Hiking with the kids? Here are our top picks for best child carriers!

Hiking with the kids? Here are our top picks for best child carriers!

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Hiking, a beloved outdoor activity, offers a unique opportunity for families to bond while immersing themselves in the beauty of the natural world. However, going for a rigorous hike with kids might seem daunting for parents. That is where child hiking carriers come to the rescue, providing a safe and convenient solution for bringing your little ones along on your outdoor adventures.

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Here are the standout carriers to consider for your escapades in the wild;

Osprey Poco Plus

Weight: 7 lbs. 14 oz.

Max. Weight (Child+Gear+Pack): 48 pounds

Sunshade: Yes

Price: $395

Addressing a key concern with the previous model, Osprey enhanced the hip belt’s padding on the Osprey Poco Plus. This adjustment was crucial as the previous mesh-heavy design had a tendency to cause discomfort when the pack was fully loaded. With this update, that issue has been effectively resolved.

Also, Osprey improved the harness system, relocating the buckles conveniently behind your child’s shoulders. The integration of bluesign-approved nylon into the pack body demonstrates their commitment to sustainable materials. The Poco Plus version has a more adaptable hip belt and expanded storage capacity than Poco LT (below).

The Plus distinguishes itself in the market thanks to its removable, soft-to-the-touch drool pad, which allows you to wash it and the cord attachment loops keep toys and pacifiers within reach for the toddler. It is equipped to handle various activities, from lengthy day hikes to overnight expeditions with the family.

This is the carrier we personally use for our toddler and think it is well worth the investment!

Osprey Poco Plus for $395

Deuter Kid Comfort

Weight: 7 lbs. 2 oz.

Max. Weight (Child+Gear+Pack): 48 pounds

Sunshade: Yes

Price: $320

Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier

Deuter’s Kid Comfort combines elevated comfort and safety features with premium build quality and thoughtful organization. Renowned for their exceptional suspension systems, Deuter packs have earned a reputation for excellence.

Boasting a robust metal frame, it effortlessly supports a growing and energetic child, while the cushioned hip belt and mesh back panel harmoniously blend support and ventilation. Deuter’s child seat design ranks among the finest available on the market.

Although buckling is slightly more complex than the Osprey Poco Plus, the five-point harness offers secure restraint and easy adjustability. It comes equipped with a tall backrest, supportive side panels, and plush, washable front pad.

The swift-deploying sunshade boasts a designated pocket discreetly located behind your back. The inclusion of a side entry option proves advantageous for toddlers aiming to load and unload their belongings on their own.

Furthermore, the sunshade’s limited coverage along the sides is a minor drawback, potentially causing issues on windy days. Nevertheless, the Kid Comfort is an outstanding choice for active families seeking durable, top-notch materials and unparalleled comfort for the child and accompanying adult.

Deuter Kid Comfort for $320

Kelty Journey PerfectFIT

Weight: 5 lbs. 4 oz.

Max. Weight (Child+Gear+Pack): 50 pounds

Sunshade: No

Price: $270

For those who prefer briefer hikes or are open to a slight compromise in comfort, the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT is an excellent budget-friendly choice for a baby carrier. What immediately catches the eye with the Kelty Journey is its noteworthy similarity in child harness quality and interior design compared to pricier models.

The seat adjusts effortlessly, has soft padding, and offers a comfortable haven for your toddler. As a bonus, the Journey PerfectFIT saves over two pounds in weight compared to counterparts on this list, yet it has a similar maximum weight capacity.

But the compromise on comfort is felt on lengthier walks as its cushioning only offers gentle support for short hikes. So, the longer you walk, the heavier the toddler becomes, potentially making for uncomfortable hiking experiences.

Also, its limited features pose a challenge during long walks. The big misses on this product include the hydration-compatible sleeve and zippered hip belts.

Kelty Journey PerfectFIT for $270

Osprey Poco LT

Weight: 5 lbs. 2 oz.

Max. Weight (Child+Gear+Pack): 48 pounds

Sunshade: Yes

Price: $261

As its name suggests, the Osprey Poco LT is the most lightweight model within the Poco lineup, designed with portability and simplicity. Its slender structure and compact form enable it to fold almost entirely flat—an advantageous feature for travel and urban exploration.

Weighing slightly over five pounds, it is among the lightest designs on the market. One big plus with this model is that essential elements such as ample storage capacity, compatibility with hydration reservoirs, and the inclusion of a deployable sunshade have been retained.

But to streamline the Poco LT backpack, Osprey made a trade-off in terms of extended carrying comfort during lengthy treks. The back panel of the LT model has minimal padding and the simplified stainless-steel frame do not match the sturdiness and support provided by the standard Poco models, particularly when carrying a full load.

Also, certain features like stirrups—beneficial for older children and longer excursions—are missing, and the external pocket arrangement is basic. So, whereas the Poco LT may not have the versatility of the carriers above, it is a pragmatic solution for everyday use and various travel scenarios.

Osprey Poco Lt for $261

Ergobaby 360 Cool Air Mesh

Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz.

Max. Weight (Child+Gear+Pack): 45 Pounds

Sunshade: No

Price: $139

The other models we’ve shared were explicitly designed as hiking backpacks, but a basic baby carrier can also be a practical option if you’re facing cold weather or have young toddlers on the trail. The Ergobaby 360 is the classic choice featuring a comfortable waistband and several carrying possibilities for your child.

When hiking and traveling, especially if your baby can support their head, we believe the rear backpack-style position offers the most comfort while on the move.

An added benefit of the Ergobaby carrier is its compact size, which sets it apart from typical child carriers by making it easier to transport. However, Ergobaby 360 has its share of drawbacks. Firstly, it lacks a frame system, reducing comfort during extended jaunts. Additionally, it lacks exterior pockets for extra storage.

In regards to comfort, having your baby close to you limits your freedom of movement, and vigorous activity can lead to excessive sweating (although the mesh construction helps, it retains more heat compared to the designs above). So, whereas the Ergobaby is an excellent supplementary choice, alongside a proper child carrier, it might not meet several hiking requirements.

Ergobaby Mesh Carrier for $139

Child hiking carriers are invaluable tools for families seeking to immerse their children in the natural world’s wonders while ensuring their safety and comfort. These carriers have evolved over time, incorporating ergonomic designs, advanced materials, and innovative features that make hiking with young children a more enjoyable and manageable experience. The carriers mentioned above present a perfect blend of comfort and price point, offering hikers the ultimate hiking experience.

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