Before we went on our fortnight holiday to Thailand, I made a list of useful items we would be taking, one of which was a Trunki BoostApak – an ingenious bit of kit that is not only a portable travel booster car seat, but also a handy backpack.
Being safety conscious, we were particularly worried that Monkey wouldn’t be buckled in properly on our three-hour transfer from the airport to our hotel in Hua Hin which is why we wanted to bring one along with us. And, even though the recommended age is 4+ (Monkey is younger) and supports a weight of between 15kg-36kg, we thought it would better to have something fairly robust than not.
Prior to our trip, I studied the guide on how to use the BoostApak – and even tried it out in our own car. It was simple to understand with clear instructions, so I knew I would be comfortable setting it up once we were abroad – there are instructions actually printed on the seat itself.
To use it, you simply pull off the Velcro backing, fold up the seat supports (which have a quick-release button to fold back down), strap your child in and you’re good to go. You don’t even have to empty the contents of the bag – this section forms the booster seat and is made from toughened plastic, so it’s sturdy enough to support the weight of your child without squashing its contents.
Its features include ergonomic back support, with seat belt guides and adjusters as your child grows. There’s also the wipe-clean removable cover and the bag section includes an ID tag and high visibility reflective trim.
We let Monkey pack his toys in side the 8-litre storage capacity – as well as adding his sticker books, activities, and colouring pens. They all fit inside the hard plastic shell, even though I struggled to zip up the bag. But I think this was due to the fact I had overfilled it.
Even though I adjusted the straps to its smallest size, Monkey was unable to carry it because it was not only far too big for his frame, but kept sliding off. Meanwhile, we soon realised that even if the bag could stay on, it was far too heavy in weight for him to manage.
At the airport Daddy did most of the carrying, but considering we didn’t have much other hand luggage this wasn’t a problem. In fact, the BoostApak came in very handy when we grabbed a spot of lunch. Instead of getting a high chair, which are for ‘babies’, Monkey happily sat on his booster seat while eating his food.
Meanwhile, on the actual aircraft, we found the bag slid under the seat in front, which came in useful when we wanted easy access to Monkey’s belongings during the long flight.
We used it several times while we were away – and although Monkey wasn’t able to carry the Trunki BoostApak, we found worth its weight in gold. Not only was he comfortable in the booster seat – on several occasions he actually fell asleep – he also enjoyed being able to sit up high and look out of the window. But more importantly, we were thankful that the seatbelt straps were secured around him properly.
The seat doesn’t have the high-backed safety features that proper car seats have – but when you’re away on holiday and you have no other alternative, the Trunki BoostApak is a good choice.
And the best thing is, even though the bag is too big for Monkey now, we know that he will be able to carry it in the future – after all, the Trunki BoostApak can be used by children up to the ages of 12, which makes for a good long-term investment.
Trunki BoostApak costs £44.99-£49.99, is available in a variety of designs and can be found in all good retailers
* I was sent a Trunki BoostApak for the purposes of this review, but as always, my opinions are my own