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Best Baby Hiking Backpack & Baby Carriers of 2021

Finding the best baby hiking backpack is essential for the comfort of both you and your child. We’ve reviewed several of them to find the very best one for you and your little one to hit the trail.

Hiking with your children is a great bonding experience, and one that can start before the little ones are even ready to walk. You just need to get them off the ground and onto your back with a suitable hiking baby carrier.

Many backpack carriers look just like hiking backpacks, albeit with a compartment on the top that functions as a seat for your child. They have many of the same features as your usual pack and are made by the same great companies.

Take a look at our list of the best baby hiking backpacks and the things you need to think about to choose a quality baby hiking carrier. If you’re looking for a pack that can do it all, though, [amazon link=”B07JP4B9V8″ title=”Deuter’s Kid Comfort Pro” /] is a great option. It’s incredibly comfortable, supportive where your kid needs it and has enough storage space for serious hikes.

If you’re not looking for a an expedition backpack, check out our review of the Best Military Backpacks for Hiking, Best Carry-On Backpacks, and Best Expedition Backpacks.

Quick Answer: These are the Best Baby Hiking Backpack & Baby Carriers of 2021

[amazon fields="B07JP4B9V8" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Deuter Kid Comfort Pro

Best All-Round Baby Hiking Backpack
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07JP4B9V8" title="Amazon" /]
[amazon fields="B07F7SBJK2" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Ergobaby Omni 360

Best Forward-facing Baby Carrier for Hiking
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07F7SBJK2" title="Amazon" /]
[amazon fields="B00KC4VPNU" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Lillebaby Complete All Seasons

Best Baby Backpack for Hiking Under $100
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B00KC4VPNU" title="Amazon" /]
[amazon fields="B00R8KB400" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Thule Sapling Elite

Best Hiking Carrier for Toddlers
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B00R8KB400" title="Amazon" /]
[amazon fields="B07VDFSFKY" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Phil and Teds Parade

Best Compact Framed Baby Carrier
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07VDFSFKY" title="Amazon" /]
[amazon fields="B07Z9ZRN6V" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Osprey Poco Plus

Best Hiking Backpack for Long Trips
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07Z9ZRN6V" title="Amazon" /]
[amazon fields="B071FX37JZ" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Luvd Baby Premium

Best Baby Carrier for Under $200
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B071FX37JZ" title="Amazon" /]
[amazon fields="B078WGGZPY" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite

Best Baby Carrier with Leg Support
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B078WGGZPY" title="Amazon" /]
[amazon fields="B07CZ5T1KF" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Clevr Plus Cross Country

Best Lightweight Baby Backpack
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07CZ5T1KF" title="Amazon" /]
[amazon fields="B019BPYNB6" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Piggyback Rider Scout

Best Baby Carrier for Hiking in Hot Weather
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B019BPYNB6" title="Amazon" /]

The Best Baby Hiking Backpack & Baby Carriers of 2021 Reviewed

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Best All-Round Baby Hiking Backpack
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Deuter Kid Comfort Pro

[amazon fields="B07JP4B9V8" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Deuter Kid Comfort Pro

Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07JP4B9V8" title="Amazon" /]

Pros

Very comfortable
Lots of storage
Secure harness for baby

Cons

Expensive
Not that easy to adjust

There’s nothing wrong you can say about the [amazon link=”B07JP4B9V8″ title=”Deuter Kid Comfort Pro” /]. It features an excellent suspension system that’ll keep you comfortable, even on all-day hikes with a toddler in tow. There’s also an extra-wide hip belt to better distribute the weight of a heavy pack.

It comes with a five-point harness that’ll give you the peace of mind to hit the trail with your baby. This pack shines when it comes to kid comfort too – the seating area is fully padded on the bottom and sides, plus the seat can be adjusted to fit the child’s height. The sides pull in to keep your child feeling nice and snug.

The Kid Comfort is built like any Deuters high-quality backpack, with fully padded shoulder straps, load lifter straps to distribute the weight better, and a heavy-duty internal frame. You’re essentially just swapping out the volume you’d usually fill with a tent and sleeping pad for a toddler.

Since it’s so similar to a conventional backpacking pack, it shouldn’t be too hard to adjust to using a child carrier. The adjustments on the child carrier portion of the pack can take some getting used to, but it’s not that they’re confusing. There are just so many points of adjustments that it can take a few outings to get the hang of it.

If you’ve got an older kid, the Deuter has one of the highest weight capacities of any baby hiking pack. Plus, it comes with a metal kickstand so that you can set the pack down with your child in it. It also comes with 15 liters of storage, making this the best backpack for carrying a baby and hiking gear.

The pack even comes with a canopy that tucks into the backpack and can be deployed in under a minute. Having one of these is critical for preventing sunburns and overheating on hot days.

The only major drawback of this backpack is its cost; it’s typically over $300. However, it’s quite a bit more comfortable than most packs, and it’s worth a few extra bucks to not have a sore back at the end of the day.

The Deuter Kid Comfort Pro is probably the best all-around pack and is especially good for parents who want to carry an older child and gear. It doesn’t come cheap, but paying for quality construction is worth it in the long run.

  • Max Pack Load: 22 kg, 48 lbs
  • Weight: 3.8 kg, 136 oz
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07JP4B9V8" title="Amazon" /]
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Best Forward-facing Baby Carrier for Hiking
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Ergobaby Omni 360

[amazon fields="B07F7SBJK2" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Ergobaby Omni 360

Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07F7SBJK2" title="Amazon" /]

Pros

Packs down small for travel
Easy to change configurations
Very comfortable

Cons

Expensive for soft carrier
Not much storage space
Low weight capacity

Not everyone needs a bulky backpack-style carrier, though, especially if you’re hiking with a newborn or a baby under twenty-five pounds. For that, you’ll want something like the [amazon link=”B07F7SBJK2″ title=”Ergobaby Omni 360″ /], which is one of the best forward-facing baby carriers for hiking.

With baggage restrictions getting tighter every year, it’s nice to have a baby carrier that doesn’t require a bulky frame. Packed down, the Omni 360 can easily fit in your carry-on bag if it’s not being used. It also weighs about ¼ of what most of the framed carriers do.

In terms of comfort, it’s one of the better front-carrying packs. The shoulder straps have lots of padding, and the cockpit features a cocoon cushioning to keep your child from moving around too much.

That being said, the pack has a stated capacity of 33 lbs. Still, you’ll probably want a more substantial pack if you’re approaching that limit. It doesn’t have foot stirrups to support your child’s legs, so this could be uncomfortable for larger kids or if you’re doing more extended trips.

Many of the sling or front-carrying packs are priced at $100 or less, but the Ergobaby is substantially more expensive. You can argue that it’s worth the extra cost because it’s well made. However, with its lower weight capacity and generally less comfortable feel than a child carrier backpack, you won’t be getting that much use out of it.

The carrier can be set up to carry your child with them facing you, facing away from you, on their side, or on your back. That kind of versatility sets it apart from its competitors and makes it worth the higher price tag.

The Ergobaby also doesn’t have much storage space, though, just a small pouch on the front for carrying your wallet and phone. It’s not designed for carrying gear for all-day hikes.

The Omni 360 is an excellent choice for parents who need a compact carrier to throw in a duffel bag or put in their carry-on while flying. It’s not as comfortable as some of the framed carriers, and it’s more expensive than most front-facing carriers. Still, it’s perfect for a younger child or short trips.

  • Max Pack Load: 15 kg, 33 lbs
  • Weight: .8 kg, 29 oz
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07F7SBJK2" title="Amazon" /]
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Best Baby Backpack for Hiking Under $100
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Lillebaby Complete All Seasons

[amazon fields="B00KC4VPNU" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Lillebaby Complete All Seasons

Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B00KC4VPNU" title="Amazon" /]

Pros

Inexpensive
Larger weight capacity than most front carriers
Lots of padding to keep you comfortable

Cons

Hard to adjust
Very little storage space

Another great forward-facing pack is the [amazon link=”B00KC4VPNU” title=”Lillebaby Complete All Seasons” /]. It’s a little less expensive than the Omni 360 and has many of the same great features. With a high weight capacity and comfortable fit, this is the best baby backpack for hiking under $100.

Perhaps the best thing about the Lillebaby is how comfortable it is for both you and your baby. Let’s start with you; the pack has ultra-padded shoulder straps that perfectly distribute your baby’s weight across your body. The straps can even be configured into an X across your back, which takes some of the strain off of your shoulders.

It also comes with a wide waist belt with a lumbar pad to keep you in a healthier posture while the pack is loaded. It’s been voted as one of the most comfortable baby packs on the market right now.

For you, baby, it’s incredibly adjustable. While it can carry older babies up to forty-five pounds, it can also hold little ones as small as seven pounds. The seat can be moved around and tightened to fit a newborn without adding any extra padding.

The Lillebaby can be configured to hold your baby in a few different positions, including on your back, just like the Omni 360. Unfortunately, reconfiguring is something of a chore, requiring you to take the pack off, undone several snaps, reroute the waist belt, and adjust the seat. It’s certainly not as user-friendly as the Omni 360.

As for extra features, the Lillebaby has a panel that can be unzipped to reveal mesh for better ventilation. If you find your baby gets hot on longer walks, this feature can be a lifesaver. For storage, there’s just one pouch that doesn’t hold much more than a phone or a set of keys. There’s also a removable hood that you can use to cover your baby when they’re sleeping.

The Lillebaby Complete All Seasons is the best baby carrier or even the best front-facing pack. Still, it does work reasonably well for a carrier that’s priced under $100. Most of its issues come down to usability. Once you’ve taken it out a few times, you’ll have the hang of it, and doing things like reconfiguring the carrying position will take no time at all.

  • Max Pack Load: 21 kg, 45 lbs
  • Weight: .9 kg, 30 oz
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B00KC4VPNU" title="Amazon" /]
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Best Hiking Carrier for Toddlers
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Thule Sapling Elite

[amazon fields="B00R8KB400" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Thule Sapling Elite

Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B00R8KB400" title="Amazon" /]

Pros

Snug fit for baby
Removable daypack
Distributes weight well

Cons

Expensive
Heavy

If you’re the type of person that always likes to have the best of the best, the [amazon link=”B00R8KB400″ title=”Thule Sapling” /] is the perfect baby carrier for you. It’s loaded with features and super comfortable, and probably the best hiking carrier for toddlers.

So how does a company best known for their roof racks build a fantastic baby carrier? Start with a comfortable backpack; the Elite has ultra-thick shoulder straps and a molded hip belt with lots of adjustment. Add in a mesh back panel with cushioning positioned over your upper back (where the cockpit presses against you).

It’s also one of the more customizable packs; most adjustments can be made while you’re wearing it, and you don’t need to twist yourself into a pretzel to do them. The padding on the Sapling Elite is more form-fitting than most packs, which distributes the weight better and puts less strain on you after hours of wearing it.

From there, load the pack up with storage – it has 25 liters spread across its hip belt pockets, a large main compartment with a mesh pocket, and a removable daypack. The day pack also includes two pockets and a mesh compartment. The removable daypack is handy if you’re doing some hiking without the kid in tow (or at least not on your shoulders).

As with any high-quality framed carrier, it comes with a collapsible canopy, which stores behind the cockpit when not in use. One of the more ingenious items included, though, is a small, handheld mirror that allows you to check on your kid without taking the pack off.

Where the Elite stands out, though, is in child comfort. The cockpit has loads of padding to keep your kid snugly inside the pack. The cockpit has a few points of adjustment to get a tight fit. Their legs fit out the sides and go into a pair of stirrups to keep them supported. Then there’s the face pad and headrest that’ll ensure your toddler gets some zzz’s on the trail.

One downside is that it weighs about a pound more than some of its competitors. However, that’s not a big deal since the weight of a toddler dwarfs that pound in the pack. The Thule is also relatively expensive, usually priced upwards of $300. It’s certainly worth the cost if you do long days with this pack though, it’s much more comfortable than other carriers.

This is a perfect baby carrier if you’re ready to make a more significant investment in your pack and want one that’s as comfortable as can be.

  • Max Pack Load: 23 kg, 48 lbs
  • Weight: 3.8 Kg, 130 oz
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B00R8KB400" title="Amazon" /]
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Best Compact Framed Baby Carrier
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Phil and Teds Parade

[amazon fields="B07VDFSFKY" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Phil and Teds Parade

Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07VDFSFKY" title="Amazon" /]

Pros

Lightweight
Folds flat
Relatively inexpensive

Cons

It doesn’t have a lot of features
Not comfortable for a backpack carrier

At first glance, [amazon link=”B07VDFSFKY” title=”Phil and Teds Parade” /] has everything you’d expect from a framed backpack carrier and at a fraction of the price of its competitors. However, it seems to be built on a large daypack frame rather than a full-sized backpacking pack. This isn’t necessarily a problem if you’re going for shorter outings and don’t exceed the weight limit of forty pounds.

Its best feature is how compact it is for a framed carrier. It weighs just under four and a half pounds – near half of what most carriers of its kind weigh. It also folds flat, which is excellent for travel and storage at home.

Since it’s not as large as most framed carriers, it doesn’t have as much storage. However, it does have a large main compartment, a detachable child’s backpack, and a couple of pockets in the hip belt. They’re not large enough for trail gear but sufficient for city outings.

Perhaps the biggest complaint with the Parade is that it’s not that comfortable. The hip belt is narrow and not as form-fitting as most of the framed carriers. The frame cannot be adjusted for shorter or longer torsos either, a key feature in any framed backpack, baby carrier, or otherwise.

It’s also not as comfortable for your child, as the harness doesn’t have as much adjustment as most backpack carriers. Even though it has sufficient padding in the cockpit, you can’t cinch it down enough to keep your child snug in it.

It does include a kickstand, but the stand doesn’t open very wide, so it’s not as stable as some of the most expensive carriers. That’s not a problem if you’re careful and the carrier is placed on level ground, but it wouldn’t work on a sloping trail.

The Parade is a lower-tier baby carrier, but it’s also one of the few framed backpacks you find for under $200. It’s probably not trail-ready, but it’ll work for wandering around amusement parks or other low-impact activities.

  • Max Pack Load: 18 kg, 40 lbs
  • Weight: 1.5 kg, 54 oz
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07VDFSFKY" title="Amazon" /]
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Best Hiking Backpack for Long Trips
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Osprey Poco Plus

[amazon fields="B07Z9ZRN6V" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Osprey Poco Plus

Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07Z9ZRN6V" title="Amazon" /]

Pros

Spacious rain and sunshade
Easier to adjust than most framed carriers
Lots of storage

Cons

Expensive
Some issues with wearer fit

Osprey is one of the biggest names in backpacks, so it’s not surprising they’ve made the best hiking backpack for long trips. The [amazon link=”B07Z9ZRN6V” title=”Poco Plus” /] is incredibly comfortable using the same frames, wide hip belts, and numerous load adjustment straps seen in their regular backpacking gear.

If you’ve ever worn an Osprey and liked it, you’ll probably be satisfied with the Poco Plus. Some people find it uncomfortable, and no matter what adjustment they make, it never fits quite right. That’s not the case for most people, but if you can try it on beforehand, you’ll have a much better idea of whether it will work.

The Poco Plus is one of the most comfortable packs for your child, though. The cockpit features a five-point harness surrounded by lots of fleece-covered padding. There’s a drool pad in the front of the cockpit where they can lay their head for a nap during long hikes. The seat pad is very adjustable for all sizes and weights.

Perhaps the best feature on the Poco Plus, though, is its intuitive adjustments. All of the straps and buckles are color-coded, making it easy to pull the right ones every time. There are quite a few adjustment points, so this is incredibly helpful.

It also has quite a bit of storage with a large main pocket above the kickstand. This can fit large items like jackets, diapers, and everything you need for a longer outing. There’s also a smaller pocket that’s spacious enough to hold essentials. There’s even a large rain/sunshade that can be deployed, and it doesn’t feel claustrophobic like some of the other shades.

As you’d expect, a premium backpack comes at a premium price. This is one of the most expensive packs we reviewed, but it’ll also last a decade if you treat it right. Since it can be adjusted to any size and weight, it’ll serve you well for at least two years for each child.

  • Max Pack Load: 22 kg, 48.5 lbs
  • Weight: 3.3 kg, 116 oz
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07Z9ZRN6V" title="Amazon" /]
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Best Baby Carrier for Under $200
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Luvd Baby Premium

[amazon fields="B071FX37JZ" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Luvd Baby Premium

Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B071FX37JZ" title="Amazon" /]

Pros

Includes a changing pad
Larger storage capacity
Not very heavy for its size

Cons

Not enough padding on straps
The cockpit isn’t very comfortable

Luvd Baby isn’t a big name in the backpacking world like Deuter or Kelty. Still, they make some pretty solid baby carriers. If you’re searching for the best baby carrier for under $200, this might be the one.

Let’s start with the storage capacity; it has a relatively large main pocket that can fit lunch for at least two people. Then there are two pockets on the hip belt where you can store often-used items like a cell phone. On the sides are two mesh water bottle pockets that won’t fit larger likes (20 oz and above) and aren’t accessible while wearing the pack.

For features, Luvd Baby included a changing pad that stows inside the backpack, a detachable canopy, and a rain/shade cover. This puts it on par with most of the more prominent name brands. It also has a kickstand so you can set the occupied pack on the ground; the stand feels very secure even when you’re approaching the pack’s maximum capacity.

The Premium also shines in terms of usability. Some of the more expensive packs have so many confusing adjustment points that you end up getting the fit all wrong. The shoulder straps and hip belts are easy to cinch down, and the load lifter straps can be adjusted while the pack is occupied.

Most important with any baby carrier though, is comfort, an area where the Luvd Baby doesn’t score well. The shoulder straps and hip belt lack the padding of more expensive carriers, which causes them to dig into your skin with heavier passengers or longer days – the Luvd Baby is best for short trips.

There’s also not much padding in the cockpit. Higher-end packs usually have a sizable backrest and a front pad the child can use for napping. The Luvd Baby has neither, so they probably won’t get a lot of sleep on the trail. It does have stirrups to support their legs, though, something not available on all baby backpacks.

Ultimately, this is a good option for parents that want a framed carrier but don’t want the high cost of something like the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro. However, it has most of the same features but with less padding and a slightly lower weight limit. Use it for shorter trips, but the Deuter is worth the cost for all-day adventures.

  • Max Pack Load: 18 kg, 50 lbs
  • Weight: 2.8 kg, 97 oz
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B071FX37JZ" title="Amazon" /]
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Best Baby Carrier with Leg Support
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Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite

[amazon fields="B078WGGZPY" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite

Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B078WGGZPY" title="Amazon" /]

Pros

Has a hydration bladder pocket
Lots of leg support
Features extra padding on a durable frame to keep you comfortable

Cons

Expensive
Hard to adjust

[amazon link=”B078WGGZPY” title=”Kelty’s Journey PerfectFit Elite” /] is a better-framed child carrier on the market, with a good mix of comfort and storage while not being the most expensive pack of its kind.

The frame on the Kelty is big and rugged, just like their backpacking packs. The hip belt is wide and thoroughly padded, to the point that some smaller parents find that it doesn’t fit that well. While Kelty included many adjustment points, it’s hard to get that much padding to fit correctly on a more petite person.

That being said, the Journey PerfectFit Elite is one of the more comfortable packs for kids. The cockpit harness has soft, padded straps and a front drool pad. The whole cockpit is slightly slanted, which makes it better for napping.

The seat on the Kelty is well-padded, but what sets it apart is the padding that extends down your child’s thigh. This is one of the packs to have that feature, and it makes it one of the best baby hiking backpack carriers with leg support.

The Kelty also scores well in the storage department, with two large main compartments, a smaller mesh pouch to keep things organized. It also has a pocket on the bottom that’s waterproof, perfect for storing dirty diapers. Zippered pockets on the hip belt can be used for storing smaller items like keys and a phone.

There’s also a pocket for a hydration bladder, something you don’t see on too many baby carriers but is essential for long days on the trail. An easy to deploy sunshade pops out of one of the top pockets, so you don’t have to worry about your child getting sunburned or overheating on warmer days.

The Journey PerfectFit Elite is an expensive pack. Still, given the great features and how comfortable it is for you and your child, it’s worth it if you’re doing longer hikes.

  • Max Pack Load: 23 kg, 50 lbs
  • Weight: 2.4 kg, 84 oz
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B078WGGZPY" title="Amazon" /]
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Best Lightweight Baby Backpack
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Clevr Plus Cross Country

[amazon fields="B07CZ5T1KF" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Clevr Plus Cross Country

Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07CZ5T1KF" title="Amazon" /]

Pros

Inexpensive
Very lightweight
Unique rain cover design

Cons

Poor durability
Not enough padding

On its face, the [amazon link=”B07CZ5T1KF” title=”Clevr Plus Cross Country” /] looks a lot like some of the other backpack carriers on its face. It has a frame, large padded shoulder straps, and hip belt, and a padded cockpit to secure your little one in. It’s a pack with some neat features, but it’s also a somewhat made backpack.

The best thing about this pack is that it’s incredibly lightweight, just over five pounds. Clevr shaved those ounces by using thinner fabrics and less padding, though. The hip belt and shoulder straps dig in after a few miles, and the cockpit doesn’t fit as snugly as some of the other packs we’ve reviewed.

The Cross Country has a fair bit of storage, though, with a large storage compartment beneath the cockpit, along with a few mesh pockets around the side and back. The compartment could hold a decent amount of trail gear. Still, the weight limit on this pack is only forty pounds, so there might not be much capacity left over after factoring in the weight of your child.

The pack comes with a sunshade and rain cover too. The rain cover splits down the middle, which allows your child to breathe easier and directs rain away from your backside. Having it open like that might defeat the purpose of a cover, but since your head and neck are blocking rain from the front, it’s not an issue.

As far as quality goes, the Clevr isn’t in the same league as the Kelty Journey PerfectFit or Deuter’s Kid Comfort Pro. It’s also not as expensive as those brands and is around 30% lighter. It’s a good pack if you won’t be hitting the trail that often or for very long but want a more substantial pack than some of the front-facing carriers.

  • Max Pack Load: 18 kg, 40 lbs
  • Weight: 2.5 kg, 85 oz
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B07CZ5T1KF" title="Amazon" /]
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Best Baby Carrier for Hiking in Hot Weather
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Piggyback Rider Scout

[amazon fields="B019BPYNB6" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_class="amzimg" /]

Piggyback Rider Scout

Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B019BPYNB6" title="Amazon" /]

Pros

The unique design gives kids lots of freedom of movement
The unique design gives kids lots of freedom of movement
It doesn’t weigh very much

Cons

High weight capacity
Barely any storage

The [amazon link=”B019BPYNB6″ title=”Piggyback” /] is one of the most unique child carriers on the market right now, straddling the divide between a frame carrier and a soft carrier. It goes on your back, but it doesn’t have a backpack look to it. Instead, your child stands up in a harness attached to a hip belt and shoulder straps, which, you guessed it, looks like a piggyback ride.

This is an excellent option for kids that enjoy a more active ride. While there is a harness on the carrier, the child is standing up throughout the journey. However, they can move around, turn their head, and feel like they’re part of the experience with this pack.

For kids under 25 lbs, the Piggyback doesn’t need a hip belt and can comfortably be carried on the shoulder straps. This gives you a better range of motion and enhances comfort. You’ll want the hip belt model for kids weighing more than 25 lbs, though, as there’s little in the way of structure to distribute the weight without one.

At just 48 oz, this toddler carrier is featherlight compared to a frame carrier. It has considerably more capacity than a soft carrier. This makes it a popular choice for parents with older toddlers who need that capacity and don’t want to carry a bulky pack. It’s a great option to have with you if you’re traveling.

Unfortunately, the Piggyback doesn’t have any storage space beside a couple of small pockets near the hip belt. There are no pockets on the model without a hip belt. The pockets won’t fit more than an afternoon snack, so it’s not suitable for backcountry trips. However, it’s ideal for trips to museums, theme parks, and other venues where a minimalist pack is more desirable.

That minimalist design also helps to keep costs down. The Piggyback only costs a little more than most soft carriers, which is excellent considering its unique setup. Since there’s nothing to this pack but the child’s harness and some straps, it’s probably the best baby carrier for hiking in hot weather.

Overall, this is an excellent product for travelers, those with smaller children, or kids that want to play a more active role in the hiking experience. It’s not a good idea for very young kids or parents wishing to travel into the backcountry.

  • Max Pack Load: 27 kg, 60 lbs
  • Weight: 1.4 kg, 48 oz
Check the latest price on:
[amazon link="B019BPYNB6" title="Amazon" /]

How to Choose the Best Baby Hiking Backpack for Your Needs

Finding the best hiking kids carrier isn’t all that different from getting one for backpacking. You’ll want to think about how it will be used: short trips, long trips, trips that involve airplane rides.

You’ll always want to plan for growth. If you’ve got a newborn right now, they will grow into a toddler in the near future, and you’ll have to decide whether to buy a new pack to carry them or get one that can work for both ages.

These are some of the most important things to consider when looking for the best baby carrier for hiking.

What Makes a Good Baby Carrier Backpack?

Carrying a child is quite similar to carrying a fully loaded expedition pack. With a toddler, you might be looking at 50+ pounds of weight on your back when you factor in pack weight and any extra gear that’s coming along.

With that in mind, you’ll need to find a pack that can carry that kind of load and carry it while keeping you and your child in relative comfort.

Padding and Structure

Like any good hiking backpack, you want a child carrier that distributes weight well and doesn’t dig into your skin to cause hot spots. If you’re carrying a toddler, choose a pack with a beefier internal frame; it’ll weigh more and take up more storage space, but it’ll save you back trouble in the long run. A thick hip belt keeps the pack’s weight on your knees instead of your shoulders.

Your child will need a decent amount of padding too. The seat in the cockpit should be padded on all sides to give the most comfortable ride. Look for padding around the leg area to, as this can become a pressure/rub point on longer adventures.

Adjustment Points

As you probably know from backpacking, everyone’s body shape is different, and to get a good fit, a pack should cinch down in a variety of places. Add another body to the equation, and you’ll want even more points of adjustment.

Look for things like load lifter straps, hip belts that can be swapped out for larger or smaller sizes, and straps to adjust the child’s seat to the proper height.

Airflow

An often forgotten topic, but ventilation is critical for you and your child. Carrying a heavy, child-laden pack is bound to get you sweaty, and your kid will be exposed to the blazing sun. Look for mesh panels that’ll improve airflow and keep you cool on hot days.

Sun Protection

This is usually only available on larger, more expensive packs, but some have a deployable sun shade. How useful that is depends on where you’re hiking (absolutely critical above treeline or out in the desert) and if it’s easy to use. Most neatly fold into a pocket on the outside of the pack, so it’s always there when you need it.

Safety

Child carriers come with a built-in harness to distribute their weight onto your body. Every major brand on the market has a harness that will prevent your child from falling out of the pack, but some are more comfortable than others.

The older and heavier your child is, the more padding you’ll want on the pack. Toddlers will appreciate leg supports that distribute their weight over a larger area.

Pack Weight

The bad news about getting a child carrier for hiking with kids is that they are unusually pretty heavy for their size. Unlike typical day packs or even large-framed backpacking packs, child carriers have a lot of padding. This keeps your kid safe and comfortable while preventing you from getting a nasty backache.

If you are on the trail all day, choose a heavier pack – counterintuitive as that may seem. You’ll need the added structure and padding, and it’s worth the weight. Nobody likes carrying extra pounds, but remember that your child’s weight will probably dwarf that of the pack, so don’t put too much thought into shaving ounces.

Storage Capacity

In addition to your precious cargo, many parents would like to carry some gear on the trail. Most of a pack’s volume will be taken up by the baby carrier. Still, some models have a small detachable daypack for storage too. Even lightweight wraps have a few small pockets.

If you’re going on all-day adventures, look for a pack that can hold some supplies and do it comfortably. That means a sturdier frame and more straps to distribute the weight.

Which is Better, a Baby Wrap or a Backpack Carrier?

Baby wraps are a popular option because they give infants and very young children a comforting swaddling feeling. They keep your hands free and typically have good airflow. They also pack down to nothing, which makes them great for travel.

The downside is that they’re not meant to carry a lot of weight. It’s not distributed very evenly on you, which will give you shoulder and back pain if you wear it for very long or with a heavier child.

An older baby also don’t care for the swaddled feel, it becomes too restrictive. They like the extra range of motion that comes with a backpack carrier. They can move their arms and legs around, which is good for their development.

If you’ve got a newborn, a wrap will serve you nicely. However, the baby will quickly grow out of it and need a backpack carrier, so just know that purchase is coming up in the near future.

At What Age Can Babies Go in a Hiking Backpack?

Backpack carriers don’t support the child’s head and neck that well, so it’s imperative that they have full control of them before going in one. This usually happens when they’re around six months old.

What Type of Baby Carrier is Best for Newborns?

Since newborns don’t have much muscular control, they need a carrier that can support their weight and keep their limbs in the proper position. The best way to do this is with a wrap, which holds the newborn close to your body where they feel safe and secure.

Should I Get a Frame Carrier or a Soft Carrier for a Toddler?

Two things need to be factored into this choice: your child’s weight and whether you’re traveling. Older kids require sturdier packs to distribute their weight, so a frame carrier will be your best option. The rigid structure also provides more space for your child to move around, making for a better trip for them.

If your child is a newborn or under six months old, a soft carrier is a great option. It doesn’t weigh as much, and it packs down much smaller. If you’re traveling on an airplane, a soft structured carrier is a separate piece of checked luggage. In contrast, a soft carrier easily fits under the seat.

How Can You Check to See If Your Baby Finds the Backpack Carrier Comfortable?

Your baby probably can’t tell you whether their carrier is uncomfortable or where it’s hurting them, so you’ll have to infer from their expressions and body language while looking for problem points.

Every part of the pack that touches your child should be padded. A snug fit while rub against their skin and the pads will prevent pressure points. If it’s a sunny (or rainy) day, put their sunshade/cover-up to protect them from the elements.

Conclusion: What is the Best Hiking Baby Carrier for Your Needs

Finding a suitable backpack carrier is no easy task. The right one for you won’t necessarily be right for everyone else. The size and weight of your child, along with how long you’ll be hiking with them, will determine the ideal baby carrier.

If you’re wondering what the overall best hiking backpack is, it’s probably the [amazon link=”B07JP4B9V8″ title=”Deuter Kid Comfort Pro” /]. It’s well-built, with plenty of padding and an ergonomic frame to distribute your child’s weight. For those searching for the most comfortable baby carrier for hiking, it’s also the Kid Comfort Pro.

Quality materials ensure that this pack will last for several years, meaning you could even use it with future kids. It also comes with more storage space than most child carrier backpacks.

The Kid Comfort Pro is expensive, though, so if you’re trying to figure out the best value baby backpack carrier, that will go to [amazon link=”B07F7SBJK2″ title=”Ergobaby 360″ /]. It’s a basic soft carrier, so it won’t work as well with older toddlers, but it’s a lot less expensive than Deuter and is still very well made.

Heather Stewart

Heather Stewart

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