What is the Best Hiking Baby Carrier in 2017?

If you are planning a hiking trip with your toddler you may be wondering if your standard baby carrier is going to handle the extra demands of the trip. We wanted to shed some light on the hiking baby carrier options that are on the market today. These have all been especially designed for this workload and take baby wearing to the next level in safety and durability.

We have explored a number of different criteria to bring you a recommendation that will best suit your budget, physique and quality standards. All have been selected with safety as the top priority, but also yours and our child’s comfort.

The hiking child carrier is a bit more heavy duty than a standard soft structured child carrier. The ergonomic design of each of the recommended carriers will ensure a comfortable hike for both you and the young one.

If so, this is the right place to start with. We will review the top rated models to suit every budget and physique so you can find a practical baby carrier to bring along on your next hiking trip.




Top Rated Hiking Baby Carrier/Backpack

Deuter Kid Comfort III Carrier

The Deuter Kid Comfort 3 carrier distributes the weight of your child so evenly that you will feel like carrying no child at all, allowing you to enjoy long hikes and walks thru town without any back pain. The Deuter III Carrier can be used for baby’s that can hold their head up and to a maximum carrying capacity of 48.5 lb. Large bottom zippered cargo space and meshed side pockets are great for diapers, snacks and bug spray.

The Varifit adjustable shoulder harness lets you easily adjust the carrier for both mom and dad. The air contact back system, Veriflex padded hip-belt, adjustable shoulder and head pads are some other great features for you and your child’s comfort.

The Kickstand holds securely for safe child loading and unloading. The Adjustable 5-point child safety harness and breathable seat cushions keep your child secure, safe and comfortable. The height adjustable seat is great for adjusting between smaller baby’s and larger children to get the most comfortable position.

Another great feature for your child is the integrated rain/sun cover. This includes a head pad and detachable washable dribble pillow. This is a great feature and will ensure your little one has no trouble falling asleep.

>> Check out the Deuter Kid Comfort 3 Carrier – Plus Features and Reviews at Amazon

Best Value for Money Baby Carrier for Hiking

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Kid Carrier

The integration of assorted features in Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 makes the hiking experience superb. To start with, the carrier features utmost comfort for both the baby and the parent. This is facilitated by the evenly padded straps and interior part.

The adjustable suspension system of the carrier provides a perfect fit for both mums and dads. More to the point, the carrier has a 5-point harness to ensure that your baby is held in position comfortably. The leg-secure straps are an additional complement to the comfort of your baby. To ensure that your baby is kept safe from harsh sun rays, this hiking child carrier has the best hood for that purpose.

It also comes with an under-seat storage which is large enough to accommodate all the necessary baby items like diapers, liners, milk bottles etc.

>> Check out the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 – Plus Features and Reviews at Amazon

Best Hiking Carrier for Tall Parent

Baby Back Pack Cross Country Carrier

The Baby Back Pack Cross Country carrier comes with many favorable features that both the parents and toddlers enjoy. First, the carrier has a retractable canopy which is meant to bar harsh sun rays from hitting your baby directly. Secondly, the padded straps and seat that this carrier has to offer top-notch comfort for both parties (baby and parent).

The aluminum frame of this carrier is very light for easy carriage, yet very strong to withstand the weight of a toddler. It is possible to cover very long distances with the carrier without tiring or subjecting your child to any form of discomfort.

Babies of age between 6 months to 4 years and maximum weight 40 pounds can be carried using it comfortably.

>> Check out the Baby Back Pack Cross Country Carrier – Plus Features and Reviews at Amazon

Entry Level Infant Backpack for Hiking

Chicco Smart Support Backpack 

best hiking carriersNote: This has been discontinued by the manufacturer and will only be available from resellers. 

The Chicco Smart Support Backpack is great for small hikes. It is an entry level carrier which comes with a fully adjustable seat for your baby. It can be moved to three different positions to ensure that the child is able to sit an an angle that suits their size.

This assures total comfort irrespective of the duration that your baby will sit on it. The evenly distributed padding and energy absorbing lumbar keep both the baby and the parent comfortable all along.

Aside from that, the carrier is lightweight since it is made of aluminum framing. This means that you will only have to worry about the weight of your baby. It can, therefore, be carried for a long time without tiring. However, the carrier is strong enough to withstand babies weighing up to 40 pounds despite its lightweight framing.

Chicco Smart Support has sun shade which is a really good feature. However, it does not have compartments for baby needs. At the price point of under $100 and for short distances like visiting the zoo etc., this carrier is a smart buy.

>> Check out the Chicco Smart Support Backpack – Plus Features and Reviews at Amazon

Most Comfortable Hiking Carrier/Backpack

Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Carrier

The Osprey Packs Poco is a combination of both fabric and nylon which makes this carrier very strong. It is designed in a manner that it can withstand heavy tension without ruining its form and shape yet light-weight. The tension mesh back-panel allows for easy carriage of your baby. It also ensures proper ventilation hence offering your baby the best air circulation when hiking.

With an adjustable shoulder harness, parents are assured of utmost comfort and a perfect fit with the carrier. The harness can be adjusted to the length of 6 inches 15 cm hence offering ample room for your shoulders and belly.

Putting on this baby carrier is very simple and hassle-free. All you need is to clip the hook on the loop enclosures. Getting it off is as simple as undoing the hook and the loop enclosures.

Laden with built-in instant sun shades, lots of compartments for all the baby needs, changing pad, detachable backpack, hydration sleeve and a lifetime warranty.

All the features and happy customers on Amazon make Poco Packs – Plus one of the best rated hiking carriers.

>> Check out the Osprey Packs Poco – Premium – Plus Features and Reviews at Amazon

The lightest Hiking Carrier/Backpack

Vaude Wallaby Hiking Carrier

This is one of the lightest hiking carrier on the market. The main goal of the manufacturer for this carrier was to make the carrier light as possible without compromising too much functionality. The carrier weighs only 1990 grams (4.9 pounds), making it ideal for mom, who would not feel comfy when carrying a heavy/bulky carrier with a child for longer hikes.

Some of the product features include; nice size zip pockets, padded straps, spacious floor compartment and adjustable seat height. Another really nice feature is the easily accessible standing base that can be accessed when wearing the carrier.

The Vaude carrier is made for children up to 2 years or 14 kg, note that although there is no specification for the minimum size of your child, the smallest setting on the carrier straps will fit your child at about 6 months, depending on the child size this might be later or earlier. So if you are planning to carry your 0-6 months old baby around in this carrier, then this carrier might not be the ideal fit.

>> Check out the Vaude Wallaby hiking child carrier – Plus Features and Reviews at Amazon

Best Hiking Carrier for Stronger Toddlers

Piggyback Rider Explorer Model

For the stronger and more self sufficient you can turn the whole backpack carrier model on its head with the Piggyback Rider.

Instead of a hard framed carrier with cockpit area, you have a platform for the child to stand on rather than sit. There are safety straps in place to prevent the child from falling backward. This will not have the same strength and all round protection of a framed carrier so you do have to be careful.

The bag itself is a hydration pack and the little one gets one to match. The storage space will be limited though without the frame. But for a shorter day on the trail, this is a unique, fun and lightweight option.

>> Check out the Piggyback Rider Explorer Child Carrier – Plus Features and Reviews at Amazon

Important Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Baby Carrier

Your hiking carrier will be a significant one time investment that will get you many years of use if you choose wisely. Below are the core aspects that make up each carrier. Being clear on the best fit for these will assist you narrow down your search for the ideal hiking baby carrier:


The size of your baby should dictate the size of hiking baby carrier to choose. You should consider a carrier that is slightly bigger than that size of your baby. This is to ensure that the baby is fully covered when in the carrier.

Shoulder Straps

Your baby’s safety must come before anything else. Shoulder straps play a key role in determining how secure your child in their seat. Especially when you make vigorous movements on a walking trail and their center of gravity can shift swiftly. A carrier with strong shoulder straps should be considered.


While safety comes as the most vital factor to consider, comfort counts in that rank as well. The sitting position of the baby is very imperative. The carrier you choose should have an adjustable seat to allow your baby sit in different comfortable positions. In addition, the seat should be properly padded to further enhance the comfort of your baby.


You must remember that it is a hiking baby carrier you are looking for. This means that that your child must be properly positioned all along the hiking session. A baby carrier that comes with a multi-position harness should be considered as the first priority. With such, your baby will not only be secure but also seated in an upright position during the hike.

Additional Features

To make the best decision you should be clear on the features you must have before buy. That way you will not be paying extra for bells and whistles the you may never use.

Below are a range of common features that you will find on the various models of hiking carriers:


The kickstands that you can see in most backpack carrier are made from the same material as the metal frame. For such a large pack it is convenient to be able to have a stable platform. Especially when you are taking your child in and out of the carrier.


Look for something that’s made from aluminium because it is more durable. If the backpack carrier you are buying is intended for toddlers and older children, look for a frame that’s dependable and sturdy.


Choose a carrier that has an all-weather fabric because it is going to be exposed to all the elements – sun, rain, wind and much more. Make sure that the fabric doesn’t fade, tear or shear so that you get longevity out of your carrier. 

Storage Capacity

This is another thing that you may want to consider. You need an area to place snacks, diapers, extra clothing, and other personal items such as smartphones and wallets. Even if you pack light, babies just need a lot of stuff. How much stuff, and how much space you need for it, is one of the more critical features that you may not consider at first. If its not practical for your trips, then you may not end up using it. 


Other accessories to check for when deciding on the carrier that will most suit your needs are: 

  • Sunshade/Rain Hood
  • Hydration System
  • Diaper changing pads
  • Standing platform


Safety Certification

The Consumer Product Safety Commission have set manufacturing standard for hiking carriers.

The guidelines include:

  • Proper leg openings.
  • No sudden opening and closing for kickstands
  • No lead content.
  • Stability, especially when the carrier is standing on its own.
  • Proper restraint for your child.
  • Weight capacity and handling capacity. Carriers with CPSC certification are subjected to weight testing with a weight that’s almost thrice its maximum weight capacity.


Tips on How to Use a Hiking Carrier

Test the Carrier Before Hitting the Trail

It is a must that you do this before putting your child inside the carrier. Fit the carrier to your body size and height.  Adjust all the necessary straps in the carrier in the shoulder straps and the hip belt area.

Try all the buckles to check if everything locks in place. Pull the straps to make sure that it stays in place while your child is inside the carrier.

You also need to test the cabin that’s designed for the child. Check the buckles and harnesses to make sure that everything locks properly. Check the back support, leg opening and the cushioned as well.

You might look a bit silly carrying your child around the front yard, but better to be comfortable now before heading out.

Practice hoisting

First, try hoisting an empty carrier. Lift the top handle first and then slip on the shoulder straps. Buckle the hip belt for safety.

Practice removing an empty carrier by unbuckling the hip belt and loosening the shoulder straps. Then grab the top handle again and try to bring the carrier in front of you. Activate the kickstand and safely put the carrier on the ground. You can now get your child out of the carrier.

This will always be easier if you have a partner there to help you, but you should build some confidence doing it your self regardless.

Always Prioritize Safety

Always check for safety. Make sure that all the buckles and harnesses are working properly. Check the position of your child occasionally. Some carriers come with a small peep mirror to allow you to check your child without putting your child down.

Avoid using damaged carrier. Check for tears or any malfunction in locks, buckles, and harnesses. Read all the safety guidelines in the instruction manual of the carrier.

If you cannot hoist the carrier alone, it is best to have someone assist you to avoid any untoward incidents.


Final Word

All of the above-suggested baby and toddler carriers for hiking are great choices. They all have great features and are comfortable and safe for your baby. If you work through the design and features that each brand includes then you can be confident that you are making a good decision and your new carrier should serve you well.

Getting your little one exposed to the outdoors will be a fun experience for you both. By choosing the right carrier for you then you can enjoy these days out in comfort and with convenience. This will make you and your baby’s hiking experience an enjoyable one!

Check out our Baby Carrier Buyers Guide here.