Those who’re into hiking know about its tremendous benefits; not only is it good for the mind and body, but it’s also good for the soul. For those who’ve become new parents, baby carriers for hiking are the best way to introduce your tiny tot to the wonder that is the great outdoors. The best hiking backpacks for babies allow you to get your baby used to the trails right from the very beginning. They can take in the sounds, sights, and smells of nature and might even develop a keen interest in hiking and trekking later in their lives.
Just like there is specialized travel gear for hiking and sleeping bags for backpacking, there is a whole lot of solid hiking carriers for babies as well. Check out this list of 11 best baby carriers for hiking and find the one that suits not only you but your little one as well.
Choosing hiking Baby Carriers
Hiking baby carrier packs can broadly be divided into comfort and lightweight packs. Comfort packs are feature-rich and have an open cockpit, robust metal frames, and tons of pockets. Plus, they are on the heavier end of the spectrum and take up space as well. Lightweight ones trim features and bulk, are easier to carry, and are ideal for shorter hikes. However, they’re low on carrying comfort and storage.
Safety and security
The baby’s security and safety are the most important considerations while choosing a hiking baby carrier. A supportive and well-designed cockpit, which is where the baby sits in the carrier, is important. It should provide ample cushioned support to the back, head, neck, and front in case the tiny one nods off during the hike. Also, a secure, comfy, and adjustable harness around the arms, shoulders, and legs keep the baby safe and is an important must-have.
Weight and Age
The baby carriers you choose for hiking should be appropriate for your child’s age and weight. Most of them come with the recommended age and weight ranges for parents to make a sensible long-term choice. Since children develop at diverse rates, the general recommendation is to stick to a minimum 16-pound weight so that the children’s head can be supported for long stretches. Parents are advised to check specific pack instructions to ensure the harness can compress to the smallest size to secure your kid. Also, maximum weight capacities, while varying with design, are around 30-50 pounds.
Babies need to be protected in extreme hiking conditions, like rainy or extra-hot weather. The best baby carriers for hiking are made of breathable material or waterproof fabric and are equipped with sunshades and rain shields. Parents can choose baby carriers depending on the kind of weather they usually prefer hiking in.
Versatility and Feature Set
When more than one person is going to be wearing the baby carrier, then it is important that it is highly adjustable with a torso range wide enough to fit them all comfortably. Secondly, parents need to see what kind of other extra and add-on features the carriers possess. These include the likes of the number of pockets and storage, ventilation for the adult carrying the backpack, removable daypacks, water storage, a kickstand to place the carrier down, and water storage.
Osprey Poco AG
The Osprey Poco AG has the largest seat amongst all hiking backpacks for babies. It is a consistent favorite with the hiking parent set, thanks to the easy-to-reach child harness, an excellent frame, and its award-winning Anti-Gravity system.
Osprey Poco AG scores well on the adjustability and comfort front, both for the parent and the child. The anti-gravity suspension system blends seamless mesh and a contoured suspension to lend excellent stability and balance to the carrier. Adding to the stability factor are the dual grab handles, locking foot bar, and the extra-wide base. When it comes to comfort, the carrier’s padded shoulder straps and hip belt are easily adjustable to fit a wide range of torsos and hips. The nifty included sunshade can easily be folded down. What’s more, the carrier has a removable pack providing all the extra storage you need.
Osprey Poco AG is a dream for the babies as well, as they’re going to be sitting in it, after all. The larger seat makes it easy to strap the kid and let them out. However, the real winner is the stretchy, soft harness which fastens higher as compared to other carriers. So, it’s very easy to quickly unfasten and let out cranky kids during a hike.
- Award-winning Anti-Gravity system.
- Excellent storage.
- Supremely stable.
- Unsuitable to use until kids can hold their heads up.
Deuter Kid Comfort
Of all the hiking baby carriers, the Deuter Kid Comfort is perhaps the most comfortable of them all. It combines high levels of organizational efficiency, premium build quality, safety, and comfort for both the parent and the child.
The latest model from Deuter is an absolute knockout. A robust metal frame beautifully and comfortably handles an active, growing kid. The mesh back panel and padded hip belt and shoulder straps are the perfect blend of support, ventilation, and comfort. The waistband adjusts within a range of 24–54 inches, which fits anyone who holds the pack including an older sibling. Moreover, Deuter easily has one of the best baby seat designs out there. The five-point harness is on point for ease-of-use, adjustability, security, and comfort. Plus, mid-hike naps are made all-the-more great by the washable front pads and the supportive, tall-back sides.
Notwithstanding the fact that it is a mid-range model, the Deuter Kid Comfort is chock-full of amenities. There’s an easy, quickly deployable sunshade, tons of storage, and even a side entrance option for toddlers to enter and exit the pack on their own. While it might have a high price tag of $290, it’s a small price to pay for a high-quality, durable, and comfortable baby carrier.
- Extremely comfortable for both the parent/caretaker and the baby.
- On the pricier end of the spectrum.
Deuter Kid Comfort Active
The Deuter Kid Comfort Active is one of the best baby carriers for hiking in its class. Its also the most ventilated carrier on this list, making it an excellent choice for shorter day trips, an overnight hike, or even city strolls. In fact, Wirecutter even called the vaunted Kid Active the ‘the best baby hiking backpack’ out there.
There’s nothing about the Deuter Kid Comfort Active that isn’t amazing. The carrier boasts of an excellent ventilation system in the form of the Aircomfort Back System with cool mesh suspension. A groundbreaking new back panel, a hip belt with the VariFlex Ergonomic Comfort Lock and VariSlide Adjustment allows for superb customization for a comfy and snug fit. Children get foot stirrups and a height-adjustable, ergonomic seat, while adults get the easy, one-touch torso length adjustment. The trimmed-down suspension makes the overall weight of the carrier lighter. What’s more, there’s even an included and quickly deployable sunroof as well. If that wasn’t enough, the Deuter Kid Comfort Active is also the first baby carrier to have a women-specific ‘SL’ variant. It features an ergonomically-shaped hip belt and narrower shoulder straps to better fit smaller torsos.
The cherry on top of Deuter’s amazing offering is the locking, extra-broad aluminum kickstand which rests firmly on the ground and doesn’t topple over.
- Light and breathable.
- The sunshade is not included.
ClevrPlus Cross Country
Budget-conscious parents will do well to choose the CleverPlus Cross Country hiking carrier for babies. Weighing five pounds, hiking parents love the super-lightweight Cross Country baby carrier. It grows with your tiny tot from the time they’re 9 months to around 4 years old or when they reach a weight of 33 pounds.
The most remarkable feature of this baby carrier is just about how many extras it offers at a mere price of $110. There’s a great many storage compartments and pockets, a stable kickstand, and even a sunshade which offers rain protection too. Additionally, there’s a roomy back pocket for stowing away a change of clothes, diapers, and other necessary items. What’s more, this back pocket has a unique safety stip running across it. This baby carrier also has two-sided water holders, padded wait strap, and thick shoulder pads for comfort. Plus, the backpack is made of lightweight but durable material and is thus sturdy to boot. Last but not the least, the metal stands are excellent for simply setting the backpack down on a flat surface sans any effort.
That being said, this baby carrier is suitable for shorter hikes due to limited padding and lack of foot legs rest for the kid.
- Many features for the price.
- Kickstand, back pocket, and safety strip are excellent additions.
- Not quite up there with high-end baby carriers.
Thule Sapling Elite
One of the most expensive backpacks on this list is the Thule Sapling Elite, which is akin to the Swiss Army knife of baby hiking carriers. Recommended for kids weighing 15-40 pounds, the carrier’s robust frame and loaded extras make it a favorite with parents.
This top-of-the-line baby carrier features just about every loaded extra you could dream of. There are two roomy hip belt pockets, stirrups, sunshade, and even a zip-off daypack. Furthermore, it has both top and side-access which makes it easier for older, independent kids to enter and exit the seat. Heck, there’s even a ‘rearview’ mirror for checking on your tiny tot and an easy-to-use, spacious hydration pocket for sipping on the trail.
In addition to this amazing feature set, the Thule Sapling Elite also boasts of a robust suspension and mightily adjustable hip belt and shoulder straps. The nifty system makes the carrier comfortable to be carried by dads and moms. For parents who’re going to be doing a lot of hiking, then the Thule Sapling Elite is the ideal choice.
- Excellent set of features including integrated sunshade.
- Comfy suspension system.
- Tons of storage.
- The kickstand isn’t as secure.
Kelty Journey PerfectFIT
The Kelty Journey PerfectFIT is one of the best economical baby carriers for hiking that parents can find. Casual hikers or those who prefer short trips will definitely love this wallet-friendly product for heading out into the open.
The Kelty Journey PerfectFIT features a thick waistband and nicely padded straps with a stiff structure for ample support. Plus, the shoulder straps boast of load lifter adjustment, allowing the weight to be distributed between the shoulders and hips. Moreover, the easy torso adjustment has a range of 4.5 inches and fits parents with all kinds of heights. Child comfort is equally good, with the spacious cockpit featuring padded shoulders in the five-point harness. The seat, which is easier to raise than lower, is well-structured and well-padded and has padding for legs to not chaff while hanging. For those who want to avoid the hanging, the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT even has stirrups. Finally, the soft-fabric, cushioned, and easily washable face pad ties up the entire package in a neat little ribbon.
While it doesn’t have as many storage compartments as its competitors, the PerfectFIT does feature one large compartment. Its size is good enough to stuff most of your hiking supplies.
- Easy to use.
- Comfortable for both kids and parents.
- No side bottle pockets.
- Canopy sold separately.
LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons
The Lillebaby Complete All Seasons is incredibly comfy and one of the best affordable hiking backpacks for babies out there. The carrier lays out tons of babywearing possibilities for little ones weighing anywhere between 7 and 45 pounds. The fact that they offer some thoughtfully beautiful prints is a bonus. Plus, this baby carrier can be used both on the back as well the front, with both forward-facing and rear-facing options.
The biggest advantage of the Lillebaby Complete All Seasons is its versatility. Due to its adjustable seat width, babies even as lightweight as seven pounds can fit snugly into the carrier. Plus, it allows parents to wear their six-months-plus babies forward-facing, which is an excellent option for them to experience the magic of the hike from their point of view. However, the carrier’s biggest strength is its ability to distribute the baby’s weight due to the fantastic lumbar support. If that wasn’t enough, the carrier also offers parents the option to wear the shoulder straps in a crossed X position across their backs.
This comfy baby carrier also has a wide, comfortable waist belt and well-padded shoulder straps, so even heavier babies can be carried with ease. It offers two seat widths, both of which are wide enough to support the hips well. The back panel can be unzipped for better airflow and also helps keep the baby from feeling hot on warmer days. A removable hood and a roll-up, tucked-away pocket make for excellent accouterments. At the end of the day, the baby carrier is super comfortable and has a fantastic value.
- Multiple positions for children of a wide age range.
- Soft mesh fabric.
- Less ease-of-use.
- Expensive as compared to other baby carriers in its category.
For parents who want to carry their babies around for shorter, easier hikes or day trips, the Ergobaby 360 is great.
True to its name, ERGObaby boasts of an ergonomic design that helps distribute the baby’s weight evenly for comfortable carrying. The thinner, extra-wide velcro waistband supports both the shoulders and lower back. Additionally, it can be worn lower or higher according to personal preferences. Women will particularly find that it even hides a postpartum tummy. Plus, the structured bucket seat holds the child in an ergonomic position as well. Versatility is another facet of the ERGOBaby 360. The extendable back panel folds up and down both for better head support. What’s more, the baby can see out the sides as well. If that wasn’t enough, the baby privacy hood has UPF 50-rated fabric, which acts as the perfect sun protection for the child.
For parents who’re new to the baby carrier family, ERGOBaby has excellent video demonstrations for easing use. The carrier’s All Position 360 offers better comfort, security, and support, and is ideal for those with an active lifestyle, whether its a power walk or a scenic hike.
- Great safety feature set.
- Velcro is a bit loud.
- Lack of zippered pockets.
Osprey Poco AG Plus
Osprey’s aim of creating excellent adventure gear extends to the little ones as well with the incredible Osprey Poco AG Plus.
The brand understands the importance of parent comfort, no matter the duration of the hiking trip. The back panel has padded sections for comfort, breathable mesh fabric, and a stiff structure for weight distribution and support. Easy-to-adjust, stable, and comfy shoulder straps conform to the person’s body, with the chest clip allowing for customization of fit. What’s more, a six-inch, adjustable torso range ensures an even better custom fit.
The Osprey Poco AG Plus is high on child comfort and possesses excellent and well-designed features to make your tiny tot’s hike cozier and pleasant. A snug and secure cockpit, open sides with buckle closures, and height-adjustable stirrups make for a snug sanctuary for your little one. The headrest is angled perfectly thanks to the additional support from the washable rame beneath the pad. The height-adjustable seat pad boasts of firm but comfy, fleece-covered padding which supports your tot sans folding. Furthermore, the soft-fabric-made five-point harness runs securely beneath the armpit and is stretchable too. Color-coded adjustment points, a sturdy kickstand, dual carry handles, and tons of storage sums up a well-rounded product.
- Tons of storage.
- Excellent child comfort.
- Lots of possibilities for a custom fit.
- Numerous buckles and straps can seem confusing.
Phil & Teds Escape
The tagline ‘Freedom for serious adventure’ pretty much sums up the Phil & Teds Escape baby carrier. The versatile product is an excellent all-terrain pack for first-timers and is an overall good value baby carrier for hiking with younger toddlers.
Escape’s ‘body-tech’ harness system makes the torso length extremely adjustable to fit specific body types. Advanced lumbar support and a dual-core waist belt distribute your kid’s weight evenly. Plus, the back padding boasts of great cushioning and is pretty breathable as well. The carrier has both a rain shield and a sun hood to protect children’s shoulders and heads. Child comfort and snugness are also great with the U-shaped fleece-padded shoulder straps and the moldable, well-padded headrest. Furthermore, the seat pad is well-padded, relatively wide, and adjustable for height as well.
Other well-positioned extras include the stirrups near the sides on the back, front and back carry handle, mirror, changing pad, and good number of pockets.
- Looks good.
- Ample storage and pockets.
- Comfortable for baby.
- It takes a while to adjust the straps.
- Slightly bulky.
ProOne of the best budget hiking backpacks for babies is the LuvDBaby Premium, which costs about $170 on Amazon. The carrier is fairly basic as compared to its fancier rivals, but has more storage than most of its wallet-friendly peers.
While the structure is minimal and the padding thickness isn’t much, both the shoulder straps and waistband both are fairly comfortable. In fact, this carrier is one of the few less expensive options which provide torso height adjustment range of 3.5 inches. While the cockpit is roomy, it doesn’t feature side entry as some other packs. There’s also a front and back headrest, lightly-padded, height-adjustable shoulder straps, and child stirrups to prevent dangling discomfort for the legs. The shoulder straps also boast of ventilation for airflow, which is missing in some of the similar category carriers. A single carry handle and a sturdy kickstand make it easy to simply place the pack on the ground sans any fuss. Plus, the carrier is relatively easy to use. For first-time parents getting out with baby carriers, this one makes for a good investment.
- Good storage.
- The overall quality is a bit lower.