There are many things to consider when purchasing a hiking backpack carrier to carry your child. The number one consideration is safety. Second are age and weight restrictions. Third is the comfort level for the adult. Incorporating all three of these will ensure that your trip is enjoyable and pleasant.
Hiking is a great way to expose your child to beautiful scenery, give them a love of the fresh outdoors, and, more importantly, fresh air. The biggest benefit for parents is you get out of the house and get a change of scenery. Getting a baby carrier backpack can ensure you have a framed backpack that supports your toddler, while having features like a padded shoulder strap or waist belt to make sure you’re comfy during your hike.
Baby Carriers for Hiking
When finding just that right baby hiking carrier, you need to consider your child’s age and weight. The guidelines offer a general idea of how much weight a toddler carrier can hold. However, you want to ensure your child is always kept safe. Parents need to consider both to maximize the safety of their child.
LuvdBaby Premium Baby Backpack (Children up to 40 lbs)
This backpack will allow you to carry your children comfortably and safely. The structured carrier surrounds your child in a “padded cocoon” keeping them warm and safe. It comes equipped with stirrups to keep the child’s feet secure, and safety straps for the ultimate protection.
When hiking, parents/caregivers carry their kids for hours at a time. Parents use baby gear like a baby wrap to help them carry their child, but it can take a toll on your back and shoulders. LuvdBaby has designed this carrier to come with an adjustable height, heavily padded shoulder straps, and a load-bearing belt for even weight distribution.
It comes with several pockets to carry the necessities with you and has one insulated pocket to place a bottle. Pockets are mesh on the outer surface of the carrier, and larger items can be placed in the back zippered pocket.
Designed for every possible situation, there is a foldable diaper pad for changes while hiking. Parents will always have a clean surface while changing their child’s soiled diapers.
- Framed carrier made from premium hiking materials
- Durable and waterproof
- Ripstop polyester withstands rugged environments and prevents tears
- Kickstand created from lightweight, strong aluminum
- Comes in three colors
- Sun shade protects child from sun
- Some defects in stitching
This carrier allows all family members to be present during your hiking trip. It is durable enough to accommodate hiking trips, or simple trips to the zoo.
The OE Carrier comes with a backpack. It offers the best view for the child while hiking, and a natural seated position. It is designed to be comfortable for the adult and contains a detachable backpack.
It is very versatile as it can be used as a diaper bag when they are younger, and it detaches when needed. It can also be used with a hydration pack as well (not available).
This carrier neatly folds up flat when not in use. The frame is a combination of stainless steel and aluminum for durability. It is waterproof and light (4.4 lbs. with backpack and 1.6 lbs. without). It can accommodate a waist size of 50 inches.
- Durable and lightweight
- Comes with sun shade
- Detachable backpack
- More for older children as they sit high on the harness (closer to adult’s shoulders)
- Child may play with adult’s hair, etc.
- Can cause neck strain
Deuter Kid Carrier and Backpack (Maximum Weight is 40 lbs.)
Deuter’s aircomfort system contains a flexible spring steel frame. It is durable and provides stability for both baby and child. The airy back mesh creates the proper ventilation allowing for air to properly circulate. Neither adult nor child will overheat.
The back length can be adjusted for a perfect fit each time it is worn. All users need to do is lift the plastic buckle attached to the carrier. Then, push/pull the strap into a comfortable position.
To ensure that it remains water repellant and doesn’t get dirty, the carriers are treated (Durable Water Repellent or DWR treated). The treatments are PFC free. They are environmentally safe and will not harm the individual’s health. Water beads off the surface thereby keeping the carrier dry.
The carrier fits securely for easy carrying. Children are comfortable with the soft, large cushion available when they are tired. The carrier promotes a more relaxed sleep as well. It is well-designed with a side entry.
- Good ventilation
- Room for storage
- Ripstop threads for durability
- Viewing mirror
- People may experience a bit of neck strain if hiking for five plus hours
Boba Baby Carrier (From 7-45 lbs.)
This carrier is made with 100% cotton, making it breathable and durable. Adults can easily wash the carrier in the washing machine for large accidents, or spot clean for smaller stains. The manufacturer advises placing the carrier in the pillowcase to prevent the straps from tangling on the washer.
It includes a detachable infant insert for smaller babies. Stage one configuration is for babies that are about seven pounds, and stage two begins when they are ten pounds. The available insert maintains the “froggy” position of babies and supports their lumbar system.
It comes complete with a detachable hood for shade or head support. The carrier has many pockets for storage, and a holder for a purse strap. There is a zipper holder for your smartphone, and the hood pocket also doubles as storage.
- Fits adults from 5’0”-6’3”
- Waist goes from 25-58”. Free extenders are available for chest and waist straps.
- Neutral colors for both parents
- Back and front carry options
- Breastfeeding buckle
- Regulates baby’s body temperature
- Too bulky
- Not a freestanding system
- Doesn’t fit petite people well
- Attracts lint
WIPHA Baby Hiking Backpack (For children 6 months- 4 years) (Maximum weight is 50 lbs.)
WIHPA has made a high-quality carrier with a strong, yet lightweight metal frame. It can withstand anything Mother Nature can throw at you and can even be used for camping.
Your child is carried in a padded seat with a double protection safety jacket, stirrups, and straps. There is a retractable canopy that easily folds into the bag protecting your kid from sun, wind and rain. When not in use, it folds quickly and flatly for easy storage.
Parents will love that it has multiple storage spaces with an extra-large pocket under the seat for diapers and necessities. The shoulder pads and waist pads are all extra padded for added comfort, and the removable soft cushion in the front and back allows for easy cleaning.
- Secure safety belt
- Two pads on front and back of seat
- Adjustable seat pad
- Excellent storage
- No kickstand
Osprey Packs Poco Plus (16-48 lbs.)
This carrier has a built-in sunshade and provides UPF 50+UV protection from sun. Open mesh hip belts provide pockets for convenient access to snacks or necessities.
Parents will enjoy the ample storage space for all your items. It has a supportive suspension system consisting of mesh. It will support a heavier toddler and keeps both baby and parent cool.
This system boasts that it contains one of the highest storage limits. Compartments are zippered and have side pockets for longer hikes. There is also a washable/removable drool pad, a built-in reservoir sleeve in the back panel and a broad coverage sunshade.
- Double Halo Harness
- Fits adults up to 6’
- Has a 1.5L water reservoir
- Removable stirrups
- Dual grab handles
- Waist strap expands to 36 inches
Things to Consider
With so many features, selecting the right carrier can be overwhelming. It is difficult to predict exactly what you may need while hiking with your child. Safety is one of the most important factors with comfort coming in at a close second. Both these factors will determine the duration of time spent hiking.
Cockpit Security and Harness Stability
The most important feature that any hiking carrier needs to have is safety. Secure harnesses need to keep the kid safe during each hiking trip. Select harnesses that can adjust easily, and fit well on their arms, shoulders, and legs. It shouldn’t cut in or be uncomfortable.
The cockpit (where the child is seated) needs to be well-designed. It should provide support for the neck, back and head. A cushioned support located in the front should be present in the event the baby becomes sleepy while hiking.
Weight and Age Considerations
While it is thrilling to be able to take your child along with you on a hike, ensure the carrier will support their weight and age. Carriers usually have a recommended age range. For newborns, make sure there is proper head and neck support to prevent injury. This is the most important. Generally, babies shouldn’t ride in a carrier until their head is more stable.
Be sure to not only examine the age, but the weight of the child. If your child is in a certain age range, make sure they are in the proper weight range as well. Some children are taller or heavier than others. You need to ensure the carrier can support them to prevent injury.
Determine how long you will be able to use the carrier. This will determine how much you spend and which one you select.
Versatility of Carrier
Backpacks are a large investment. You need to consider one that will meet your needs for an extended amount of time. Otherwise, you may end up purchasing another one more quickly than you had intended.
It should have adjustable sizing to accommodate the adult’s body shape and size. This is especially true if several people will be using this backpack. You don’t want to invest in two carriers just to satisfy two people using it.
Hiking carriers generally can safely carry your child from baby to toddlerhood. As they grow, your child will sit in different positions. Newborns need a backpack that supports the desire to go into a “froggy” position. Toddlers, on the other hand, may feel safer wearing stirrups.
Invest in one with several growth stages.
Features for an Enjoyable Hiking Experience
While you are hiking, you want to be able to carry everything you need. A diaper bag and supplies are not a preferred option as they will weigh you down.
Consider backpacks with extra storage for diapers, bottles, or snacks. Examine the size and amount of storage pockets. Also look for places to carry your phone, wallet, keys, etc.
Look for carriers with a free-standing design. This will allow you to place your child down while trying to place them in the carrier. It should be solid, and easy to use.
A few “perks” like sunshades, key rings, rain covers, and drool pads can make the experience more pleasant. It will also protect the child from the elements and make them less irritable.
Additionally, the carrier should have water storage so that the adult remains hydrated. Some child carriers do come with separate water holders, however, most do not. In some models, the carrier itself is taken up by the child seat.
Select one, if possible, with hydration sleeves or water bottle holders- especially if you are going on extended hiking trips.
Make sure the product is JPMA certified. All carriers in the United States must adhere to these rules.
The carrier must be free from sharp edges, unintentional folding, and exposed springs. Each of these things can hurt your child. Some manufacturers will even put their carriers through separate testing by an independent third party.
Do Parents Need a Dedicated Hiking Carrier?
Hiking carriers are also known as child carriers. Even though you can use a regular carrier for hiking, it may not provide adequate back support for a long hike. They won’t provide your child with great scenery and setting them down will not be easy.
Also, there are many rugged terrains. This may be dangerous for the baby if they are not properly supported. In order to avoid injury, the seat must be padded, and they need to have proper head/neck support.
Hiking backpacks enable parents to carry large amounts of weight comfortably for extended periods. While it may not be effortless, hiking backpacks will offer greater support over a regular carrier.
They are also designed with a ripstop material or thread material for added durability. Ripstop is known to withstand abuse and will not rip or tear. This makes them incredibly strong and worth the initial investment.
At What Age Can You Use a Hiking Carrier?
It is recommended that you use a hiking carrier once the baby demonstrates head and neck stability. Hiking trails can be uneven, and the back-and-forth movements can damage your baby’s precious head, neck and skull.
Babies should not be jostled about as it is dangerous to them. So, it is advisable to wait until they are a bit older to take them on a hiking trail.
Tips for What to Pack on a Hiking Trip
This is a recommended list for parents who are taking their little one on a hiking trip. It is especially useful for first-time parents.
- Wipes, diaper, and a disposable bag
- Built-in changing pad
- Spare outfit for a baby (just in case)
- Bug Spray
- Snacks/sippy cup
- Phone that is completely charged
- First Aid kit
- Burp cloth, blanket to sit on, nursing cover, rain jacket for parent or child
There are many things to consider when purchasing a hiking carrier for your child. The child’s age and safety play a large role in the initial investment.
Tips for Parents
Don’t go hiking just after having a child. You may have previously enjoyed it, but your body needs time to heal itself. This usually takes six to eight weeks.
When you do finally go out, start slowly, and build your way back up. If you are tired, rest for a bit.
When you can take your child, create a checklist of things you need to take. This ensures that you have everything you need for your hike. Afterall, if you forget the formula or diapers, there will not be a Wal-Mart in sight to shop in. You will have to go back, which could end up being a while depending on where you are on your hike. Hiking with a crying baby definitely does not make the trek enjoyable!
Find baby friendly hikes to go down. Also, plan for any stops you may need to take to do a feeding or diaper change. Hiking with a baby or toddler will be slower because of the excess weight. This needs to be factored in as well.
The hike should provide some shade, so the baby won’t overheat. Remember, you may not have immediate access to support if things don’t go well. Always take extra precautions.
Dress your baby for hiking expeditions. You can use layers that will keep them warm and remove them later as necessary. Make sure they are fully covered in a lightweight material when the day is hot and sunny. The material should be breathable.
Also, the baby should wear long sleeves and pants. This will protect them from mosquitos, excess sun exposure, which can damage their skin, and any branches you may come into contact with. They should have a hat with a wide brim, sunglasses, and warm booties.
If the baby is too young, consider an all-terrain stroller. This will keep them safer until they mature enough for a hiking carrier. You will have more space, too.
Safety is the utmost concern when purchasing a hiking carrier. While there are many products that say you can take the baby hiking with them, and they are supportive, they may not be as supportive as they should be when it comes to a newborn baby.
To provide the best support for a baby, a carrier needs to properly cradle their neck, head, and provide proper lumbar support. Babies who aren’t able to control their head are going to be jostled by uneven terrain found on many hiking trails. This can be very dangerous to their overall health.
Therefore, it is not advisable for children who are unable to support their heads to go into a carrier. There are too many dangers.
You also want to consider the age combined with weight of the child. Some children are bigger than average. While they may fit into the age range, they may exceed the weight restrictions. This means that the carrier can tear or become unsafe.
For young babies, look for a carrier with an M-shape design. This will support them better. Also, choose a carrier that can grow with your child. While it may be more expensive in the short-term, you will save money over time as you will not have to invest in another carrier.
Storage is a must in a carrier. Not only for your child’s belongings and necessities, but your hydration as well. If you are going on long hikes, invest in a backpack with a hydration sleeve or bottle holders. This will keep you safe.
Since the outdoors have many variables such as wind, rain, and heat, select a carrier with preventative devices. Choose one with a sunscreen, that is waterproof, or has a canopy. The carrier should be breathable for proper ventilation and to prevent overheating in the hot sun.
Make sure your carrier protects both you and your child. Some are better than others. Also, in determining which one to purchase, look at the length and duration of your hike. Is it a short hike lasting for a half hour to hour, or one that lasts several hours? A several hour hike will require more storage space and more hydration to be effective.
Keep in mind the needs of yourself and your child. Then, choose your carrier wisely. Don’t skimp on the features if it keeps everyone safe. Safety and comfort are of the utmost importance while going hiking. Sure, you may find a cheaper brand, but will it protect you from the elements? Is it best for your child?
These are all things that need to be considered before making a purchase.