Pros: Comfort for parent and child. Easy to get child in and out.
Cons: No additional front pocket, just the zip-out bag in the back.
We have purchased and returned 4 different frame carriers before we discovered this one. The backpacks that we tried included ones from different companies (REI, Evenflo and Kelty) in the $100-200 range.
This backpack is the most comfortable carrier that we tried. It includes an excellent range of adjustments, including the all-important torso-length adjustment via an easy-to-use pull-pin with many positions. Unlike the other backpacks we tried, we could carry our baby (5 month old and 18 pounds) in this one for close to an hour before starting to feel any fatigue. It does a great job of distributing weight between hips and shoulders. But that's not the best part.
We found the child's cockpit to provide the most comfort and visibility for our baby. The space is big enough so that our baby doesn't feel claustrophobic, but small enough so that she does not bounce around. The restraint system is THE easiest of all backpacks we tried, including lower-end line of backpacks from the same company (Town, Meadow and Base Camp).
The backpack has a detachable (zip-out) bag on the back, which is a wonderful convenience. But we do wish for at least a tiny pocket on the hip restraints for keys/cell phone. It would be a great help for neighborhood walks, when you want to leave the zip-out bag at home. Otherwise the backpack is perfect.
By the way, the canopy is only $20 extra, if one wants it. We have just purchased the canopy and here are my thoughts on it:
1. Pros of the canopy: this canopy covers child better than any other canopy I've seen on competing backpacks that have on. It has a clear plastic window in the front for child to look through, but you can cover it with a velcro-secured flap to protect child from the sun.
Also, inside the canopy there are two pockets, each containing a side shade. The shades are made out of water-proof material, so they also protect from rain to some extent. The shades come down inside the canopy and cover what are otherwise mesh material sides. They velcro on two sides, so they are attached securely and don't just hang there bothering the child. Once the front flap and side shades are down, there's no way the sun will hit the child!
2. Cons of the canopy:
a)the canopy takes a bit too much time to attach. There are four corner rods that one has to push into pockets on the carrier, and they don't go easily. Then there are couple snaps and velcros that need to be attached. Not a very big deal, but I do wish it was easier to do.
(b) the frontal visibility for the child is quite bad. When you don't have the side shades lowered, the child can see quite well to the sides through the mesh panels. BUT there is only a tiny transparent plastic window in the front. I think this window needs to be twice as high!