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Monday, November 29, 2010

Bugging Out With Kids: Child Carriers

A reader asked my thoughts on worst case scenario bugging out – on foot using Bug out Bags (BoB) and having to carry small children. In the past I’ve written about BoB outfitting with children in mind and strollers and trailers for that purpose, but not baby or child carriers.
Our plans are nothing special in this regard; if we had to bug out on foot (no stroller/trailer), my wife would use a Baby Bjorn carrier (on first, goes to the front) to carry our youngest child in front, and a normal day pack (on second) with mainly food and baby items. Pack on last in-case it needs to be removed fast to run/hide.
I would have our main BoB (meant for all of us-inventory not current!). Our other child could walk some, but I’d have to carry as well. This would be slow going, perhaps 3-6 miles per day.
We’ve used the Baby Bjorn quite a bit and like its functionality and simplicity, but probably most other brands are similar. In an emergency situation you could probably modify a day pack to serve as a baby/child carrier with a few holes cut and some extra padding (but be careful not to cutoff circulation).
The reader specifically mentioned the Performance Ergo Carrier, which looks like a great buy and is able to accommodate toddlers and small children as well as infants (with an insert).
There are also backpacks for carrying children, some of which also have cargo areas. I think if we were to buy a specialized pack, it might be one of those (see REI for examples). The can get pricey (though the Kelty’s look very reasonable) and may not be for infants under six months or so.
I don’t have any specific recommendation on packs except to carry more than just the child if possible, at the very least a fanny pack with the bare minimum emergency supplies should you become separated from your significant other.
Things to consider when selecting a pack system; how much the person carrying the baby/child is able to carry, if they prefer front or back carry, and what sort of other gear (if any) they’ll need to carry.