Walker’s backpack carrier, a Deuter KidComfort III, has some sun protection but not a lot (all the kid carriers are like this – a small amount of coverage – although the III covers the most that I have seen).
Walker is very fair skinned, hates hats and I am constantly worried about him getting too much sun exposure, especially at altitude in summer. Poking around on the internet I came across the Sasha’s Sun Cover. While not cheap at $50 it was also the only realistic option I could find. It is made in the USA and they offer it for both Deuter and Kelty kid carriers. It fits over the pack, covering everything but the adult’s suspension. It offers a full zipper, a fabric bottom, Velcro closures in 3 spots – once on this cover is not going to fall off. It blocks the sun as mentioned (both UVA and UVB rays), diffuses the wind, keeps most insects out and provides shade as well.It is easy to use and you put it on before adding the child to the pack, then zip up.
The cons? A few ones –
I couldn’t see Walker easily through the fabric unless I was in shade (I have a mirror to see him normally). I had to have Kirk check on him for me. This was also another issue – it wasn’t obvious there was a baby backpack on my back. I actually got asked why I had a rain cover on my large pack on such a hot and sunny day. Normally when we hike other hikers take care to not jostle me when they see him. Due to them not seeing him through the dark fabric the pack got whapped a few times good at an overlook over a waterfall. Ouch. Not good.
The back access point is a little low, making it hard to grab both handles for putting the pack on. Kirk had to unzip the cover, help me put the pack on and then zip up again.
You need a rain/sun cover on your pack to support. Not an issue with the III, it is built in. Kelty and the other Deuter’s you need to buy the optional one.
Last con is the weight. This cover is not light. I have no desire to weigh it, I know it is heavy. It is also bulky for stashing.
But…..it works. No sunscreen, no hats, no long sleeve outfits in hot weather. For lowland hiking I will stay with that, this summer though the cover will come out for when we are hiking in alpine. His skin health is worth it!