Osprey Poco AG Premium – $499.95
What is the first thing a mum packs for a two-and-a-half-week trip to England and Italy when going solo with her one and three year old?
The Osprey Poco AG Premium of course. Guess what? Poco AG Premium was the most vital item on the trip (children excused… and gelati is not an item. It’s a consumable).
From the moment I saw the picture on Google I wanted Osprey’s Poco AG Premium! I knew it had the goods! But were my instincts right?
As an outdoor enthusiast who is passionate about showcasing our amazing wild world to my children (three and one years old) I need gear that is of the best quality, practicality and comfort.
The Poco AG Premium is the largest of three Poco AG child carriers made by Osprey and features 39L of pack including a removable day pack. In the child carrier world, I think you would be hard pressed to find a bigger bag. Not only does this bag have the potential to carry big loads, it is also comfortable and highly adjustable.
The bag has a max load of 22 kilos and can be used once a baby has strong head and neck control (about 6months). The bag is littered with Anti-Gravity technology which won’t carry the load for you but will certainly disperse it comfortably. It provides a light yet strong aluminium frame; an Airspeed Backpanel of tensioned, airy mesh; an Exoform harness and Fit-On-The-Fly harness; and believe it or not, even suspension!
So what did I really think of the Anti-Gravity technology? Well, I found the bag really comfortable to wear (as comfortable as 20kg on your back can be for a 54-kilo lady).
I said the bag was highly adjustable? Well how? Firstly, for the wearer, behind the hydration bladder pouch, simply lift a lever and adjust the shoulder straps to the exact height you want to match your own torso. Also, as I mentioned before the Anti-Gravity Fit-On-The-Fly Hipbelt is an easy tug inwards to tighten or lever release to loosen, even once it is buckled up. To complement this, you have your load tensioners, shoulder strap lengtheners and a sternum strap that is actually on a sliding rail. Secondly, passengers are also privy to the ease of adjustability, another lever system lets you seamlessly adjust the height of the child’s seat for different passengers. Gloriously perched in their luxurious padded, ventilated cockpit your passenger is safely secured with the Double Halo harness system which is comprised of two circular straps that buckle together to the bag in front of the child’s chest. Adjustable foot stirrups and a shaded hood make this comfortable ride even more so.
Swapping from mule to draught horse or race horse and baby to child just does not get any easier than with the Poco AG Premium or Plus!
I have talked about some technical features and comfort, now let’s look at some really cool stuff I have discovered through use.
- The kickstand can be pulled in whilst on the go. If the bottom compartment is fully loaded, you won’t really get any inward compacting move from the frame, but if you have space, pulling that kickstand in will really change the dimensions of the bag and allow you to squeeze through rocks, or crowds that much easier.
- If you have a Hydration Bladder it is easy, non-stop access for you and your passenger to get a drink. If filled with cool water you directly benefit as it lies along your back, cooling you from the inside out and outside in.
- I was surprised how quickly, easily and compactly this unit folds up, simply push in the kickstand, unbuckle two red buckles, compact the bag and re-buckle the clips to the low buckle. Voila! The bag will be buckled into a streamlined unit.
- You will often receive comments on how cute your passenger is or what they are doing. It is so frustrating hearing these and not being able to check it out for yourself. Osprey have thought of this too! Hidden in a pocket for you to discover is a mirror so you can check how things are going back there for yourself.
Time to get particular. What are the things I think that could be done better, what is my critical feedback? Even the best in the game have improvements they can make:
- The shoulder strap pocket and hip belt pockets are really great to have and they really do appeal to me. I love to have them but in real life I am usually unable to use them for the things I want to like phones (although who can keep up with the increasing sizes of the newest phones?). They make do for little things we find along the way, small snacks, mirror and an improvised wallet.
- Whilst the bag is in use you can’t compact the cockpit area, nice and roomy for child but results in weight being further away from your centre of gravity hence weighing you down more… Anti-Gravity could be improved here.
- The bag in itself is 3.77 kilos. I think that is a decent weight but it is the price you pay for bells, whistles and comfort.
- The Anti-Gravity Fit-On-The-Fly Hipbelt is so efficient at tightening that I have to be wary of how tight I make it… I have tightened it to the point where my legs start getting pins and needles… oops! To be honest, as comfortable as the bag is, I do find it quite tricky to get the hipbelt fitted comfortably and suspect the design here could be improved.
- There is no hiding behind the fact that this piece of kit is quality! With this quality comes a heavy price, although I see it is a small price to pay for the offer of getting your children out into the world with you, exploring, learning!
So what are my grounds for these reports?
Our first task for the Poco AG Premium was an overnight hike. It was our first overnight hike with the kids, we had been waiting since baby one had arrived to do this. three years on, a week after we got our Poco and we trekked 17 kilometre over two days along the gruesome Larapinta trail in harsh central Australia. I won’t delude you… it truly was gruesome. We had to be completely self-sufficient including carrying all the water we would need for a young family of four amongst everything else. The heat and exposure along with rocky hilly terrain were also intense! Oh! Ad how could I forget the viscous flies, obsessively darwn to the sweat dripping into and stinging your eyes?! The Poco carried us through this strange dream and a whole heap of our gear too, without it we would still be dreaming! Immersed in isolation we gawked at secret rock formations, waded through the Finke River (the world’s oldest), shared each other’s time and truly experienced satisfaction and achievement together! As we entered the car park at the finish, the elation and sense of achievement we all had but mostly, our three-year-old is just indescribable.
As mentioned at the start my two children and I spent two and a half weeks in England and Rome. The Poco AG Premium was sure put to the test. it endured long haul flights, carried the one year old, carried the three year, carried bags and carried camera gear. The Poco took us through the hustle of London along the River Thames on the Tube and red double decker busses, through Napoli’s gritty narrow and chaotic lanes, up volcano Mt Vesuvius then down through its ancient victim city of Herculaneum. Together we explored Roma with long tours through the Colosseum and Palatine Hill, we weaved through intense crowds flocked around millennia-old fountains and sights.
Just today I got to take my girl to the top of Alice Springs, the summit of Mt Gillen. It is an 8.5-kilometre walk with a 340 metres elevation, inclusive of an eight metre vertical rock wall scramble. I have done it three times recently, each time leaving her behind, upset that she has to stay home. Well this morning I woke her at 4:30am. Together we conquered Mt Gillen and watched the cars like ants dart through the town below. Before taking off after each rest I had her chant “I am Layla. I am strong. I am brave. I am doing a really good job.” And when her tiny legs, her tiny body needed a rest she could glide into the Poco and relax as she enjoyed her efforts.
And how has the bag fared?
Osprey’s Poco AG Premium has gracefully conquered each mission we have assigned it supplementing and supporting our adventures with our children every step of the way.
The Poco faithfully awaits its next adventure; prompting, even motivating us to get out, get active and get adventuring; to have fun together. It is waiting to be loaded up with snacks, water and a child… as ready as ever!
The Osprey Poco AG Premium may just be the best thing we have given our children, instilling in them a love for the active, wild outdoors right from the very start; giving them the foundations to grow with a grounded yet fulfilled driven life, ready and keen to tackle any challenge across their track.
Together we will see the world far and wide.