Review: The Freeloader child carrier

Review: The Freeloader child carrier

Our son, Finn, has reached an awkward age when it comes to going out on walks. Up until now we have used a LittleLife ‘Voyager’ child carrier, and it has served us well. We’ve used it since Finn was about four or five months old.

A side-on view of our first child carrier, the LittleLife ‘Voyager’

It offers a lot of support for a baby, plus has plenty of storage. Now, as I mentioned recently, we are finding that it is a bit heavy and bulky for transporting a rapidly growing two year old. Also, now Finn is older and able to walk for short stretches, it’s difficult to get him in and out of our carrier quickly and easily.

I have looked around for something more suited to a toddler, but my search proved to be quite fruitless. Then I was contacted by Nathan from My Freeloader about their revolutionary carrier, which is especially designed for toddlers. I didn’t need asking twice to give one a try!

Officially, The Freeloader is suitable for children aged from two and a half. Finn is a couple of months shy of this, however he is within the minimum height and weight, so I was happy to use it.

A man in the outdoors with a toddler in a carrier on his back

A side view of the Freeloader

A man looks out over a lake, a toddler is in a carrier on his back

The back view showing the 5 point harness. There are also foot stirrups, but Finn decided he was too cool to use them

First impressions were really positive. Like all the best ideas, The Freeloader is a very simple concept. The best way I can describe it, is that it’s essentially a folding seat worn on a parent’s back. Unlike our LittleLife, this doesn’t have a lot of storage. There is a small pouch for keys, wallet and phone, but not a lot else. I guess the point is that it is an extremely compact and light carrier, just something to bear in mind if you tend to hike on your own.

A mother and her toddler son look out over fields and a river

When not in use the Freeloader folds up almost flat against your back

The Freeloader comes in three sizes, small, medium and large, and like any backpack, the shoulder and waist straps need to be correctly adjusted to ensure maximum comfort.  Our current carrier is fully adjustable in the back; it’s a bit of a pain having to change everything, but it does mean that it can fit each of us perfectly. I was worried about this aspect of The Freeloader given the big size difference between us. I went for a large, as I thought that Luke would probably end up doing most of the carrying, plus there’s more chance of me being able to use a large, while Luke would never be able to wear a small!

A laughing woman is walking beside a lake in the countryside, she has a laughing toddler on her back in a carrier

We had a lot of fun trying out our Freeloader (excuse the crazy hair-it was a tad breezy!)

A smiling woman looks at the camera, her child is on her back in a carrier looking way. There is a lake in the background

I enjoyed trying out the Freeloader, it certainly gives us more options when out and about with our toddler

In practice, it hasn’t proved to be too much of a problem. The large is a bit too big for me, however if I tighten all the straps I can easily carry Finn for a while. I think that with this toddler carrier, we’re not going to be carrying him for hours on end like we did when he was a baby. It’s more for those moments when it’s  a bit hilly or muddy, or at the end of a walk when he’s tired and grumpy and we want to get back.

What we like:

  • The Freeloader is lightweight (in the region of 2.6kg) and extremely portable
  • The seat folds up, so when Finn is walking it doesn’t get in the way at all
  • It is so versatile; I’m already thinking that it’s so compact we’ll be able to get it on a plane when we go to Poland, plus it’ll be be super useful when I just need to nip to the shops
  • It’ll be useful for a couple more years, meaning that we’ll be able to cover more miles with our toddler
  • I find it so much lighter than our existing carrier. It had basically got to the point where I couldn’t carry Finn at all, however The Freeloader has changed that.
  • It’s great quality and extremely durable, I can easily see it lasting many, many years

What we don’t like:

  • There is very little to dislike, however I feel that the the main drawback is the price. While it is ahead of it’s competitors, it is also more expensive ($299.99 and available on the website). Having said that, I imagine that it will hold it’s value very well.
  • I’m not sure how suitable it would be for people who like to hike solo. I find that it is a two person job getting it on and off (although that may be more to do with Finn’s young age).

Have you come across a carrier like this before? What do you think of the Freeloader?

Use code helpfulhiker to get a 10% discount at www.myfreeloader.com

Disclosure: I was given a Freeloader in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Family Fever

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Comments

  • Fiona Fiona March 21, at 09:12

    I love the idea of this, not to bulky to take out with you or to wear when they decide to walk but handy for tired legs. #TriedTested

    Reply
  • Laura Laura March 21, at 15:38

    We’ve never got on with carriers 🙁 but haven’t persevered to the back position. I like the seat bit on your one #TriedTested

    Reply
  • Colette Colette March 21, at 20:39

    Ah that looks amazing!
    Thanks for sharing your review on #triedtested this week x

    Reply
  • As a seasoned babywearer (i’ve tried all styles… or so i thought!) I’d not come across this style before and it looks ingenius? Did he ever fall asleep in it? I think this would suit both my kids and it’s good to see that both you and your husband can use it, as I am a lot smaller than my husband too!

    Reply
    • The Helpful Hiker The Helpful Hiker March 22, at 13:41

      He hasn’t fallen asleep yet, but I think he could, especially while he’s still quite small. It is a bit big for me, but still comfortable. I really love it, just wish it was a bit cheaper.

      Reply
  • Super Busy Mum Super Busy Mum March 23, at 14:35

    This looks like an awesome product!

    Reply
  • Mary Mary March 23, at 23:40

    What a great idea – it looks cool. I love that its called the freeloader too hahahah brilliant! Gorgeous pics x #TriedTested

    Reply
  • David - Potty Adventures David - Potty Adventures March 24, at 18:03

    Like you say it’s that awkward age. Jesse is getting on for nearly 3 and half and he’s coming towards the end of his time in the Osprey so we may well look at something like this.

    Reply

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