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The Best Baby Carriers for Hiking in 2020

Written by | Updated July 10, 2020
Top Pick
Osprey Poco Child CarrierOsprey Poco
  • Deluxe child cockpit with Double Halo child harness
  • Not for infants
  • Maximum weight 48.5 lbs
  • Deluxe child cockpit with Double Halo child harness
  • Not for infants
  • Maximum weight 48.5 lbs
Lightweight and Affordable
Clevr Cross Country
  • Multiple pockets
  • 2 water bottle holders
  • Limited padding and no foot pegs
  • Multiple pockets
  • 2 water bottle holders
  • Limited padding and no foot pegs
Best for Newborns
Boba 4G
  • Weight range: 7 - 45 lbs
  • Grows with your baby
  • Not free standing
  • Weight range: 7 - 45 lbs
  • Grows with your baby
  • Not free standing

Hiking is one of life’s great pleasures, and so is having a baby—but you might be wondering about the best way to combine the two. Fortunately, there are a number of baby carriers designed specifically to help you hit the trail with your little one. The trick is finding the carrier that’s right for your family. You need to consider things like comfort and durability, but safety is at the top of the list.

We’ve taken a close look at the most popular baby carriers for hiking and analyzed expert ratings and customer reviews to determine which baby backpacks deliver the strongest all-around functionality and safety.

Carrier
Price
Sun Shade
Weight Range
Top Pick
Lightweight/Affordable
Best for Newborns
Most Ergonomic
Most Extras
Osprey Poco Child Carrier an image of the boba baby carrier
Osprey Packs Poco AG Child Carrier Clevr Baby Backpack Cross-Country Carrier Boba 4G Carrier Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier Phil&teds Escape Baby Carrier
$290 $199.99 $249.78 $349.95 $249.99
Yes
X
Yes
X
No
X
Yes
X
Yes
X
48.5 lb. max load 40 lb. max load Front Carry: 7-25 lbs.
Back Carry: 25-45 lbs.
16-48 lbs. 40 lb. max load
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

Amazon.com List Price as of 07/10/2020 12:21 p.m.MST. (Full disclaimer)

Best Baby Carriers for Hiking

Top Pick
Osprey Poco Child Carrier

1. Osprey Poco Child Carrier

A consistent favorite of parents and testers, the Osprey Poco is a top-of-the-line baby carrier that includes AirSpeed suspension for carryability and ventilation and has one of the most stable frames of any hiking child carrier backpack. Maximum recommended weight is 48.5 pounds.

An extra-wide base, locking foot bar, and dual grab handles provide stability as you load and unload your child.

Storage isn’t a concern with the Poco. A removable pack provides all the extra storage you need to keep your little one’s supplies handy. Plus, you can use it on its own for shorter urban hikes or walks.

Note that it’s not for infants, though. The minimum weight is 16 pounds—you can’t use the Poco until your little one can hold their head up. There is no insert or adjustability to accommodate smaller babies.

And the price tag reflects its quality. It’s hard to get top-of-the-line benefits without a top-of-the-line price tag, and the Poco is no exception. This baby backpack will cost a little bit more than most, but reviewers say the perks are worth it.

Pros

  • Award-winning
  • Stable
  • Loaded with storage

Cons

  • Not for infants
  • More expensive
Lightweight and Affordable

2. Clevr Baby Backpack Cross-Country Carrier

The Clevr Baby Backpack is the least expensive carrier on our list, which makes it a favorite of budget-conscious parents. At five pounds, parents report loving the lightweight construction of the Baby Backpack Cross-Country Carrier.

This fixed-frame baby carrier backpack features impressive storage. You’ll find a place for everything, with multiple pockets, two water bottle holders, and an extra-large pocket that’s a perfect fit for diapers.

However, across the board, users find this backpack to be less comfortable than others, with limited padding and no foot pegs for the child.

And the size and strength of the waist belt and padding aren’t sufficient to avoid slipping and bunching during wear. This carrier is recommended for children between 16 and 40 pounds.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Loaded with storage

Cons

  • Less comfortable
  • Less supportive
Best for Newborns
an image of the boba baby carrier

3. Boba 4G Carrier

The Boba 4G is a soft pack that grows with your baby; however, it may be uncomfortable on longer treks.

It’s a front-facing carrier for children up to twenty-five pounds, and can convert into a back carrier for twenty-five- to forty-five-pound children.

The sleep hood is great for napping newborns, and the foot straps provide extra comfort and stability for toddlers. Additionally, the Boba is designed for ease and comfort during nursing, so you don’t have to worry about a hungry baby during a nature excursion.

But it does have its faults. Because the Boba is a soft pack, you don’t have the same convenience and stability you would loading your baby in and out of a freestanding, hard-frame carrier.

Also, keeping your baby carrier clean is important, so the Boba’s penchant for attracting lint has been one of the top complaints of parents. And even though the Boba is designed to be adjustable, many smaller-framed adults struggle to make it fit properly, leading them to return it.

Pros

  • Good for newborns to toddlers
  • Loaded with extras
  • Easy for nursing

Cons

  • Not freestanding
  • Lint magnet
  • Poor fit for smaller adults
Most Ergonomic

4. Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier

The Thule Sapling Carrier is one of the most expensive backpacks on our list, but the solid construction and loaded extras keep it a favorite for parents and reviewers. Recommended for children between 15 and 40 pounds.

This carrier boasts extra inner-thigh support and stirrups for your little one, which keeps their weight evenly distributed for ultimate comfort.

A viewing mirror gives you eyes in the back of your head, making it easy to monitor your baby throughout the hike. And no one will go thirsty with the included hydration sleeve that is roomy enough for a 3 L reservoir.

As for downsides, deploying the kickstand can require force, which causes concern if you need to use it while baby is strapped in.

And extras are awesome, but not if they don’t come as promised—many customers have reported missing items when they open the box.

Pros

  • Ergonomic support
  • Mirror for watching baby
  • Hydration pouch

Cons

  • Kickstand is difficult to use
  • More expensive
  • Missing items at delivery
Most Extras

5. Phil&teds Escape Baby Carrier

Loaded with extras, the Phil&teds Escape offers comfort, safety, and perks. Suitable for children ages three months to three years.

The Escape comes standard with a sleeping hood, changing pad, removable daypack, rain shield, mirror, and foot stirrups. And baby is all set for a trailside nap thanks to the moldable headrest and shoulder cradle that offer snug support to developing neck muscles.

You can safely load and unload baby in this secure backpack that features two carry handles and a pop-in and pop-out stand that makes it easy to safely set the pack down—even with one hand.

But note that all that stability, plus extras, equals a pack that’s fairly heavy even before you strap your little one in.

This backpack comes with a generous hydration pouch, but despite so many other included extras, the water bladder has to be purchased on its own.

Pros

  • Loaded with extras
  • Comfy for baby
  • Easy to load

Cons

  • Heavy
  • No hydration sleeve

Things to Consider in a Hiking Baby Carrier

Choosing the right baby carrier for hiking with your baby can feel overwhelming. It’s difficult to know exactly what you’re going to need. Safety, while certainly the most important factor, is one of many considerations that will impact how comfortable you both are and how long you’ll be able to stay on the trail.

Harness and Cockpit Security

The most important consideration when choosing a baby carrier for hiking is whether or not it will keep your baby safe. A secure child harness and supportive cockpit are must-haves.

  • Harness Security
    A secure harness keeps your child safe during every trek. Look for harness systems that are adjustable and comfortable around their legs, shoulders, and arms.
  • Cockpit Safety
    The cockpit is the area where your baby sits in the carrier. You want a well-designed cockpit that provides ample support for the neck, head, and back, as well as cushioned support in the front in case baby nods off during the hike.

Age and Weight Recommendations

It’s exciting to take baby on their first hike, but make sure that the baby carrier you choose is appropriate for your child’s weight and age.

  • Age Considerations
    Most baby backpacks will provide a recommended age range for use. If you’re eager to take out a newborn, be sure the carrier you use provides the right neck and head support. A baby typically won’t be able to ride in a backpack until they can hold up their head and neck on their own.
  • Weight Considerations
    Along with age, baby carriers come with a recommended weight capacity. This is important for you and your little one, as you want to make sure the hiking carrier you use can support your baby’s weight. Consider how long the backpack will last as your child grows.

Versatility

Baby backpacks aren’t a small investment—make a purchase that will accommodate your hiking needs as long as possible.

  • Adjustable Sizing
    Because you probably won’t be the only one carrying your baby in the great outdoors, you want a baby carrier that easily adjusts to fit different adult body shapes and sizes. You don’t want to have to buy two packs for one child.
  • Multiple Functions
    Many hiking baby carriers are designed to safely carry your baby from infancy to toddlerhood. Look for baby carriers that grow with your child and can stand up to their changing needs and weight.

Extra Features

When you strap on a baby backpack, you want it to carry as many extras as possible. You certainly don’t want to add a diaper bag to the supplies you need to transport.

  • Storage
    The thing about taking a baby on a hike is that they come with extra baggage like diapers, bottles, and snacks. Consider the number and size of storage pockets and look for places to carry other essentials like water and your phone.
  • Accessories
    Both you and baby will be more comfortable with a few perks. Accessories like sun shades, rain covers, key/toy rings, and drool pads can make your adventures into the outdoors more pleasant.

 

More About Baby Safety

Want to learn more ways to keep your baby safe while on the move? Check out our Baby and Child Safety Directory, where we provide the answers you need to protect your little one.

Disclaimer

Amazon.com list price as of 07/10/2020 12:21 p.m. MST. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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