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Good, better, best: Outdoor baby carriers you’ll want to go hiking with

Hiking is a fun, family-friendly activity that gets everyone outside and exploring nature. When you have babies and toddlers, planning for a hike takes on a whole new look. Thankfully, there are baby carriers to make bringing little ones along on a hike possible, but what are the best baby carriers for hiking?

Baby carriers come in different types: Wraps, ring slings, soft-structured carriers, and child-carrier backpacks. If you’re just doing a casual walk around a paved path at a park, wraps and ring slings are fine, but structured carriers and child-carrier backpacks are better for a hiking trail. Both provide sturdy support for you and your little guy or gal and are designed for differing ages.

Soft-structured carriers are lightweight and can be worn on the hip, in front or back. This style is great for babies and toddlers. A child-carrier backpack lets you carry both your kiddo along with supplies. When deciding on any baby carrier, it’s important to consider your child’s comfort and yours, especially if you plan on taking extended hikes. Think about the areas where you’ll be hiking. Warm and humid hikes call for a carrier with a breathable fabric. If the hike is super sunny, consider a carrier with a built-in sunshade.

If there are many hikes on the calendar, take a look at these three outdoor baby carriers.

Good: Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Signature Series Child Carrier

This lightweight baby carrier is adjustable to fit moms or dads and is a great fit for the hiking trail. The minimum weight is 16 pounds, and the pack can accommodate a child up to 40 pounds. A five-point harness keeps your kiddo cozy and secure even on rough terrain. It features a built-in sunshade along with a zippered pouch for storage and zipped belt pockets for necessary items like water and smartphones. The kids will appreciate the adjustable foot stirrups and roomy seat. The carrier also sports more than one grab handle that makes putting the pack on and off easier.

Why we like it: 

  • Adjustable to fit moms or dads
  • Features a built-in sunshade and adjustable foot stirrups for your child’s comfort
  • Features ample storage space

Better: Deuter Kid Comfort Pro Child Carrier and Backpack

If you plan on going on long hikes, the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro is a better option. When empty, the backpack weighs a little over 8 pounds and is ideal for toddlers from 1 to 3 years of age. Features include a removable day pack for storage, padded, adjustable hip fins, a five-point safety harness, and a breathable mesh lining. The child-carrier backpack is unisex and a comfortable fit for both men and women. The Vari Slide adjustment system lets the wearer fit the pack’s rear length to his or her desired length. Color-coded buckles make getting your little one situated a snap. The design also includes an adjustable seat and footrests for your child, as well as an integrated sunshade.

Why we like it: 

  • Lightweight for longer hikes
  • Includes a removable day pack for storage
  • Adjustable for moms and dads; can also adjust the pack’s rear length

Best: Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier

The best option for families who really enjoy hiking short or long distances in the great outdoors is the Osprey Poco Plus. This child-carrier backpack offers a lot of the same perks as the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro, but if you require storage for longer hikes, this fits the bill. The minimum weight for this child-carrier backpack is 16 pounds. Its maximum (including child and gear) is 48.5 pounds. The baby carrier features plentiful storage as well as an integrated sunshade and removable drool pad that’s washable. Stirrups can be adjusted and removed. Its design sports a double-halo harness with front-facing arm loops. The double-halo harness makes securing and removing your child easier. The fit-on-the-fly hip belt allows the wearer to adjust the fit to his or her body type.

Why we like it: 

  • Features ample storage space
  • Features an integrated sunshade, adjustable/removable stirrups, and a removable drool pad
  • Adjustable to fit the wearer’s body type

Your family can enjoy long or short hikes with any one of these outdoor baby carriers. Each is safe and cozy for your child. If you plan on long hikes and need added storage for water, food, and all-weather extras, the Osprey Poco Plus is your best option. For walks in the park or shorter hikes, the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT is a great choice. Deuter’s Kid Comfort Pro is comfortable for the rider and wearer, making it a quality choice if you don’t need added storage.

Editors' Recommendations

Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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