Well baby Hoeroa has passed the 11kg mark and is too big for the front pack.
We are now looking at buying a pack that holds him in the back. We have been researching and whittled it down to a couple of options and are looking for advice from people who have first hand experience with these . (Please no reports from the Internet, we can use a search engine also. First hand only please).
The Osprey poco is the one we are most interested in. Deuter also have reasonable choices. We aren't to keen on the macpac and Kathmandu choices. Surprisingly we have found phil and teds escape and this looks good also.
We need something that can handle long trails we usually travel for 7 hours at a time with him. It also needs as much storage as it can fit.
I last used one of the original Macpac Possum kid carriers about a decade ago so no recent first hand knowledge of current models available, but within the family group I run at the tramping club the most common kid carrier I see out on our trips are the Macpac carriers of varying vintage. I haven't heard too many complaints about them except price.
A mirror to check on the kid (especially when solo) was essential for me.
I know you said no internet links but Dave at bedrockandparadox.com was doing some interesting things combining packs with kid carriers to provide additional volume to allow overnight trips.
What my wife and I found was the limiting factor of any carrier was the comfort from being seated and bounced around for long periods and the weather/plant protection of the kid being carried and that's something only you can judge. Typically we carried a kid for perhaps 2 hours max., especially while sleeping before getting them out for a walk/explore for a while. We did overnight trips to the easy huts in the Tararuas/Rimutakas that are normally 3-4 hours from a roadend, but we never did longer trips (3+ days) with the kids until they could walk the whole way themselves. The kid carrier contained all the kid's gear (clothes, nappies, sleeping bag, toy, food), while the other adult's pack had everything else (ultralight gear makes a difference).
I use the Osprey poco daily when walking the dog while carrying grandson. Duration 30 minutes to 1 hours. Works well, although the balance is shifted a bit away from the body, so doesn't walk as nice as an Osprey Atmos AG for example.
Hip belt isn't also as nice as the Atmos AG, but more than sufficient.
Product seems very well-built, still looks like new.
What's very handy is the foldable foot bar, not something we initially even looked at, but works great, so getting a child in and out is very easy.
Haven't used any other carriers, we also switched from front pack when baby got too heavy, and as we liked the Osprey packs, didn't look much at other options.
Have nothing negative to say really.
I use a second-hand Possum. Neck support if they fall asleep isn't great but otherwise it's good. Mirror is a good idea — I've been known to take photos with my phone to see what's happening. Remember to duck a bit extra under branches! Made that mistake once or twice.
I think it's worth looking at the neck support, sun and rain shelter accessories.
The neck support when asleep is something I didn't think about cheers. He has just transitioned from capsule car seat to the normal one and we have noticed the neck support is quite unsupportive if he is in the wrong position. So I'll think about that.
and yeah the sun shade/ rain cover is something we are concerned about as it does rain a bit in NZ. I used to tie my jacket around my neck by the arms and wrap it around him like a poncho when he was in the front pack he stayed dry and warm but I didn't haha.
We have several accessories for the possum: a sunshade, rain cover, and a curved neck rest that works OK but never quite fits right and maybe was designed for a later model.
It wouldn't be much fun to be in the possum with the rain cover on. I think we've only used it once. Sunshade is handy though because kids tend to rip their hats off, and you don't know it's happened if you're on your own.
Yeah we actually went for the next model up from the possum just because it was on special.
The pack works fine. But like you said the sunshade and rain cover are not quite right. Mainly the sunshade. It's a prick to fit and is badly designed . It also sit really high.
But most importantly Hoeroa loves it. He's comfortable and safe. He hates hats so the sunshade is important. I just wish it was designed better.
We were going to take him and his brothers into the ruahine today but the weather is no good so it will have to wait.