The 7 Best Baby Carriers for Hiking of 2023
- You don’t need to leave your baby home when you go hiking. Instead, take your baby with you!
- A hiking baby carrier provides the comfort, support, and security your baby needs to enjoy the adventure.
- Hiking baby carriers aren’t just for babies. Younger children will appreciate a ride when their legs tire of walking.
- The best hiking baby carriers are comfortable even on long hikes.
Becoming a parent doesn’t mean you have to leave your trail walking days behind you. With a hiking baby carrier, you can keep your baby close while you explore the world together.
Whether you like climbing mountains or exploring national parks, we’ll help you find the best baby carrier for hiking to suit your needs. There are so many child carriers on the market you’re sure to find one you love.
Unlike a pushchair, a hiking baby carrier will let you stray from the beaten path. You’ll be able to climb mountains, walk across streams, and travel down dirt tracks without worrying about narrow paths, punctured tires, or getting stuck in mud.
Our Favorite: Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier
- KID COMFORT: Bring your most precious cargo along for all your outdoor adventures with the Kid Comfort. Perfectly engineered to fit the needs of both children and parents.
- MAX VENTILATION, MAX ENDURANCE: The Aircomfort mesh back system provides maximum ventilation. A durable frame construction designed from flexible and break-proof spring steel provides provides even distribution of load and creates a ventilation space between wearer and pack.
- ADJUSTABLE: The Vari Slide back length adjustment system allows for personalized comfort and the best fit.
- INCLUDES: Sun roof, pull-forward hip fins, padded hip belt, load adjustment straps, and adjustable sternum belt to ensure that the load is distributed evenly and the backpack stays secure. Does not include a chin pad.
The Deuter Kid Comfort is the best overall carrier, providing unmatched comfort for both parent and child. This Deuter carrier is definitely one of the best hiking baby carriers available for fit and comfort.
The double frame construction is made from flexible and break-proof spring steel that evenly distributes weight, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable hike. The Vari Slide back length adjustment system gives you a perfect fit when wearing the hiking carrier.
The Kid Comfort boasts pull-forward hip fins, a padded hip belt, load adjustment straps, and an adjustable sternum belt so you can ensure the weight is distributed evenly and securely.
This carrier is one of the pricier hiking baby carriers available, but you get what you pay for with this fantastic model. If you want a hiking baby carrier that will keep both you and your baby comfortable so you can enjoy your off-road adventures, this is the carrier for you.
Deuter’s Kid Comfort features a kickstand so you can stand the pack up easily when you take it off. This makes it much easier to take the backpack off when you stop for a break. The five point harness keeps your growing child safe during walks, and the tall back and sides provide a comfy place for your child to nap on the journey.
Aside from the hefty price tag, the downside to this hiking baby carrier is the lack of storage. While there are plenty of pockets for storage, the storage options can’t compete with other packs that focus more heavily on storage. You can add a bladder, but this baby carrier doesn’t have one as standard.
Best for Storage: Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier Backpack
- Premium efficiency and design
- Storage tuned to the each season
- Purpose designed to help mak the most of each exploration
The Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier Backpack is another fantastic baby carrier. One of the benefits of this carrier is the extra storage space, which allows you to carry everything you need for a day of hiking. The main body and hip belts feature additional zippered compartments to carry everything you and your child need.
The double halo harness features front-facing arm loops, so it’s easy to load and buckle in your child. The adult’s adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hip belt make this baby carrier fully adjustable, so it works for both small and tall parents. It’s easy to reconfigure the pack on the go, so it’s an ideal carrier for parents who want to share the load.
The removable, washable drool pad is perfect for teething babies, and the toy attachment loops mean you can keep even the fussiest kid entertained on walks. The cord loops and mesh pockets mean your child can access their toys and pacifier during walks. The adjustable and removable stirrups give your child somewhere to rest their legs on the hike.
A large built-in sunshade provides shelter from the sun and can be stored away easily when not in use. The lightweight folding aluminum frame is sturdy and light, so it’s ideal for keeping your child safe and supported during use.
Best for Toddlers: Thule Sapling Child Carrier Backpack
- The ErgoRide child seat keeps your child comfortable and cool with ample under leg support and a ventilated backpanel and sitting area
- Fully removable, machine washable ErgoRide child seat and drool pad for easy clean up
- Side zippers allow you to conveniently access the 22L gear compartment while wearing the pack
- A deployable UPF 50 sunshade keeps your child cool and protected
Thule are well-known for making top quality products, and their Sapling Child Carrier Backpack is no exception. This easy-to-use, comfortable hiking carrier is ideal for toddlers because of the size of the seat area.
The ErgoRide child seats provide plenty of leg support to ensure a comfy ride, while the seat area is well-ventilated so you won’t have to worry about your child getting too hot during the hike.
The ErgoRide child seat is fully removable and machine washable, making it ideal for mucky toddlers. The child seat also features a removable drool pad for easy clean up. The sunshade is easy to deploy and protects your child from the sun’s harmful rays.
There is plenty of storage space, with side zippers to the 22L gear compartment so you can access your things while you walk. The comfortable shoulder straps, adjustable torso and hip belt allow you to find the perfect fit without hassle. The fully ventilated backpanel allows you to stay cool and comfortable on the hike.
The dual access points will enable you to load your child from the top or side panel openings. This is particularly handy with a toddler who may prefer to go in through the side panel for some independence.
There are accessories sold separately, such as additional storage and weather protection so you can fully customize your Thule Sapling carrier. The main complaint about this carrier is the price. It’s perfect for families who hike regularly but is expensive for a hiking carrier that might not get much use.
The Thule Sapling is suitable for children up to 40 lbs and 48 inches, making it ideal for toddlers and preschoolers. The kickstand makes removing the carrier easier than ever, and it’s sturdy so your toddler can remain seated even after you’ve taken the carrier off.
Best Value: Kelty Journey Perfect Fit Child Carrier
- Easy access stretch mesh pockets for those less arduous adventures
- Sunshade sold separately, and if you choose not to get it, Please don’t forget the hat and sunscreen
- Lightweight folding aluminum frame and drool pad
- Country Of Origin : Philippines
The child seat in the Kelty Journey Perfect Fit is comfortable, with plenty of padding so your kid can travel in style. This is one of the more lightweight packs on the market, so it’s great if you’re looking to lighten your load.
The Kelty Journey Perfect Fit protects your child with a five point safety harness and padded aluminum roll cage. The child seat is comfy, so you won’t hear any complaints from your kid, though you may notice the shoulder straps and waist belt don’t distribute the weight, as well as some other baby carriers for hiking.
The Kelty Journey Perfect Fit isn’t as comfortable as other carriers on this list. While the padding is fine for shorter journeys and occasional use, it won’t be great for a long-distance hiking holiday.
As you might expect from a budget carrier, the Kelty Journey Perfect Fit doesn’t offer many accessories. You must purchase the sunshade separately, so you must consider this when deciding which carrier to buy.
The Kelty Journey Perfect Fit carrier doesn’t offer much storage. Unlike other carriers, the Kelty Journey keeps storage to a minimum. This is likely fine for short journeys but may be annoying if you want to spend a day on a trail.
If budget is your main focus, however, this is a fantastic option for infrequent hikes. It wouldn’t work for families who cover considerable distances every weekend, but it’s great for the occasional hike.
Best Lightweight: Osprey Poco LT Lightweight Child Carrier Backpack
- Drool pad
- Lower zippered compartment
- Top and side grab handles
The Osprey Poco LT Lightweight is the best hiking baby carrier if you’re looking for a lightweight toddler carrier. The Poco LT is 2 lbs lighter than the Poco, so it’s fantastic for traveling with. It was built with packability in mind, so it fits easily in a suitcase for air travel. The thin frame allows it to fold down small, but the smaller size comes at a cost.
The main flaw of this carrier is that it doesn’t work well for taller kids. The lightweight design was achieved by eliminating some of the padding, which makes for a less comfortable journey for child and adult alike. The Osprey Poco LT’s minimalist steel frame can’t compete with the sturdy support of the standard Poco model, so it’s not as well-suited to long hikes.
The Poco LT doesn’t feature the adjustable stirrups of the original version, so this lightweight model isn’t as comfortable for older kids. The Poco LT is hand wash only, which may put some purchasers off.
The Osprey Poco LT features a built-in sunshade that deploys easily to keep your child sheltered from the sun. This lightweight carrier still features an impressive 21L of gear storage space, so you’ll be able to carry everything you need for your hike.
Best for Short Torsos: Deuter Kid Comfort Active
- The carrying system of the Kid Comfort Active SL is especially adapted to the female anatomy, which makes it perfect for moms looking for a child carrier that fits them perfectly. The new, compact Lite Aircontact backsystem with ventilation makes this child carrier the absolute lightest weight yet. Despite its minimalistic, athletic build, the Kid Comfort Active child carrier’s seating area is an absolute comfort-zone and features a simple to use, easily accessible safety harness.
- Children can enjoy entering and exiting through the side access point and will love our soft cover material. Aircontact Lite backsystem – A body contact back design keeps weight close to the body for effective load transfer with breathable padding made of open cell hollow chamber foam and an anatomic X-frame of aluminum stays. Lightweight with less than 6 lbs empty weight. Vari Quick adjustable back length. Ventilated, perforated shoulder straps. Load adjustment straps at shoulders.
- Pull-Forward construction makes the hip belt easy to fasten and tighten even with heavier loads. Zippered pocket on hipbelt. Height and width adjustable chest strap. Easy to understand and access saftey harness system with color-coordinated buckles. Height adjustable child seat with variable width for an ergonomic sitting position. Height adjustable foot rests with adjustment ot fit the child’s feet. Mesh inserts on the side of the ‘cabin’ for ventilation.
- Comfortable and safe side entry for the child. Kickstand with audible click-in function for putting the carrier down safely with ease. Large, elastic and ventilated mesh pocket under child’s seat with fast-draw cord closure. Large, elsatic front pocket. Tip-resistant sturdy aluminium frame with broad platform. Detachable washable chin pad. Large chin pad compatible (sold separately).
If you have a short torso, you may struggle to find baby carriers for hiking. The Deuter Kid Comfort is our top pick, but the Active model featured here is ideal for those with shorter torsos. This baby backpack carrier is specially designed to fit shorter torsos.
This carrier is perfect for petite torsos, so you can find a comfortable fit that keeps your baby safe and secure in the carrier. This baby carrier backpack is specially designed to fit a shorter torso, so you’ll be able to distribute your baby’s weight comfortably for long walks.
The Active model features all the benefits of the Deuter Comfort Child listed above. It is perfectly engineered to fit the needs of both children and parents, allowing everybody to enjoy a comfortable day out.
The Aircontact Lite back system features breathable padding to increase air flow. The foam is designed to be molded to the shape of your back and distribute weight to your hips, which should make for a more comfortable carry.
The VariQuick back length adjustment system allows you to easily adjust the fit for ultimate comfort. The pull-forward hip fins, padded hip belt and adjustable straps, and sternum belt ensure optimum weight distribution during hikes.
The Deuter Kid Comfort Active is expensive but worth the price tag if you’re struggling to find comfortable carrier hiking backpacks that fit.
Best Frameless: Ergo 360 All-Position Baby Carrier
- Explore with baby: For curious, developing baby who starts exploring beyond her caregiver to see the world (12-45 lbs./ 5.5-20 kg)
- All Carry Position: Inward, Front Outward, Hip & Back Carry
- Cool and breathable: Cooler for you and baby with soft, lightweight & durable mesh
- Comfort: Padded lumbar back support and shoulder straps
The Ergo 360 is one of the best hiking baby carriers if you’re looking for a frameless model. Though it’s not a hiking carrier, it is suitable for long walks and hikes with a baby. It folds up small, so it’s ideal for travel and should be fine on longer journeys with a baby.
One of the benefits of a traditional baby carrier like the Ergo 360 is that it holds your baby close to you, allowing you to share body heat, which is useful in cold weather. The Ergo 360 is one of the best baby carriers, and can be used in a variety of positions, so it’s great for walking. The rear backpack-style position is ideal for longer walks, though the classic baby carrier position is great for shorter walks.
The Ergo 360 is lightweight, so it won’t add much weight to your hike. Some hiking baby carriers can be heavy, especially those with large frames and lots of storage. If you prefer shorter walks, you may not need all the bells and whistles offered by hiking carriers.
The lack of frame, however, does mean this carrier is less comfortable on long journeys. The lack of storage may be a problem if you’re planning a day-long hike. The Ergo 360 holds your baby close, which has its downsides on a long hike. You aren’t able to move as freely, and you may find you get sweatier with your baby held close in the carrier.
The Ergo 360 is sold as a general baby carrier, not a hiking carrier. It’s not going to win any awards for being one of the best hiking baby carriers, but it’s a great all-rounder that you may find useful on short hikes. It’s great for people who don’t want to fork out extra money for a hiking carrier for occasional use.
Regular Baby Carriers vs Hiking Baby Carriers
If you have a regular baby carrier, you may be wondering whether it’s worth investing in a hiking carrier. This will depend on how you plan to use it. If you hike regularly, it’s definitely worth purchasing a hiking baby carrier for your precious cargo. A specially-designed carrier will offer the best in comfort, storage, and security for your baby.
Regular carriers, however, will be fine for shorter hikes or infrequent hikes. If you find your regular baby carrier comfortable for short walks around your neighborhood, it will likely be fine on a hike. It will not offer much in the way of storage or other hiking accessories, however, so plan accordingly.
How to Choose the Best Hiking Baby Carrier
In order to choose the best carrier for your needs, you will need to consider the following:
Your Hiking Habits
If you are a regular hiker, you’ll be spending more time with your hiking carrier. The more often you use it, the more important it will be that it’s comfortable. While you may be able to put up with a slight backache after an occasional hike, this is not likely to be the case if you’re hiking long distances every weekend.
Different people find different carriers comfortable. It could be to do with the size and shape of your body, your posture, and how you walk. You will find some carriers more comfortable than others, so it’s worth doing a short trial with them before committing to a purchase.
If you have friends with hiking carriers, ask if you can borrow them for a day to try out. Failing that, contact your local sling library to see if they have any hiking carriers you can borrow.
If possible, consider purchasing your carrier in person with your child so that you can try it out before you buy, although most ecommerce sites have liberal return policies that will allow you to do the same without making a trip.
Part of what makes hiking baby carriers so pricey is that they need to be rugged and durable while keeping your little one safely and securely strapped in. A traditional baby sling or wrap, while cheaper, is almost certainly not going to cut it when you’re out on the trail.
Think about how you will use the carrier and what accessories are must-haves. If you plan to take long solo hikes with your baby, you’ll want a carrier with plenty of storage. If you plan to walk in nice weather, you’ll want a carrier with a decent sunshade.
As you can see above, carriers come in all price ranges. You’ll need to choose a carrier you can afford. The more you plan to use the carrier, the more you might feel comfortable spending on this purchase.
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