A baby carrier backpack is a must for adventurous parents who want to take their little ones on all of their outdoor adventures. But which one is the best out of the bunch? And how exactly do you choose that perfect carrier for you and your little one? Well, that’s where we come in, with this detailed review of the ten best baby carriers for hiking money can buy!
Whether you’re looking for a carrier that will let you carry your toddler on all-day adventures or one that allows you to take your newborn on shorter hikes, you’ll find several options in this review. There’s also a short guide that will help you figure out how to choose that right child carrier backpack for you if you’re not entirely certain where to start.
Scroll down to learn more about the ten best baby carrier backpacks, and find the one that’s just right for you!
Best Large Capacity Baby Carrier Backpack
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Best Mid-Range Baby Carrier Backpack
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Best Baby Carrier Backpack For Infants
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The Thule Sapling Elite child carrier backpack is a really good option if you want something with a large storage capacity. It includes a spacious compartment at the bottom of the front panel, zippered hip belt pockets, and even a detachable daypack with multiple pockets and compartments.
This Elite child carrier is suitable for toddlers that weigh up to 48 lbs, while the ergonomic seat distributes the weight of the child evenly and ensures they’re always comfortable. The backpack is also pretty comfortable for parents, mostly thanks to the fully adjustable back system and thick padding everywhere.
The Thule carrier features dual access loading that actually lets you put the baby in it from either the top or the side – pretty convenient if one parent wants to take out the baby while the other parent is carrying them in the pack. Also, this carrier comes with a detachable sunshade, which will protect your little one from harmful UV rays during exciting summer adventures.
One thing I really like about this baby carrier for hiking is that the gear backpack is detachable. You get an extra bag that you can use even in your daily life when you’re not carrying a 30lb toddler on your back, which is pretty convenient. And since the pack has multiple compartments and pockets, you won’t really need an additional bag for the baby stuff on your hikes.
Another thing that’s really thoughtful of Thule is to include a mirror that lets you monitor your little one and see what they’re up to at all times. It’s these little things that make it a bit easier to stomach the high price point – if you want a hiking baby carrier that has everything you could possibly need, it’s worth it to splurge a little on the Thule Sapling Elite.
The Luvdbaby child carrier backpack is one of the best affordable options you have. It’s under $200, which is affordable as these child carriers get – at least the ones that have decent storage options.
The backpack features a thoroughly adjustable harness with lots of thick padding and breathable mesh, for great carrying comfort of both parents. Whether you’re a mom or a dad, you should be able to adjust this carrier so that it feels comfortable on your body, and so that the weight is evenly distributed across your torso.
It’s also going to be comfortable for your most precious cargo, thanks to the adjustable baby seat and the adjustable foot stirrups that hold the baby’s feet in place. That’s also going to help you stay a bit more comfortable since it helps ensure you don’t have a tiny foot kicking you in the back for the duration of the hike.
The gear storage of this child carrier is okay, but there’s lots of room for improvement. There’s one really spacious compartment, and then a variety of smaller zippered and open pockets. However, I think you will ultimately have to choose whether to put the baby stuff or the hiking gear in the roomy compartment – the smaller pockets are convenient, but they can’t really hold anything too big.
Also, one of the zippered pockets on the carrier is actually insulated, so it’s perfect for carrying a baby bottle or even your food. The backpack also includes zippered hip belt pockets, for those items you want to have handy at all times.
One great thing about this hiking baby carrier is that it comes with a foldable changing pad. A sunshade is also included, as is a dedicated rain cover. I really like this, since it ensures you’re able to keep your child protected from different weather conditions. And all those extra features make this carrier really good value for money, especially considering the already affordable retail price.
The Infantino carrier is a really good option because it has more pockets than you’ll see on any other front baby carrier. It actually looks like a backpack in the front, with all the different zippered pocket and a spacious compartment, but it is still a front carrier that it is able to support even newborn babies.
Also, those pockets are all designed to stretch out, so whatever you put inside them shouldn’t really bother the baby or poke them in any way.
The Infantino is a versatile carrier, meaning you can wear it on your torso or on your back. Because of that, this carrier is suitable for infants as well as three year old toddlers, so you should be able to get quite a lot of use out of it. Especially if you’re looking for something small and lightweight, which is very simple to set up and use.
It’s also very comfortable for both the parents and the babies. The child seat is ergonomic and adjustable, meaning both an infant and a full grown toddler can be equally comfortable in the Infantino. And thanks to the thick padding in the harness and the breathable mesh that covers everything that’s touching the wearer’s body, this hiking baby carrier offers excellent ventilation.
The one thing that it doesn’t offer is protection from the sun for the little ones, since a sunshade is not included with this carrier. You won’t get a rain cover either, which is another downside.
Another great thing about this carrier is the price point – it’s under $50, so it’s perfect if you’re on a really tight budget. However, keep in mind that the total storage capacity of this is very limited, and it’s not a carrier I would recommend for any longer hikes. If you’re looking to go outside with your little one for a couple of hours, this will work just fine. But if you want to take on some rather difficult trails, definitely check out the more elaborate baby carrier backpacks.
The Kelty baby carrier backpack is a great option if you want a comfortable bag with large gear and weight capacity. The volume of the bag compartments is about 26 liters, which is more than what you get in normal baby bags. And it features a thoroughly adjustable back system that easily fits both mom and dad without any issues.
There’s thick padding in the backpanel, harness and hip belt, ensuring you’re always comfortable. The waist-hugging belt helps with even load distribution so that you don’t feel the entire weight of your baby on your back. And your little one should also be perfectly comfortable inside the harness since it is designed to mimic the baby’s natural rest state.
Also, it is possible to adjust the baby harness, foot stirrups, and the seat, so that your kiddo is guaranteed to be more comfortable than you in the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT baby carrier.
The main advantage of this hiking baby carrier backpack is that is has a very spacious main compartment, which virtually eliminates the need for an extra baby bag. There are actually three gear compartments on the front of the carrier, as well as two zippered hip belt pockets for the items you want easily accessible at all times.
In addition to that, the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT child carrier comes with an integrated sunshade, ensuring that your most precious cargo is protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays at all times.
One downside of the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT backpack is that it’s not hydration compatible, so it won’t be effortless to keep yourself hydrated. Especially since there aren’t any stretchy mesh pockets for the water bottle.
The Osprey Poco child carrier is a good option if you want something more substantial for longer hikes. It is suitable for babies that weigh anywhere between 16 and 48.5 lbs, and it is sturdy enough so that you too can be comfortable with a toddler on your back.
The Poco features thick padding in the shoulder straps and hip belt, as well as an airy, suspended harness. It’s a great option for hikeS during warm weather, because all that ventilation guarantees you won’t sweat too much, and that your body will be able to breathe. Plus, the suspension system is designed to guarantee optimal load distribution, ensuring that you’re actually pretty comfortable when carrying a fully grown toddler on your back.
This hiking baby carrier backpack comes with a removable sunshade that offers UPF 50+ protection, ensuring that your precious one is protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Also, everything about the child cockpit is adjustable, including the foot stirrups and the harness, so it will be pretty easy to make the Poco fit your little one perfectly.
The carrier also comes with a removable and washable drool pad, which is very convenient. And it actually has enough storage for all the necessities you’d need for the little one, as well as some extra space for your own stuff. There are wide and easily accessible stretch mesh pockets on the sides, two open hip belt pockets that you have access to while the Poco is on your back, as well as several zippered compartments on the front of the carrier.
The Poco is also compatible with Osprey’s Hydraulics reservoir, it comes with an integrated and detachable rain cover and it is compatible with the Daylite series, meaning you can easily adjust an extra backpack onto it for an even larger capacity.
If you’re looking for a reliable child carrier that you’ll be able to use for years, you can’t go wrong with the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro carrier. It’s also one of the top carrier backpacks you can get in terms of your carrying comfort.
The shoulder straps are contoured, padded and covered with breathable mesh for optimal carrying comfort. But the star of the show is the backpanel, which mostly consists from mesh that’s tensioned by the steel spring frame. It allows for a very effective ventilation channel between your back and the pack, but it does not alter the load’s center of gravity.
In addition to that, the Deuter Kid Comfort also has a very comfortable hip belt that hugs your body, and helps transfer the load onto your hips. All in all, when it comes to the carrying comfort of the parents, you won’t find a better option.
And the child will also be pretty comfortable, thanks to the adjustable seat with the safety harness and the foot stirrups. In fact, if your kid is a bit bigger, I think they’ll really like this carrier because they can easily get inside on their own. It will make them feel more grown up, which is always helpful.
You get a versatile sunshade/rain cover with this carrier, and that’s pretty convenient. Additionally, you also get a detachable daypack that has a capacity of some 20 liters, and which is a pretty good standalone bag. It guarantees you have enough storage on this carrier, especially with the added open and zippered pockets. The daypack can be attached to the bottom of the carrier, or even to the shoulder straps, so that you have access to it while you’re wearing the hiking baby carrier.
The only thing you won’t really like about the Deuter Kid Comfort carrier is the price point. It’s pretty expensive, and it’s debatable whether or not it’s actually worth so much money. However, that’s usually the case with Deuter products – they tend to be on the pricier side, but almost always justify it with exceptional quality and performance.
The ClevrPlus Cross Country carrier backpack is the best option for petite people. It’s one of the lightest hiking baby carriers you can get, as it only weighs 5.5 lbs. Backpack carriers with multiple storage compartments don’t get lighter than this, and if weight is your main priority, this is by far the best option for you.
Especially since this is a pretty comfortable carrier, both for the parents and the toddlers. It features thick padding in the backpanel and breathable mesh everywhere, ensuring that the weight is evenly distributed across your torso. Parents and babies will stay comfortable regardless of the weather – the mesh allows your body to breathe keeping you dry during hot days, while the sunshade protects your baby from both UV rays and the rain.
In addition to that, this backpack carrier has multiple open and closed pockets, including hip belt pockets that are easily accessible. There’s a single roomy compartment for the bulkier items, so you should have enough storage space for the child’s necessities.
The only downside of this lightweight hiking baby carrier is that it’s a lot smaller than some of the others I’ve showed you. It can be used with toddlers that weigh up to 33 lbs, which is about 15 lbs less than what you get on top of the range hiking baby carriers.
But if you have a smaller toddler, you should know that this is going to be pretty comfortable for them. The seat is entirely adjustable, the harness will keep them safe while you’re exploring new terrain, and the foot stirrups will help them feel more secure. The only issue is that the foot stirrups are plastic – in case they wind up hitting you in the back, the plastic just adds to the uncomfortable sensation.
The Escape child carrier backpack by Phil&Teds is another option worth considering. It is a very sturdy backpack with a really elaborate back system that is designed to fit both moms and dads perfectly. The carrier has a dual core waist belt with advanced lumbar support, for perfectly even weight distribution.
And there’s breathable mesh all over the back system, so you should stay perfectly comfortable no matter how warm it gets outside. This carrier backpack will also be very comfortable for your little one, considering it features an adjustable seat, as well as a sunshade/rain cover that will protect them from the elements.
In addition to that, you will be able to fit a lot of gear in this carrier, thanks to the detachable daypack. The total weight capacity of the carrier is about 30 liters, which should be more than enough for all the items you need for your little one. And you’ll also have room for some hiking necessities, especially considering the carrier is perfectly compatible with hydration bladders.
Also, you have access to two hip belt pockets when you’re wearing the carrier, but only one of those is zippered. And you get D-rings on the shoulder straps, meaning you actually have the ability to attach some bulkier gear to the exterior of the backpack. This is pretty convenient, especially for those longer hikes when you need a lot of extra gear.
This baby carrier backpack includes foot stirrups for the little ones, but they’re more like pockets for the baby’s feet. This is pretty cool – it is more restrictive than the classic foot stirrups, but it also guarantees that they won’t be able to kick you in the back. And there is even a mouldable headrest for the child that guarantees their head and neck will always be well supported.
The TotCraft baby carrier is great for people who need a baby carrier that they can immediately with their babies. This works as both a front and back carrier, so you can actually use with newborns and toddlers up to three years of age.
Obviously, if you’re using this with a newborn baby, you should wear it on the front of your body. When used as a back carrier, it just doesn’t provide enough head and neck support for the little ones, and you should avoid wearing it like that until your baby is actually able to support its own head.
This baby carrier is made from cotton, and it is machine washable. It comes with customizable teething pads that you can also throw in the washer, which is pretty convenient.
The thing that sets apart the TotCraft baby carrier backpack from the other front carriers is the inclusion of a padded hip belt and sternum strap for excellent lumbar support. You as a parent will be very comfortable when wearing this, thanks to all the thick padding in the shoulder straps and harness. However, keep in mind that only parts of the backpanel are covered with breathable mesh, and that does not include the shoulder straps or the hip belt.
We also need to talk about the storage of this baby carrier backpack. It has two medium-sized pockets that can fit some of the items you need for the little one, but you will definitely need an additional bag for the rest of the baby stuff and hiking gear.
Additionally, this carrier doesn’t have a frame, which means that you can’t really set it down on the ground for a moment. This also makes it a bit awkward for parents to switch who’s wearing the carrier, since it is entirely soft and it does not provide too much support for the baby without your body.
A good child carrier backpack will be equally comfortable for both you and the little one. Obviously, the most important factor is that it can fit your kid properly, and for that information, you should look at the product infoboxes. They will tell you the weight of the child each carrier can handle, so you’ll be able to know whether or not a carrier is a good fit for your little one.
Once you’ve figured that out, you should look for a carrier that’s also going to be really comfortable for you. Are you going to be the only one carrying it, or should it also be compatible with your husband/wife? If it’s the latter, you need to look for a carrier that’s adjustable enough both parents can be comfortable when wearing it. This means that everything about the back system needs to be adjustable, in order to accommodate a wide variety of body types.
One thing you need to figure out is whether is how much storage do you need for your kid’s stuff. Some of the baby carriers featured here have pretty large capacities, and they will easily eliminate the need for additional bags. But others only have a few pockets, and their main focus remains on the baby carrier aspect of the bag.
If you’re going on adventures with a significant other, then you can usually make them carry the bulk of the gear, while you focus on carrying the little one. But if it’s just you and the kiddo, then you will need something with a really big weight capacity. That’s mostly because these baby carrier backpacks tend to be so bulky that it’s impossible to carry another bag in addition to them. So, you need to make sure that there’s enough space for all the things you need for the child, as well as the hiking gear you want to bring on the adventure.
Both front and back baby carrier backpacks have their pros and cons, but the main difference is the age of the baby they’re suitable for. If you want to go hiking with an infant, you will have to get a front baby carrier.
The back carrier backpacks are designed for babies that are a bit older, and they usually have a minimum weight requirement. The main advantage of them is that they’re designed to keep you comfortable with a 40lbs+ toddler on your back, thanks to the adjustable harness and the padded and ventilated back system.
Another advantage of the classic backpack baby carriers is that they usually come with rain covers and sun shades so that your little one stays protected in all weather conditions. Also, these carriers tend to have lots of different pockets, and some even come with detachable daypacks, ensuring that you have plenty of storage for the baby stuff as well as the hiking gear.
That’s not the case with the front baby carriers. Sure, some of them will have a convenient pocket or two, but you will never have as much storage space on one of them as you’re able to have on a proper baby carrier backpack. This is exactly why I decided to feature a lot more back carriers.
However, the obvious advantage of the front toddler carriers is that you have the ability to wear a full-sized backpack, so you can carry all the gear you could possibly need.
Overall, the baby carrier backpacks are the best things you can get for a child that’s at least six months old. But if you want to go hiking with a baby that’s younger than that, you will need a front carrier first, until they’re old enough to fit into a proper carrier backpack.
Not sure which of these carriers is just the right option for you? Then just go with one of our top three picks, depending on the age of your baby and the difficulty of your hikes!
If you really want the best baby carrier backpack there is, you’ll be really happy with the Thule Sapling Elite. It is extremely comfortable for both the parents and the babies since everything about it is adjustable. The carrier comes with a detachable daypack you can wear on its own, and which has plenty of space for all the gear you might need on your hikes. It also comes with a sunshade and a rain cover, as well as a tiny mirror that lets you keep up with the child on your back.
Parents on a tighter budget should consider the Luvdbaby child carrier backpack. It’s well made, with lots of thick padding and breathable mesh on the harness, as well as a thoroughly adjustable baby set. This carrier comes with a sunshade, a rain cover and it features several open and zippered pockets for all the stuff you want to carry on your hikes. And it’s not outrageously expensive, so it’s a great alternative for parents who are put off by the prices of the carrier backpacks from high-end brands.
In case you want a baby carrier that you can use with your infant, the Infantino is a great option for you. It’s versatile, affordable, comfortable and it has a total of six pockets for gear storage. This baby carrier works as both a front and back carrier, and it’s suitable for use with infants as well as toddlers up to three years of age. The backpanel and harness are padded and ventilated, ensuring that parents will be perfectly comfortable regardless of how long they’re wearing it.
You can see the prices of all these baby carrier backpacks on Amazon, so head over there if you’ve decided which one to get. And be sure to check out our related posts, for ideas on other must-have gear for family outdoor adventures!