Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kelty Kids FC 3.0 Backpack

Rating: 4.5/5 stars
We like to be outdoors. A lot of the outdoor places we like to be are not conducive to strollers. We knew we had to get a backpack carrier. After baby outgrew the bjorn, what were we going to do?! We searched around a bit, but the Kelty really seems to have the market on structured backpack carriers. I would venture to say 80% of the people we see hiking have a Kelty. Possibly more. There are several models available. This review is for the FC 3.0, as deluxe as it gets in the world of Kelty. (Deluxe reads expensive). We do love this carrier. Baby seems comfortable, it comes with a sun shade (have I mentioned its sunny in Colorado?), will last for what seems like forever. Also, for the most part, I despise strollers in crowded places. Things like art fairs and farmers markets. Not only is everyone annoyed with someone trying to squeeze by them with the stroller, inadvertently rolling over/into their feet, it annoys me, the stroller pusher. I can't walk quickly, as I tend to do, I can't see what I want to see, get to where I want to get to. I thought a backpack carrier would be the solution to all of this. While it IS the perfect solution, for a self proclaimed stroller-hater like me in many situations, it does have a few drawbacks as well. Which may be the reason we might not be a 4 stroller family but, as of today, have become a 3-carrier (+1 sling) family. I broke down and ordered an Ergo. What I hope to be a rave review will follow in the weeks to come.
Overall, this is a great back pack. Its phenomenal for real hikes. It has a lot of storage for snacks, water, diapers, toys, etc. Its comfortable for baby and wear-er. The one thing I don't like about it is its size. Well, I like its size for hiking. I just think its a bit overkill for things like walking through an art fair. You look (and feel) a bit like a gear-head. Also, we travel a lot. I've found myself on vacation wishing I had the carrier. The size of this carrier isn't exactly friendly for travel. Unless, of course you were on a hiking trip.

-Self deploying kick stand, makes it extremely easy to get baby in/out and off/on your back, even by yourself.
-Sunshade comes with it. It is more than ample for even the sunniest places, yet not claustrophobic. Even shields a light rain (from the top)
-Extra storage below baby, and an extra zip-off mini-day pack make for plenty of storage for day hikes (and your partner can wear the mini day pack to alleviate extra weight). (The newest model seems to have done away with the zip-off pack. The storage is still there, its just not removeable. But the new, awesome colors make up for it in my world).
-Comes with a changing pad, so you don't have to pack yours. (Changing pad is a bit small, but it does its job)
-Comfortable for baby. Baby has been known fall asleep on numerous occasions in this pack.
-Adjustable for many sizes. Husband and I can both wear this pack. Me: 5'1" 115lbs (I can't believe I just posted that), Him: 6'2" 235lbs (Bet he won't be jazzed I posted that either).

-Its heavy. While the pack does its best to disperse weight to the hips, husband mostly wears this. And even he complains its quite heavy.
-Its big. It doesn't really pack down at all for easy storage/travelling, and its more than necessary for your average stroll through the park. Its great for real, adventurous hikes, but for everyday use, its large. And in charge. (couldn't resist)
-For its size, it doesn't have a TON of storage. Its a great day-pack, but you could never fit enough stuff for an overnight trip.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Reuseable (cloth) swim diapers

I've mentioned before that I'm currently a disposable diaper kind of girl. I dream of being a cloth diaper kind of girl, but I'm just not there yet...daycare full time can derail some of your plans. :) Yes, I could do it on the weekends/when at home, but lets face it--that would be expensive (cloth AND disposables?!) And, well, just a pain. :)
Regardless, for swim diapers, I AM 100% cloth. Not only do they help eliminate landfill waste, they're a great deal. One reusable diaper will run you roughly the same cost as one package of disposables. When you swim as much as we do, they are FAR cheaper than disposables. I've tested 2 brands, results below.

iPlay reusable swim diaper
Rating: 3/5
The iPlay comes in several sizes, based on pounds. They seemed to run fairly true to size. The 6month size says on their website it will accommodate babies up to 18lbs, and baby wore this until just past 12months, when she was about 18-19 pounds. That being said, it also wasn't too big when she was smaller. This is a good quality diaper, we never had trouble with solids leaking out at all. But, it is all one piece, with no ties/openings/etc. While this might be a pro in some people's book, I found it extremely difficult to get on and off. Especially once it was wet. And, even more so if baby did have an, ahem, solid in it. Add in the fact that you're generally somewhere such as a locker room, dock, etc and it can be quite the messy and frustrating experience. It is also more padded than other cloth swim diapers we've tried.

Comes in a variety of colors. My one gripe is that all the girls colors have ruffles on the butt. I don't know about you, but I still put a swimsuit over it, so the ruffles just add to the bulk (and stick out strangely from some suits). I settled for one girl one with ruffles and one 'boy' one that is very gender neutral. I would stick to the boys ones in the future, no ruffle, exact same cut.

I'm not sure how it would fare if baby peed in it while OUT of the water, as we never had the er, pleasure. If it does in fact hold in pee when baby is say, on your lap while in a boat, I would definitely rank it higher. However, I don't think this is the case.

-It works! Keeps solids out of the pool with no problem.
-It is mostly hidden under a swimsuit. Bulky, but doesn't stick out as much as others.

-One piece makes putting on, and especially taking off very difficult. Can be messy if diaper is dirty.
-Gets to be a little snug on chubbier thighs toward the top end of the weight limit. No adjustments available

Kushies reusable swim diaper
Rating: 4/5

This diaper also comes in several sizes, based on pounds. However, this one has velcro and ties and is quite adjustable. The Kushies website boasts many great colors/prints, but good luck finding them for sale. (The Kushies website does do retail, but you can find better deals other places if you're willing to go for the few styles/colors offered). These seem to run a little small...or, more accurately, small around the waist, but tall. Currently baby is in the 14-25 pound size and is 20.5 pounds. The waist, since its adjustable still fits, but I guess I'd like it to be closer to 'closed'? There is quite a bit of velcro showing when it is tight on her, but technically, it fits. These are very well designed diapers, fully adjustable, easy on/off (even with a mess), and they were smart enough to put the "soft" part of the velcro facing out, as to not ruin swimsuits/clothes/etc that would rub on it.
While the waist on ours is just barely closing, when it is wet, it is VERY droopy. They seem to be a bit long/tall. The cut is a bit strange, with elastic around the legs, but then an extra piece that covers it. Looks cute when dry/no swimsuit over it, but stick out of the (girls) swimsuit a lot and kind of oddly.

-Easy on/off.
-Cute patterns, if you can find them, several uni-sex patterns, good if you plan to use for more than one child.
-Adjustable with velcro/ties around waist.

-Fit is a bit strange--tall/saggy, sticks out of swimsuit
-Does not hold in pee (I don't know of any that do, but I still wish they did!) Makes boating/hanging out on the beach/dock/etc difficult. Or, messy at the very least.