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  1. #1
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    Old enough to carry their own bags?

    Hey bag friends, I could use some crowd wisdom.

    This August I am taking my kids on a city trip with one sub-trip planned. This means a lot of trains and buses. Normally I would pack my Hero's Journey but we will be on so many city buses and trains (including commuter trains with no luggage areas) that I'm wondering if I can get away with giving each kid (ages 6.5 and 3.5) a backpack with a PCSB of clothes, their headphones, and possibly their water shoes. Then I can take an S25. (I do wish I had an A30!)

    These are my two main concerns:
    1. I will end up carrying everything at some point. I plan on using a Large Shop Bag or two for this.
    2. One of them will take off their backpack and leave it somewhere and I won't notice. This one I do not know how to prepare against unless I just make myself so anxious over it, I'm constantly checking. Kids are seriously distracting and it could easily happen. It happened at the library last week but the librarian texted me to tell me!

    Should I try this?

    I should add that I haven't yet decided if I'm taking the stroller. I probably should. If I can carry a smaller backpack then I will have an easier time folding the stroller and taking it on and off trains and buses.

    What do you all think?

  2. #2
    Forum Member Threads's Avatar
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    All of our kids have their own bags. Ages from 6-21. Our little ones have their own backpacks and know to keep track of them but they have grown up with us carrying ours and they know what a daily bag carry is so that helps. I would say get them their own for their stuff and just make sure they strap them on everywhere. They may tire of carrying them but you could possibly leave some room in a larger bag to stuff them into if needed?

  3. #3
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    To @threads' point, do you have time to try out the backpack/PCSB with each little one for the next month or so...? See how they take to it and if they learn over time to never leave them behind?
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  4. #4
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    My 4yo daughter usually travels with a small rolling suitcase and small backpack (both by Skip Hop if you want an idea of size). It was only on our first trip since turning 4 that she reliably handled all her stuff (at least during the necessary times when I had a suitcase and car seat to handle, after they were checked in she sometimes wanted help). Your kids may vary, of course, but Iíd definitely plan to need to carry the 3.5yoís backpack. Iíd guess that the 6.5yo could handle what youíre planning and possibly a bit more, but I donít have much direct experience with kids that age.

  5. #5
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    IMHO - based on my current 3.5 year old - that age is just too young to carry their own stuff. My son would a) refuse to carry it for completely random reasons or b) put it down and forget about it then cry because it's missing.

    I think a responsible 6.5 year old could be old enough, but still I would plan to be carrying it most of the time.

    I love my A30 so good luck finding one - it's a great size!

  6. #6
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    Many six year olds carry backpacks to school so that shouldn’t be a problem. I’d suggest letting the older one choose their own backpack and buy special toys and treats for the trip and maybe their own money to spend. We eliminated the “I wants” on trips by giving each kid money to buy what they wanted but if it was gone, no more. They were more selective then. They both might like PCSB to wear cross body or cubelets to carry a snack or money and tissues. We always had to find tissues and bandanas!

  7. #7
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    Thanks all.

    Yes, I think you're right @Teresapoet and @Sydneygirl, I definitely need to plan for carrying all the bags myself at some point.

    My 6yo does carry a school bag but left it in the library last Friday and I don't think I would have noticed until Monday morning if the librarian hadn't texted me!

    @G42 you raise an interesting philosophical question: do I choose to suffer in preparation for our trip by making my kids wear backpacks for practice, in hopes of not suffering on our trip, or do I choose to suffer on the trip by constantly worrying about the very real possibility that a bag will get left somewhere. One to ponder. :-) Old enough to carry their own bags?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cristina View Post
    @G42 you raise an interesting philosophical question: do I choose to suffer in preparation for our trip by making my kids wear backpacks for practice, in hopes of not suffering on our trip, or do I choose to suffer on the trip by constantly worrying about the very real possibility that a bag will get left somewhere. One to ponder. :-) Old enough to carry their own bags?
    ooof! I didn't mean to torment you with a metaphysical question during a work week!

    But seriously, if it were geeky me, I would start the 'experiment' now and see how it goes day by day, regardless of the upcoming trip... there's no rule that the backpacks or the contents have to be super valuable in the testing phase...
    To me you have two main issues: can/will they carry a specific bag/size/weight and will they remember it?
    ...maybe get some inexpensive bags at a thrift shop (or mock up a PCSB by sewing some fabric tape to a packing cube) and try with that and a loved (but not SUPER loved) toy / stuffed animal to focus attention...

    I don't spend a lot of time with wee small people, but 3.5yrs for carrying/remembering a bag does seem pretty young... maybe you do the classic thing of 'when you're older, just like big brother/sister you can have your OWN bag' to whet their appetite and make big sibling feel proud...

    best of luck, whatever you try out... I have a hard enough time remembering what I'm doing/carrying, let alone herding two small ones, so you're already a high achiever in my book
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  9. #9
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    Hi @Cristina,

    I guess that like most other posters, my question is about whether your 3.5 year old is ready for this. You're on the cusp, and it depends a bit on the individual, and how much is being carried. The Sprout was designed for kids between the ages of 4 and 8, according to the linked blog article, and sometimes there's also the attraction of particular color (I'm thinking of @dorayme's finding a Punch colored original design Side Effect for her daughter, then 4 going on 5) to provide an incentive.

    My other thought is that, as @threads remarked, do not give them items that are easily "detached" (e.g., even if a Small Shop Bag is light enough to easily carry, it's too easy to put down and forget!, while a backpack or a bag that is attached via a waist strap is more likely to be identified with as "theirs").

    By the way, I do like the design of the retired Sprout for kids -- even if the size is not optimized for carrying A4 binders (but OK on notebooks).

    I'll just say that some of the best posts (and later, pictures) about traveling with kids who have their own bags have come from @Toblerhaus, who started a thread International travel bags with kids back in 2012. (Her kids were 7 and 9 by the time of her post, but they'd been traveling with their own bags for a while. They later got their own Synapse 19s -- and I was frankly envious of the individual pillows that she sewed for them that showed up in the detailed later packups.)

    I'll just point out that while it is more understandable that your child would take off a backpack while in a library, provided there are not really long waits due to late rail or bus connections, that might be less likely for your day trips. (And yes, I know that delays can happen on commuter rail lines.)

    Good luck!

    moriond

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    Hi @Cristina,

    I guess that like most other posters, my question is about whether your 3.5 year old is ready for this. You're on the cusp, and it depends a bit on the individual, and how much is being carried. The Sprout was designed for kids between the ages of 4 and 8, according to the linked blog article, and sometimes there's also the attraction of particular color (I'm thinking of @dorayme's finding a Punch colored original design Side Effect for her daughter, then 4 going on 5) to provide an incentive.

    My other thought is that, as @threads remarked, do not give them items that are easily "detached" (e.g., even if a Small Shop Bag is light enough to easily carry, it's too easy to put down and forget!, while a backpack or a bag that is attached via a waist strap is more likely to be identified with as "theirs").

    By the way, I do like the design of the retired Sprout for kids -- even if the size is not optimized for carrying A4 binders (but OK on notebooks).

    I'll just say that some of the best posts (and later, pictures) about traveling with kids who have their own bags have come from @Toblerhaus, who started a thread International travel bags with kids back in 2012. (Her kids were 7 and 9 by the time of her post, but they'd been traveling with their own bags for a while. They later got their own Synapse 19s -- and I was frankly envious of the individual pillows that she sewed for them that showed up in the detailed later packups.)

    I'll just point out that while it is more understandable that your child would take off a backpack while in a library, provided there are not really long waits due to late rail or bus connections, that might be less likely for your day trips. (And yes, I know that delays can happen on commuter rail lines.)

    Good luck!

    moriond
    Thank you for the links!

    I think you're right, a waist strap or sternum strap is a must. So that means a TB bag for each since my 6yo's school bag has neither. My littler one will wear the L12, so my older one will either have the L15 or S19 or if neither one works I'll get another L12. I think another L12 might be the most sensible since it would be nice to have them keep the bags on when sitting on bus rides and the L12 is the shortest and slimmest bag of the group.

    Next step, a practice pack!

  11. #11
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    I keep a double carabiner clipped to the grab handle of my S25 for the inevitable moment when my 4.5 year old decides to stop carrying his backpack. It isnít ideal to have his bag swinging around behind me but it is a quick fix and much easier than carrying multiple backpacks by hand or on my arm or trying to fling it over my shoulder.

    He has the kidís Fjallraven which has a sternum strap and is super lightweight. It holds a surprising amount but I try to keep the contents limited so it isnít too heavy. For example, itíll have his water sandals but no clothes. Iíll pack his snacks and toys and windbreaker in there. I carry all the clothes, water bottles, and electronics. I let him pick out the color, explaining it was his super special travel bag and heís been very protective of it.

  12. #12
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    Thank you for all the advice.

    Test pack is promising.

    Here is the L12 with a packing cube of clothes, water shoes, and headphones. There is still room for a 3DOC of treasures or a rain suit.



    Here is the packing cube at the bottom. I think it's an Eagle Creek Small (uncompressed):


    And here is a collection of small-packing clothes for my 6yo. I use kind of a "one of everything" approach to packing in the variable British weather. Here lies:
    -one pair of shorts
    -two pairs of long leggings
    -one sun/water suit
    -one short sleeve tee
    -one long sleeve tee
    -one dress (can be nightgown)
    -one pair travel PJs (base layers)
    -4ish pairs of socks and undies
    -sun hat


    By late August we may be into needing actual jackets for Scotland instead of just rain jackets but if so those can be worn or carried by me.

    I have a Hero Clip, I'll make sure to take it so I can clip the bags together if I need to, thanks for the suggestion!

  13. #13
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    I would echo the suggestion of finding an inexpensive bag - maybe a drawstring pack - for them to use as their test bag. Then it's also smaller and lighter if you end up carrying everything at the end of the day.

    As G42 said above, I found that for my kids, keeping track of a bag was one skill, and then being willing to carry a certain amount of weight was another. I started my kids out with a very small pack - the North Face Sprout, which was only 8L (age 3-4), then moving up to a REI Tarn 12 (age 7-9) - holding only a water bottle. Those were perfect daypacks for when we would go downtown for an all-day excursion. By age 6 my younger one would carry an S19, loaded only with his in-flight entertainment. I learned the hard way that he would not carry the S19 loaded with his clothes for the trip. Nowadays at age 11 he can carry a reasonable amount in his pack, but we usually require the kids to carry just one extra outfit in their carry-ons, plus whatever food or entertainment they want for the trip.

    I think it also makes a difference if one is packing for a trip, or packing their school bag. At least at my kids' elementary school, they carried quite a bit more weight than I would expect them to shoulder on a trip - because they would carry their bags into the classroom and then leave them in their cubby most of the day. And if they forgot something, it usually showed up in Lost and Found the next day. Not an option on a multi-stop trip.

    Best of luck finding out what works for your fam! And looking forward to hearing about your experience!!

  14. #14
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    One thing you might consider: get some Tiles and pay for the subscription for the month for them to ring when they're left behind. Attach the Tile inside the backpack and make sure they're connected to your phone (and any other devices around). Having recently left my house keys behind in a hotel I'm now going to pay for this service forever for myself!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RosemaryOrchard View Post
    One thing you might consider: get some Tiles and pay for the subscription for the month for them to ring when they're left behind. Attach the Tile inside the backpack and make sure they're connected to your phone (and any other devices around). Having recently left my house keys behind in a hotel I'm now going to pay for this service forever for myself!
    Welcome to the Forums @RosemaryOrchard!
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

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