Travel Backpack for Kids

Photo of Big Squeeze BackpackFor our trip to Europe next week Oliver and I are travelling fast and low to the ground, meaning that suitcases need to give way to backpacks. We spent last Saturday scouring the sporting goods sections of stores about Charlottetown — Sporting Intentions, Sportchek, Source for Sports, Zellers — but all we could find were either adult-sized travel packs or cheap, small, Dora the Explorer-sized school packs for kids.

We were almost ready to give up when I thought to look on the Mountain Equipment Coop website, where I was happy to find the Big Squeeze Backpack, described:

The Big Squeeze is the missing link between kid’s daypacks and adult multi-day packs. It is specifically designed for pre-teens heading backpacking with the family or off to summer camp. We built a compression stuff sack into the main compartment, large enough for a bulky bag.

The only question I had that was neither explained nor obvious in the product pictures was whether or not the pack has a chest strap — Oliver has wee shoulders and needs all the help he can get to keep the pack on! A quick call to MEC headquarters in British Columbia and a chat with a very helpful guy — he went down into the store to look and see for himself — revealed that not only does it have a chest strap, but one with a built-in whistle to boot.

Placed the order Saturday afternoon and the pack arrived here in Charlottetown on Wednesday morning. So far it looks like exactly what we need for 8 days on the road. We’ll report back once the trip is over.


Chuck's picture
Chuck on March 15, 2009 - 01:06 Permalink

I’ll look forward to your review, Peter! I was just telling my son Jason yesterday that we need to get him a “real” backpack for some of the hikes we have planned this summer. Privately, I was afraid that we wouldn’t find anything suitable. At age eight-turning-nine, I was worried he’d fall in between the kids’ packs and the “youths’ ” with nothing really suitable for his age.

I was going to try MEC in Calgary, which is where we usually shop, and it looks like you might have spared me the trouble of an afternoon’s search. I’ll be interested to hear Oliver’s thoughts when you both return.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 15, 2009 - 13:55 Permalink

Chuck, you might find the MEC Teeny Genie Daypack better suited for hikes — it’s cheaper and smaller. The Big Squeeze seems more well-suited for longer journeys with more gear.