The Best Hiking Baby Carriers for Toting Littles Through the Great Outdoors - By Parents.com
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Having a kiddo doesn’t have to end your outdoor adventures, as long as you have the right baby gear. Whether you are planning to take off for a day hike, backpacking trip, or long day out on the town, having a comfortable backpack carrier for toddlers and babies can mean the difference between an enjoyable activity and a meltdown (for both you and your little one).
Before strapping your tot in for a day of hiking, you’ll want to look for something designed for their safety. Ensure the carrier’s frame is padded in case your child bumps against it, and place them correctly into the carrier (no restriction of airflow and a healthy hip position).1
In order to find the best hiking baby carriers, we studied the design and features of most of the options on the market. When reviewing products, we considered age recommendations, size range, design, fit, material, ease of cleaning, ease of use, and overall value. Additionally, we reviewed guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on comfort and safety guidelines for baby carriers.1 We chose hiking baby carriers that work for beginner or veteran hikers, so you can journey through various terrains effortlessly.
Once you make your pick, you’re ready to hit the trails! Just make sure you don’t forget to pack the snacks.
Best With Storage Space (Runner-Up): ClevrPlus Cross Country Baby Backpack
This lightweight carrier weighs only 5.5 pounds (compared to the 7-pound-14-ounce Osprey Poco Plus). Still, it features multiple pockets, side water bottle storage, and a large pack pocket for stashing diapers and whatever else you need. While it doesn’t have quite as much storage space as the Osprey, the Cross Country Baby Backpack is a budget-friendly option that is perfect for a long day hike or even a trip to the zoo!
Bells and Whistles (Runner-Up): Clevr Canyonero Camping Backpack
Not only does the Clevr Canyonero have a sunshade and a kickstand for loading, but it also features an insulated pocket to keep baby bottles or other drinks cool during your journey. While the quality of the overall pack suffers a bit, if you’re looking for something to get you through a season or two of hiking with many of the same features as a higher-end pack, this is a great option.
Factors to Consider in a Baby Carrier for Hiking
When it comes to taking a baby or young child out on the trails, a wrap carrier just won’t cut it. Even an infant starts to feel heavy after a few hours, so you need something that will provide hip and lumbar support for the wearer and is comfortable for the rider to limit fussiness. It is also good to have ample storage areas for all the diapers, wipes, snacks, layers, and other tidbits you’ll inevitably end up bringing along.
Beyond the basics, consider your individual needs when deciding which bells and whistles will make your journey the easiest. If you live in a hot climate, look for a carrier with a design that’s breathable and includes a hydration sleeve to store a water reservoir (also known as a bladder). These features will not only keep you from becoming overly sweaty and uncomfortable, but will ensure it’s easy for you and your little one to have access to water and avoid dehydration. A sunshade, whether it’s removable or integrated into the design, is also a must for protecting your child from the sun’s rays and to prevent overheating.
If you plan to go on long hikes or multi-day backpacking trips, the suspension and fit of your hiking carrier becomes especially important. In general, the more you plan to use your pack, the more it’s worth investing in a top-of-the-line backpack carrier with a good suspension system and a highly-adjustable hip belt, back support system, and shoulder straps. Longer hikes also call for more gear to pack along, so make sure you look at the total carrying capacity of the pack in question, which includes the weight of your child and all your gear, as well as the storage capacity in its pockets and compartments. The storage capacity is typically given in liter measurements.