Best Baby Carriers for Hiking

More than a few people think that hiking is an activity for young, single, adventurous people. However, it might surprise you that hikers don’t stop doing what they love even when they have a baby. If they feel like taking their little one out for a ‘stroll’ in the mountains or the woods, all they need is a good baby carrier.

Of course, just buying any old baby carrier and going on a hike isn’t the way to go. After all, we have to consider the baby’s safety, size, age, as well as who gets to carry the carrier. There are so many options on the market, and quite a few of those are sub-par. That’s why we’ve decided to compile a handy list of the best baby carriers for hiking for you. If you’re still not sure which one to pick after reading this list, we’ve also included a handy baby carrier buyer’s guide for you.

Baby Carriers for Hiking: Our Top Picks

The Best Starting Option #1: Boba Classic 4GS Carrier

Boba Classic 4GS is another in the long line of awesome Boba products. Of course, when we compare it to the rest of our list, it doesn’t really look ‘built’ for hiking. But the reason we chose this particular carrier is just how versatile, yet soft it is. A 100% cotton carrier will always give your little ones the comfort they deserve. More importantly, it’s stable and offers a lot of support. And let’s not forget that it can carry any baby that weighs up to 45 pounds.

One additional benefit of the Boba Classic 4Gs is the amazing choice of colors. From simple, single-color designs to elaborate motifs, your hikes will definitely be more colorful with the 4Gs. And speaking of hikes, you’ll love the number of pockets this carrier has. They’re perfect for both the baby’s stuff and some of your own minor hiking gear.

Pros:

  • 100% cotton
  • Multiple pockets on its side for on-the-go storage
  • Supports up to 45 pounds of weight
  • Comes in various different colors and designs

Cons:

  • Not the best option if you’re hiking in an area with lots of moisture
  • Edges can harm the child if it’s wearing nothing but a onesie

The Best Starting Option #2: Osprey Poco AG Child Carrier

Osprey have manufactured quite a few decent baby carriers over the years, so it’s no surprise that two of them are on this very list. The first is the lovely Osprey Poco AG, and you can definitely tell that it was made with hiking in mind. The frame is made from lightweight, durable aluminum and it can support the baby’s weight fully when you set it down. In addition, the ‘cockpit’ for the baby is fully padded and framed. In other words, your little one isn’t falling out of the AG anytime soon.

Thanks to its 6 in (15 cm) torso adjustment, even plus-sized hikers can use this spectacular carrier. However, it does come with its setbacks. For example, you’ll need to buy the rain cover separately and it doesn’t contain any water bottle meshes on the side. But despite all of that, it’s still a splendid carrier for hiking parents.

Pros:

  • Durable aluminum frame
  • Designed for parents of all body types
  • The baby’s pouch is padded and framed for its safety
  • Comes in various different colors and designs

Cons:

  • Rain cover sold separately
  • Limited storage space & a lack of water bottle meshes

The Best Starting Option #3: Ergobaby 360

Ergobaby 360 really earns the ergonomic part of its name. With this carrier, you can take your little one with you in nearly any position. Whether your baby is facing you, facing away from you, on your side or on your back, you will have full control of your Ergobaby 360. In other words, it earns the ‘360’ part of its name as well.

The entire body of the Ergobaby 360 is padded for the little one’s safety. In addition, thanks to the padding, it’s comfortable for any user.  Finally, it can carry babies of all ages that weigh up to 33 pounds.

Pros:

  • You can carry your baby in any position
  • Extremely versatile
  • Supports up to 33 pounds of weight
  • Padded for the baby’s safety and your comfort

Cons:

  • Does not have any storage options
  • Isn’t as sturdy as other items on this list

The Best Starting Option #4: LuvdBaby Backpack Carrier

If there’s one thing that the LuvdBaby Backpack carrier has going for it, it has to be the storage space. With so many small pockets, water bottle meshes, and compartments, you’ll feel like you’re wearing a proper hiking backpack. But the LuvdBaby wouldn’t be on this list if it didn’t have a few extra options for your tiny hiker.

Once again, we have a strong aluminum frame that will keep the backpack in position when you put it on the ground. In addition, the baby’s compartment is padded and contains waterproof materials. Plus, you get a little diaper changing pad, for that special emergency.

Pros:

  • Durable aluminum frame
  • Multiple pockets and sections for storage
  • Diaper changing pad for changes on the go
  • Waterproof, padded baby pocket that keeps the little one safe

Cons:

  • The frame is a bit difficult to disassemble
  • Has no hydration pocket

The Best Starting Option #5: Tula Free to Grow

Once again, we have a ‘back to basics’ carrier that happens to be perfect for hiking. With Tula Free to Grow, you have a sense of familiarity; it looks, feels, and functions like the best wraps and slings on the market today. However, the position of the straps and the durability of the fabric make it an amazing hiking tool for you and your tiny hiker. In fact, one of the many designs includes camouflage patterns, which is downright adorable.

This wrap is made from 100% breathable cotton. If you happen to hike on a hot summer day, your baby won’t feel the heat and it won’t sweat too much. But more importantly, the cotton is soft enough to encourage bonding between you and your little one, even during long, arduous hikes.

Pros:

  • 100% cotton
  • Front and back positions
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Great for both newborns and toddlers

Cons:

  • Has no extra gear
  • Has no pockets or other storage areas

The Best Starting Option #6: phil&teds Escape Child Carrier

With a name like phil&teds, you’ll feel like you’re going on a ‘most excellent adventure’ with your little one snug in the carrier. In addition, you’ll appreciate the interesting design of the Escape Child Carrier. It actually looks like a miniature car seat, which is quite different from most hiking carriers out there.

But it’s not just about the looks. The phil&teds Escape carrier comes with lots of interesting accessories. These include a hydration pouch, a rain shield, a hood, a change mat, a day pack, foot stirrups, and a mirror. On top of that, it has a safe, secure enclosure for your baby.

Pros:

  • Hydration pouch and lots of storage space
  • Multiple accessories
  • Distributes weight evenly and provides great lumbar support
  • Interesting design

Cons:

  • Only two choices of colors
  • Less stable than other popular hiking carrier options

The Best Infant Wrap Carrier: Solly Baby Wrap

Solly Baby Wrap is a classic in every sense of the word. It’s a neat, soft, gentle wrap that’s just perfect for newborns and infants under a month old. With its easy-wrap setup and smooth fabrics, it’s no wonder that the Solly Baby Wrap has become a fan-favorite among parents everywhere.

So, what makes it good for hiking? Well, it’s lightweight and not intrusive. You can carry your baby in the front and your backpack…well, in the back. That way you have the perfect weight balance and next to no strain on your spine.

Pros:

  • Soft, smooth fabrics
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Perfect size for newborns

Cons:

  • Zero space for storage
  • No additional benefits or gear

The Best Frameless Carrier: BABYBJÖRN One Air 2019 Edition

If there was ever a perfect choice for frameless carrier, it would be BABYBJÖRN One Air. At first glance, it might look a bit rough and rugged, capable of harming your little one’s tender skin. But it’s actually quite the contrary. BABYBJÖRN One Air has a lot of padding to keep your baby safe and secure as you trudge through the woods or climb that rocky hill. In addition, its mesh is breathable and quick-dry, so say goodbye to heat and sweat.

The BABYBJÖRN One Air can carry the baby in both the front and the back positions. More importantly, you’ll be able to carry your baby until it turns three (or reaches the maximum supported weight of 33 pounds).

Pros:

  • Breathable, durable waterproof mesh
  • Front and back positions
  • Supports babies of all ages, from newborns to toddlers
  • Padded shoulder straps offer extra comfort and support

Cons:

  • Has no additional storage
  • Has no benefits of a framed carrier

The Best Budget Carrier: Deuter Kid Comfort Air

Don’t let the bulkiness of Deuter Kid Comfort Air fool you. This carrier is possibly the best budget baby carrier you’ll find out there. Developed with the help of a pediatric specialist, the Deuter Kid Comfort Air provides safety with the help of an extra padded harness and a wide kickstand.

The Deuter Kid Comfort Air carrier has ‘Air’ in its name for a very good reason — it excels in ventilating air. It’s incredibly breathable and reduces all heat build-up between you, the baby, and itself. In addition, it’s machine-washable and easy to clean. Finally, it’s fully adjustable and easy to swap between different carriers.

Pros:

  • Light and breathable
  • Extra padding for added safety of the child
  • Fully-adjustable and easy to wash
  • Easy to swap between two different carriers

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer a lot of storage room
  • Features such as sunshade sold separately

The Most Versatile Carrier: Thule Elite Sapling Child Carrier

Versatility is the name of the game and the Thule Elite Sapling carrier is that game’s undisputed winner. If there’s one thing that separates this carrier from others on the list, it’s just how much it can do. For example, it doesn’t only have lots of storage room with water bottle meshes and a hydration sleeve. In fact, it also has two additional belt pouches for that extra bit of stuff that your baby needs.

And speaking of babies, they will adore the plush, ergonomic seat of Thule Elite. The sunshade will keep them cool and the padded straps will keep them in place. Indeed, Thule Elite has earned its spot among the best hiking baby carriers and you won’t regret getting it.

Pros:

  • Lots of storage room
  • Sunshade and padded straps
  • Stable and ergonomic
  • Comfortable for both the parent and the baby

Cons:

  • A bit bulky
  • Aluminum support legs aren’t as secure as those of other products

The Best Women-Specific Carrier: Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL Child Carrier for Women

Ladies, we know how much you like to hike, and so do the good people of Deuter. That’s why all hiker moms now have the opportunity to try out the amazing Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL child carrier. It’s a spectacular product with lots of comfort, padding, stability, and storage space.

Statistically speaking, women tend to have lower upper body strength than men. If you’re a bit on the light side, don’t worry — so is the Active SL. It also comes with a rain cover and a chin pad. But most importantly, it’s a safe, breathable option for your baby. The padded pouch will keep the babe secure and the mesh will regulate heat perfectly. Your little one won’t sweat in sweltering weather during that long hike.

Pros:

  • Breathable and heat-regulating
  • Lots of storage room
  • Lightweight and perfectly built for a woman’s body
  • Adjustable and easy to maintain

Cons:

  • Comes in only two different colors
  • Sunroof sold separately

The Second-Best Carrier of 2019: Osprey Poco AG Plus

Osprey’s Poco AG series makes a comeback on this list with their Plus model. Once again, we have an amazing combination of an aluminum frame, a breathable padded mesh, and durable fabrics.

However, the ‘Plus’ is in the name for a good reason. This Osprey Poco product comes with a massive integrated sunshade, as well as a rain cover. Your baby will be protected from the elements during any hike as it is safely snug in the back compartment. In addition, you get a grand total of seven stash pockets. Seven! That’s a lot of storage for a hiker parent and a lot of room for the baby’s diapers, pacifiers or bottles. Finally, the ventilated suspension system allows your carrier to breathe, reducing heat and making the hike easier for you and your child.

Pros:

  • Breathable, padded mesh with a ventilated suspension system
  • Seven storage stashes
  • Integrated sunshade and rain cover
  • Safe and secure during hikes

Cons:

  • Slightly bulkier than other popular options out there
  • The hydration pocket is too small

The Best Overall Carrier of 2019: Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Elite

We have a lot of positives to say about the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Elite carrier. In fact, we would even go as far as to declare it the best on this list, in our opinion. So what is it that makes it so spectacular?

First of all, PerfectFIT is a great option for both moms and dads. You can easily swap it with your partner and it will distribute weight equally well. The 5-point safety harness, integrated sunshade, and aluminum frame also make it an amazingly safe option for your little one during hikes. Then there’s the hydration reservoir sleeve, the foot stirrups for the baby, the zippered ‘dirty’ compartment with the ‘wipe clean’ feature… This carrier has so many features that it’s extremely hard NOT to buy it.

Pros:

  • Easy to swap between parents
  • Lots of storage room
  • ‘Dirty’ compartment with the ‘wipe clean’ feature
  • Integrated sunshade
  • Wide base with adjustable foot stirrups
  • Padded, secure pouch for the baby

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a rain cover
  • Limited choice of colors

How to Shop for the Right Hiking Baby Carrier

The ‘Where’ and ‘How Long’ of Hiking

Before you buy a hiking carrier, you need to know how long you plan on hiking with your little one and where you plan on going. For example, if you’re hiking in a hot area, you’ll want a light carrier that breathes and regulates heat. In addition, get a budget carrier for short hikes and a high-end model for long ones.

The Carrier User

More often than not, both parents go hiking with their babies. If you’re going with your partner, you need to discuss who will use the carrier. For instance, if you’re both planning on using it, you’ll need a model suited for partners of both genders and all sizes.

Comfort Level & Safety

This feature is, by far, the most important one to look for in a hiking carrier. Both you and your baby need to feel safe and comfortable since you’ll be walking around in the wilderness for a long time. If the carrier seems unsafe, avoid it at all costs.

Extra Features

It’s always great when a gadget has lots of features. With hiking carriers, the features you’ll want to have include:

  • A hydration pouch
  • Sun and rain protection
  • Lots of pouches and compartments
  • Water bottle meshes
  • Anything that can help with your baby-related activities (i.e. a diaper pouch or a changing mat)

Final Thoughts

Hikers come in all shapes and sizes. So, instead of leaving your little one at home, take it with you on a grand adventure into the wild. But before you do, you’ll definitely need one of the best baby carriers for hiking. Hopefully, our handy little list will help you decide which carrier will be your little one’s safety fort while you’re out admiring the nature and taking in that fresh air.

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