If you love hiking and want to enjoy it with your baby or toddler then a suitable baby carrier is a must. Hiking baby carriers are specially designed for carrying babies and young children across long distances, offering comfort and support for both parent and child.
However, choosing the best hiking baby carrier isn’t always easy. With so many styles and features available, knowing which ones are best for you and your child often requires some research.
After all, the last thing you want is to buy a baby carrier for hiking only for you to discover that it’s very uncomfortable or doesn’t offer enough support. So, taking the time to find the best product for your needs is very important. Check out the buying guide below for all the info you need to buy the best baby carrier for hiking!
Hiking Baby Carrier Buying Guide
There is a fair amount to consider when choosing a hiking baby carrier. You want to find a backpack that ticks all the boxes for what you need, which may differ from parent to parent. For instance, if you plan on hiking alone then you may need a different carrier compared to someone hiking with a group of friends.
Many features to look out for apply to most buyers, although there are some things that you may need that others don’t, which is why we’ve tried to cover as much as possible in this guide.
Front Loading or Back Loading
One of the firs things to consider with a carrier is the type. Thankfully, there are only two types of hiking baby carrier, although each design comes with countless variations that makes each one quite unique.
However, you can easily categorise a carrier as either front loading or back loading. As each of the names suggest, front loading carriers have the child carried at the front of your body while back loaded carriers see them supported at your back.
Both have their pros and cons, but it’s worth noting that most front loading carriers are intended for babies up to six months old. As back loading carriers have more support, they are intended for kids up to 3 years old, although many are designed to accommodate babies too.
Similarly, some front loading carries are also suitable for children over six months, although this isn’t guaranteed so always make sure to check before you buy.
Framed or Non-Framed
You will find that baby carriers for hiking are either framed or non-framed. Framed carriers are usually found in back loading types, with the frame offering additional support to carry heavier children.
This also makes them better suited for long hikes lasting several hours, as the extra support ensures parent and child remain comfortable during these longer excursions. They are also naturally larger backpacks because of the framing, so you tend to get more storage space with framed carriers.
Non-framed carriers are usually front loading types, making them suitable for babies up to six months old. These are ideal for shorter hikes that don’t require as much exertion
The straps are one of the most important features on a carrier so choose them carefully. They are responsible for distributing the baby’s weight and anything else you carry, so play a big role in your overall comfort when hiking.
Obviously, any hiking carrier should have strong and durable straps, but you should also look out for things like adjustability and padding. Adjustable straps are always recommended as they allow you to get the perfect position for even weight distribution, which is important when hiking any distance with a child in tow.
Also, padding is highly recommended to avoid the straps digging into your shoulders. Nobody wants to hike long distances with their baby with aching shoulders, so make sure there is sufficient padding to avoid this problem.
Wide straps are a good idea too. While not essential, they further improve weight distribution to make the load even lighter.
The weight capacity of the carrier is an important consideration - you need to ensure it’s strong enough to carry your child!
Maximum weight capacity is clearly indicated on most carriers. The capacity is often around 20kg, which is suitable for babies up to six months and toddlers of around 3 years. This may vary depending on the weight if the child of course!
Buying a carrier with additional weight capacity is a good idea because your child will continue to grow, so if you want to get as much use from the product as possible it’s worth having extra weight capacity before you need it.
Some carries have additional support features for extra comfort. For instance, a backpack style carrier with lumbar provides support for the lower back, making fatigue less of an issue during those longer hikes in the wilderness.
Additional support is highly recommended for people dealing with sore backs and similar aches and pains. This feature provides even more weight distribution to avoid any injury and keeping you comfortable for longer.
A hiking baby carrier needs to offer storage beyond that for your child. You’ll need space for various supplies for your baby, including nappies, wet wipes, baby powder, waste bags etc. Not only that, you probably need space to store your owns supplies too, such as water, food, and other hiking essentials.
That said, not everyone requires the same storage space. For instance, if you plan on hiking as part of a group or with your partner, there is less need for storage in the carrier as someone else can take suppliers in their backpack.
Be sure to consider who you plan on hiking with and the volume of supplies you usually take, as this makes finding suitable storage options much easier.
The position and comfort of your baby is vital when hiking, so choosing a carrier with an appropriate seat is a must. Adjustable seats are a great choice because they provide more flexibility, letting you get the right position each time for your child’s safety and comfort.
This feature is also handy as your child grows, allowing you to adjust the seat as they grow so you can continue to hike with the carrier. It’s a good way to ensure it lasts for several years!
Of course, ample padding is also important for any child seat, although most carries come with this anyway.
Still, extra padding is never a pad thing, especially when carrying babies. Safety belts are another useful feature to look for in the seats, working to keep your child firmly in place, which is great when walking on rough and uneven terrain.
Products with multiple carry positions are a great buy as they offer more versatility. The more positions available the easier it is to find one suitable for your child, which is especially important for babies that require the perfect position to remain safe and comfortable.
In fact, there are many carriers that have both front and back loading carry positions. These are great for ensuring your carrier lasts much longer, as you can adjust the carry position to accommodate the age and size and your child.
Protection from the Weather
Hiking is always fun but the weather is never guaranteed to be good, so buying a pack that offers protection from the elements is worthwhile. This doesn’t just include the rain, as the sun can be just as dangerous to your child if exposed during long hikes.
Most carry packs offer some degree of protection from rain and wind. For instance, a removable sun shade and rain protector covers your child from both wet and warm conditions but can be stored when not needed, making it a very useful feature to look for.
Any hiking baby carrier needs breathable fabrics for ventilation. Both you and your child will suffer without enough ventilation, especially during warmer days, so look for a pack that offers optimal air flow to avoid overheating and excessive sweating.
Mesh fabrics are typically the best for ventilation so look out for this on the carrier, particularly around the front or back panels.
Durability and Maintenance
The best baby carriers for hiking are durable and easy to maintain. Hiking is usually a messy experience, so you want a carrier that is relatively easy to clean, otherwise stains and odours quickly develop. Machine washable packs are a good option for this reason!
Also, stronger fabrics and a generally robust design is always worthwhile. You don’t want the product to start falling apart after using it a few times, so always keep an eye out for durable materials and a tough design to prevent this.
Hiking Baby Carriers Reviews
FA Sports Lil'Boss Kids Hiking Child Carrier
- Back loading seat with safety belt
- Framed design
- Adjustable and padded straps
- Large removable storage bag and mesh pockets
- Removable rain/sun cover
The Lil’Boss Kids Carrier is back loading hiking carrier suitable for children up to three years of age. As a framed design is suitable for heavier loads and longer excursion with your child, while padding around the hip and shoulder straps ensure both you and your child are safe and comfortable.
A nice addition to this carrier is a soft-padded chin pad that your child can rest on. Kids often kid tired during those long hikes, so giving them something comfortable to rest on is an impressive feature. You can remove this pad and wash it as needed too.
To ensure your child is protected from the elements, the carrier includes a removable sun and rain cover. This sits above your child to offer the upmost protection from rain and excessive sunlight, although you can easily fold it down whenever it isn’t needed.
There is ample carrying space in the bag for your supplies too. For instance, below the child seat is a large pouch that offers plenty of carrying space, while you can remove this from the pack if not needed. Mesh pockets are found at the sides and back of the carrier too, so you should never struggle to find space for your hiking supplies.
XTELARY Baby Toddler Hiking Backpack Carrier
- Back loading seat with four-point safety belt
- Framed design - can be left on flat surfaces
- Multiple pockets and removable backpack
- Retractable rain and sun cover
- 22kg maximum weight capacity
The XTELARY Baby Toddler Backpack is a versatile carrier suitable for children aged 6 months to four years, so expect to get plenty of years use from it.
As a back loading design, it is perfect for heavier loads and longer hikes, coming with an impressive maximum weight capacity of 22kg.
Add in the metal frame that further distributes the weight and you have one strong carrier suitable for any occasion. This frame is also useful for storing your pack or changing your child’s nappy, as the frame rests on flat surfaces and keeps the pack elevated.
There is a lot padding and strapping to keep everyone safe, secure, and comfortable during hikes. For example, the baby seat has a four-point safety belt with shoulder strap, pillows at the front and back, and a padded seat that is completely adjustable. There is also a retractable rain and sun cover that keeps out the rain and sun when needed.
For adults, the hip strap is heavily padded and adjustable, as are the shoulder straps. You also get a removable rucksack for additional storage, while there is also a large storage bag at the base of the backpack and various side pockets.
LITTLELIFE Ranger Child Carrier
LITTLELIFE Ranger Child Carrier
- Adjustable back loading seat with extra padding
- Tubular aluminium frame
- Padded shoulder and hip straps
- Suitable for children aged 6 months to 3 years
- 20kg maximum weight capacity
The Ranger Child Carrier is a lightweight backpack carrier with lots of padding to keep parents and children comfortable during long walks and hikes.
Although a back loading design, the seat is completely adjustable so suitable for children of varying ages, typically around 6 months to 3 years. The child is secured in place using the extra padded straps that offer plenty of comfort, as does the padded seat. The X-buckle harness design ensures they remain firmly in place without feeling too uncomfortable
An aluminium tubular frame also helps to distribute the weight of the pack while making it easy to sit it down on a flat surface. This also functions as a foot anchor point at the base that makes it easy to place your child in position and fasten them in.
To ensure you remain comfortable during hikes the shoulder and hip straps feature extra thick padding and are all individually adjustable to find the right fit. The hip strap also features a few side pockets for additional storage, although there isn’t much more storage available beyond this.
All Seasons 360 Ergonomic Baby Carrier
- Front and back loading with six adjustable positions
- Temperature controlled panel keeps cool or warm
- Padded 2-way crossable shoulder straps
- Padded waistband and lumbar support
- Adjustable chest straps for breastfeeding
The All Seasons 360 Ergonomic Baby Carrier is possibly the most versatile product available. It’s designed with a growing baby in mind, letting you easily adjust the positing of the carrier as they get bigger, with an incredible six different positions to choose from.
This includes front facing for babies, infants, and toddlers, back facing, hip facing, and facing outwards. It makes the product suitable for many years as your child grows, letting you adjust the M-shaped seat’s height and positioning as required.
All straps are heavily padded and ergonomically designed for child and parent comfort. These are also adjustable to change the position as the child grows, while the cross shaped design ensures even weight distribution and no stress on your shoulders. Lumbar support also helps avoid back pain, so it’s a very comfortable carrier to use for parents.
The carrier material is also very breathable, helping to keep both of you warm or cool depending on the weather. In fact, the materials in general are suitable for all seasons, so you can use it throughout the year!
Ergobaby Baby Carrier
- Front loading adjustable M-shape seat
- Suitable for babies and toddlers
- 20kg maximum weight capacity
- Machine washable
The Ergobaby carrier is designed for carrying new born babies but an adjustable seat makes it suitable for them as they grow bigger. With a 20kg maximum weight capacity and three different seat positions, expect this carrier to be suitable even when they’re a toddler!
An M-shaped seat is designed to sit the child in a safe manner and adjusts as they grow. It can be used in front facing, back facing, and hip positions, allowing you to find the ideal spot for keeping your baby or toddler safe and comfortable.
Because it is mainly designed for new born babies there is lots of padding around the head and neck for them to rest against. A pull-out hood is also included to protect them from the sun or rain, while you can use this for additional privacy if breast-feeding with the carrier.
Shoulder straps come with thick padding, while a lumbar support is also included for your comfort. If you’re on the smaller side the criss-cross straps are adjustable, so finding a secure position for petite parents is easy enough.
Baby Carriers for Hiking