LittleLife Freedom S4 Review

We bought the LittleLife Freedom S4 to climb Snowdon with our eldest, and we haven’t looked back! Four years on, we are still using this carrier frequently with younger siblings, and would highly recommend it. A fantastic way to get back out walking and bring your children along with you.

We also own a Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL, and I’ve written a comparison of the two carriers if that would be helpful to you.

Why did we choose the LittleLife Freedom S4?

I watched and read a lot of reviews before purchasing a carrier, but by far the most helpful thing was to go to a shop and try some out. Carriers can feel very different on different body shapes, and what suits me may not suit you! For example, on paper I had expected to really like the Osprey Poco carrier, but in the shop I found it just wasn’t comfortable for my body shape.

When we were trying out carriers in the shop, the Freedom S4 was a carrier that felt comfortable for both me and my husband. The LittleLife Freedom S4 is suitable for a wide range of heights and torso lengths. There is a 13″ height difference between my husband and me (6’6″ and 5’5″ respectively), and this carrier adjusts to fit us both well, which is impressive! After several years of ownership, we both happily reach for this carrier.

We also really wanted a carrier with storage space so that we could go on longer walks and take extra layers and a picnic lunch. We already had two children when we purchased the carrier, so we couldn’t just give all the luggage to the non child-carrying adult! The Freedom S4 has a decent amount of storage space at 21 litres. It isn’t the most space available (e.g. the Osprey Poco Plus has 26 litres of space) but it fits in a surprising amount of drinks, snacks, coats and baby changing stuff.

Also, the Freedom S4 is usually available at a pretty reasonable price for a back carrier. I had looked into getting one second-hand, and it struck me that lots of second-hand options looked barely used. Back carriers seem to be something that lots of people buy, but perhaps just use for a holiday. As it happens, we use our back carriers a lot, but we didn’t know that back then, and we felt we would have less chance of buyers’ remorse if we went for a mid-range option.

Fit and comfort: from the adult’s perspective

I find the Freedom S4 really easy to adjust for different heights/torso lengths, which is a joy when you are sharing a carrier between adults. The adjustment system is clear and easy to access, and uses a single buckle. The height options are also clearly identified with letters so that you can remember your preferred setting and go straight to it (e.g. “I know my comfortable position is one notch below S”).

The carrier is also fully adjustable like a good rucksack, with adjustable shoulder, waist and chest straps. It also has the ability to slightly shift the centre of gravity with straps on the shoulders, which helps if you are going up or down hill.

Fully adjustable shoulder, waist and chest straps

The hip belt is on the thinner end of back carriers I have tried, but I actually find it very comfortable and ergonomic (at least for a while!). My experience is that with a good-size toddler, after a couple of hours you will get a bit achey with any back carrier!

Freedom S4 hip belt

Fit and comfort: the child’s perspective

Our children are always happy to go up in the Freedom S4, sometimes even just for fun at home, and I take that as a good sign that they find it comfortable.

The seat height is easily adjustable to suit a range of ages, and this is well worth doing . This is easy to do (when the carrier is empty!) and we sometimes quickly make adjustments mid-walk to switch child, just to give you an idea of how straightforward it is.

The carrier has a five point harness to keep your child safe and secure. The top two points are attached to the shoulder straps, and the bottom three points buckle out on each of the carrier, and at the front. These are colour coded which I appreciate. However, in bulky winter gear, it can still be a bit of pain to locate and attach the buckles, especially the one down at the front of the seat.

The carrier also comes with stirrups to keep the child’s legs in an ergonomic position. In practice we’ve found these a bit hit and miss as to whether the child tolerates them, often they prefer to have their legs dangling. The stirrups can easily be tucked out of the way if you are not using them. I think you could also remove them, but I haven’t tried as I don’t want to lose them!

Foot stirrup

One feature I really like is the removable pillow which is a comfy pad attached with velcro just where your child tends to fall asleep. I think this really helps to keep them comfortable. It does tend to get slobbered on (hence removable!) so you can wash it from time to time if you want.

There is also a fun mirror on a cord which I think is meant so that you can see your child (perhaps to check if they are sleeping?). In our family, the kids just use it for playing games in the carrier. If it keeps them happy, it’s a good thing!

NB: A child in a back carrier is quite exposed, and is not keeping warm by exercising. It’s really important to wrap them up well in cold, wet or windy conditions. I’d recommend paying particular attention to hands, feet and neckline. Trousers and snowsuits tend to ride up in the carrier, so it can help to size up. Sometimes I put a pair of oversized waterproof dungarees over everything which stops the cold gap, and the dungaree stirrups stop wellies from falling off!


The storage capacity of the Freedom S4 is 21 litres. The carrier has one main storage compartment in the base, with a double zip closure. This can also be easily accessed by a friend whilst you are using the carrier. The space is somewhat restricted by the foot anchor at the back (see photograph) which can be mildly annoying if you are trying to pack hard items, such as a lunch box or portable potty seat.

There are also 2 water bottle holders to the sides of the carrier, one of which can zip closed. There are also 2 hipbelt pockets which zip closed, and just about fit my phone (but I don’t think all phones would fit). There is a small zip pocket on the rear of the carrier which is great for small but important items.

Pockets on the hip belt

Overall, we find we can fit a surprising amount into the Freedom S4. My experience of taking two child carriers on an all-day hike is that you need both carriers to have a decent amount of storage space, particularly if you are in mountainous terrain and need to be prepared for a range of weather conditions.

Other considerations

Stability: The carrier has a flat base with a foot anchor point, which you should use when putting a child into the carrier. This works absolutely fine, but it is a little wobbly. As a contrast, the alternative way of stabilising a carrier on the ground is a flip out metal bar (Deuter carriers use these). The metal bar system feels more stable, but it is quite bulky if you forget to stow it away, and a little fiddly to stow by yourself.

LittleLife Freedom S4 with foot anchor (left) vs Deuter flip out metal bar (right)

Obviously one should never leave a child unattended in a carrier, but I do find the Deuter metal bar more stable if we are stopped with the child on the ground. For example, if a child is napping whilst you take a snack break, you can sit next to the carrier rather than having to constantly support it.

Rain cover: The Freedom S4 come with a built in sunshade. This is stowed just behind the front pocket of the carrier and has a wire edge which pops out rather like a pop-up tent. In my experience, older children tend to find this irritating and restrictive, but it is certainly helpful for protecting babies and sleeping children on a sunny walk.

LittleLife Freedom S4 integrated sunshade

The sunshade provides the structure for the carrier’s rain cover which can be purchased separately. We don’t own the rain cover so I can’t comment on it. I have wished we had it a few times, but in general we try to avoid very wet days for walking with toddlers in the carrier.

Freedom LittleLife S4: Final thoughts

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earnĀ from qualifying purchases.

I feel a lot of affection towards this carrier. We’ve walked a lot of miles and had a lot of fun with it! It’s enabled us to make some happy memories in places beyond the reach of the littlest legs in our family. I’m super pleased with how well it has held up, and would say that the Freedom S4 is a durable carrier which will last a lot of use.

We purchased our carrier at Go Outdoors, and they often have a good deal on for members. Membership is cheap and can be taken out at the same time as making your purchase.

The carrier is also available at Blacks, Amazon, and a number of other locations. I’d recommend shopping around, as the price can vary significantly.

Overall, the Freedom S4 is a fantastic and versatile back carrier, I highly recommend it.

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