I so want try this military style child carrier that it is almost worth having a new baby to get my hands on one.
I saw a picture of this JACS Carrier Systems (Junior Adaptive Carrier System) and having suffered from carrying kids, their cuddlies and the kitchen sink I really saw the potential in this – actually being able to carry your child and the things they need without morphing into some weird and often heavy breed of part rucksack, part carrier, part dad donkey is a great idea. With the added coolness of thinking you are a US Navy Seal….OK, maybe that is going too far.
I realise I am going out on a bit of a limb here and doing one of my first reviews without actually having used the product. I understand the perceived wisdom is to actually try the thing before making a comment. In fact if JACS are happy to send me one I’ll try and persuade my wife to have a baby or borrow a child. Also let me set the record straight – this is also not a paid for ad either – my blog isn’t that popular yet ; )
But heck it’s my blog and as a dad who is not a stranger to military gear and hauled two kids in carriers up mountains and down dale hopefully I have something to say. (Warning DadGoggles is hapless and although he believes what he says is true and has tested this out in his own head you may wish to carry out your own further research.)
First of all – anyone who is looking for a baby carrier should take into account that you will also need to haul around the gear that goes along with your squealing and pooping pride and joy. In my case, as a keen walker, I had several day sacks to choose from but as they were separate it was always a bit uncomfortable or the straps didn’t work with the carrier. In one case with a trip up a hill in the Lake District I was carrying everything as well as holding onto a very eager dog…vital it turned out for pulling me up the final yards of the hill. This not only had me looking like an ungainly and over pregnant tortoise but I was definitely not balanced and felt it later in my back as well as where the straps rubbed. It also means the handy pockets you love about your rucksack are no longer accessible to find that handy tissue as baby Goggles sneezes in your face. Equally if you have your child on your back traditional daysacks are really uncomfortable to wear on your front. As our kids grew older we did have a backback with extra internal space but you find yourself carrying your child very high and with little room for gear. Ok if you have one – but carrying the coats for two kids and your wife as well as picnic etc etc – space becomes an issue.
That’s why I like the look of this new system in that it has thought this through. It looks comfortable and you can change it to how you want it. Clearly designed by a parent.
Now I am a big fan of military gear. Not because I wish to join the SAS – although I have every respect for them or because I was in the US Navy Seals. One – I am nowhere fit enough and two – I don’t want Don Shipley on my door accusing me of stolen valour (If you haven’t heard of him and his wife Diane – check him out on YouTube – one of the funniest couples on the net). I often find that military load carrying equipment is well thought through and now very customisable to suit how you want to carry things. My family rucksack is military issue and has molle straps which means I can add extra pouches for cameras, wet clothing etc. I can wear it to the library or on a family walk and know it will fit everything I want and have pouches or pockets in easy reach. More importantly I don’t care if I scrape it or the dog uses it as a bed. Equally we know that being bumped up and down will often mean there is a good chance the food your child has just had will be reappearing down them, your back or in my case down the inside front of my t-shirt. And let’s face it – hopefully no one will think I’m trying to be a special forces wannabe if I’m toting a Pepper Pig umbrella strapped to it and a Thomas the Tank Engine picnic blanket tucked on the side. There are a range of interchangeable pouches cheap on EBay or any surplus store which makes changing it to suit the occasion cheap, easy and as every parent wants – practical.
So what I like about this JACS carrier is that it has all the hardwearing properties that I look for in a military sack but also the option of adding things. You can use it just as a rucksack or put the pouches on the front for when you are carrying your little one on your back. Let’s face it dads it also looks very cool too and easily cleaned. Also for those who do want the military look it comes in cammo too – just remember where you put it down.
From the website and pictures I have seen I would probably look for some further straps or netting to tuck things in or hold more bulky stuff on the outside. But maybe it does have that or can be added. I also think they are updating it from the brief look I had on the Twitter account @jacsbabycarrier
So having carried kids and rucksacks for miles and have the bad back through unbalanced loads to prove it believe me when I say if you are looking for a carrier have a nose at one of these. If we have another kid I would definitely pester my better half for us to check one out.
Well done JACS Junior Adaptive Carrier Systems, and Scott Haslam, the Founder of Babyjacs UK Limited, who first had the inspiration for The JACS after taking his son Jack on his first plane journey. Great idea as already tested by dads….just not me yet.
PS – Scott, if you read this – apologies that I did a review without using the carrier and I hope you don’t mind me showing your video.