Review: Thule Sapling Elite

When it comes to parenting toddlers, fresh air is a reliable go-to for relieving all manner of day-to-day niggles, from boredom to blocked noses, and with this in mind I am always open to trying out new ways to harness these restorative benefits. A push chair may well be a popular fail safe, but Thule's latest toddler take on 'baby wearing' opens up a new range of possibilities beyond pavement and path parameters.

The Thule Sapling Elite is a child carrier backpack designed to offer safe, comfortable child transport during walking or hiking. Having lined this product up for use on long beach walks in Cornwall this summer, we thought it only sensible to have test-run for ease of use... and toddler approval!

Though not normally one to embrace change, our son relished the opportunity to ride on Daddy's back instead of in his usual push chair when we announced we'd be taking a late Sunday afternoon stroll before dinner. Admittedly, 'Daddy' was somewhat apprehensive about the physical expenditure of lugging three stones of toddler on his back. However, with the load stabilizer straps and ergonomic seat ensuring our child's weight was distributed efficiently, he actually made for a surprisingly comfortable carry. The carrier was quick to put on and adjust (see video demonstration) and the removable backpack and hip belt pockets will inevitably prove useful for water, nappies, toys and other essentials when it comes to setting out on our summer adventures. Given the potential for sunny weather (fingers crossed!) in June, it was reassuring to discover a deployable sunshade to offer sun protection, not to mention a breathable back panel which allows air to circulate around the carrier's back.

With all these features and considerations, the Thule Sapling Elite certainly passed the parent (and toddler) test, proving to be an invaluable sightseeing solution with just enough 'fun factor' to get the littlest member of the family on board (excuse the pun) with our Cornwall itinerary.

£260 from

See Thule's baby carrier in our spring issue.

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