Although I'm hesitant to declare that spring has finally arrived here in the Midwest (I'm sure just thinking it will cause it to start snowing again), the increasingly warmer weather has been a much-needed relief from the endless cold.
For us, just getting out and taking a walk to the nearby park manages to boost our moods, not to mention how much we've missed visiting our favorite attractions like the local zoo.
Now that my daughters are 2 and 4, in the same way that I don't miss carrying around a bulky diaper bag, I also enjoy the times that we can head out for a walk sans-stroller. They're definitely our go-to option when we're going to be somewhere that a rest or nap might be needed or I know that my kids will need some downtime in a peaceful, shady spot.
However, when there are going to be large crowds or we're staying on unpaved terrain or just times that a massive stroller isn't needed, we go without. It's good exercise and those adventures always start off well... and then lead to "Up, Mommy. Mommy! Up! Mommy!" while I attempt to coax a little more walking out of two pairs of little legs.
Considering I'm not strong enough to carry either girl very far and it's not something that my husband is a huge fan of, the reoccurring predicament seemed like it was going to go unsolved.
And then we were introduced to the trend-setting, go anywhere Piggyback Rider and life suddenly got a little easier and a lot more fun for all of us.
Aiming to fill the need for an alternative to strollers and bulky backpack carriers, the Piggyback Rider is a simple, lightweight carrier that is designed for children aged 2½ to 7 (and up to 60 pounds). Rather than a seat attached to a frame or wheels, this backpack-like child carrier includes a shoulder mounted foot bar for a child to stand on, four integrated grab handles for them to hold, and a safety harness to ensure they are secure.
Having had the opportunity to see and try on the Piggyback Rider at their launch last year at the ABC Expo in Las Vegas, I knew the idea was not only innovative but a much-needed one for parents everywhere. The only thing left for me to do was try it out with real children to see how well it would perform!
Arriving in its own compact, convertible multi-purpose storage bag, bringing something this small and easy to carry already seemed like a great option for around town or traveling to distant destinations. Packing something that weighs less than three pounds and is the size of a rolled towel sure seems easier than lugging a stroller!
Initially looking at the pieces I had a moment where I wondered if using the Piggyback Rider was more complicated than I remembered and if it would really be possible for one person to do all of the steps correctly on their own.
Fortunately, it was immediately clear that putting on the two sections of this product (the parent carrier and the child harness) were extremely intuitive and simple to do.
My husband had no problem slipping on and tightening the shoulder straps until they were snug. After clipping and adjusting the chest strap, we made sure that the foot bar was at the correct level just below his waist.
Slipping the harness on Little Sister B (and tightening it for a custom fit) just like a jacket or backpack, they were both ready to go!
Attaching the safety tethers on the harness to the carrier wasn't a problem at all once my husband had lowered himself down to Little Sister B's height. The tethers clipped on quickly and all she had to do was put her feet on the bar and they were ready to stand up.
That's all there is to it! Both Little Sister B and Big Sister E absolutely adore the Piggyback Rider and the bird's eye view that it gives them. By standing perched on my husband's back, they are up much higher than they would be on the ground, in a stroller or even being carried regularly, not to mention the bonding and closeness that being there encourages.
(There really has been a constant grin on both of their faces every time we have pulled this out... and I'm pretty sure they would each vote to get rid of all other modes of transportation that we have.)
As well as the extremely high quality, strong, sturdy, and durable construction of the Piggyback Rider, I really appreciate the thought that went into each aspect of creating it.
The padded straps on the carrier and the panel on the harness are soft and comfortable, the foot bar is textured to ensure traction for little feet, and the storage bag converts into a mudflap, small pouch or stuff sac with ease!
They have even come out with cute shirts for both parent and child to wear and convenient accessories like a water bottle holder so that you really can go hands-free when you're trekking around town with your rider piggybacking along.
The Piggyback Rider really has become a universally-loved item in our household. As well as it being unique and fun for the girls, my husband and I appreciate the way that it distributes their weight and makes it so much easier to carry them.
Holding Little Sister B in my arms makes me exhausted after about a block and giving Big Sister E a traditional piggyback ride just ends up with a hunched back and a neck that is being choked... needless to say, this is a far better (and more interactive) upgrade!
Considering just how easy it is to use the Piggyback Rider, switching back and forth between children of different heights and ages isn't a problem at all - remember, this can hold up to 60 pounds! Everything from the backpack straps to the bar height to the harness can be adjusted in seconds and there is even a choice between lower and higher handles for the rider depending on which is more comfortable.
Ideal for adventures year-round, uses for the Piggyback Rider are nearly unlimited. Hiking, shopping, walking, amusement parks, fairs, chores, cooking, zoos, sporting events, malls, strolling on the beach (no confinement means no one gets too hot!) or even just standing at a show or parade so that kids could see over a crowd are pretty much just the beginning.
With piles of rave reviews and the honor of having recently won a Parent Tested, Parent Approved Spring 2011 Award in five different categories, the Piggyback Rider is clearly a favorite of more than just my family. The fun, interaction, wide age range, and all-around uniqueness of this ingenious carrier make it something that you'll get a lot of use out of... and the last child carrier that you'll ever need to buy.
Retailing for $79.99, the Piggyback Rider is also available in a pink version and can be purchased directly from their website or at a few select store locations across the country.
And, with warm weather finally here and families heading outdoors more and more, one person will be able to do so in comfort and style with their child, because...
One lucky person will win a Piggyback Rider of their own!
To enter to win: Tell me one place that you would love to use the Piggyback Rider (their website has lots of great ideas if you need them)!
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; please leave a separate comment for each entry in order for them to be counted).
1 Extra Entry (per method) if you follow Piggyback Rider on Twitter and/or Like them on Facebook.
1 Extra Entry (per giveaway entered) - Enter any (or all) of the giveaways running on Thanks, Mail Carrier for the duration of this giveaway.
1 Extra Entry if you follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway by copying and pasting the tweet below and leaving me the link. Tweet daily for an extra entry every day!
#WIN a Piggyback Rider, the most innovative and fun backpack-like child carrier (ARV $80)! #thxmailcarrier http://bit.ly/k3WOVF #giveaway
2 Extra Entries (per follow method) if you follow me with Google Friend Connect, subscribe to my RSS feed, subscribe to Thanks, Mail Carrier by email, become a fan on Facebook or add Thanks, Mail Carrier to your blogroll.
3 Extra Entries if you put my cute button up on your blog. Please leave an address where it can be found.
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Giveaway will end on May 25th at 11:59pm CST. Do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile, I have to have a way to contact the winner. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
A big thank you to Full Sail International for providing a Piggyback Rider for me to review as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.