The Phil and Teds Escape is a more substantial pack than the other Phil and Teds pack we tested. It has an adjustable torso, stiffer waist strap, and thicker padding that make it slightly more comfortable. However, it still lacks a breathable back and straps that are easy to alter while wearing the carrier. The design of the cockpit doesn't consider how a baby will be sitting in the pack with an ample rear headrest and a thinly padded face rest covering a hard bar, making comfortable napping just a dream. This carrier also has limited storage that is less functional when out and about with your baby. While arguably a step up from other Phil and Teds options, it still fails to match the comfort and functionality of the competition of top-notch baby backpacks, and its lower overall score reflects this.Editor's Note: We updated the Phil and Teds Escape gear review on September 8th, 2022, to ensure the product is currently available on the market.
Phil and Teds Escape Review
Pros: Torso adjustment, multiple storage pockets
Cons: Hard to get baby close, hard to adjust harness, uncomfortable
Manufacturer: Phil & Teds
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Phil and Teds Escape
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|Pros||Torso adjustment, multiple storage pockets||Comfy to wear and ride in, lots of storage, canopy and hydration pocket||Easy on the wallet, fit for narrower builds, comfy for passengers and parents||Sunshade, breathable mesh back, good storage||Budget-friendly, good storage|
|Cons||Hard to get baby close, hard to adjust harness, uncomfortable||Higher price, hard to adjust seat, may be too long for shorter torsos||Very limited storage, canopy costs extra, no dedicated spot for a hydration bladder||Cockpit buckles, no zipper on waist strap pockets, costly||Lower quality, not very comfortable for parent or child|
|Bottom Line||Disappointing functionality in an uncomfortable package||Comfortable pack with lots of storage, a canopy, and easy to use features||This high-quality, less expensive pack is comfortable for babies and parents with narrower builds but the storage is limited||A backpack equipped for longer hikes or day-long adventures but fastening the cockpit buckles causes frustration||Inexpensive option with good storage, but it isn't that comfortable to wear or ride in|
|Rating Categories||Phil and Teds Escape||Kelty Journey Perfe...||Deuter Kid Comfort...||Osprey Poco||LuvdBaby Premium|
|Parent Comfort (30%)|
|Child Comfort (25%)|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Specs||Phil and Teds Escape||Kelty Journey Perfe...||Deuter Kid Comfort...||Osprey Poco||LuvdBaby Premium|
|Usage Ranges||Min-Max: 16 lbs - 40 lbs||Min-Max: 16 lbs - 40 lbs||Min-Max: When child can sit upright independently - 48 lbs||Min-Max: 16 lbs - 40 lbs||Min-Max: 16 lbs - 40 lbs|
|Max Pack Load||40 lbs||48.5 lbs||48 lbs||48.5 lbs||N/A|
|Weight||6.6 lbs||7.4 lbs||6 lbs||7.7 lbs||6.4 lbs|
|BGL Folded/Flat Dimensions||12" W x 8.5" H x 30.5" L||16" W x 10" H x 31" L||16.5" W x 10" H x 31" L||14.7" W x 9.5" H x 28.5" L|
|Fabric||300d and 600d Fabric||Body: Poly 420D Small Back Stafford
Interior: 75D Poly x 140D Nylon Blend
|210 denier polyamide fabric. Tear and abrasion resistant, watertight to 1500 mm||210D Nylon Diamond||Waterproof 600D & 300D Ripstop Polyester|
|Stirrups||Yes, adjustable straps with a foot booties||Yes, adjustable||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hydration Bladder Compatible||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Included Accessories||Changing Pad, Mirror||Journey Sunshade||Changing Pad, Rain Cover|
|Care Instructions||Spot Clean||Spot Clean||Hand Wash||Drool pad is removable and washable.||Spot Clean|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The international Phil and Teds is an award-winning company that creates juvenile products. Phil and Teds have been in the baby gear business for over 20 years, has won three Red Dot awards for design, and includes the Mountain Buggy and Mokopuna brand names. Phil and Teds offer backpack carriers, strollers, travel gear, car seats, and more.
The shoulder straps adjust at the top and beneath the chest clip, but they do not tighten enough to keep the little passenger close, and the weight of the child pulls the straps down and loose as you walk.
This backpack carrier has an adjustable torso which helps it fit a little better but is still not as good as the competition. The torso adjustment is in a zippered pocket on the back, but despite its 4.5-inch range, some testers could feel the bottom of the pack rubbing on the top of their rear ends with every step. The back padding is pretty good for cushioning but isn't very breathable.
The waist belt is more substantial and comfortable than the Phil and Teds Parade but isn't as supportive as most of the competition. Testers feel it is saggy, and the back of the strap stretches under the baby's weight as you walk.
The Escape isn't very comfortable for little ones either, with a score near the bottom and only a few packs providing less comfort. Insufficient child comfort can mean your time while out and about with your baby may be short.
The shoulder straps are a U-shaped fleece pad with a center buckle. The U goes over the baby's head and clips to the harness in front. It feels cozy, but a baby will likely be sweaty on a hot day.
The headrest is well-padded and moldable inward to support the baby's head. Unfortunately, the way most babies sit in the cockpit means they always lean forward and never use the headrest.
The baby's head usually rests on the front of the cockpit, which is not removable, making it difficult to clean the baby's drool. The pad has no slant for their face to rest on, and the padding is thin — so they can feel the frame underneath.
The seat pad adjusts for height and is relatively wide and well-padded. However, it is poorly structured and folds under the baby's weight. The front of the pad covers the buckles for comfort, and the width is suitable for preventing hip dysplasia if it doesn't fold in half.
The cockpit has a side adjustment flap, but no matter how we tightened it, we still didn't feel like the baby was pulled in close enough to the back of the parent. This design feels less secure and cozy with unwanted floppiness, but it isn't as bad as some of the competition.
The Escape has a canopy (above left) that you can store in the pack. It has a plastic vinyl flap (above right) that can be used to keep out wind and rain, but it is not breathable and has a faint plastic smell. The canopy doesn't cover much territory, but it is better than nothing and can keep baby sunburn free.
The canopy attaches to the pack by way of leg slots for the back (above left) and clips in the front (above right). It is easy to connect and improves the baby's overall comfort.
The stirrups are located on the back near the sides and are height adjustable. They are more like little toe booties and elastic heel straps. While not all children will use them, it is better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them.
Ease of Use
The Escape is more challenging to use than much of the competition, with an ease of use result that reflects our frustration.
Most things about this pack are harder to use than they should be, including the waist belt (above left) that we struggled to adjust while wearing and the chest (above right) and waist clips that are stiff and hard to squeeze.
Fitting the child harness is convoluted with a hidden pocket and adjustment points. The design makes the fleece loop challenging to pull over a baby's head, and there is no visibility into the adjustment pocket, so you'll be making the changes by feel.
The Escape has a back and front carry handle and a location for a hydration bladder (sold separately). The pack is spot clean only and doesn't have a removable drool cloth on the headrest. The pack comes with a changing pad and mirror accessory to see your baby over your shoulder, but easier-to-use adjustments would have been preferable to accessories.
The Escape doesn't offer as many storage features as most of the higher-end competition in its price range.
The waistbelt of the Escape has a pocket on either side. One side has a zippered pocket (above left) that is relatively small and not big enough for larger mobile phones. The opposite side has an open top pocket that would fit an identification card or credit card but not much else. However, we aren't sure you'd want to put those items in it because they could fall out.
The Escape has a small removable backpack (above left) that attaches to the back. This pack has an odd design that places the zipper on the side/bottom when used on the Escape (above right) and the top when you remove it.
The Escape has a lower pocket under the removable pack. This pouch has a zippered opening and holes in the bottom where the leg brace attaches to the frame. Smaller items may fall out of this pocket, so it is better suited to carrying things like a jacket or diapers.
Should You Buy the Phil and Teds Escape?
The Phil and Teds Escape is unimpressive and doesn't compete with higher-ranking contenders. Considering that a baby backpack can make or break your outing or hiking trip, we suggest passing on the Escape and selecting a backpack that offers more functionality and comfort.
What Other Baby Backpacks Should You Consider?
The Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL delivers a significant step up in overall performance, and for nearly the same cost. Those with a shorter torso or slimmer body type may find this backpack exceptionally comfortable. Otherwise, the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Elite is a top-of-the-line option, if you're willing to spend extra.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
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