Insights

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A handful of months back a kind parent reached out to the Freeloader Team to see if the Freeloader could withstand the demands of a bear hunt and, if so, could we expedite a child carrier in time for a grand outdoor adventure. It seems that a father and a son, Braedan, had something they needed to check off of their bucket list. With considerable logistical challenges the thoughtful parents blew through countless, seemingly insurmountable, hurdles. They pulled together Hank Parker’s Flesh and Blood TV show on the Outdoor Channel, the Outdoor Dream Foundation and the Freeloader Child Carrier and did something nobody has ever done before - they brought a boy who is fighting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy on a bear hunt in North Carolina. Their companions on the hunt were Hank Jr., Catfish, and a famous bear guide named “Log Chain” (we are unsure as to where the nickname beckons from but always hope that he is a friend and not a foe).

We...

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It takes a unique individual to hike to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. It takes a miracle maker to ensure a child gets to have that same experience. That is exactly what Zy Lee’s father, Chef Walter Lee, did. He has dedicated himself to ensuring that children with disabilities are also able to experience ALL the wonders of the world. Over a year ago the family of Zy Lee reached out to the Freeloader Team and asked us if the child carrier was capable of accomplishing such a feat. We responded that the Freeloader was built for exactly these rugged environments. He, like the founders, simply wanted to experience more of the world with the ones we hold dearest.

Zy Lee is the youngest disabled person in the world to summit Mount Kilimanjaro and it happened through determination and the Freeloader child carrier. Zy was born with one complete left arm, half a right arm, no right leg, a malformed left leg with three toes and dislocated hip joints. We are proud the Freeloader helped him accomplish this incredible feat but prouder of a father who...

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Last summer my son was turning eight and I wanted to do something meaningful for him. I thought about how societies in the past had “growing up” or “changing stage” ceremonies and I wished to offer him this type of experience. Eight is a big age. More so than the previous seven, my boy had begun the process of looking outside of the family unit. His youthfulness, his ability to be lost in tales of giants and elves was lessoning. Gravity and age were pulling him more and more into reality. Had it not been for love of the person he was growing into, I believe each day would have felt like a Shakespearean tragedy continuing to lose each moment to age. The notion itself was difficult to swallow.

I had heard tell of tribes from America to Africa, from Europeans to Asians, all at one point or another making an experience that extended beyond words and gifts, families and friends. Stories of elders showing up and grabbing the boy out of the hut while the mom (who was in on it) screamed for her son. The boy was brought to the men for an entire night where he was initiated...

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There’s hiking and then there is hiking with BABES! You just need a little more time, a little more prep, the right stuff, patience, flexibility and a sense of wonder. We’ve provided some helpful tips and tricks as well as a handy dandy checklist to make your hikes with babes successful.

Consider staying close to home when beginning to hike as a family in case anyone gets sick, hurt or the horror…BORED. With more hiking experience you can branch out to farther destinations.

Determine the hike length based on the children’s ages. Start off with a shorter hike of 2-3 miles maximum especially when hiking with younger kiddos. Check out the route in advance and get a trail map before you go if possible. Local hiking groups like Hike It Baby chapters and park staff can you help you find age appropriate trails for your littles.

It’s a good idea to make sure there are bathrooms close by, preferably with changing tables at the trailhead or park.

Be sure to bring a cell phone with you and let folks know where you are hiking...

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What makes a great women’s backpack?

There are key structural differences in typical male and female physiologies to consider before choosing to buy a backpack. Men have wider shoulders and upper backs. Women have narrower shoulders and wider hips. A proper fitting women’s backpack will therefore accommodate the different ratio of a woman’s hips to her torso.

Shoulder strap design

The most important quality in a women’s backpack is comfort and the way the backpack wears. A great women's backpack will accommodate a woman’s narrower shoulders by providing shoulder straps and buckles that can be adjusted to eliminate chafing in the armpits and possible pressure points in the chest area. Some backpacks even provide “S”-shaped shoulder straps designed to skirt the breast area. The key is to look for a shoulder strap design with soft-lined edges that avoid sensitive areas and cinches tight to prevent chafing.

Proper fitting hip belt

A proper fitting hip belt is also key to accommodating the...

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What makes a great backpack in 2015? There are all types of backpacks to consider, and what makes a backpack great to my neighbor doesn’t always make it great for me. Nevertheless with the design materials and production available in 2015, we recommend you invest in the best. Here are a few qualities for every pack carrier to consider:

1. Keep it light. Gone are the days when you needed additional weight and bulkiness for support. A needlessly bulky backpack nowadays just means more weight to balance. Walk around for one day with a lighter, slim-fit daypack and just try going back.

2. Comfort first. Look for form-fitting packs that are designed with airflow and ventilation in mind. Many backpacks today use a combination of webbing, straps, buckles and even hinges to substitute for the rigid aluminum frames that provided support in years past. Also look for quality materials that breath well and move sweat away from the body to keep your body cool and backpack dry.

3. Strapping Support. Besides comfort, the key to any good backpack is stability. And...

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