Trunki ToddlePak for Travelling ToddlersLM is something of a force of nature and a fierce believer in getting to do what she wants to do, when she wants to. Recently this has led to a firm opinion that walking everywhere is the way to travel and that she's far too grown up to use her pushchair. As she's not overly keen on holding hands while walking, and with two school runs per day along busy roads to negotiate, this has been something of a problem. Thankfully Trunki came to our rescue when they sent us their brand new ToddlePak to try out.
I've never been a fan of the old style 'reins' and never needed anything like that for Bud. LM is a whole different kettle of fish and I'd actually started to look at reins and alternatives prior to being offered the ToddlePak opportunity. It really was perfect timing and I was very keen to see exactly what she would make of it.
We chose the Purple ToddlePak, with an eye catching purple and orange and an owl featured (at least we think it's an owl, it has been the topic of some debate!) With another baby on the way I was keen to ensure we chose a neutral shade which would work if the next baby is a boy. While there are bright blue and pink designs available, the vast majority of the range is in the typical Trunki funky, bright colours, each with their own animal design.
The ToddlePak is made from thick canvas which forms a bib like harness for your child. This is fully breathable so you won't have to worry about your child getting too warm while wearing it. You place their arms and head into it and then tighten it up at the rear. I must confess that I was a bit confused as to how I was going to make the ToddlePak fasten on LM's back when I first opened it but, with an 'aaaaah' it all became clear and I found myself grinning at the very clever design. I was expecting buckles and slides to adjust the fit but, instead, it works with simple velcro. At the rear of the ToddlePak you lift up the canvas to find two velcro straps on the waist, one on each side, which can be lifted and moved to ensure a comfortable fit. You can also adjust at the back to make sure the straps sit properly. This makes it so simple to do and means that you can adjust the fit dependent on what your child is wearing quite easily. It's super clever and a typical design feature of those clever people at Trunki. I find it easiest to pop the ToddlePak on LM and adjust it rather than trying to do it in advance. The ToddlePak fastens with a really secure plastic mechanism, this was a little stiff to begin with but is much easier now we've been using the ToddlePak for a few weeks. Here is the only issue with the ToddlePak, in that the release buttons for the back buckle are exactly where you automatically place your hands to fasten it. That's only a small problem though and you quickly learn to hold it in a different way to close the buckle.
I was unsure what LM would make of the ToddlePak. She hates to be fastened in to her car seat and pushchair - she's the child who starts trying to free her arms the instant you fasten her in - but I think she immediately realised that wearing the ToddlePak lead to the freedom to walk and was very happy to wear it. The included rein can be used in two ways - as a training rein for early walkers which is shorter and allows the adult to help with balance if needed, and then as a leading rein for more able walkers like LM. This sees two leads join in to one and the adult hold it by a convenient handle. We haven't tried the training rein on LM as she walks well but I think it would be very effective for younger children who need a little extra help from their adult.
The ToddlePak has become a regular feature of our walks and, as soon as LM hears we are going out she will run to find it. She even tries to put it on herself, with no small amount of success! Bud thinks it's great to hold the handle on it on quieter roads and it's really sweet to see him helping his Sister. It's given me much more piece of mind when walking with a determined toddler, especially as I start to slow down as my pregnancy advances and I can see us using it for a good few months more, and I'll definitely be using it with baby three from first steps onwards.
At £17:99 I think that the Trunki ToddlePak is an excellent design and one that has changed my opinion on toddler reins. It's been admired so many times by other parents and adults and I can often be found waxing lyrical about the great design and how clever it is. In fact a couple of friends have bought them for their toddlers since seeing ours. I really can't fault it and it's exactly the excellent product we've come to expect from Trunki.
Disclosure: We received the ToddlePak for review purposes.