Luckily for people who enjoy the great outdoors, their child doesn’t have to be a toddler for them to go on a hike with their parents. Whether it is stepping out for a few hours or a whole day, parents can take their children out on a nature trail in comfort. The best baby carriers for hiking make excellent travel companions when you need to enjoy nature, whether as a workout, stress reliever or something you do as a spiritual practice.
In this product review for the best baby carrier for hiking, we have put together our favorite picks and a comprehensive guide and FAQ to ensure that you get only the best. We hope that it proves useful.
Top 5 Best Baby Carriers For Hiking
1. Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Elite Child Carrier
This 7-pound 4-ounce child carrier with 26-liter capacity comes with many of the conveniences required to make your trip easy and memorable. Despite it being among the most lightweight carriers you can get in the market, it boasts a sturdy construction and a five-point safety harness that can support children between 16 and 50 pounds. That makes it impressive for parents whose lifestyle is intertwined with the great outdoors.
It has seven exterior pockets that allow you to bring along everything you need for your child and yourself and still keeps everything organized. There are also zipped pockets where you can accommodate soiled diapers or other materials. What’s excellent about the pockets is that they are waterproof should you experience showers before taking cover along the track. What also has Kelty Journey on our list of best baby carriers for hiking is the comfort that one experiences when carrying their child along with a trail. It is an all-around comfortable and adjustable bag.
You don’t have to worry about the sunny weather when stepping out. The inbuilt sunshade ensures that your child is protected from the harsh sun that can damage their extra-sensitive skin. Overall the frame is made of lightweight aluminum with the fabric consisting of poly and nylon blends. There are grab handles that help hoist and put down the pack too. Base support also means that the carrier can stand on its own.
- Waterproof pockets that allow for organization and keeping your items dry
- Lightweight but still has the capacity to carry a child for an extended period
- Provides sun protection and equal comfort for the parent as they make their way on a hiking trail
- Has no-pinch hinges and other parts so explorative children will keep their fingers safe as they explore their immediate surroundings
- Not suitable for children that can’t yet hold their head up
2. Deuter Kid Comfort 2
Available in denim and cranberry, the next best hiking baby carrier on our list was actually developed by pediatric specialists. Their intention was to ensure that your child is in a comfortable position during your hiking trip. While hiking, it is also likely that the sun will heat up the baby. This was something the professionals took into account as the seat offers exceptional ventilation, keeping your child safe from heatstroke during the hike.
The five-point harness ensures maximum comfort and safety. It requires your baby to step into it to put it on. When on the ground, the kickstand keeps the carrier upright, with the two grab handles giving you an easier time to lift and put down the carrier when the baby is on board. While in the back of the carrier, your child has a soft chin pad to keep them comfy as they snooze as well as height-adjustable footrests for them to be at a more relaxed position.
Overall, this aluminum frame carrier weighs 7.3 lbs, has a volume of 16 liters and can accommodate children between 16 and 40 pounds. There are storage pockets and compartments for maximum organization. The Deuter Kid baby carrier also has S-shaped shoulder straps, meaning that your neck won’t strain from the weight of your child and what you’ve packed for the journey.
You can use this carrier even on uneven terrain and your child will remain securely strapped. The carrier itself is also adjustable meaning that two people of different height can use it. It’s quite flexible without compromising on safety.
- Adjustable to accommodate parents of any size and easy enough to hoist the child into place without assistance
- Well ventilated to cater to your child’s perspiration during the hike
- Can stand on its own when on the ground
- The soft, flexible, yet solid carrier ensures maximum comfort for your baby when on a hike
- Pockets are hard to reach when the carrier is on your back
3. Osprey Poco AG Plus Child Carrier
Osprey is a brand of various bags and backpacks that proves to be a favorite among hikers. The reasons why the Poco AG is one of the most popular hiking baby carriers include its stable frame along with their award-winning Anti-Gravity system. This system negates some of the momentum caused by things moving inside the carrier, allowing for a more comfortable hiking experience. It is fantastic for babies that don’t weigh more than 48.6 pounds. The Poco AG itself weighs 7.67 lbs. This baby carrier backpack is available in black, seaside blue, and ivy green colors.
Other notable features of this baby carrier include a lightweight aluminum frame with a mesh shoulder harness and back panel combination to ensure your long-term comfort. Osprey is big on making you comfortable while also keeping your child safe. The baby’s harness is framed and padded with fleece, which also covers the butterfly harness. The seat contains built-in safety leg loops to keep your child safe.
The extra-spacious base and a locking foot bar for stability allow the baby carrier to stand on its own. Grab handles make it easy for you to pick up and go. The removable daypack with 26-liter capacity is a joy for many, as it not only means extra storage, but you’re also able to give it to your hiking partner when the weight of both the child and the supplies gets too much.
Worried about the elements? The Osprey Poco AG plus has you covered. It comes with an integrated sunshade to protect your child’s sensitive skin. Another feature you’re likely to sincerely appreciate as well as the removable and washable droop pad. The company also promises that the baby carrier for hiking is a one size fits all, meaning parents of all sizes can purchase and use this carrier.
- The anti-gravity suspension system reduces fatigue over time
- The backpack is stable when on your back and therefore the terrain you choose shouldn’t be a primary concern
- Very stable when put on the ground
- Has a detachable backpack and sun protection to shield your child from UV rays
- Not suitable for children who can’t hold their head up
4. Clevr Baby Backpack Cross-Country Carrier
On the list of the best baby carrier for hiking, this might be the most budget-friendly but still reliable baby carrier. It has a fixed frame and plenty of storage for anything you might need on a hike. It is meant for children who are between 16 and 40 pounds, which is on par with similar but more expensive carriers. By itself, it weighs five pounds which is a lot lighter than other carriers.
An additional feature that has parents going for this carrier is that it has two water bottle holders. The pockets are also deep, though the combined capacity of this carrier probably falls short of the other carriers on this list.
The primary drawback is that the harnesses and overall padding are not sufficient for longer trips. If you’re going for a short hike, it is adequate. However, those out for longer or even multiple days, you will find that the limited padding will make you increasingly uncomfortable. Equally, your child, with no foot pegs, will be fatigued from your trip. There are however upgraded versions in the market that feature foot straps for added comfort and security.
- Ideal for those who hike for an average of three hours but not frequently
- Suitable for children that are between ages of six months and four years old
- Energy-absorbing lumbar padding for a comfortable, relaxed and secure hiking experience
- Multiple large pockets to fit more items, plus two water bottle holders
- Less supportive as it has less padding and baby comfort features
5. Phil&teds Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier
The Parade baby carrier for hiking can accommodate a child who’s as heavy as 40 pounds. The carrier allows you to adjust it to fit your height with its escape’s body-tech harness system. It has an articulating dual-core type waist belt that distributes the child’s and luggage weight evenly around your body. That ascertains that you’ll be comfortable even during a long hike.
The carrier comes with a rain shield, a change mat, a mirror, and also foot stirrups for your child so that your child’s feet don’t dangle and move about with your movement. This function also ensures that their feet remain well circulated even when they sit for a long time in the carrier. You also get to stay hydrated using the water bladder hydration station to quickly quench your thirst while on the trail.
Storage is quite flexible with this baby carrier. It folds flat so that you’re able to store it in your closet or the car trunk easily. All you need for the hike is otherwise stored in the zipper daypack. When not of your back, the carrier free-stands do that you can load and offload the baby with ease. There’s a fleece moldable headrest and shoulder cradle that allows your child to snooze in comfort
- The carrier is lightweight and folds for easy storage
- Has extra features for the baby’s comfort, including a headrest and a change mat
- Suitable for people of different sizes
- It stands on its own for easy mounting and dismounting of the child
- You have to purchase the water bladder separately
Tips for selecting a baby carrier for hiking
Comfortable storage is the biggest bonus of what modern baby carriers for hiking have to offer. This means that diapers, an extra change of clothes for the baby, your water bottle and set of keys can now be safely contained within the carrier as you make your way through whatever terrain you choose.
There is perhaps no better way of introducing your child to nature than taking them with you on your back as you explore the wilderness. What makes carriers fantastic is that brands these days, without fail, offer comfortable and secure carriers that, after a long and eventful day, leave you and your child with no aches and pains. While that sounds ideal, what does it take to find the right hiking gear?
When do you need a baby carrier?
If you wish to leave the house and have a relatively stress-free time carrying your child, then a baby carrier is for you. The purpose of a carrier is so that both you and your child can have a comfortable time navigating different places that require walking for long periods of time. That could either be at the mall, going for a walk to enjoy the spring air, or visiting the zoo. Whatever you settle on, you want to ensure that you and your child get the most out of the outing.
Carrier frames are primarily made out of aluminum or one of its alloys. The best hiking baby carriers weigh between four and seven pounds while being able to carry a child between 15 and 70 pounds. If your child is indeed on the heavier side, then it helps to be more careful with the specified weight limits, as the average baby carrier has a more humble top limit of 40-50 pounds.
Safety features on hiking baby carriers include straps and belts to secure the child on the carrier safely while also allowing you to carry the whole contraption on your back. Selecting a carrier with a hip belt is critical. It helps distribute the weight to your upper body to avoid straining your neck and back.
It doesn’t matter how light your child is; after a while, they will begin to feel heavy on your back. You should, therefore, be already comfortable with carrying relatively heavy loads mainly if you are a seasoned hiker. If the carrier already feels heavy before you put your child in, know that you’ll have a lot more stops to catch a break.
Once you settle on a carrier, ensure that you take a test run in the house, preferably with extra help. Your child’s safety quite literally depends on having the carrier securely strapped on your back. If you’re unsure as to what the manual says about how to best use a carrier, we advise that you contact the manufacturer. Don’t assume; better to be safe than sorry.
Your child’s age
Manufacturers take into account how old your child is when they design these baby carriers for hiking. Therefore, you want to ensure that you purchase the right carrier despite what your child weighs. If your child is just a few months old and can’t support their head, then you ought to get a carrier that secures them on your chest for support. That way, you avoid potential injury when taking a walk with your child. Similarly, if they are older, then the recommended type of carrier to get is one that secures your little one on your back.
Nonetheless, weight does matter. Most of the best baby carriers for hiking do not exceed 40lbs of weight capacity. You’re better off opting for an alternative activity to bond with your child, should your child be heavier than this weight limit. Even though they can walk on their own, they won’t be able to go on a hike with you.
Disclaimer: if your child is less than six months, we advise that you wait for them to grow a bit older. During these initial months, children tend to be delicate. Even though a carrier might offer back and neck support, you don’t want to take unnecessary risk.
The structure type you go for depends on how old your child is, and to the degree, you intend to be hiking. If your child is less than a year old and if the hiking trips aren’t too frequent, a soft shell carrier is a friendlier and cheaper alternative.
However, if you’re in love with the great outdoors and intend to hike for years to come, then a hard shell carrier makes an excellent travel companion. They also tend to be comfortable for traveling long distances. They are also helpful when you want to put the baby down to rest or take photos. The nature of the frame allows it to stand on its own, while the lighter frame requires you to have a partner to hold the baby.
The hiking distance
How you far you go and where you go matters. If you’re out for a day’s hike, then a lightweight baby carrier is ideal. That is if the terrain is moderate. However, if you’re going over rougher terrain and doing it for more than a day, then getting the best baby carrier for hiking would require you selecting something with more features to ensure comfort (like Osprey Poco AG’s Anti-gravity system).
It is crucial that you get something that can give your child room to wiggle as they will be on the carrier for an extended period. A baby carrier that’s bigger will also likely secure the baby better, reducing their fatigue from traveling by a lot.
If you’re only going for a day’s walk, you’ll find that most hiking baby carriers have adequate storage space for everything you might need. However, if you’re away for longer, like a camping trip, you want something with additional space for supplies and layers of clothing for your little one.
Another storage space to consider is your living space. If storing large things is an issue, then you have to consider getting a baby carrier backpack that is easy to fold up, and that takes up minimal space. Go for a brand that can fold but is still sturdy, like the Phil&teds Parade.
Going on a hike, or just being outdoors in the sun, means that you’ll most definitely sweat. Therefore, you want to get a carrier with padded moisture-resistant fabric on both the seat and the harnesses, especially the shoulder harnesses.
Not all carriers are made the same. The best hiking baby carriers have added features that bring comfort and convenience. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can get one with an extra storage compartments, a removable diaper bag, a changing pad, a foldable canopy to protect your little one from the elements, a cushioned pillow where they can lay their head to snooze, bottle holder loops where you can hang their favorite toy and many more. Of course, with these added features you should be ready to part with a little more money.
Q: How do I find the right carrier for me?
A: The main guidelines, as discussed above, are your baby’s age and weight. Make sure that the carrier has a headrest if you have a younger baby, or make sure that your baby doesn’t exceed a carrier’s weight limit if they’re older. Other than that, just look for the best balance between price and features that would be helpful to you.
Q: How much is too much when purchasing a baby carrier?
A: Most carriers range between $100 and $300. However, as with any product, cheap up front may cost you more in the long run due to the product breaking easily, while high prices are often backed more by branding and fancy-looking features than actual practical quality. With this in mind, we recommend staying roughly within this price range.
Q: Do I have to see a doctor before taking my child hiking?
A: Yes! You want to ensure that your pediatrician has ascertained that your child’s immunity is strong enough to handle the outdoors. They should also let you know, with certainty, if your child’s back and neck can handle being on your back in a carrier for extended periods of time.
Your child’s safety and comfort are of utmost importance, so your choice of a baby carrier for hiking should reflect that. Keep in mind the tips given above and make sure you ask your doctor everything about how to safely go hiking with your baby as well.
In our opinion, the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT is the most well-rounded hiking baby carrier on our list since it features very comfortable padding along with tons of storage space. It’s a bit more costly than some of the other models, but it is definitely worth every dollar.
Regardless, all of the hiking baby carriers on our list are of high quality and have been received well by their users, hence why we would stand by any of the products listed here. Hopefully, our list at least helped you understand how to find the best baby carrier for hiking on your own. If you have any tips or other recommendations, leave them in the comment section.