Web: Thule.com thule sapling elite

Price: $279 (Sapling) to $320 (Sapling Elite, pictured)

Weight limits: 16 lbs. (child sitting on his own) to 48 lbs.

Comments: In our recommendations for best bike trailer, we agreed wholeheartedly with a reader who praised Thule’s engineering prowess. And we have to say, we’re pleased they’ve extended it to their frame carriers. Yes, they have the experience: they’ve been making technical backpacks for years. And they don’t skimp on their child carriers.

The original Sapling adjusts in a myriad of ways for both parent and child comfort. The back panel and hip belt adjust, load stabilizer straps let you adjust as you go, there is a height adjustable child seat with thigh support and removable stirrups. Then they’ve added lots of padding, a child sunshade and a breathable back panel to keep everyone cool. Price: $280.

The Elite version adds a removable backpack, more pockets and compartments for storage plus the “hydration reservoir sleeve. They’ve even thrown in a mirror so you can keep an eye your little imp while you’re walking. Those extras will cost you $320 for the Elite version.

So what do trekking parents think of the Sapling and Sapling Elite? They compliment these carriers on their light weight, quality construction and adjustability. The Elite also gets kudos for the extra storage. The biggest negative: price. The Deuter Kid Comfort II is $30 less than the Sapling and $70 less than the Elite. If you’re a serious hiker and plan to use a frame carrier quite a lot, then this is a great option. But at this price, it’s too expensive to use infrequently. Rating: B-