Deuter Kid Comfort Active child carrier Review

© Chris Scaife

There are few things that change your life like having a baby. For some, it may bring about an end to their leisure activities – I'm sure we can all think of people who more or less gave up on the great outdoors the moment their child was born – but in most cases, there is no reason to stop heading out into the hills. All children are different, but mine certainly enjoys being outside, whether toddling around or being carried; and the parent-child bond, as well as the benefits of exposure to nature in the formative years, are priceless. You do need the right equipment, though.

The lightest child carrier in Deuter's range, the Kid Comfort Active is designed for children from the age at which they can sit independently (about the age of nine months, give or take) until they weigh 22kg, so you can expect to be using this for a few years. UKC/UKH reviewed the more substantial Kid Comfort Pro a few years ago, which is worth looking into if you're after something more substantial.

Out in the sun on Whitbarrow - it'd be good if a sunshade accessory came as standard  © Chris Scaife
Out in the sun on Whitbarrow - it'd be good if a sunshade accessory came as standard
© Chris Scaife

I think I should start by saying – and I realise this isn't particularly scientific – that when the carrier arrived in the post, my son immediately took an interest in it. Most parents will have a few stories of having given their child a present, only for said child to show no interest whatsoever in the present, but instead spend the rest of the day playing with the packaging/nearby kitchen appliances/electric cables. With this, he ignored the box and, refreshingly, started to play with the carrier.

Weighing just over 2.5kg, this is a light piece of kit. On the day it arrived I was expecting a delivery of twelve bottles of wine, so when the postman picked up this twelve-bottles-of-wine-sized box in one hand and planted it into my chest I was just slightly taken aback, and the lightness of the product cheered me up no end. The wine parcel, if you're interested, remains unopened by the door. I suppose that's a feature of parenthood – you often feel you need to buy wine, but never quite get round to drinking it.

Occupant and porter both feeling comfortable, in the hills of Matienzo, northern Spain  © Carolina Smith
Occupant and porter both feeling comfortable, in the hills of Matienzo, northern Spain
© Carolina Smith

In use

The Kid Comfort Active stands upright on level surfaces, thanks to a robust aluminium frame with a wide kickstand that clicks into place. This kickstand can then easily be tucked back in against the backpack after you pick it up. Forgetting to push it back in isn't really a problem unless you encounter narrow obstacles or take it past the freshly painted white wall in your hallway, to pick an example entirely at random.

Before taking this carrier anywhere, we spent a bit of time adjusting the various straps. This was easy enough, and explained clearly in the instruction manual. It was soon ready to use and had a bespoke feel, but it is important to do all this before using it. Once properly adjusted, I tried it on – picking it up is an absolute doddle, thanks to the grab handles at the front and rear – and it was apparent right away that this was a comfortable carrier.

The back system is well vented for warm weather use  © Carolina Smith
The back system is well vented for warm weather use
© Carolina Smith

Of course, your child won't want to be carried everywhere. On most walks, I'll at least let him have a brief toddle, and sometimes I use the carrier to take him just a short distance from home to some open, level ground where he can wander about to his heart's content. Putting out the kickstand, placing the carrier down, unfastening the buckles, letting him out and then putting everything back together again takes a matter of seconds, really not much longer than it would be to put a normal rucksack down and take something out.

As child carriers go, the Kid Comfort Active is pretty sleek, but it's important to be aware that the child's head may be slightly higher than your own head, so watch as you go under branches etc. Kissing gates are a problem too, as there is often barely enough room to squeeze through, and I do seem to encounter these narrow obstacles when the little fellow is asleep and best not disturbed. I'm not suggesting that this is a problem with the carrier – however you carry your child, passing through a narrow space is going to be difficult – just something to keep in mind.

It's a secure and well-padded sitting position for the child  © Chris Scaife
It's a secure and well-padded sitting position for the child
© Chris Scaife

And a comfortable, well-balanced carry for the adult  © Carolina Smith
And a comfortable, well-balanced carry for the adult
© Carolina Smith

Comfort and Safety for the Child

When in the carrier, the child sits on a seat cushion that can easily be adjusted to the right height – the correct seating position is with their chin able to rest on the chin pad, the child should have an unobstructed view ahead and their arms should be able to move freely. The seat is designed in a flared shape so that the width of the seat cushion increases with the height of the seat. A higher, wider seat splays the legs, which is better for smaller children, and when the seat is lowered for a taller child, the narrower cushion encourages sitting upright.

The foot loops are easy to adjust and help spread the load, so the weight is not entirely on the seat. The loops swing freely, so the child can move their feet around (never really into the position shown in the instruction manual, even when you're trying to take a photograph of this to use in a review) but can't stand up and lift out of the seat. The feet tend not to fall out of these stirrups, but if they do you can easily put them back in without having to take the carrier off.

The chin pad, which can be taken off to wash, is soft and designed to stabilise the spine when the child falls asleep and loses control of, well, everything. My son has slept well in this carrier – he falls asleep whenever he's being carried in it for any amount of time – and it's reassuring to know that he's well supported. Sometimes he even stays asleep in the seat for a little while after we return home, which can make life easier when you're putting things away after a walk.

The adjustable stirrups give the child extra support  © Chris Scaife
The adjustable stirrups give the child extra support
© Chris Scaife

The littl'un is held in the seat by a padded 5-point safety harness, with buckles that are easy to use and, once done up, feel completely secure. I have a child who will (and I imagine most children his age will do this too) climb up on to anything he can reach, fall off and bang his head, cry in pain for a few minutes, then try to do the exact same thing immediately afterwards; so knowing that he is secure in this carrier is a real load off my mind. The secure harness also means there's little chance of wild jerking movements throwing us off balance or causing injury. The seat has a side entry, so the child can climb in by themselves. A couple of times my son has just climbed into the carrier when it has been on the living room floor; I take that as a sign that he likes it.

Comfort for the bearer

I think if I had to describe this carrier in one word, it would be: comfortable. The shoulder straps are padded and airy, feeling fine even on hot days. There is a sternum strap, and the left shoulder strap has a loop for threading through a hydration pack tube. The hip belt is wide and well-padded, just oozing comfort, and taking the weight off your shoulders. It is easily adjusted using straps that are so long that it is hard to imagine a waist measurement that would be too much for them. Fortunately, there is a little pocket on the left-hand side into which these can be threaded to keep them out of the way.

The back is also well-padded and has a mesh system that allows ventilation, keeping you as cool as possible on hot days. The frame is designed so that the child is held quite close to you. This keeps the weight forward, meaning that your centre of gravity is exactly where it should be – over your feet, not behind you.

The kickstand is stable on uneven ground  © Chris Scaife
The kickstand is stable on uneven ground
© Chris Scaife

There's a total of 14 litres of storage  © Chris Scaife
There's a total of 14 litres of storage
© Chris Scaife

Side entry lets the child climb in themselves  © Chris Scaife
Side entry lets the child climb in themselves
© Chris Scaife


The main purpose of this child carrier, of course, is to carry your child in a way that is comfortable for both of you, so in some ways the storage space is a bonus. You are, however, also treated to 14 litres of storage. The main compartment is situated underneath the child's seat and is tightened with a drawstring and fastened with a toggle. This bit gives enough space for the usual things parents of young children daren't leave home without – change of clothes, changing mat, nappies etc. – as well as an extra layer or two for the adult, and a couple of snacks.

Situated behind the child's back is an elasticated pocket, which gives enough space to hold a map and compass, hat, gloves and buff. And probably more – it's surprisingly capacious. On the hip belt, there is a small zip pocket, big enough for keys and a pair of sunglasses.

A capacity of 14 litres may be less than most people would usually want for full day, or multi-day, walks. I don't imagine I'd buy a 14-litre rucksack. However, when carrying a child (who, as per the instructions for this carrier, can weigh up to 22kg) you probably won't want to carry everything yourself, so if you're walking with somebody else, you'll probably ask them to carry some of your stuff.

We've used it for trips to the park, short walks, big hill days, travel...  © Carolina Smith
We've used it for trips to the park, short walks, big hill days, travel...
© Carolina Smith

Transporting the carrier

This carrier folds down to become a fairly flat piece of luggage, which can easily be taken on a flight. We took ours to Spain recently and it was a godsend. Going through airport security is hardly a recreational activity at the best of times – and with a littl'un in tow it is significantly less recreational – but, all things considered, the Kid Comfort Active made things really quite straightforward. It's a comfortable item to carry, about as wieldy as a child carrier rucksack can be, and it is quick and easy to put it down and pick it up again. Also, for Spain, the excellent ventilation meant it was comfortable even in high temperatures.

It's always worth verifying these things in advance with any airline, but generally speaking you're allowed a child carrier or buggy/pushchair at no extra charge, and can use it right up until the point when you board the plane. It's then put in the hold and will be one of the first things taken off at the other end, either given back to you at the aircraft steps or waiting for you when you reach the baggage carousel. One thing I would mention, though, is that some sort of transport bag may be useful for putting the carrier on a plane, as the long straps can dangle all over the place.


There are several accessories available, all at an extra cost. These are: sunshade and rain cover, both of which fit in easily and still allow a clear view forward; additional foot loops; and a larger chin pad, with more side protection. The sunshade and rain cover are things you're likely to end up buying, no matter how much you think you can manage without. One accessory that is also worth buying is a clip-on rear-view mirror, which I use mainly to check if he's asleep when I'm out on my own with him.

Walking in the Howgills  © Carolina Smith
Walking in the Howgills
© Carolina Smith


This is a great piece of kit, and it has made a huge difference to our lives as parents. It's a genuinely comfortable rucksack that just feels as if it can be taken anywhere and everywhere. We've taken this abroad, we use it for full days in the hills, and for much shorter walks, including taking him to nursery and to the park. The child sits in comfort and feels completely secure – my son goes to sleep more readily in this carrier than he does in his own bed. The storage space is plentiful, bearing in mind you probably don't want to carry too much weight in addition to your progeny.

There are cheaper child carriers available, but this is something you'll be using frequently for several years, so I would say it's worth every penny. Do bear in mind though that the sunshade and rain cover are more or less essential accessories, and these come at an additional cost. But even factoring those in, the total is a small price to pay for something that will facilitate a few years of great days out in the hills for you and your child.

Deuter say:

The new, compact Lite Aircontact backsystem with ventilation makes this child carrier the absolute lightest weight yet. Despite its minimalistic, athletic build, the Kid Comfort Active child carrier's seating area is an absolute comfort-zone and features a simple to use, easily accessible safety harness. Children can enjoy entering and exiting through the side access point and will love our soft cover material.

For more information

2 Jun, 2022

We are still using our Deuter kid carrier, although child 3 is nearly five and basically getting too big for me to carry unless he's really REALLY moaning when told to walk! Child 1 is now 18, although I think we bought the Deuter when child 2 came along (now 16!). So it must be 15 or 16 years old, has carried all three of our kids at different times, and at least went on a long term loan to our friends when their son was young. Ours is still in really good conditions. Basically, they are really well made and you can expect one to do your entire family and probably be lent to friends to carry their kids as well.

3 Jun, 2022

Enjoyed the dry humour threaded throughout this :)

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