Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

New Child Carrier! The Thule Sapling…

Evening picnic along the MST in Linville Gorge

Evening picnic along the MST in Linville Gorge

If you’ve ever done any sort of outdoor endeavor that required gear, you’re probably familiar with Thule. From bike racks to kayak carriers, roof boxes to duffel bags, this company has been providing safe and easy ways to transport the gear we need and love for over 70 years.  So it just made sense when Thule announced their latest line of products to transport the most precious cargo of all – our kiddos!  The Thule Active with Kids line currently features child carriers, bike trailers, bike seats, and sport strollers.

After more than 5 years of almost constant use and abuse, our obsolete Kelty FC3 (reviewed here) has seen better days, so our family was pretty excited for the chance to try out the Sapling Child Carrier (and while the carrier was provided free for purposes of this review, all opinions expressed are our own!)

What was GREAT…

ADJUSTABILITY – This pack fits both hubby and I equally well, and it’s very simple to adjust both torso and waist back and forth between wearers.

WATER BOTTLE HOLDERS – The mesh water bottle pockets on either side are thoughtfully designed so that your thirsty passenger can reach them as well.

HYDRATION SYSTEM – A bladder is not included, but the Sapling is hydration system compatible.

SUN SHADE – The sun shade is obviously great for sun protection, but it also offers some added protection from tree limbs and leaves on trails that require a little bit of bushwhacking.  However, a really great feature about the Thule sunshade is that it packs down to a very compact size when not in use, as opposed to the bulky one on our Kelty.

LEG STIRRUPS – Although Baby Zu certainly doesn’t need them yet, leg stirrups will provide added comfort and support for her little legs once she’s older.

HIP POCKETS – On this pack the waistbelt pockets are a size that can actually fit something other than a small key!  I put my phone on one side, and a bag of hiking bears on the other.

Happy as a lark riding with Daddy!

Happy as a lark riding with Daddy!

What was NOT SO GREAT…

STORAGE – To be fair, our Kelty Carrier was the premium model, and our new Thule is the basic model, so we aren’t necessarily comparing apples to apples.  The Sapling Elite appears to have similar storage capacity to our Kelty.  That being said, we still manage to (baaaarely) squeeze in a day’s worth of food/water for both mom, dad, and toddler, as well as diapers, sunscreen, and a small blanket.  Our camera case easily clips onto the outside of the pack, but if Big C wasn’t carrying in his own pack at this point, it would be wishful thinking trying to get everything in.

Sleepy girl...

Sleepy girl…

NO MIRROR – Another apples to oranges issue, we REALLY liked the child-viewing mirror on the straps of our Kelty, but this is only available in the Elite model of the Sapling.

Overall, we’re pretty psyched about the Sapling, and from the looks of things, our own little sapling is pretty excited about it too!  We haven’t had it for very long, but if it’s like any of our other many Thule products, I don’t think durability will be an issue.  We would definitely recommend this to any new parents out there looking to adventure with the kiddos.


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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN