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Hands-on Gear Review
Phil and Teds Escape ReviewPrice: $250.00 List | $180.69 at Amazon - 28% off
Pros: Torso adjustment, multiple storage pockets
Cons: Hard to get baby close, hard to adjust harness, uncomfortable
Bottom line: Disappointing functionality in an uncomfortable package
Max Pack Load: 40 lbs
Weight: 6.6 lbs
Manufacturer: Phil & Teds
The Phil and Teds Escape is a more substantial pack than the Phil and Teds Parade. 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 it. 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 which makes comfortable napping just a dream. This carrier also has limited storage that is less functional than the competition. While arguably a step up from the Phil and Teds Parade, it still fails to match the comfort and functionality of the competition and its lower overall score reflects this.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The international Phil and Teds is an award-winning company that creates juvenile products. Phil and Teds has 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.
This comparison chart includes the overall scores for the products purchased and tested in this review including the Escape (in blue).
The information below provides additional performance details about the Escape's performance compared to the competition.
The Escape earned a 3 of 10 for parent comfort, scoring just above the Phil and Teds Parade.
The shoulder straps adjust at the top and beneath the chest clip but they do not tighten enough to keep baby close, and the weight of the child pulls the straps down and loose as you walk.
Unlike the Phil and Teds Parade, this pack has an adjustable torso which helps it fit a little better but 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 it isn't very breathable.
The waist belt is more substantial and comfortable than the Phil and Teds Parade's, but it 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 earned a 3 of 10 for child comfort. This product is the second lowest scoring pack for comfort.
The shoulder straps are a U shaped fleece pad with a center buckle. The U goes over baby's head and clips to the harness in front. It feels cozy, but if it is a hot day, then the baby will be sweaty.
The headrest is well padded and moldable inward to support baby's head. Unfortunately, the way most babies sit in the cockpit means they always lean forward and never use the headrest.
Baby's head usually rests on the front of the cockpit which is not removable making it difficult to clean 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 the Phil and Teds Parade.
The Escape has a canopy (above left) that stores 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 with 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 earned a 4 of 10 for ease of use.
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 baby's head and there is no visibility into the adjustment pocket, so you'll be making the changes by feel.
The Escape comes with 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 baby over your shoulder but easier to use adjustments would have been preferable to accessories.
The Escape earned a 6 of 10 for storage.
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. We aren't sure you'd want to put those items in it, however, 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.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
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