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.
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.
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.
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!
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.