Phil & Ted’s Makes an Excellent Adventure

My brother-in-law carrying T in the Phil & Ted’s escape2 hiking backpack, while on the ferry to Toronto Island during an unseasonably warm day in February.

K and I have a goal set for our lives – we want to hike on the Appalachian Trail in all 13 states that it crosses.  Not the entire thing end to end – that’s just crazy – but pick a state, find a nice hotel for a week, and do day hikes.  We were doing quite well having tackled Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont in the last 3 years, but now we have a little one in tow – would we have to sideline our goals for years?  NO! Thanks to Phil & Ted’s escape2 carrier we are back on target with Connecticut and Massachusetts in our sights this summer!
Being an active family means we need a way to get around with the Wee Baby T in places where a stroller isn’t an option.  We tried a variety of carriers and they all worked well for their purpose – K used the K’Tan when T was a newborn (0-4 months), I preferred the Infantino, and the Ergobaby 360 is doing a great job for short trips to the store and back.  Unfortunately none of these seemed particularly capable for 3 or 4 hour hikes over rough terrain.  Even the Ergobaby with its multiple carry options falls short of our needs – sure it has the support for longer carries, but in the front it obstructs the view of our feet (and the trail), and as a back carrier we aren’t able to wear a day pack, which means less room for food, water, and cameras while hiking.

Phil & Ted's escape2 hiking backpack
Family selfie on Toronto Island while testing out the Phil & Ted’s escape2 hiking backpack

After comparing our needs to the many different hiking carriers, the Phil & Ted’s escape2 was, on paper, the ideal solution to get the whole family on the trails.  The carrier offered structured support and storage for snacks on the go.  We ordered online and was pleasantly surprised at the quick delivery.

Instead of throwing the Phil & Ted’s escape2 into the deep end we decided to try a test run.  K’s brother was visiting for the weekend so we decided to pack up the carrier and head over to Toronto Island for the afternoon.  After losing rock paper scissors to my brother-in-law, he got to carry his nephew and the fancy new backpack, while I got the cooler (for the sake of the review I carried T on the way back).  With a couple of quick adjustments the carrier was ready to go, and off we went!

Phil & Ted's escape2 hiking backpack
Testing out the Phil & Ted’s escape2 hiking backpack on Toronto Island

Comfort:

Most importantly I suppose, the Wee Baby T fell asleep in the carrier before we even made it to the ferry.  Re-sizing the carrier was simple enough, and I was surprised how the weight was positioned.  When we stopped for lunch we took the Wee Baby T out for a bit and the escape2 felt suddenly off-balance.  I suppose that just shows how effective it is at holding the weight of a child.

Portability:

One of the benefits of a soft structured carrier is it can be folded and rolled up to be stuffed into a carry-on or day bag.  With the aluminum frame of the escape2, that isn’t an option.  That said it does fold up quite compact, small enough that it will fit nicely in the trunk of a car along with all of the other gear you will be bringing on your excursion.

Overall:

Things I love:

  • It’s VERY secure. Once you find all the straps and figure out how to tighten them there is no concern about your little one wriggling out.
  • The day pack is just big enough to hold some essentials – food, diapers, and a change of clothes – but not big enough that you will become a pack-mule for the trip.
  • The hydration pouch is a nice touch. Bladder not included, but it works great with the one we have already.
  • There is a small mirror included in the front pouch, which allows you to see your little one while on the go (check out the picture of us using this feature).
  • Great colours.
  • The hood was perfect for shielding T’s eyes.

Things I don’t love so much:

  • The child chest restraint straps are a little challenging to adjust.
  • The storage pockets on the waist belt are too tight to really access. Maybe they’ll stretch over time?

Happy hiking, and good luck out there!!

Phil & Ted's escape2 hiking backpack
After a long day on Toronto Island, we take the Phil & Ted’s escape2 hiking backpack off during the return ferry ride.

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