by: Ginger Templeton
The Piggyback Rider is a fun way for kids to travel on hikes and long walks. I ordered it to use on a family hiking trip, but my children would ride in it to the mailbox if given the chance.
The Piggyback Rider consists of padded shoulder straps attached to a metal bar that hangs just below your waist. The child stands on the bar and wears their own shoulder harness that hooks into the adult’s shoulder straps. There are also hand straps for the child to hold onto if they like. It looks like they’re riding piggyback but without their little hands gripping your throat and cutting off your air supply!
I must admit, our first few attempts with the Rider were a little tricky. Once I adjusted the arm straps to be as tight as possible and realized the foot bar needed to be quite low, there was much less strain on my shoulders. It also took my son several rides to figure out how to adjust his feet so he wasn’t constantly shifting his weight (which can throw off your balance) and to realize that he wasn’t going to fall.
After working out the kinks, we have taken the Piggyback Rider practically everywhere we go. I originally intended to use the Piggyback Rider on long hikes with my 4 year old son. He tires out after about a mile or two, and my husband I end up passing him back and forth the rest of the way. He is 35 pounds and fits perfectly into the Piggyback Rider without putting straining my back. He thinks it’s a treat to “get to ride”. It has saved our family walks and hikes.
We’ve also used the Piggyback Rider on walks around town. On a Mother’s Day tour of the Raleigh Rose Garden, my son and daughter took turns hopping in and out of the Rider. It only takes a couple of minutes for one child to unhook and the other child to put on the harness and hop in for a ride. This allowed me to enjoy the garden for as long as I wanted, without hearing “Mommy, I’m bored!”
Even though I would recommend the Piggyback Rider, I do have a few tips. First, take the time to get your child used to the Rider on flat surfaces before taking it on a hike. If your child is shifting their weight, it can throw off your balance, so I would not recommend it on strenuous hikes with significant inclines. That said, it is great for easy to moderate hikes! Second, the Piggyback Rider is advertised for chidlren up to 60 pounds, but this was a little much for me. I tried it out with our 6 year old, 52 pound daughter. She enjoyed it, but she put too much strain on my shoulders. Also if she shifted her weight back at all, I felt like I was going to fall. Carrying a larger child might work if you have considerable upper body and core strength.
Overall, the Piggyback Rider is great fun. I would recommend it to active families with children 3-5 years old. It can be used almost anywhere you take your children -- amusement parks, hikes, or even strolls through the mall. We will definitely be taking it on all of our family trips!
Disclosure: The author received a complimentary Piggyback Rider in order to complete this unbiased review for Trekaroo. Piggyback Rider did not ask for any particular opinions to be expressed and all opinions are entirely those of the author.
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