The 5 Best Hiking Baby Carriers in 2018 – Review & Guide

best hiking baby carrierYou shouldn’t have to stop hiking just because you have a new addition to the family.

Hiking baby carriers make it possible for the entire family to adventure together. You just need to match the right carrier for your needs.

Nowadays, carriers are more comfortable, supportive, and practical than ever before. Modern carriers are built to even distribute the weight on you to ensure you are comfortable, as well as the baby.

The age and weight of your child will largely influence what type of carrier is right for you. The main factor to consider is overall comfort of both yourself and your little one. We took a look at some of the industry’s top hiking baby carriers and here are our Top Picks.

Our 5 Best Hiking Baby Carriers

1. Deuter Kid Comfort 2 Hiking Baby Carrier – Best Pick

Deuter’s Kid Comfort 2 offers high levels of comfort and safety, premium build quality, and a competitive price.

This model has a sturdy metal frame that easily handles an active child, and the plush padding on the hip belt offers even more support.

The buckling process isn’t as simple as some other models, but the harness is easy to adjust to get the child into a comfortable position. It also comes with a tall back, supportive sides, and a front pad making it great for mid-hike naps.

The Comfort 2 may be a bit too expensive for those that only plan for occasional use, but it’s a great match for people who get outside a lot. It’s made with durable, high quality materials, thoughtful organization, and an easy-to-use sunshade.

Additional features for the Deuter Kid Comfort Hiking Baby Carrier

The VARIQUICK adjustable harness customizes the fit to your individual height and the forward-pull hip belt is easy to tighten. A side-entry buckle allows easy access into the child seat from the side.

It’s also equipped with comfortable grab handles, removable chin pad, and height adjustable footrests. There is a hydration pocket for a water reservoir (sold separately). In addition, it features an external mesh pocket and two front pockets.

You can also attach a sun/rain roof (sold separately), and it includes a reflective light loop. The Comfort 2 was developed with a pediatric specialist to promote a safe and healthy seating position for your child.

A wide kickstand offers plenty of stability when you need to set the carrier down. Deuter’s AirContact back systems delivers quality ventilation and breathability. It is designed with an open pore structure that pumps the exchange of air as you move.

This carrier is ideal for kids between 16 and 40 pounds that can sit up by themselves. The maximum load is 48 pounds.

Pros
  • AirContact Ventilation
  • VARIQUICK adjustable harness
  • Easy side entry
  • Wide kickstand for stability
Cons
  • Buckling process can be tricky
  • Price

2. Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Hiking Baby Carrier – Great Support

The Poco AG Plus has a great mix of features and comfort abilities. It comes with an Anti-Gravity suspension system to give maximum back support. High quality, flexible mesh on the back panel offer superior ventilation and breathability.

The fit is easily adjustable for swapping out carrying duties. The Plus also comes with a very large storage capacity of 26 liters. In addition, you will get a built-in sunshade for those bright days on the trail.

There could be a little more comfort build in to the padding on both the hip belt and shoulder straps. The angle is also a bit steep for optimum napping capabilities. However, the child harness design is super easy to use.

A fully framed and padded child seat features adjustable seat height, safety leg loops, and adjustable/removable stirrups. There is also a removable drool pad if you have a slobbery one.

More on the Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Hiking Baby Carrier

There is no shortage of pockets on this baby, including: a zippered main, extra-large lower zippered compartment, stretch-mesh shove-it pocket on front panel, a zippered slash pocked, a zippered hip belt pocket, padded hip belt pocket, dual mesh side pockets, and a stretch-mesh harness pocket.

The AG Plus is equipped with a wide base and locking foot bar, collapsible sidearm, and foot bar for storage and travel. This comes in super handy when you need to take a rest and set your child down. There are also two large grab handles for easy maneuvering.

Like the Deuter, there is a back-panel reservoir sleeve for a hydration pack, this is also sold separately. This carrier is another great option for families that hit the trail often, or at the very least hike long distances when you do hit the trail together.

Pros
  • AntiGravity suspension system
  • Plenty of storage
  • Wide kickstand for support
  • Adjustable
Cons
  • Sleeping angle slightly steep
  • Not quite as padded as others
  • Price

3. Thule Sapling Elite Hiking Baby Carrier  – Removable Daypack

Thule is best known for their car carrier systems, but they’ve made significant progress in the pack market in the past few years.

The Sapling Elite is their top-of-the-line baby carrier and includes just about every feature you could think of.

It includes a strong suspension system and highly adjustable shoulder straps and hip belt. The Elite also has a zip-off daypack, sunshade, stirrups, and two very large hip belt pockets. It has a side entry design that makes access simple.

The back panel could use an improvement on padding. It gets the job done, but isn’t quite as comfortable as the Osprey or Deuter. It’s a bit more stiff and doesn’t fit as closely. Some of the features also seem a bit unnecessary, such as the mirror in the sleeve of the hip belt pocket.

Continue Reading for the Thule Sapling Elite Hiking Baby Carrier

One great feature of this pack is the removable daypack. This could come in handy if one of you were going into town for supplies, or just as a two in one deal for trips without the kids. There are also plenty of pockets to store the essentials.

Like the Osprey and Deuter, you can purchase a separate hydration reservoir and insert in the hydration sleeve. The back panel is fully adjustable, along with the hip belt. This makes for an easy transition between parents.

Load stabilizer straps allow on-the-go adjustments to the pack’s center of gravity by pulling the child closer to the parent for a more comfortable carry. There are also deployable sunshades to keep you child cool and protected from the sun.

There are also removable stirrups that allow your child to rest their legs and readjust while on the move. The maximum load is 48 pounds. This carrier is best used if your kid can sit upright without assistance and weighs at lease 16 pounds.

Pros
  • Strong suspension system
  • Zip-off day pack
  • Side entry
  • Load stabilizer straps
Cons
  • Back panel could improve padding
  • Price

4. Luvdbaby Premium Hiking Baby Carrier  – Best Price

LuvdBaby’s Premium Baby Carrier is a budget-friendly design, perfect for you occasional an integrated sunshade, hip belt pockets, and aluminum kickstand that locks for loading and unloading.

The LuvdBaby doesn’t look or feel cheap with sturdy ripstop polyester covering the body of the pack. However, there are a few compromises for the price. The padding on the shoulder straps and hip belt is of lower quality.

Additionally, the all-mesh sunshade doesn’t provide as good of protection as the solid materials used on the designs above. But if you’ll be sticking to short day hikes or are willing to compromise a bit on overall quality, the LuvdBaby backpack offers a competitive feature set at a reasonable price.

This pack includes safety straps and stirrups for a worry-free hike. The height is adjustable for ultimate comfort and back support, as well as a load bearing belt to evenly distribute the weight. There are plenty of pockets for storage so you never have to worry about not being equipped for your little one.

There is even an insulated pocket for your baby’s bottle. The carrier also includes a removable day pack for separate use. Another great design of the Luvdbaby is the foldable diaper pad for clean changes on the go.

This carrier is made of quality materials and is waterproof. It also comes with a strong and stable kickstand. This is a great carrier for an affordable price.

Pros
  • Price
  • Waterproof
  • Adjustable height
  • Insulated bottle pocket
Cons
  • Padding could be improved
  • Sunshade could be improved

5. Ergobaby 360 All Carry Hiking Baby Carrier – Lightest Weight

The Ergobaby 360 is a classic choice with a comfortable waistband and a number of carrying options for your child. For hiking purposes—and when the baby is old enough to hold up their own head—the rear backpack-style position is ideal for the trail.

This carrier is also compact in size, which makes it much easier to haul around than a typical child carrier. One downside is there isn’t a frame system in place, so it can become uncomfortable over extremely long distances.

There are also no exterior pockets. The baby sits a bit closer to you, which doesn’t help in breathability. However, it does include an easy to adjust bucket seat that supports you child in an ergonomical “M” position.

This carrier also includes exceptional lower back support with a wide wrap-around waistband. The padded shoulders help to evenly distribute your child’s weight. There is a bit of ventilation due to the durable mesh design.

It is also equipped with a UPF 50+ tuck-away hood for sun and wind protection. This is detachable and machine washable.

There are multiple carry positions: baby face in or face out. You can also wear this carrier on your hip or on your back. It offers a custom fit that easily adjusts to your needs, as well as multiple wearers.

Pros
  • Multiple carrying positions
  • Bucket seat
  • Great lower back support
  • Compact size
Cons
  • No frame system
  • No exterior pockets
  • Baby sits close to you

Choosing the Best Hiking Baby Carriers

There are many factors to consider when looking into hiking carriers for your child.

The main thing is your child’s age and weight, as well as how long you intend to hike. Let’s take a look at some key factors:

Weight

Weight is probably one of the most important elements of your carrier. You have to factor in the weight of the actual carrier, your child’s weight, and any items you may be carrying with you.

Obviously don’t forget to pack any of the essentials such as diapers, toys, snacks, food, phones, sunscreen, wallets, change of clothes, etc.

All of this will eventually add up, especially with a wiggling child on your back. So be sure that your pack isn’t too heavy on it’s own, yet durable enough to handle all of the weight you’ll be carrying.

Carrying Weight

Another key factor is the carrying weight. This is the load that your carrier can actually handle. As mentioned above, you could end up carrying a lot depending on the length of your hike.

Make sure that your carrier can handle the load, especially if you plan to use it for long distances.  Having a carrier with a larger weight capacity also ensures that you can get extended use out of your carrier as your child grows.

Storage

Again, if you’re hiking with a baby you don’t want to be out on the trail realizing you forgot something important. If you will be hiking long distances make sure that you have enough space to bring all essential items.

Back Support

Quality back support is well worth the investment. It will definitely take a toll on you after a long hike if your carrier doesn’t provide optimum support. You want this to be a family outing that you all can enjoy, so don’t put yourself through pain.

Sun Visor

It is really important you keep your child protected from the heat and the sun’s rays. You won’t always be traveling through a patch of shady trees, so make sure you are prepared.

There little skin and eyes are sensitive, sometimes sunscreen on its own is not enough. Many of today’s carriers offer detachable sun and rain shades.

Our Final Review for Best Hiking Baby Carriers

Don’t give up on your love for the trail just because you are a parent now. Hiking is a great family activity and you can begin to install the love for the outdoors in your child at a young age.

Be sure to consider how long you plan to hike, as well as how often. If you go a lot, you’ll want to invest in a carrier that your child can grow into. This way you don’t have to buy a new one every growing season.

Also, make sure your pack is easily transferable to another person for trading off carrying duties. You’ll definitely want to take a break on long hikes. Overall, when hitting the trails consider comfort, safety, and support above all.

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