One of the things I have felt is important to this blog is a review section. It seems that there are many reviews of various travel items, but none tailored to the traveling family. That is where we come in. This component of the blog will be focused on sharing our finds, whether they be places to stay, essential items, or other tips for traveling with a child. We hope to have this setup so it will be easily searchable and not part of our more conversational main page. Expect a subsection that will be a link away from the main page soon. Our review rating will be a special “thumbs up” from our daughter Zoë. We will be using a 1 to 5 thumbs rating system to grade items.
Having said that, here is my first stab at reviewing a product that we spent some time searching for: The Toddler’s Backpack.
We are backpackers. Sort of. By saying that I mean that we carried a backpack, not a suitcase, on our travels before baby. That isn’t to say we are bare-bones, fly by the seat of our pants, tight budgeted travelers. Far from it. We love our creature comforts. But we also have always tried to do things less western, and more minimalistic. We almost gave up our trusty old backpacks for this trip. Figured that it was time to convert to a roller bag. But once we had the dusty old sacks down from the attic we knew… We knew that we were going to rough it once more.
So as good parents do, we decided Zoë would share in our… idealism. I set out with a zeal, as I usually do when it comes time to buy something, and researched all I could find about children’s backpacks. Sadly, to my shopping disappointment, I found there wasn’t much out there. Most bags were designed for kids who were about to head to school. Not for not-quite-two-year-old-toddlers about to traipse the globe. This category sadly doesn’t exist. The only bags we could find were cartoon covered, cheaply manufactured, one pouch affairs, that were not much better than a plastic shopping bag.
It was only after yet-another trip to browse REI, (did I mention I love shopping? Jenny does not share my passion), that we stumbled upon an ideal candidate. Not only was it made by The North Face, and the perfect size, but it sported a fashionable pink plaid that is all the rage with the toddler set. To see the various options and colors check out The North Face’s website.
One of the first things you notice when opening the bag is that it is of quality construction. From the water resistant zippers, to the durable mesh that lines the dual bottle holders on the sides, the bag is built to be used.
The other nice thing is that it has two separate compartments. A smaller one in the front and a larger one in the back. The larger of the two also has a mesh inner pocket, perfect for stowing art supplies, snacks, or whatever else you want the little one to have access to.
The back padding is nice and firm, yet soft and plush. The straps are padded as well and it is built similarly to other adult day packs. Even though we don’t expect our little one to carry all of her own luggage, we do think it is nice for her to keep some of the things she will want on planes, buses, daytrips, etc.. Also I want her to share the feeling of responsibility, and to be able to carry a bag the same as we do, so she feels more a part of the experience. Already she gladly puts it on and runs around the house with it whenever we put our own on.
Overall the bag is a perfect size for a little one of maybe 2-4 years old. It has ample storage space for light items, and is comfortable for a child to wear. Also the quality of the design won’t leave you disappointed. This being our first review we are glad to give the bag 5 out of 5 thumbs! If we change our minds after traveling we will update the post with our updated impressions. See the gallery below for more pics.