Women hiking with a baby hiking backpack on

Best Baby Hiking Carriers of 2018: Super Comfortable Baby Hiking Backpacks

The best way to share your love for the outdoors with the little ones in your life is to get outside with them and let them experience the beauty and magic of mother nature with their own two eyes. Walking hand in hand with a little one is slightly difficult, especially when walking is not even an option. Lucky for us, walking is not their only option!

Just like their larger counterparts, children love to explore their worlds. Whether it’s the great outdoors, theme parks, or a brisk walk through the park. A stroller can work for certain concrete outings with Mom and Dad, however, when it comes to hiking and backpacking strollers become more of a burden.

Children can get fussy from a rocky ride, killing the zen-like vibe of an adventure. Instead of compromising a parent’s need for exercise and exploration, baby backpacks are here to save the day.

Benefits of baby hiking backpacks

A child’s early years are filled with rapid development (source). The more a child explores their world, the more curiosity and security a child develops. In the first few years of life, children soak up a huge amount of information.

Experiences are the most effective way for young children to process new information (source). The more a child can safely explore new terrain, the more comfortable a child will be to explore when they are older.

The more active a child is, the more a child needs to sleep. On top of this logic, the physically closer a child is to their parent, the less stress a child endures. Touch is a magical thing as it lowers stress levels in a young child (source) and provides other benefits such as better weight gain and neural development, and less crying.

Without having to worry about finding a sitter, parents have much more freedom to continue doing what they love. With their child on their back, parents have their hands free for whatever they want to do on their adventure.

After nine months of pregnancy, mothers need help shedding the extra weight they have accumulated. Carrying a baby on their backs makes their hike more strenuous, making shedding a few extra pounds much more enjoyable.

Advantages of hiking backpacks

  • Aids in cognitive and social development
  • The baby will sleep better and cry less
  • Touch lowers stress levels
  • More freedom for parents
  • Helps mothers shed pregnancy weight

A young baby sitting in a hiking backpack looking at the camera

Baby hiking backpack buying guide

There are a number of factors that go into finding the right baby hiking backpack for you. Children can get fussy quickly, so taking a little time to ensure that every box is checked is going to make all parties involved happy and comfortable.

How old is your baby?

It is recommended that your baby is able to fully hold its head and neck to safely ride in a backpack (around 6 months old). If your baby is too young to hold its head and neck, it is better to carry the baby on your chest with a sling so the child can use your chest for head and neck support.

Some baby hiking backpacks are adjustable to the child’s height and can be adjusted to the child as they grow, however, the heavier your child is the more you should seek to distribute the weight on your body. The best designs are those that put more weight on your hips than your shoulders, putting less stress on the parent’s back.

How many miles are you hiking?

For the serious hiker covering lots of miles, having the ability to comfortably carry your child will make the difference between a long and enjoyable trip rather than a short and miserable one.

Finding a pack that will rest comfortably on your back for hours without too much stress on your lower back and hips is crucial. Turning around is always an option but will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

What kind of frame should I buy?

If possible, it is a great idea to try on the backpack you are planning to buy. The backpack should not be too large or too small for you. If there is a hip or chest strap, make sure the strap is not too far above or below the hips or chest.

Some frames are made with aluminum to maintain a supportive yet light frame. These are better for longer hikes.

If a parent is concerned for their child developing hip dysplasia (the misalignment of a baby’s hips occurring during development), purchase a backpack with a wider seat and stirrups for their feet.

NO:     YES:

For more information on preventing hip dysplasia, visit https://hipdysplasia.org

Are there safety features?

Falling out of a backpack may make a child uncomfortable with hiking and can lead to injury. We suggest you find a backpack with a 5-point harness (two straps for the shoulders, two straps for the thighs, and one strap for the crotch). Relying on only a waist strap could enable your child to wiggle out of the backpack.

The straps and openings for the baby should have a snug fit, and be tight enough so the child cannot slip out.

Side Note: Never bend at the hip with a child loaded in a backpack. This can dump a child over your head and onto the ground. Instead always bend at the knees when carrying a child on your back.

Is there rain and sun protection?

Children need to be protected from rain, wind, and sunshine as their skin and eyes are sensitive. Canopies are useful to protect your child from the elements but are not all made equal.

Be sure to check that the backpack’s canopy fully covers your child, and provide a hat and sunscreen in case they hang outside of the canopy.

Is the pack adjustable for child growth?

Some manufacturers make backpacks that can adjust to your child as they grow. However, always check the weight range of each backpack before purchasing it.

All backpacks you purchase should have adjustable straps for both the carrier and the child, but make sure that the child’s straps cannot be easily loosened by the rider. If your little one loosens their straps by themselves, they can risk falling out of the pack.

Are there enough pockets?

Bringing your little ones on a hike involves more than simply throwing them on your back. You want to ensure that the pack has ample storage for everything the baby might need. All of the backpacks have pockets, some more than others.

The primary storage is in the front of the pack and this is designed to hold diapers, towels, and any extra clothing you plan on bringing. There is smaller pockets on the sides of the pack and some even have insulated pockets for bottles.

Is the baby hiking backpack well ventilated?

Ventilation is key, especially in the summer months. A good baby hiking backpack will have ventilation both along the panel in the back, as well as, around the child’s seat. The best baby hiking backpacks will have mesh panels for increased airflow.

The best baby hiking backpacks of 2018

These baby hiking backpacks are designed to make your transition to life on the trail with a child seamless. Here are the 7 best baby hiking backpacks of 2018.

Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier

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Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier
97 Reviews
Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier
  • A lightweight aluminum frame fully supports the load and provides a stable platform to set the child carrier down
  • With 6 inch/15cm of torso adjustment, the poco ag Series can be quickly and easily custom Fitted to a variety of adult users while on the trail
  • The adjustable double halo harness and child seat is surround by a fully framed and padded Cockpit for safety
  • The built-in sunshade deploys quickly and easily from a dedicated zippered pocket. Max Load: 48.5 pounds

Osprey is a juggernaut in the hiking world and developed a backpack that is perfect for the outdoor loving parent. A sore back is a big problem when carrying a child on your back and Osprey designed this backpack to mitigate most back pain.

There is a lightweight aluminum frame that increases load (your child’s) stability with a mesh back to limit excessive sweating. This is one of the few packs that include a mirror for keeping an eye on your little one. The sunshade sits in a zipped pocket that is easily extended when the sun becomes an issue.

The pack is adjustable meaning that it will accommodate the growth of your child so you can plan on using it for multiple seasons.

Pros

  • Stable load
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Easy adjustment

Cons

  • The hip belt is hard
  • High price point
  • The rain cover can get stuck

LuvdBaby Premium Baby Backpack

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LuvdBaby Premium Baby Backpack
185 Reviews
LuvdBaby Premium Baby Backpack
  • CARRY YOUR KIDS SAFELY AND COMFORTABLY: Your child will be carried safely in his padded cocoon with safety straps and stirrups. The Baby Backpack also has a removable stowable sun visor that shields your little one from the elements
  • BABY BACKPACK WILL PROECT YOUR BACK AS YOU CARRY YOUR CHILD: You may be carrying your baby or toddler for hours at a time. We have designed our baby back carrier to be height adjustable. The straps are heavily padded and the belt is load bearing to spread your precious cargos weight
  • MULTIPLE POCKETS + INSULATED POCKET FOR BOTTLE: We know how much gear goes with you and your baby so we have designed our carrier with multiple pockets specifically for you and your child. There are mesh pockets on the outer surfaces plus a large pocket on the back. The Waist belt has pockets for your phone and keys and there is an insulated pocket for baby's bottle.
  • DIAPER CHANGING PAD: We know that when your little one has to go, they have to go. We have even included a foldable diaper pad for on the go changes. Place your child on it and you have a clean safe surface in all outdoor environments

The LuvdBaby Hiking Backpack is lightweight and remains balanced throughout the hike, even when your child is bouncing around and can’t sit still. It’s comfortable enough for your baby to sleep in, can store all of their supplies, and includes an insulated pocket for milk.

Parents with children who struggle to nap fall right asleep in this carrier and the pack are snug enough that your child won’t be able to wriggle out. It comes with a sun and rain shade, stirrups, and adjustable straps for the baby’s chest, hips, and crotch.

Pros

  • Breathable mesh
  • Lots of pockets
  • Adjustable

Cons

  • Rare manufacturing issues
  • No water bottle holder
  • Side padding moves easy

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Kid Carrier

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Kid Carrier
13 Reviews
Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Kid Carrier
  • Kelty pathfinder child carrier provides easy-access adjustable suspension system assures a perfect fit for all! our leg-secure straps and 5-point harness keep your little one nestled in place
  • Features Zip-off day pack, diaper changing pad, under seat storage, and hydration compatible you'll be ready to experience the backcountry together in no time
  • Child stays comfortable with padded adjustable-height child's seat and an includes a sun hood to keep the sun at bay
  • Patented auto-deploy kickstand, with no-pinch hinges, provides a safe platform for loading and unloading your child

The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Kid Carrier is a luxury baby hiking backpack that has all the features of a premium baby hiking backpack (with a premium price). It’s a JPMA certified backpack which means it has been thoroughly tested and approved for use by young children.

It comes with a 5 point adjustable harness that easily locks into place and comes with stirrups for your child’s feet. The quick suspension system is speedy and user-friendly so you can easily distribute and quickly find the perfect fit.

There is a sun hood to protect your child’s head from the sun, a removable daypack, and hydration bladder ready compartment. It’s full of features that make your hike both safe and comfortable.

Pros

  • 50-pound weight limit
  • Lightweight frame
  • Easy torso adjustment

Cons

  • Sunshade not removable
  • Packs down large
  • Kickstand high from the torso

Baby Backpack Cross Country Carrier

Baby Backpack Cross Country Carrier
370 Reviews
Baby Backpack Cross Country Carrier
  • Upgraded foot straps for more support! Strong but lightweight, aluminum frame, weighs only 5.1 LBS
  • Retractable canopy protects child from Sun and Rain
  • Padded straps and hip belt with energy-absorbing lumbar padding keeps you cool, comfortable, and secure
  • Ideal for Children Between 6 months-4years old (MAX Child Weight: 33LBS approx.)

The Baby Back Pack Cross Country Carrier includes a retractable sun and rain shield, ample storage, food stirrups, and a plethora of padding in the shoulder and hips.

This backpack can be adjusted to multiple frames, making it extremely versatile. The pack is comfortable enough for your baby to sit comfortably for several miles. However, it’s difficult to secure your gear in the pack, which may be a problem if your child gets a kick out of throwing things (and who doesn’t).

One of the best parts of this baby hiking backpack is the versatility in age groups. It works well from a baby all the way up to 50 pounds comfortably.

Pros

  • Comfortable for both
  • Lower price
  • Large storage compartment

Cons

  • Low-quality stitching/zippers
  • Doesn’t keep gear secure
  • Doesn’t fit short people well

Deuter Kid Comfort 2

Deuter Kid Comfort 2
67 Reviews
Deuter Kid Comfort 2
  • JPMA CERTIFIED FOR SAFETY - Independently tested to exceed state and federal safety guidelines; Soft padded 5-point safety harness adjusts to the child's size and height; Developed with a pediatric specialist to promote safe, healthy sitting position; Wide kickstand offers stability when pack is set down
  • MAXIMUM VENTILATION - Deuter's innovative AirContact back system delivers a body-hugging fit paired with unmatched breathability; The large open pore structure of the AirContact pads performs a pump effect, whereby every movement prompts the exchange of air moving warmth and moisture away from the body; The result: 15% less perspiration than with other body-contour packs
  • COMFORTABLE FOR KIDS & PARENTS - Step-in side access makes it simpler to get kids in and out of the carrier; Soft chin pad provides optimum support for little ones to rest or nap and is removeable and washable; Height-adjustable footrests keep little legs warm and promote circulation; An aluminum frame pairs up with ergonomic, padded hip belt and load adjustment straps for optimal load transfer and stability
  • FULLY ADJUSTABLE - VariFit system easily adjusts to the exact length of the wearer's back, perfect for quickly swapping the pack between mom and dad without first having to remove child from the carrier; Anatomically shaped, pivoting VariFlex hip wings follow your every movement, even on steep or uneven terrain; S-shaped shoulder straps relieve neck strain

The Deuter Kid Comfort 2 is a great choice for the serious hiker. This backpack has plenty of storage and is designed to fit hikers of all sizes. It has plenty of ventilation for those hot summer days, as well as a pore structure in the padding that facilitates airflow to your child.

The backpack is fully adjustable in nearly every part of the pack, making the switch from mom to dad a breeze. There are handles on both sides that make the pack safe to lift with a child in tow.

In addition, it includes extra features such as a stand-alone kickstand, padded belts, and a 5-point safety harness. With a 48-pound carrying capacity, it will work for years depending on how fast your child grows.

Pros

  • Comfortable for both
  • Lower price
  • Large storage compartment

Cons

  • Low-quality stitching/zippers
  • Doesn’t keep gear secure
  • Doesn’t fit short people well

Phil & Ted’s Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier

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Phil & Ted's Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier
116 Reviews
Phil & Ted's Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier
  • COMPACT & LIGHT - weighs only 4.4 lbs, maximum load - 18kgs / 39.7lbs
  • FREE STANDING - Internal aluminum frame & stand allows it to be freestanding while you load up and folds flat for storage
  • COMFORTABLE - Active-ergo fit harness system with padded shoulder & hip belts is easy to wear and comfortable with breathable, molded air-tech mesh back for cooling while contouring to your spine
  • ADJUSTABLE - Easily adjustable parent & child harnesses for a secure fit to different bodies & ages along with tough, washable, waterproof, high-grade fabrics

Phil and Ted’s Lightweight Backpack Carrier is both lightweight and comfortable. It includes enough space for all the important things a young child needs. It also breaks down to lay flat, meaning that taking it on a plane or in a car easy.

Children have plenty of room and good visibility in this pack. This is a great pack for beginners due to its ease of use and the stand-alone kickstand, which lets parents set their children down without having to take them out.

Pros

  • Comfortable for both
  • Lower price
  • Large storage compartment

Cons

  • Low-quality stitching/zippers
  • Doesn’t keep gear secure
  • Doesn’t fit short people well

Be Mindful Hiking Child Carrier

Be Mindful Hiking Child Carrier
29 Reviews
Be Mindful Hiking Child Carrier
  • COMES WITH TRAVEL BAG + HYDRATION PACK + REMOVABLE TODDLER BACKPACK: Our simple travel bag protects and stores the baby carrier while at home or while traveling. When stored in our Travel bag Retro Scout will fit in the overhead compartment of most commercial airliners. The Retro Scout hydration pack stores neatly inside of the backpack and is ergonomically convenient. Retro Scout offers a zip up & removable backpack w/ leather straps that is suitable for a toddler to young child (ages 3 - 10).
  • HOW IT LOOKS AND FEELS MODEL SIZES: As shown model (mom) size 8 with jean size 28. (Retro Scout will fit a waist size 27 - 40). Baby model is 2 years old and 28 lbs. Retro Scout is suitable for babies from 6 months (must be able to hold head up on their own) to 4 years (no more than 40 lbs).
  • HIGHLY ADJUSTABLE - ERGONOMIC BY NATURE: Parent: Adjusts at waist; chest; shoulder straps; torso length adjustment. BABY: seat height; depth; stirrup length; 5 point harness (waist, shoulders). SAFETY: Backpack was safety tested for fall hazard, fire hazard, lead and other baby carrier related safety concerns by a CPSA certified lab.
  • RISK FREE - if you are not absolutely IN LOVE with your Retro Scout backpack, send it back for a full refund including shipping.

The Be Mindful-Hiking Child Carrier Backpack offers both comfort and storage. The pack comes with a duffle bag to store the backpack, a changing pad, 3L water storage, an insulated pocket,  a sunshade, rain guard, and a kickstand.

This pack sits comfortably on the back, is well padded, and had plenty of pockets for all your baby-related gear. The insulated pocket comes in handy when you want to keep a bottle or snacks at the desired temperature.

Pros

  • Lots of pockets
  • Very comfortable
  • Includes feet stirrups

Cons

  • Durability issues
  • Flimsy buckles
  • Doesn’t fit those under 5’3”

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