Can Deuter’s Kid Carriers Hold Up Below Sea Level?
There are some amazing athletes that use Deuter packs to help push the envelope in outdoor sports, so as family ambassadors, sometimes you can feel a little pedestrian. Ali (our edgy, two-year old crusher) wanted mom and dad get after it a little more, so she had us test two of Deuter’s kid carriers to see how they would hold up to the intense conditions and pressures found at 282 feet below sea level. That’s right, we took the Kid Comfort III and the KangaKid to Death Valley for a break from winter to enjoy a little fun and sun.
After doing a little sightseeing on the drive in, we started our adventures with a morning walk on the salt flats of Badwater Basin. Badwater is the lowest point in Death Valley and also the US at -282 feet elevation. The KangaKid was tested in this pressure packed environment and held up to the rigors of intense flashes from tens of international photographers and Ali smearing the salts all over it. Badwater is very kid friendly romp across the great white open and seeing the sea level sign perched high on the slopes above you is pretty cool.
Up next (about a 10-minute drive away) was Natural Bridge Canyon. This is another short (2 mile roundtrip), extremely kid-friendly hike up a slot canyon with the namesake natural bridge near the top. You walk under the bridge to see cool, dry waterfall chutes. Ali rode in the KangaKid most of the way up to the bridge, but decided to run downhill after loading some pretty rocks into the pack. The KangaKid is a great daypack with plenty of storage for shorter hikes. When Ali gets tired she just gets loaded up “like Yoda” and we can keep cruising. After the hikes, we spent the afternoon back in Furnace Creek at the pool.
The next day we hiked the fantastic Golden Canyon/Gower Canyon loop. Golden Canyon heads up a beautiful badland wash with red, orange and yellow mudstones. After topping out Golden Canyon, you can return down Gower Gulch to the south following a tight and twisting watercourse. For the longer day, we loaded Ali in the Kid Comfort III. It carries like a champ, offers great sun protection, and is very comfortable for Ali to ride in.
The main trail sticks to the low points in both canyons and is four miles long, but offers side trips up the pyramid-shaped hills and into the maze of smaller canyons. The Kid Comfort III was very stable to carry even with a curious child on board. The plush, oversized chin rest lets Ali fall asleep comfortably during longer hikes like this one.
The colors and shapes in Golden Canyon are amazing, the views from the pass between the canyons are outrageous, and Gower Gulch gets more and more narrow before spitting you out on a ledge above a dried waterfall. This dramatic perch features a fantastic view of Death Valley and Telescope Peak to the west. Ali took a nap for about an hour during the middle of the trip but woke up for the dramatic finish.
In addition to these great hikes, there are many others adventures in Death Valley. The best time to visit, especially with a child, is fall through spring. From April through October it’s usually too hot. Always bring tons of water and sun protection, enjoy the easy car-camping, and go see some amazing geology and natural features.
–Keith and Julie Rainville (Family Ambassador).