You have just welcomed your little bundle of joy into the world, and what would be better than to show them the wonderful natural world with gorgeous hikes and journeys.
Keeping your back and baby safe can be a challenge when you are carrying everything you need for a hike up the mountain, but buying the appropriate backpack can make your trip a breeze. Creating family memories can be a positive experience when everyone feels both prepared and safe in nature, so start your memory off on the best foot by having the best baby hiking backpack.
Unlike before, a hiking trip is not just about having the essentials for a quick trip to the woods, having a little one along with you means you need to have a specialty backpack that can carry all your things, your baby, and be comfortable.
Luckily for you, there are many excellent options and picking the best baby carrier for hiking only requires a trip to your favorite outdoors store or even going online. In this article, we will walk you through features for comfort and safety and how to use the backpack most efficiently, you can then choose from a few of our favorite options below.
Infants vs Children: A backpack for everyone
The type of backpack you choose will need to be geared towards the age and size of your child, there are a few main differences between the two to consider when looking for the perfect backpack for you and your little one.
Before the age of 6 months old your infant is going to have different needs than an older child when headed out of the house. Rather than carrying your child on your back infant carriers allow you to cuddle the child close to your chest to keep an eye on them and still enjoy the outdoors. Some infant carriers are akin to vests, they have a snuggle compartment in the front to hold your child close, and a small backpack unit in the back.
A child carrier is best for your bundle of joy when they are six months plus, or when your kid is around 16 pounds. The carriers are distinctively different because the child rides in the back while you are supported by a hefty suspension system and plenty of padding. These backpacks have enough support for not only carrying your child but also the many things a parent needs when venturing out with a little one.
Picking the right style is only half of the battle for a good child carrier, you will also want to make sure that you have the proper support built in, special features, and of course, plenty of storage room for your kid’s favorite snacks, toys, plenty of water, and anything else for a smooth hike, walk, or stroll through nature and even around town.
Suspension and Support
As with all backpacks you want to make sure that it is adjustable and comfortable to keep you moving along the trail with no fear of injury. A good child carrier has a feature called a torso range, which allows you to adjust the built in suspension, regardless of your height you need to be able to move it up and down to carry the weight of your kid and their accessories.
A good suspension system is going to be a life savor on the trail, and are very similar to a regular backpacking bag, just with an adjustable torso range to allow you to acclimate better to the weight you are carrying.
As a parent, you know how important it is to have support to take your child to new and exciting places, your backpack should support you as well. If you are worried about all loading your baby into a backpack safely then try investing in a baby carrier with a kickstand, which is simply a bar that gives you the stability needed for situating your kid.
Other ways that your backpack can support you is with a gear handle that allows you to pick up the backpack without pulling it all the way on your back.
Having a comfortable and appropriate style backpack should be high on the list when looking for a baby carrier. But you also want to make sure that you have some additional accessories that will make your first adventures with the little one a breeze.
Storage and Extras
Any parent will tell you that going out with your babies is all about having plenty of items to keep them happy, healthy, and clean. Your backpack should be able to support you and all of the things that you need. Backpacks will have extra gear storage that you can use for diapers, food, snacks, and a change of clothes. You are going to want to have plenty of these little pockets to organize so you can use your backpack with ease on the go.
Aside from gear storage, some backpacks will have a diaper changing pad that folds out so you can happily change your little one while on the trail. You can also look for one that has a rain or sun hood to protect your baby from sun burns or shivering in the rain. There is also removable bug netting, water bladders, and extra straps.
When you are searching for extras in your bag remember that extras add extra weight, so determine what you actually need and what is your priority. Each parent is going to have different needs when picking out a backpack so assess what you normally need to keep your child happy and then add all the hiking needs as well!
Before you pick: How do I use this?
Now that you are all ready to jump on the trail with your brand new backpack you might be looking at this big bag wondering, how exactly do I use this thing? There are two different considerations when shrugging into your bag: how it fits you, and how it fits your child.
Comfortable for You
You are going to want to make sure that your backpack has a hip belt because you will be carrying the majority of the weight there. The hip belt should be able to be adjusted as you hike for maximum comfort and to also keep the weight off your shoulders and back.
Tighten the belt, and the shoulder straps before your child is placed, then take off the backpack. Making sure that you have an approximate sizing before placing the full weight on your back will make getting the right feel significantly easier.
Comfortable for the Baby
It’s not just about you being comfortable, your little on is going to need to be fitted into their little seat as well. The carriers will have legs holes for them to slide into, make sure both legs are through before adjusting. If you bought a backpack with a kickstand, then kick it down so the backpack will stand up on its own.
Even with the most stable backpack make sure it is secure before helping your little one in. Tight straps, and buckle all the safety buckles to make sure they are in tight. Some backpacks will have straps on the side to pull the child in close to your back, tighten in until the child fits snugly and make sure that the baby’s shoulders and legs are comfortable.
Once they are all strapped in you are good to go! If you are putting it on with a partner, then they can help you keep the backpack stable, lift it onto your back, and help you adjust during the hike.
*Pro Tip for Babies on the Go: babies are notorious for grabbing and pulling, so protect your ponytails or buns to avoid it getting yanked! It may seem obvious, but don’t leave your little one unattended in the carrier, they are not chairs!
Buy the Best
Now that you know what to look for and how to use it once you have the best backpack for your baby, you are ready to look what is on the market! There are many backpacks for you to choose from before you venture out into nature, so we have compiled some reviews as a starting point for your next big adventure.
Make sure that you try on the carrier, and that it is the appropriate size for the age and weight of your little one!
Deuter Kid Comfort III
Weight: 8 lbs
Dimension: 17 x 13 x 31 inches
Specific Features: This baby backpack has features for the parent and the baby’s comfort. The shoulder straps are lined with mesh to wick sweat away from you.
Instead of having a traditional drop down entry, this backpack features a side entry to the kid’s seat and even comes with a sunroof to pop up for hot days!
To make loading your kid in even more comfortable this addition features a kickstand. They include a special safety harness, a padded headrest and built-in kneepads in the frame for your baby’s comfort.
Best use: Trail hiking and walking with a child over 6 months old.
Reviewers absolutely love Deuter Kid Comfort III backpack because it focuses on both safety and comfort for the parent and the baby. With strong hip support belts, sturdy material, and support straps this backpack is built to adjust as you hike along. Parents review this as having plenty of space to store all the necessary gear for not only they child but also for them!
So what don’t customers like about this backpack? The shoulder pads on the strap are not as comfortable as some would hope, so they need to add extra pads to the backpack for a better hike.
However, the backpack is extremely adjustable, so you can adjust the shoulder straps to better accommodate the weight. Also, the bladder pocket in the back is meant for smaller water bladders and won’t fit a heftier water carrier.
Deuter Kid Comfort II
Weight: 7 lbs 3 oz
Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 28 inches
Specific Features: Made from a Micro-rip nylon and Polyex blend this bag is durable and weather resistant. It also features a comfortable side entry for the child’s seat, accessible mesh side pockets, and a fold in kickstand for easy placement and stability.
It is soft and padded in the child’s seat and against your back with reflective loops for easy gear grabbing. They have also included a brand new teddy bear for your little one!
Best use: Hiking with your children up to 35 lbs.
Deuter makes another quality backpack in this older model Deuter Kid Comfort II that features comfortable and adjustable straps for parents and children. The patent side entry allows you to place and remove your child from the back with ease and is aided by a fold in kick stand.
Because of its adjustable torso parents of all sizes can enjoy the backpack and adjust the weight to their hips. With plenty of side pockets, you can really enjoy this bag because it is easy to use and comfortable.
The only complaint people have for this pack is that there is no sun shade in this particular model, nor is there a rain cover, making it not ideal for hikes that are heavy in sun or any disturbing elements.
For this older model, Deuter does sell attachable rain shields and sun shelters that you can attach to the top of the bag. Most customers suggest staying with the excellent Deuter brand but to opt for the new model, described above.
Ergobaby Original Baby Carrier
Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 10.5 inches
Specific Features: This carrier is designed for ultimate comfort and can be transformed to carry your baby in the front, on your side, or on your back. Made from thick cotton the carrier is both soft and durable with only soft edges. It has been reinforced with plenty of lining and special stitching.
Best use: Hiking and strolling with a newborn or baby up to 20 kg.
Ergobaby Original Baby Carrier is very comfortable for parents who are going on a short day stroll with their little ones. The cotton shoulder and waist straps allow you to adjust the carrier to fit on any body type and helps you choose where you want your baby.
This is ideal for children who are too young to ride in a traditional baby backpack where they are not snuggled into your chest. As your child ages, you can move the carrier from your front to your back.
There are a few things that parents do not like about this particular carrier, mostly that the fabric does not keep them cool on long hikes. In hot weather, the carrier heats up not only the parent but the child as well. Also for an infant, you will need to purchase an additional insert to pad the child carrier seat for the proper fit.
Kelty Journey 2.0 Kid Carrier
Specific Features: This backpack is fully decked out, it features adjustable suspension, leg secure straps and a special harness for the little one!
There is plenty of storage along the sides and underneath the seat, and even has its own kickstand that pops out easily on its own.
There is an adjustable sun hood and plenty of adjustable straps, most noticeably around the waist belt and torso.
Best use: Day hikes with your 8 months to about 2-year-old child.
Kelty Journey 2.0 Kid Carrier features a lot of specialty comfort features but is also designed for easiness of use. With auto deploy, kickstands and easy adjust straps parents can use this specialty backpack solo or with a partner. Unlike our other backpacks, you can carry up to fifty pounds, meaning it can accommodate an older child or more gear!
With an adjustable torso parents of all size can use this carrier, and it is adjustable seat allows the children to either sit right at shoulder height or a little higher. The sunroof works well, and the material of the backpack is sturdy.
The main complaint of this backpack is the shoulder straps, they require a lot of adjusting in order to be comfortable for long hiking adventures. It also does not fold down easily, so you need the storage space in your home for when it is not in use. That being said, it is a well-constructed backpack that will keep your kid and your back safe!
Osprey Poco Premium
Dimensions: 29 x 15 x 17 inches
Specific Features: This backpack allows for ultimate comfort, Osprey features adjustable torso settings, ventilated hip belts and removable stirrups to support your child’s legs on long hikes.
It has an excellent suspension to keep the weight off your back and shoulders with plenty of storage and attachment loops for gear and toys. The Osprey also features sun shades, handles to grab the bag and a removable drool pad at the front!
Best use: Hiking, strolling, and even airplane travel with your little one.
Osprey Poco Premium has a lot of special features that allow you to carry your little one along with you on long travels. With an excellent support suspension system and plenty of adjustable straps, this pack is perfect for both mom and dad! What is unique about this particular option is the featured stirrups for your kid.
Having extra support will keep your kid comfortable and happy, making the adventure that much more fun! It is incredibly durable and straightforward to use.
While there is plenty of storage and compartments for all your necessary belongings some customers mention the small space for a water bladder and suggest that you keep your water storage bag under 2 liters in order for it to fit comfortably in the bag. The backpack is a bit heavier than most, so make sure to try it on first.
Kelty Pathfinder 3.0
Weight: 11 lbs
Dimensions: 32 x 16 x 14 inches
Specific Features: The Kelty’s new backpack features hydration storage, auto-deploy kickstand and adjustable seat heights!
To make your trip even more successful they included a zip off day pack and a changing pad for comfort and cleanliness. Like our other backpacks, this one also features adjustable waist belts and shoulder straps to distribute weight appropriately.
Best use: Hiking and backcountry adventures with your child.
Parents love the included diaper changing pad and zip off backpack that makes their trips more comfortable and clean. You can carry all of your belongings plus a two-liter water bladder without worrying about hurting your shoulders thanks to the adjustable padded waist strap. Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 was designed so that a solo parent could use it with ease and has plenty of safety features for your little one.
The only thing to note about this backpack is that it is heavier than most of our other options, which means it could require someone with a little more strength to load it and put it on.
Kelty Tour 1.0 Child Carrier
Dimensions: 15 x 30 x 19 inches
Specific Features: This ultralight backpack features an auto-deploy kickstand to help load your child and all of the gear you want to bring along. With padded shoulder straps and a comfortable hip belt, you can hike for hours without pain.
For safety features, Kelty installed a V-Bar roll protection, meaning the child carrier will not collapse and hurt your child. They also included No-Pinch hinges and an adjustable harness.
Best use: All day hiking with children and belongings up to 50 lbs.
This breathable and adjustable backpack is great for both mom and dad and it has plenty of storage compartments for you to organize your belongings. What makes Kelty Tour 1.0 Child Carrier stand out is all of its included safety features, ideal for rough terrain hiking, or getting to your camping destination.
It is also incredibly lightweight, which is excellent for the parent who needs to bring along a lot of additional camping or hiking gear but does not want to carry too much extra weight. Parents love this backpack for its versatility, durability, and comfortable design.
Going out to the great outdoors with your bundle of joy can be a fun and exciting adventure if you are properly prepared! Buying the best baby hiking backpack will not only keep your little one safe but will make both you and your partner more comfortable on the trail.
After you have determined which special features you need, try on the backpack for weight, sizing, and adjustability to get the perfect fit. Have we missed your favorite baby carrier? Let us know in the comments below!