Babies Gear The Best Hiking Baby Carriers for Toting Littles Through the Great Outdoors These backpack carriers keep hikers and their passengers happy. By Laura Fisher Published on May 19, 2023 Share Tweet Pin Email We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Photo: Parents / Jaclyn Mastropasqua Having a kiddo doesn’t have to end your outdoor adventures, as long as you have the right baby gear. Whether you are planning to take off for a day hike, backpacking trip, or long day out on the town, having a comfortable backpack carrier for toddlers and babies can mean the difference between an enjoyable activity and a meltdown (for both you and your little one). Before strapping your tot in for a day of hiking, you’ll want to look for something designed for their safety. Ensure the carrier’s frame is padded in case your child bumps against it, and place them correctly into the carrier (no restriction of airflow and a healthy hip position). In order to find the best hiking baby carriers, we studied the design and features of most of the options on the market. When reviewing products, we considered age recommendations, size range, design, fit, material, ease of cleaning, ease of use, and overall value. Additionally, we reviewed guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on comfort and safety guidelines for baby carriers. We chose hiking baby carriers that work for beginner or veteran hikers, so you can journey through various terrains effortlessly. Once you make your pick, you’re ready to hit the trails! Just make sure you don’t forget to pack the snacks. Our Favorites Best Overall: Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite Best Overall (Runner-Up): Osprey Poco Child Carrier Best Frameless: Ergobaby Omni Breeze Best Frameless (Runner-Up): Líllébaby CarryOn AirFlow Best Budget: Luvdbaby Premium Baby Backpack Carrier Best Budget (Runner-Up): Chicco SmartSupport Backpack Best With Storage Space: Osprey Poco Plus Best With Storage Space (Runner-Up): ClevrPlus Cross Country Baby Backpack Most Bells and Whistles: Deuter Kid Comfort Pro Carrier Bells and Whistles (Runner-Up): Clevr Canyonero Camping Backpack Lightest: Osprey Poco LT Best for Women: Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL Best for Toddlers: Thule Sapling Child Carrier Best for Toddlers (Runner-Up): Piggyback Rider Standing Carrier Best Overall: Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on REI If you’re looking for all-around comfort for both wearer and rider, plus the features you need for any type of hike, including good storage space and a built-in sunshade, you can’t beat the Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite. The Elite features extras such as a reservoir sleeve to fit a hydration pack, seven pockets, and an overall 26-liter storage capacity for toting the multitudes of items necessary for even a short jaunt with a child. Price at time of publication: $350 Best Overall (Runner-Up): Osprey Poco Child Carrier Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Moosejaw.com Buy on REI The Osprey Poco Child Carrier is the newer model of the Osprey Poco AG, which is known for its overall comfort and durability. At a 20-liter capacity, it has slightly less storage space than the Kelty pick but still includes many of the same features. Price at time of publication: $338 Best Frameless: Ergobaby Omni Breeze Buy Buy Baby Buy on Amazon Buy on Target Buy on Nordstrom The Omni Breeze is the brand-new front-facing carrier model from consumer-favorite brand Ergobaby, known for its comfortable and minimalist designs that include lumbar support. The new model is similar to the beloved Omni 360 but made with even more breathable mesh to maximize airflow and keep both baby and wearer cool and comfortable, no matter how hot the temps get. The Omni Breeze can adjust with your growing baby and is suitable for ages 0-48 months, making it a no-brainer for the active family. Price at time of publication: $199 The Best Baby Carriers for Comfort and Safety Best Frameless (Runner-Up): Líllébaby CarryOn Airflow Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Nordstrom The Líllébaby CarryOn Airflow is also designed with breathability in mind, but it’s better for when your baby is out of the baby stage and into their toddler years, making it slightly less versatile than the Ergobaby model. Still, with a wider and taller torso fit, as well as three carrying positions (front, back, and hip), this frameless carrier is a solid option for days out and about. Price at time of publication: $150 We Tested the Best Travel Strollers for Every Type of Adventure Best Budget: Luvdbaby Premium Baby Backpack Carrier Amazon Buy on Amazon If you’re not planning to get out every weekend, you can sacrifice some of the quality offered by high-end carriers and opt for a more affordable backpack without sacrificing comfort. The Luvdbaby Premium Backpack Carrier offers many of the same features as the Osprey and Kelty packs, including a kickstand for loading, a built-in sunshade, and multiple storage pockets. Parents have mentioned how easy it is to adjust this carrier to wearers of different heights, so even if you trade off carrying duties with a partner, you can guarantee that the wearer of this pack won’t be in pain. Price at time of publication: $199 Best Budget (Runner-Up): Chicco SmartSupport Backpack Buy Buy Baby Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Target If you’re not the most serious of regular hikers and take only occasional treks, the Chicco SmartSupport backpack does the trick at a very affordable price. The “smart support” refers to the adjustable shoulder and waist straps designed to provide lumbar support. The interior features three adjustable settings to grow with your tot from infant size to 3 years old. Price at time of publication: $130 Best With Storage Space: Osprey Poco Plus Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Potterybarnkids.com Buy on REI The Osprey Poco Plus is the only pack on this list other than the Kelty PerfectFit Elite with a 26-liter capacity and overall carrying capacity of 48.5 pounds. It comes at a slightly higher price than the Kelty, but the Poco Plus is packed with all the features you need for a long day hike or backpacking adventure. Of special note are the highly adjustable hip belt for utmost comfort for the wearer and removable stirrups to support young riders’ circulation on long treks. Price at time of publication: $378 Best With Storage Space (Runner-Up): ClevrPlus Cross Country Baby Backpack Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart This lightweight carrier weighs only 5.5 pounds (compared to the 7-pound-14-ounce Osprey Poco Plus). Still, it features multiple pockets, side water bottle storage, and a large pack pocket for stashing diapers and whatever else you need. While it doesn’t have quite as much storage space as the Osprey, the Cross Country Baby Backpack is a budget-friendly option that is perfect for a long day hike or even a trip to the zoo! Price at time of publication: $110 Most Bells and Whistles: Deuter Kid Comfort Pro Carrier Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Moosejaw.com Buy on REI While the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro is a little pricey, it has every possible feature that you and your child could want, wrapped up in a high-quality design that will last through many a hike. Some of the highlights include Deuter’s “Vari Flex Pivoting articulated 3D hip fins” for ultimate wearer comfort, a rearview mirror so you can see your rider, a removable day pack, and a sunshade that is integrated into the pack (as opposed to having to be removed when not in use). Price at time of publication: $385 Bells and Whistles (Runner-Up): Clevr Canyonero Camping Backpack Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Not only does the Clevr Canyonero have a sunshade and a kickstand for loading, but it also features an insulated pocket to keep baby bottles or other drinks cool during your journey. While the quality of the overall pack suffers a bit, if you’re looking for something to get you through a season or two of hiking with many of the same features as a higher-end pack, this is a great option. Price at time of publication: $120 Lightest: Osprey Poco LT Backcountry Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Dick's Buy on REI You can’t deny that Osprey knows its packs, and the Poco LT doesn’t disappoint. At only 5 pounds 2 ounces, this is the lightest carrier on this list, making it a great option for day hikes or adventures in which your child needs to be carried for several hours. The aluminum frame folds up—an ideal feature for traveling—and it still has a 21-liter capacity, so you can pack along the necessities. Price at time of publication: $300 Best for Women: Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL Backcountry Buy on Amazon Buy on REI The Active SL model from Deuter features women-specific sizing, which means it is designed to accommodate shorter torsos with narrow shoulders and wider hips. For a primary wearer who has those proportions, you can’t beat this minimalist and lightweight carrier. It also features good ventilation and durability. Price at time of publication: $280 Best for Toddlers: Thule Sapling Child Carrier Backcountry Buy on Amazon Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on REI This easily adjustable child carrier holds up to 48 pounds and features dual-access loading, so you can get your squirmy toddler in from either the top or the side panel opening. The machine-washable seat is perfect for those messy snacking moments, and under-the-leg support keeps your little rider comfortable. A 22-liter gear compartment is accessible even while wearing the pack, which means you can pull out everything you need to keep your toddler entertained and happy for the duration of your adventure. Price at time of publication: $430 Best for Toddlers (Runner-Up): Piggyback Rider Standing Carrier Amazon Buy on Amazon Intended for toddlers aged 2 and up, this dad-designed carrier differs from the rest on this list in that it’s not a full pack but more of a simple frame for your child to stand in and get a view of what’s ahead, similar to riding on your shoulders. It’s not the best for long hikes, but it does provide a fun alternative to traditional child carriers for those kids who hate sitting still. Price at time of publication: $155 Factors to Consider in a Baby Carrier for Hiking When it comes to taking a baby or young child out on the trails, a wrap carrier just won’t cut it. Even an infant starts to feel heavy after a few hours, so you need something that will provide hip and lumbar support for the wearer and is comfortable for the rider to limit fussiness. It is also good to have ample storage areas for all the diapers, wipes, snacks, layers, and other tidbits you’ll inevitably end up bringing along. Beyond the basics, consider your individual needs when deciding which bells and whistles will make your journey the easiest. If you live in a hot climate, look for a carrier with a design that’s breathable and includes a hydration sleeve to store a water reservoir (also known as a bladder). These features will not only keep you from becoming overly sweaty and uncomfortable, but will ensure it’s easy for you and your little one to have access to water and avoid dehydration. A sunshade, whether it’s removable or integrated into the design, is also a must for protecting your child from the sun’s rays and to prevent overheating. If you plan to go on long hikes or multi-day backpacking trips, the suspension and fit of your hiking carrier becomes especially important. In general, the more you plan to use your pack, the more it’s worth investing in a top-of-the-line backpack carrier with a good suspension system and a highly-adjustable hip belt, back support system, and shoulder straps. Longer hikes also call for more gear to pack along, so make sure you look at the total carrying capacity of the pack in question, which includes the weight of your child and all your gear, as well as the storage capacity in its pockets and compartments. The storage capacity is typically given in liter measurements. The Best Baby Walker Alternatives for Tots on the Move Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Parents uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Baby carriers: backpacks, front packs, and slings. American Academy of Pediatrics.