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The Trunki BoostApak was launched in 2010, but achieved fame in the latest series of the Apprentice when it was selected as one of the innovate new British products that the candidates could choose to attempt to sell to the French market. It created great debate within the teams, sparking such conversational gems as ‘do the French drive?’ and ‘do the French love their children?’, before becoming the make or break product of that particular episode. Rejected by one team in favour of a lamp shaped like a teapot and a postcard that grows cress, it provided the team that did choose it with a massive order and subsequent victory in the task.
The Trunki BoostApak is a backpack which converts into a booster seat. The booster seat element is suitable for children over the age of 4 (or 15kg) and can be used up to age 11 (36kg / 135cm). This means that it fulfils the legal requirement for children in this age range to sit on an appropriate booster seat. The back-pack itself is designed to confirm to approved hand luggage size regulations, making it an ideal product for anyone travelling abroad with children and planning to hire a car at the other end.
The BoostApak comes in just one colour scheme, green and black, and is adult enough in appearance to be worn by either parent or child – probably a good thing as it is slightly too bulky for children at the younger end of its target age range to carry. It does feature a pair of green animal ears, but these are just about unobtrusive enough when it is worn as a back-pack to be passed off as a design feature so parents shouldn’t be too put off by this. The back-pack also features ergonomically designed straps and back padding to make it comfortable to wear, reflective strips to enhance visibility in the dark and a wipe clean removable cover, ideal for those inevitable food related accidents! The dimensions of the back pack are 36 x 40 x 16cm and it weighs 1.5kg when empty.
As a booster seat, the BoostApak has been tested to conform to regulation ECE R44.04 for Group 2 and Group 3 car seats. To use as a car seat, you simply put the seat into the car, lift up the back section (which attaches to the main part of the seat / bag with Velcro) and slot the seatbelt through the loop provided. The height of the seatbelt loop is adjustable as your child grows or to fit better in different cars. There are also two plastic side supports which flip up to prevent your child sliding sideways off the seat. It is very quick and simple to fit into the car and works well in every vehicle we have tried it in (from 4 x 4s in Australia to a Mini and saloon cars back in the UK).
We bought the Trunki BoostApak for a family trip to Australia in March. We had done some investigation into the cost of hiring a booster seat for our 4 year old on arrival, but as we were staying with friends in Melbourne who were driving us around the first week, and hiring a car from Brisbane Airport the second week, we quickly worked out that this would mean hiring two booster seats. We spotted the Trunki BoostApak on a visit to the Baby Show and decided that this would be the solution to our problem.
Our four year old has already had a long term love affair with his Trunki (which also came on the Australia trip) and was delighted to have another Trunki product. He was very excited about his new seat when it arrived, unfolding the flap and sitting himself down on the seat to show it off to anybody who came to visit – so it definitely passed the pre-schooler appeal test! On packing for the trip, we used the Trunki for the more fragile ‘essentials’ – laptop, Nintendo DS, camera etc. as the protective hard-shell style casing was ideal for this. We did use a change of clothes as additional padding but everything survived the flight (and being dragged around the airport by a four year old riding a Trunki) intact. In fact, the protective casing is so good that when we stashed a bag of crisps in the seat and let our son sit on it, the crisps didn’t get remotely crushed!
As a car seat, we found that the Trunki BoostApak was ideal. It was comfortable for our son to travel on, even on some relatively long journeys, and it certainly didn’t stop him falling asleep in the car. The only additional thing that I would have liked was a bit of head support, but you don’t get that from booster seats anyway so that was no problem. Back at home, we tend to use the Trunki as a spare seat for when our son travels in other family members’ cars (my parents have a Stage 1-3 seat but it is now occupied by the Baby on most occasions) or as a spare to keep in the back of our car in case we have to drive another child around.
The Trunk BoostApak is currently for sale for £44.99 on the Trunki website, but may well be cheaper from other retailers. We bought it for about £35 from Amazon.
I would definitely recommend this product. As a holiday car seat / piece of hand luggage it is ideal – and you would easily recoup the cost in savings on car seat hire if you travel abroad regularly. It is also great as a very portable spare booster seat for the school run or for a family member who drives the children around on a semi-regular basis. For everyday use we do have a high-back booster which lives in the car, but this is perfect for occasional / holiday use. As far as I am concerned, this is yet another success story from the increasingly popular Trunki range and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another one when my daughter is big enough.