After baby arrives, many parents find themselves trapped indoors. But once parents begin to feel a bit more confident leaving the safety of their home nest, enjoying the outdoors with their little one is a great way to get active and keep your baby entertained. Plus, all that fresh air is great for nap time. If you were a hiker pre-baby or you’re looking for an activity that allows a (tiny) plus one, hitting the trails is a great idea. Of course, it’s only possible to hike at the level you were used to before your cub arrived if you have the right gear. The baby-wearing element might add a new level of difficulty to hiking and backpacking, but it’s a challenge most nature junkies can’t wait to take on. To help you do that, we’ve researched the best hiking baby carriers for new parents.
When looking for hiking baby carriers, parents want a product they can rely on to keep their little ones safe. For both children’s products and outdoor gear, safety is paramount. Comfort level for both baby-wearer and “rider” is just as important, and other qualities like material, ease of use, storage, weight and value matter, too. Many carriers include ‘kickstands’ that make it easy for parents to safely load their baby in the carrier while it’s resting on the ground before strapping into the pack themselves.
We recommend hiking carriers that keep your kiddo on your back versus front-wearing. You’ll want to have full vision and attention to the front of your body as you move along trails. And if you do stumble (we know, we know –– you won’t), you’ll be able to easily catch yourself without the risk of putting your little one between you and your fall. The only disadvantage is not being able to watch your baby’s eyes widen at the mountains, trees, and sky throughout the entire journey, but there are mirrors for that!
We’ve rounded up the best hiking baby carriers so your entire tribe can hit the trails with confidence! Read on to see which ones made the cut.
1. Luvdbaby Premium Baby Hiking Backpack
While Luvdbaby isn’t a well-known outdoor brand, the baby brand nailed their hiking baby carrier. More affordable than other alternatives, this is one of the most comfortable carriers out there for both women and men, thanks to the padding and built-in support system. There are several pockets conveniently placed around this baby hiking backpack, so it’s a breeze to reach back and grab your essentials without having to take time off from the trail.
The waterproof carrier includes plenty of features you’ll also find in some of the priciest carriers on the market, like a changing pad, self-supporting aluminum stand, insulated pockets for baby bottles and food, and an easy-to-deploy sunshade.
2. Deuter Kid Comfort Active Hiking Baby Carrier
BEST FOR WOMEN
This super lightweight hiking baby carrier by Deuter was designed with women in mind. Featuring comfy foam padding and breathable hip fins for ultimate support, you won’t find another carrier on the market as comfortable for women. The S-shaped straps are thinner and fall closer together (like a racerback bra) for the ultimate fit. The seat is ultra-comfortable for little ones, too, and moms really appreciate the foot stirrups and chin rest which creates a barrier between Baby and wearer in all areas.
3. Thule Elite Sapling Hiking Baby Carrier
BEST UNISEX DESIGN
Thule, a popular baby-carrier brand, offers a top-notch hiking carrier that looks as good as it functions. The gender-neutral carrier has plenty of support for both male and female hikers thanks to the adjustable hip belt and back panel. The carrier has room for a hydration sleeve and includes a convenient viewing mirror that helps parents keep an eye on their little passenger. The Thule includes a sunshade, stand, stirrups, and storage pockets. This durable carrier also has a detachable day pack and zippered storage compartments on the hip belt and the bottom of the carrier, making this a great option for anyone with lots of stuff. So, parents.
4. ClevrPlus Cross Country Baby Hiking Backpack
BEST BUDGET BUY
It might look bulkier than other carriers, but the ClevrPlus Cross Country Baby Hiking Backpack is surprisingly lightweight. This budget buy is ideal for the family who needs a hiking baby carrier to depend on for day trips at the zoo, amusement park, or campsite trips. The padded straps, energy-absorbing hip belt, and aluminum frame offer ideal support and the sunshade with see-through sides will keep your kiddo curious and well-protected.
5. Chicco SmartSupport Baby Backpack Carrier
BEST DAY OPTION
The Chicco SmartSupport Baby Backpack Carrier features a multi-position seat and an adjustable sunshade that gives parents plenty of control over the baby-wearing hiking experience. The built-in kickstand makes loading your little one into the carrier a snap, and you’ll appreciate features (from material to overall design) that increase airflow and breathability. You’ll be making your way up the mountain while baby can sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey.
6. Osprey Poco Child Carrier
BEST FOR LONG HIKES
Whether you are hitting an all-day festival or want to do a second loop on your hiking trail, the Osprey Poco Child Carrier has the storage and comfort necessary to keep you and your child going for hours. The Poco is designed with smart and innovative features that make this a top pick carrier for parents. The built-in sunshade provides UPF 50 protection and a deluxe cockpit has extra padding and a removable drool pad to keep baby safe and comfortable. Open mesh hip belts and a lower zippered compartment provides storage for snacks and diapering essentials. We also like that the Poco has an adjustable torso to fit parents of all sizes and includes a spot for an external hydration pack for extra long hikes. When it’s time to load and unload baby, the pack has a kickstand with an audible locking mechanism that lets parents know when it’s safe to put down their carrier.
6. ClevrPlus Urban Explorer Child Carrier Hiking Baby Backpack
ATTACHABLE DIAPER BAG
For a pack that can go all day and makes it easy to distribute the carrying duties between two people, we like the Clevr Plus Urban Explorer Child Carrier Hiking Baby Backpack. Designed for children ages nine and 48 months, the lightweight carrier has a basic frame with a sun and rain canopy to keep kids protected. Padded belts and foot stirrups help your toddler remain safely in their seat and the adjustable seat means that the carrier will grow with children. The ClevrPlus, which includes a kickstand for easy loading and unloading, has zippered storage on the hip belt and lower part of the carrier. For days when parents need access to a full diaper bag, a removable diaper bag makes it easy to embark on extended trips or share the carrying duties between two adults.
8. MiaMily Hipster Smart Ergonomic Baby & Child Carrier
HELPS WITH BACK PAIN
Full-sized hiking carriers may be too cumbersome for parents who have back or hip issues. Thankfully, more carriers are being introduced with hip seats that are designed to raise little ones up and take the pressure off the lower back of parents. The MiaMily Hipster Smart Ergonomic Baby & Child Carrier isn’t a full-sized hiking carrier but it can be used rear-facing for older kids, making it a suitable option for light hikes or walks. A removable mesh layer helps to keep babies cool and the raised seat doubles as storage for parents.
9. OE Hiking Carrier for Child and Toddler
For kids who want a bird’s eye view, try the OE Hiking Carrier for Child and Toddler. The shoulder-style carrier puts kids on top of their parent’s shoulders while providing a backrest for added comfort. Safety belts help to keep little ones securely in place. Like traditional hiking carriers, the OE also features a sun and rain shade for added protection. Designed for kids ages one to five, the OE carrier includes a full-sized detachable backpack. The foldable design makes this a great option for travel and the company also offers customization for parents who require a smaller or longer pack for their body type.
10. Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier and Backpack
One of the best hiking carriers on the market is the Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier and Backpack. Unlike the other Dueter carrier on our list, which is designed specifically for women or users with a smaller frame, this option is unisex and slightly larger. Designed with long-lasting and lightweight 210 Denier Polyamide, this carrier can keep up with all-day hikes. The Aircomfort mesh back system provides added ventilation that will keep both the baby and parent feeling cool even on hot days. The durable frame helps to evenly distribute the weight of the pack and provides an added ventilation space between the wearer and the pack. Parents can adjust the length of the pack to best fit their body type and will appreciate the zippered storage pouches on the back of the carrier and the hip belt. The Deuter includes a retractable sun and rain cover and has ample padding to keep little riders comfortable and protected.
11. LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Six-Position 360° Ergonomic Baby and Child Carrier
BEST FOR LIGHT WALKS
The LÍLLÉbaby Complete is not a traditional taking carrier but allows for six positions, including back carry, which is ideal for hikes or long walks. A great all-season carrier that can be used when traveling or spending time indoors and outdoors, the LÍLLÉbaby Complete has a mesh temperature control panel to keep baby and parents comfortable as well as padded shoulder straps and padded lumbar support to help evenly distribute the weight of the carrier. The carrier does not include any extra storage or sun protection for little ones but does provide a compact and lightweight carrier option for long walks.
12. LÍLLÉbaby CarryOn Airflow 3-in-1 Ergonomic Toddler and Child Carrier
FOR BIG KIDS
Like the LÍLLÉbaby Complete, the LÍLLÉbaby CarryOn is not a traditional hiking carrier but does have benefits that are useful for anyone going on light hikes or long walks. Made specifically for older toddlers, the LÍLLÉbaby CarryOn is designed to be used in the back carry position. The carrier can handle children weighing between 20 and 60 pounds, which is heavier than most traditional carriers and even some hiking carriers. Ideal for times when parents are in places that don’t allow strollers, like some hiking trails, the LÍLLÉbaby CarryOn is a great option for parents who don’t need added storage and want a compact carrier that makes it easy to carry their child in a hands-free manner.
13. Baby Tula Coast Mesh Toddler Carrier
EASY TO USE
There are a lot of aspects of parenting that are difficult and if we’re being honest, understanding how to use a baby carrier is one of them. Whether you are using a hiking carrier or a sling, trying to get your child into a position that is safe and comfortable for them and for you without both of you ending up in tears is not easy. It takes practice, which is why we like the Baby Tula Coast Mesh Toddler Carrier. The straightforward and easy to use carrier is simple to get on and can be used in front or back. Like the LÍLLÉbaby CarryOn, the Baby Tula can be used for kids between 25 and 60 pounds, making it a great option for bringing along on extended walks or light hikes to use in case little ones get tired of walking.
14. BabyBjörn New Baby Carrier
BEST FOR NEWBORNS
Babies should not be placed in the back carry position until they are at least six months old and can sit up on their own. Most hiking carriers are designed specifically for back carry, which means it will be a few months before parents can take their newborns on a hike in their decked out carrier. Thankfully, there is the BabyBjörn New Baby Carrier. Designed for newborns all the way up to 36 months (the BabyBjörn can be used in the back carry position for older babies), the airy and lightweight carrier provides a comfortable ride for babies when parents want to go on light walks during their child’s early days. In addition to padded shoulder straps and a padded waistbelt, we also like that the BabyBjörn is easy to wash. Spit happens.