A long time ago, when my oldest was around 7, a new backpack had come to the market. I saved up and bought it for my oldest, Ford. It was a game changer. It was the Deuter Kids’ Fox 30 Backpack.
For it was an adult backpack…perfectly shrunk to elementary age sized. It was no “kids pack” that falls apart, covered in cartoon characters, or fits oddly. Ford had suffered through a few years of wearing ill-fitting packs. It accompanied him on thousands of miles, and many, many nights in the backcountry.
So when I went to get Walker’s (our middle son, who is 5½) his first backpacking pack, I never thought seriously about any other pack. For $99 you will ensure many fun backpacking trips!
The current version of the Deuter Kids’ Fox 30 Backpack is just the same as Ford’s first generation: well made, well designed. While some might argue that at 2 pounds, 10 ounces, it isn’t “UL”, it also carries well. A child needs a well fitted backpack – you might see 2 pounds 10 ounces and think “this is too heavy” and I will tell you it isn’t. The torso can be adjusted from 10 to 17″. At a shy 2,000 ci of space, a younger child can easily carry a sleeping bag (this is one area to spend money wisely and buy one that packs small) (Side note, our two youngest each have a Deuter Little Star EXP Sleeping Bag Sun / Mandarine Left Zip, which isn’t made anymore but you can still find online), a sleeping pad (think as small as you can get, or have one like a Therm-A-Rest Z-Lite SOL Sleeping Pad attached to the outside of the pack), rain gear, hat, gloves, a spare outfit, throw a pair of sandals on it, sunglasses, a sit pad and so on. It does ensure you don’t over pack by its size (a good thing). While it has an accessible zippered lower section for a sleeping bag, it is an open pack inside (not a bad thing).
Ford wore his till he was around 11, then it became his daypack for a few years. That is my goal with his younger brothers – start them young, and eventually it will become their daypack.