We still haven’t taken Little Bear backpacking, which I feel bad about. He’s proven to be a good sleeper, but still fusses and cries unpredictably and fairly often, especially during nighttime diaper changes. Frankly, I still can’t get it out of my head what a fantastic predator call his wailing is, and thus we’ve been sticking to dayhiking only. But that will change soon.
The Moby wrap proved to be too slow to rig and way too hot for anything above freezing. The Vatanai is faster to use, comfortable, and secure, but the cotton fabric soaks up sweat and after a few hours on me gets a bit nasty (and is not sustainable for overnights). I made a copy of the Vatanai out of a thin, tightly woven and low stretch 100% rayon I found at Joanne’s (shown above), and while getting even shoulder pressure is tougher than with the thicker Vatanai, this seems like the way to go.
In either case, carrying a 14 pound infant on your front is a workout, and makes 12 mile dayhikes much more strenuous than than a pack 2-3 times as heavy.
LB loves walking, and reliably falls asleep after 20 minutes. When he wakes up he enjoys cooing at the wind and play of shadows in the trees, and so long as he is bundled properly seems to prefer a good stiff 15+ mph breeze.
Layering under the wrap took a bit of learning, and requires fast drying layers a bit on the light side, with pockets placed so he doesn’t have a zipper pull in his chin when he falls asleep against me. The XXL windshell I bought to go over both of use hasn’t been used too often, but is effective and was a good idea.
As cute as his down jacket is, fleece is better for getting drooled on and is less slippery in the wrap and on a coat or pad when being changed. The Patagonia fleece bunting is fantastic for sleeping, with easy access for diapers.
Lookout trips have been valuable tests for the real thing. The first time, back in early September, he slept very poorly. A few days ago in the Yaak, he slept just as well as he might at home, and even went back to sleep after a diaper change without feeding.
The most important practice is, naturally, for us. These outings are a lot more stressful not just because we have another living being to caretake, but because of the many added things we cannot well control. 40 minute feedings along the side of the road as evening grows alarmingly close are good for building patience and a detachment from particulars which I’ve largely avoided cultivating. Presumably it will come in very handy in a few more years.