So do you want to get back into the hiking scene but would not want to leave your baby behind? Or are you tired of bringing along your dog and would prefer to carry your little ones instead?
Well, I’ve got some good news for you—baby carriers have become more attuned to the needs of today’s parents.
Gone are the days when hiking-loving couples had to settle for oversized carriers that put all of the weight on the shoulders of parents, affecting their mobility in the process. Today, there are lots of carriers that are lightweight enough for parents to carry even as they climb those hills.
Important Essentials to Consider
In determining the right baby carrier for your little one, consider the following factors:
1. Size Of Your Baby
In my book, this is one of the first things that you should look into when shopping for a baby carrier. There are front-loading carriers designed for parents to hold their months-old babies on their chest. But if you have a bigger child, you might want to find a carrier where he or she sits in the back.
Keep in mind that most baby carriers are only designed to accommodate children weighing about 40 pounds or 18 kilograms.
2. How Far You’ll Be Trekking
Consider, too, the miles that you will be putting in when you are shopping for a baby carrier. If you are to hike over rough terrain, a larger but more robust carrier may be more appropriate. But if you are not trekking too far, a lightweight carrier may be your best bet.
Hardshell carriers may be heavier than softshell carriers, but they are more likely to last longer. Moreover, a hardshell carrier is more appropriate for carrying larger children. You can travel farther and comfortably with this one.
Softshell carriers, though, work best for smaller children who are a year old or younger. Aside from being less expensive, softshell carriers are also more lightweight.
Look for a baby carrier that has enough room for essentials such as bottles, diapers, wipes, and snacks. You might even want to get a baby carrier that also doubles as a day backpack if you and the kids would be camping out for an extended period.
Don’t forget your child--- he or she should be comfortable while on the carrier. Adequate padding is very important especially if you have a young baby who won’t be able to support himself without assistance. You should also consider getting a carrier with adjustable seats so that you can find the optimum position for your child.
Larger carriers usually come with a metal stand where you can set the carrier down. It’s a great option if you are to travel by yourself because you don’t need the help of another person to take the baby while you take pictures of the family or when you adjust your gear.
7. Ease Of Storing
A fold-up carrier is something you would want if you have a small car. There are also carriers that are fully assembled but won’t fold up. Those models aren’t a bad choice since they are sturdy, although you might have a problem in storing them especially if you have a small vehicle.
8. Extra Accessories
While not necessarily a deal breaker, extra accessories such as diaper changing pads and canopy could affect your buying decision.
Top Five Baby Carriers For Hiking
Now let’s look at five baby carriers which I feel are the best choices for moms and dads who are into hiking.
#1 Baby Back Pack Carrier Stand with Sun Shade Visor (Green)
This is a lightweight yet durable carrier stand that you can bring to your next outdoor adventure. Weighing just 5 pounds, it is light enough for most parents to carry around. But it is made of a strong metal frame and oxford cloth so it should be able to withstand the rigors of daily use.
It has an easy adjustment system that would allow parents to find a comfortable fit for them and their children. Its metal stand, on the other hand, allows it to sit upright. It can also be quickly folded.
Storage won’t be a problem with the large, zippered pocket of this carrier. It’s big enough to store items like diapers. There are also two water bottle holders located at the side.
This carrier has a maximum weight capacity of 40 pounds. It is best used for children aged 6 months up to 4 years.
#2 Kelty Journey 2.0 Kid Carrier
While not as lightweight as the other baby carrier, this Kelty Journey product remains a top pick because of its numerous features. One of its best qualities is its adjustable suspension system designed to give both parents and kids the perfect fit. With the numerous adjustments in the carrier, it is easier for parents to distribute the weight of the unit between the shoulders and hips.
Your kid should also remain comfortable while on this carrier as it has a padded and height- adjustable seat. There is also a sun hood to keep the sunlight at bay.
A unique feature of this carrier is its auto-deploy kickstand that gives a safe platform for loading and unloading the baby. This carrier also has a higher weight capacity of 50 pounds.
#3 Deuter Kid Comfort 2
This is one of the top rated baby carriers for hiking, and for a good reason. It has basically everything parents need for a baby carrier for hiking.
It is comfortable for both parents and kids. The step-in side access is designed to make it easier for kids to get in and out of it. Meanwhile, there is a soft chin pad that provides optimum support for the little ones. On the part of the parents, they would love the VariFit system that is integrated into this carrier. It can let moms and dad carry the carrier without having to remove their kids from it.
It also has enough storage for all the things you’ll likely be bringing for a one-day hike like bottles, diapers, toys, wipes, burp clothes and more. While there’s no water bottle pocket (which is arguably the major flaw of this carrier), there are enough pockets in this carrier for most parents.
#4 Baby Back Pack Cross Country Carrier Stand
Weighing a mere 5 pounds, this cross country carrier with stand is very lightweight. The metal frame also folds flat thus it is very easy to store.
Parents will be comfortable even if they carry this unit for long hours thanks to the thick padded shoulder pads and padded waist strap. There are multiple pockets and two side water bottle holders for storage options.
With a maximum child weight of 33 pounds, this carrier is best for children aged between six months and four years old.
#5 Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier By Phil&teds
The lightest in this list, this backpack carrier weighs just 4.4 pounds. Amazingly, it can carry children weighing up to 40 pounds.
This is a freestanding carrier which features a sturdy and durable aluminum frame. There’s also a harness system with padded hip belts and shoulder.
This carrier is designed to ‘breathe’ even on hot days thus parents will remain comfortable carrying it. There’s a pocket for keys and a water bottle holder to boot.
While all these five baby carriers are highly recommended to couples who love to hike, I would go out and say that the Deuter Kid Comfort 2 is the best in this list.
I believe it has everything that parents would want to have in a baby carrier for hiking, from the easy-to-adjust harness system to the breathable cloth it is made from. There’s also enough storage space for most baby essentials. This is arguably the best baby carrier for hiking today.