links:

I know that trying on these child carriers is a pain since very few stores carry more than Kelty or Evenflo. But I think carriers fit people as uniquely as clothes do, so it probably pays to try before buying, or at least have a cheap way of returning. We had to drive an hour both ways in crappy traffic to get to the store that carries Deuter, Madden, and Tough Traveller. But it was worth it for us, since we ended up getting the KC II and are very happy with it.

Sorry to ramble. I just know what you're going through since I went through it 2 months ago.


10-21-2003, 04:28 PM
Well, I got my MacPac last week and so far we love it. Dd fell asleep in it while walking around this weekend. She doesn't even fall asleep in strollers, so this was a big thing for her! My dh loves it. It is easy to put her in and out and she feels comfy so that works well for us. Just wanted to let you know.

10-21-2003, 04:38 PM
Excellent! Enjoy.