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Top 5 Best Baby Carriers For Hiking Reviewed – 2018

Take Your Little One With You Hiking With These Baby Backpacks

Hiking is a fun family activity, and there’s no reason having a baby or toddler needs to slow you down. Toting your little one on your on back is the only realistic way to go.

Luckily the best baby backpacks on the market that don’t just free up your hands, but provide lots of storage and other features to ensure you have a good time on the trail.

Baby carriers have come a long way since the days when our parents hauled us on their backs in those rudimentary canvas-lined carriers. Nowadays baby carriers offer all kinds of cool features and accessories.

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Hiking Baby Backpacks For 2018

  1. Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier
  2. Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier
  3. Clevr Cross Country Baby Backpack
  4. Deuter Kid Comfort 2
  5. phil&teds Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier

We’ve reviewed the 5 top rated hiking baby carriers (in our humble opinion), followed by a comparison table and buying guide to help you decide on the one that will work best for you and your family.

Best Hiking Baby Carriers

 Thule Sapling EliteOsprey Packs Poco AGClevr Cross Country
editorschoice
Weight:7.9 lbs7.67 lbs5.1 lbs
Max Weight:48 lbs48.5 lbs33 lbs
Hydration:Reservoir sleeveReservoir sleeveNo
Self-Standing:YesYesYes
Detachable Pack:YesNoNo

Hiking Baby Carrier Reviews

The Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier is a sturdy, well-designed baby carrier. It’s full of features and places to tuck away essentials for your baby while hiking.

Storage areas include a hydration reservoir sleeve (the hydration bladder is sold separately) and various pockets to tote along snacks, sunblock, and other necessities.

There’s a generously sized pocket under the seat, as well as a backpack behind the seat, which together can handle a lot of cargo.

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It has a built-in sunshade to for protection on sunny days and a rain cover can be purchased separately. We would have liked the sunshade to be accessible while wearing the carrier, but you have to take it off in order to reach and install it.

A handy viewing mirror is included with this Thule model, so you can regularly check on baby and see what he’s up to.

We like the thoughtful stirrups which allow your child to adjust herself, and they’re removable if your baby isn’t old enough to use them.

The seat of the hiking baby carrier is adjustable so that you can alter the height and width in order to ensure a more comfortable fit, depending on your child’s size. The padding in the seat is plush, yet firm.

For parents’ ease, there’s a kickstand which allows you to load your child into the carrier before putting it on. The waist belt has a sliding-adjustment system, as are the chest straps.

It’s very easy to adjust while still on so that you can take a break and have someone else tote baby for awhile.

This carrier’s fabric seems durable and is easily spot-cleaned, which we all know is essential when kids are in the mix!

Thule did an exceptional job in their design and is our Editors Choice for the best hiking baby carrier, one that appears to take into account not only the comfort of mom and dad, but that of baby too.

 

Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier at a Glance:

  • Hydration reservoir sleeve
  • Removable backpack
  • Hipbelt pockets
  • Fold out kickstand
  • Load-stabilizer straps
  • Viewing mirror
  • Deployable sunshade
  • Weight 7.9 lbs
  • Maximum load 48 lbs

The Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier is another quality baby hiking backpack we checked out. It’s one of three levels of this model – the AG, AG Plus, and AG Premium. Many of the adjustable parts use a sliding technology which means less fiddling with straps.

The infant seat is adjustable by extending each side, well-padded, and includes a harness for safety that’s lined with a fleece-soft fabric.

In terms of washability, the seat includes a removable “drool pad” for easy cleaning. The other parts of the carrier are easily spot-cleaned.

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The design of the Poco AG Plus kickstand provides a trustworthy sturdy base for loading baby before putting the carrier on.

There’s a good-sized backpack that sits right behind seat, as well as a bonus pocket beneath. We appreciated the non-zippered mesh pockets which are accessible to grab things without having to remove the carrier.

Its see-through sunshade, which is stored in a zipper-enclosed pocket, offers your child protection against excessive sun exposure, while allowing him to enjoy the sights along the ride.

We like that it’s easily accessed without having to take the carrier off. A safety mirror is included with the Pogo AG Plus, so you can keep an eye on your child while you trek.

Your infant will have to be strong enough to hold her head up on her own, as there’s no headrest built in, but the padding along the edge of the seat is comfortable enough for snoozing, should your little one fall asleep. For older kids, there are removable, adjustable stirrups which allow them to adjust their position.

The mesh straps are super soft, yet firm, and feels sufficiently sturdy. The straps are adjustable which allows for an adult of any size to find the right fit.

The Osprey Poco is one of the best baby hiking backpacks that can haul a heavy load, because of additional straps that attach the front part of the baby seat to the carrying straps.

 

Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier at a Glance:

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Framed and padded cockpit
  • Built-in sunshade
  • Adjustable hip belt
  • Fold out kickstand
  • Fleece-lined butterfly harness
  • Dual zippered hipbelt pockets
  • Safety mirror
  • Maximum load 48.5 lbs

The Clevr Cross Country Baby Backpack is one of the more affordable carriers we looked at.

While there’s a large pocket under the baby seat, there isn’t a backpack which is included in some of the other carriers we reviewed. Perhaps that’s what keeps this carrier at a low 5 lbs. The maximum recommended weight is 33 lbs, which is substantially less than others.

There’s a well-designed shade, which protects the back and top of your child’s head from exposure to sun and rain.

Made from polyester and clear plastic on either side, the shade allows your infant maximum viewing area. This shade can’t be removed, but can be rolled up when not in use.

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While there’s no pocket to hold a hydration bladder, it does come with two water bottle holders on either side. There’s a generous space between the seat and back of the carrier which would allow for good ventilation.

The infant seat includes a 4 point harness which essentially functions as 5-point because of the seat’s position between your child’s legs.

It’s secure enough to ensure there are no unexpected tumbles. While the padding on this baby carrier backpack isn’t as plush as some of its more expensive counterparts, we think it’s sufficiently comfortable and wouldn’t think twice about toting our own babies in it.

 

Clevr Cross Country Baby Backpack at a Glance:

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Polyester fabric
  • Retractable sun/rain canopy
  • Foldable
  • Kickstand included
  • Padded waist strap
  • Weighs 5.1 lbs
  • Maximum load 33 lbs

The Deuter Kid Comfort 2 is loaded with features that makes carrying your infant a breeze. We must admit we were taken by the cranberry color option that Deuter offers.

Let’s start with the infant seat. The seat comes with stirrups to allow your child to shift her own weight as well as a 5-point harness ensures your tike stays safely in place.

It comes with a chin pad (removable and washable) that serves as a comfy pillow for an occasional nap.

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Finally, the seat is fully adjustable which allows you to fit the chair to your baby’s size. The nice thing is you can even adjust the seat while he’s seated.  We really like the ability for toddlers to step into the seat from the side.

There’s plenty of open area to ensure your child will stay cool.

The Deuter Kid Comfort 2 is one of the best in terms of size adjustments for the adult carrying the load. It can be adjusted comfortably to fit any sized adult, with a large range of torso lengths.

This can all be done while wearing it, so no need to disturb baby when switching from one adult to another.

Deuter boasts of its ventilation system which is created from layers of specialized foam that protect the body from heat and moisture. This baby hiking backpack has a lower back pad and thick hip/waist belt for additional support and comfort.

This carrier has good weight distribution which allows for longer hikes without discomfort on pressure points.

There are a couple of things we would like to see Deuter improve on this carrier. There is plenty of storage in terms of multiple pockets, however while wearing it, there’s only access to one small pocket.

Also, it doesn’t come with a rain/sun shade it has to be purchased separately. However even with these few shortfalls it’s the best baby carrier backpack for the money.

 

Deuter Kid Comfort 2 at a Glance:

  • Aluminum frame
  • Removable, washable chin pad
  • Fold out kickstand
  • Built-in stirrups
  • Child side entry
  • Weight 5 lbs
  • Maximum load 48.5 lbs

The Phil & Ted’s Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier is a compact baby carrier that can manage slightly less weight than other carriers on the market; but it weighs in at only 4.4 lbs which means it’s also lighter than most.

This carrier should be seriously considered for those who plan to travel with their carrier. Unlike the other models we reviewed, the Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier is fully foldable and small enough to store in overhead bins for air travel.

In spite of its more diminutive size, we didn’t find this carrier to scrimp on support or comfort.

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It’s well-ventilated, so your child will stay cool while you enjoy the ride.  Having said that, it’s not as breathable for the adult wearing this carrier.

This Phil and Ted’s model includes a detachable backpack that provides generous storage. There are two water bottle holders as well.

A stand folds out so you can load your baby before putting the carrier on. The shoulder straps are well-padded and comfortable be we see that the chest strap could end up digging in after long use.

This is a good choice for someone on a budget and it’s a sturdy, well-constructed child carrier backpack that holds up for long walks; however the frame doesn’t offer as much support as the more expensive versions and we wouldn’t recommend it for day-long hikes.

 

phil&teds Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier at a Glance:

  • Fold-out kickstand
  • Weight 4.4 lbs
  • Detachable mini-backpack
  • Drink bottle storage
  • Adjustable harness
  • Maximum load 40 lbs

Hiking Baby Carrier Comparison Table

Baby Backpack WeightWeight CapacityHydrationSelf-StandingRating
Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier7.9 lbs48 lbsHydration reservoir sleeveYes4.1 / 5.0
Osprey Packs Poco Child Carrier7.67 lbs48.5 lbsHydration reservoir sleeveYes4.5 / 5.0
Clevr Baby Backpack5.1 lbs33 lbsNoYes4.3 / 5.0
Deuter Kid Comfort 25 lbs48.5 lbsHydration reservoir sleeveYes4.3 / 5.0
Phil & Ted’s Backpack Carrier4.4 lbs40 lbsDrink Bottle Storage Yes3.8 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Baby Carrier for Hiking

Here we will review baby carrier features and considerations you should make before selecting one. Spending quality time in the great outdoors with your baby is an excellent way to acquaint your child with nature from a young age.

Some features are essential, while others will depend on your individual preferences and personal needs. We’ll cover the features you need to look for now.

best baby backpack

Backpack Use

Before selecting an hiking infant carrier, consider how you plan to use it. If you’re a serious hiker, you will need one where the frame provides excellent support, so the carrier won’t pull on your shoulders or rely too heavily on your back.

Conversely, toting your infant around the city for a couple of hours won’t create as much strain on your shoulders and back. Something worth noting here- make sure your baby backpack sits against your hips and that your movement is powered by your legs, not your back and shoulders!

Storage

All of the baby carriers we reviewed have various pockets to store keys, diapers, snacks, and the like. Some of them offer more storage than others and the ease of access varies amongst them.

Consider what you are likely to bring along on your hikes or outings based on where you go and how long you’ll be out. This will help you decide how much extra cargo you’ll need to plan for.

best baby hiking backpack
Osprey Packs Poco AG Baby Compartment

Weight

By weight, we are talking about the weight of the carrier and the weight of your child. Baby carriers nowadays are quite lightweight. There isn’t much variations in weight between the various carriers; however, if you plan to travel (for example, by air) with your carrier, the weight may be of importance to you.

Then there’s the weight of your child. Make sure to see the maximum load of each carrier before choosing, and keep in mind that the max load refers to your kiddo and everything else you’re toting in the carrier.

Adjustability of the Baby Carrier

There are two aspects of adjustability to consider here. There’s the infant seat and then there are the straps for the adult who wears the carrier.

The infant seats in some hiking baby carriers are fully adjustable, meaning both the height and width of the seat can be adjusted. More basic models may only allow for adjustment to the harness straps which make sure your child stays put.

Engineering in higher-end models simplifies the process of adjusting various features, one example being a gliding mechanism which may be built in for extending waist belts for the adult user or adjusting the harness length in the child seat.

best child carrier backpack
Adjustability of the Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier

Free Standing

This is an often overlooked feature but one of the most important in our opinion. The Ability to set down the back with your baby in and not have it tip over cannot be understated. That is why all of the baby backpacks on or list have a “kick stand” that flips down allowing you to set the backpack down when you need a break.

best baby carrier backpack
Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier kickstand

Ventilation

If you live in or plan to use your child carrier backpack in a warm, humid area, make sure to check how well a carrier allows air flow to reach your child. Ideally, there will be a space between the back of the carrier and the child seat to allow for proper ventilation so your little one doesn’t get overly warm.

best baby carrier for hiking
Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier

Other Features of the Baby Backpack

Before deciding on a child carrier, review what other features they offer. A sunshade may be a necessity depending on what time of day you tend to be out. Same goes for a rain shade. Some models come with both of these features, while others offer them, but they must be purchased separately.

Hydration bladder vs. water bottle holder. You and your kiddo will need to stay hydrated. What’s your preferred method? Those baby carriers that can hold a hydration bladder typically don’t include the actual device, so you’ll need to purchase separately.

Selecting the right baby carrier backpack for your family is an important decision. It’s a matter of safety, comfort, and ensuring your carrier has features that will fit your family’s needs. We feel confident in the safety and comfort of all the carriers we reviewed. Now it’s up to you to check out the features of each to determine which one is the best fit.

We hope you find our review of the best hiking baby carriers both enjoyable and helpful.

Comfort
Quality
Value

The Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier is our Editors Choice for the best baby hiking backpack with it's combination of comfort and protection for your child.

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