Review: Mission Critical Tactical Baby Carrier – Does this baby make me look bad ass?
There’s no end of stylish baby gear for mothers to use, but what about us dads? The selection narrows substantially, especially with things like baby carriers where they’re either designed with a feminine touch or simply just don’t fit once your waist goes above a certain point.
So, what’s it all about?
Okay, so Mission Critical’s tagline is “Essential Gear for Extraordinary Dads™” and that’s a pretty good way of giving an overview of the Baby Carrier Balance Kit. It’s heavily influenced by Special Operator gear, which has to be functional, tough, and above all – comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. This is one baby carrier you won’t want to take off, seriously. The Balance part? That’s because it comes with a daypack diaper bag, which can be worn separately or fastened to the carrier with either fast-release hooks or MOLLE webbing. Cool, right?
The carrier has some pretty nice touches that you’d expect from a cool operator. That zipper at the top of the front? It hides a fold-out rain cover that then clips onto the straps just above the quick-release clips. No more getting the baby’s head wet (at least outside of their christening!).
Molle webbing on the front, back and on the accessories gives you a platform to carry all the other things you need when out with your little one. Diapers? Check. Insulated bottle carrier? Check. No more leaks? Che… Well, while it won’t stop leaks happening, just know that there is a removable inner lining that should keep those leaks off of your legs. Nice.
The pouches and daypack are all super secure once the Molle is threaded through, there’s padding on the daypack for your poor back muscles, and there’s room for all the stuff you need. Oh, and those velcro areas you can see? Mission Critical sells adventure patches in multiple colors, so you can designate the correct pocket for each piece of baby gear. I’m pretty sure the second bottle icon is for dad’s special drink… I really like this touch, making the dad-centric tactical styling super cute in one small addition. And that’s before adding your cute little one!
So, is it any good?
I’ve been using the Mission Critical carrier system since the beginning of summer, and I can safely say it’s the best carrier I’ve used to date. The wide shoulder straps are padded, comfortable and don’t move around. The padding on the chest and back pieces are also comfortable, and stop the carrier from shifting, even with a larger toddler inserted.
All the straps are easily adjustable, with integral velcro pieces to bundle up the excess strap material. That’s great to keep flapping material away from your ever-grasping little ones. The only thing missing from the carrier? Some kind of drool bib or teether to attach so your little one can chew with impunity.
The daypack is great, and I’m often left looking for more things to put into it, as it can carry everything we had in two diaper bags with space to spare. Oh, and it’s got a magnetically-closed, fold-out diaper changing pad that stows in a side pocket, where you’d expect a laptop sleeve or other equipment to go.
So, should I buy one?
Listen up, this thing is quality. I mean, not a stitch out of place, and believe me with all the MOLLE webbing, there’s a lot of stitching.
It’s not cheap at $160 for the carrier, or $240 for the kit we reviewed, but nothing of quality is. If you want a baby carrier that’ll grow with your baby, your waistline, and even the kids further down the road, this is it. Bonus points for actually caring about our lower back, and by designing all of the accessory diaper bags to balance out the weight of your offspring. Now that’s what I call a tactical design decision!
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Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here for more. A sample unit was provided for the purpose of this review.