The 5 Best Hiking Baby Carriers in 2021 Reviewed
Love exploring the great outdoors with kids? Then a high-quality child carrier can be the perfect addition to any camping and/or hiking adventure. Designed to carry your little one with ease, the Best Child Carriers are comfortable to wear, secure, and even come with bonus features such as extra storage space, and more.
When you start researching child hiking carriers you’ll quickly notice that the market is a flood with options. So, how do you determine which carrier is worthy of your time and money? This is where Outdoor Command offers a solution: our ‘Best Hiking Baby Carrier’ overview. We’ve scoured the web for the highest-rated, best-value options that score top marks on quality, performance, comfort, and construction. Instantly navigating you towards hiking backpack carriers that offer outstanding value-for-money.
In our Best Child Carrier Overview, we’ve included both high-end and budget-friendly backpack carriers, ensuring there’s a comfy fit at every price-point. Whether you want to spend a lot, or a little: there’s a match for each outdoor enthusiast.
Discover our 5 favorite hiking child carriers below, and upgrade your outdoor gear with this must-have hikers’ essential!
Best Hiking Baby & Child Carriers
Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Child Carrier
Another perk is that this child carrier is quite lightweight compared to styles with a similar weight capacity. The hiking carrier has maximum weight capacity (child + gear + pack ) of 50 pounds, yet only weighs 6 lbs 6 oz by itself. When it comes to longer-distance, cross-country adventures: every pound of packing weight counts, which is why for some hikers, this lightweight option could be a perfect fit.
Wide seat base and handy foot stirrups
Other attractive features of the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Child Carrier include a 5-point harness and padded aluminum roll cage; which keep the carrier safe and secure on your back, even when hiking on unstable undergrounds. The style has a wide seat base and adjustable foot stirrups to keep your little one comfy. The carrier’s dual-grab handles make it easy to lift and set down, whilst the handy sternum strap helps evenly distribute the weight.
Do note that the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Child Carrier is quite basic in design. Now, this isn’t necessarily a con, but if you’re looking for a child carrier with lots of fancy features and storage space: this isn’t it. For example, the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Child Carrier only comes with a simple mesh hip-belt pocket, instead of a secure zippered hip-belt pocket, and doesn’t include a sunshade (this needs to be purchased separately). However, for its reasonable price-point and secure, comfy seating, we think compromising on extra features seems like a reasonable trade-off.
Tip: If you need the premium perks and want to stick with Kelty as a brand, this basic style is also available in a fancier Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Elite variety.
- 5-point safety harness
- Dual-grab handles
- Comfy sternum strap
- Quality materials
- Made by expert brand
- Adjustable foot stirrups
- Wide seat base
- Not hydration compatible
- Sunshade not included
- Only 2 pockets
- No separate daypack
Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, the Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier is a superb choice to keep your little one safe, stable and comfy. This best-selling child carrier features high-quality construction and is made of first-class materials with excellent durability.
The Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier has the same Anti-Gravity suspension system as found in some of Osprey’s best-selling backpacks. The Anti-Gravity suspension system is a fancy term for the type of back panel used. Whilst most child carriers feature a mesh back panel that’s placed over the frame’s suspension (from the shoulders to the lower back), Osprey does things differently. This style has a seamless suspended mesh that spans from the shoulders to the waist, and then around the hip straps to act as an anchor. The result is that the carrier sort of ‘hugs’ your hips, instead of merely resting on them. This Anti-Gravity suspension system by Osprey ensures the weight of the pack is also more evenly distributed for the carrier, adding to its comfort. Another perk of this construction is that the seamless mesh panel enables airflow, keeping your back dryer and cooler. The pack’s adjustable fit-on-the-fly hip belt allows for a 5-inch extension on both ends, allowing for quick adjusting to create a perfect, comfy fit.
Built-in sunshade feature
The Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier features an adjustable, double-halo safety harness and child seat, surrounded by a fully-framed padded ‘cockpit’ for safety. The design also comes with a built-in sunshade, stored in a zippered pocket. The sunshade is easy to set up and offers bountiful shade to keep your little one safe from harmful UV-rays and sunburn. This top-rated child carrier also comes with stretchy mesh side-pockets, allowing you to keep smaller belongings within reach.
It may be slightly more expensive than other mid-budget options such as the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Child Carrier, but if you’re planning longer cross-country trips, or enjoy multi-day hiking, we think this Osprey hiking carrier is worth the extra dollars. It’s special Anti-Gravity suspension system really comes into effect with intense usage. If you’re only a day hiking, and/or only want to use the carrier on occasion, it may just be a bit too fancy for your needs – but for die-hards that want to take their little ones on long trails, this could be the ideal solution.
- Anti-Gravity suspension system
- Great ventilation of mesh back panel
- Very comfortable to carry
- Built-in sunshade
- Double-halo harness
- Multiple pockets
- Padded cockpit
- Adjustable sternum strap
- Superb durability
- Made of top-grade materials
- No separate daypack
- Not the lightest
Deuter Kid Comfort Pro Child Carrier
The Deuter Kid Comfort Pro Child Carrier Backpack is equally comfy to carry as the previously listed Osprey carrier. To achieve an equal distribution of weight, without chafing or discomfort, the brand uses various innovative construction. techniques, including a ‘VariFlex’ hip-belt construction, ‘Tri-Glide’ buckles, and the Aircomfort Sensic Vario mesh back system. The carrier’s durable safety harness system also features color-coded buckles; allowing you to quickly buckle-in your little one with ease.
Maximum ventilation, maximum comfort
The Aircomfort Sensic Vario mesh back system features a special mesh panel construction to boost airflow and reduce the amount of sweating. According to the manufacturer: “The maximum ventilation through the Aircomfort mesh back system reduces the loss of fluid by up to 25%” The Vari Slide system refers to the extendable, sliding backplate of the carrier – which makes changing the back length super easy. This design also makes carrying your load a lot easier, thanks to the VariFlex padded hip belt, which enables an ergonomic weight distribution.
The Deuter Kid Comfort Pro Child Carrier Backpack comes with plenty of storage options for your personal belongings, such as a separate bottom compartment with a removable intermediate base, and 3 (elasticated and/or zippered) side outer pockets. The pack is also compatible with all of Deuter’s drinking systems up to a volume of 3-liters, giving you a handy alternative to bringing a separate water bottle. This style also comes with a fixed sunshade and even has a mirror for a quick rear-view of the child on the back.
A deluxe investment
The list of features of the Kid Comfort pro doesn’t end there, as this top-rated choice in Best Baby Carriers also has perforated, adjustable shoulder straps for ventilation, an integrated key holder, kickstand, adjustable-height footrests, a plush wraparound chin pad (which is machine washable!), and more. It may be an expensive carrier, but if you want a design packed with design-elements: this could be worth the indulgence. Again, for moderate day hikes, it may just have too many bells and whistles – and you may find a better match in the basic but functional Osprey Poco AG Plus (the first review in this overview). That said, for a heavy-duty kid carrier, the deluxe Deuter Kid Comfort Pro Child Carrier Backpack is about as good as it gets.
- ‘VariFlex’ hip-belt construction
- Aircomfort mesh back panel system
- Built-in sunshade
- Integrated headrest
- Compatible with some hydration systems
- Adjustable footrests
- A wraparound chin pad
- Perforated shoulder straps
- Lots of gear storage options
- Mirror included
- Superb quality and durability
- No separate daypack
- Relatively heavy
- May be too fancy for day hikes
Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier Backpack
The Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier Backpack is a highly-rated design with outstanding customer reviews praising its quality, comfort, and ease of carrying. This baby carrier’s fully-adjustable, very-strong suspension system and hip belt allow a customized fit for both parents. Whilst the breathable padding at the back panel promotes ventilation to keep you dry and cool.
Ample storage space
This deluxe child carrier spoils you for choice with storage options. Whether you want to store water bottles, diapers, snacks, or other belongings: this premium carrier has got you covered. The design features multiple mesh storage pockets, a hydration reservoir sleeve, a large zippered compartment, and two spacious zippered waist-belt pockets. Still not enough storage? Well, the Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier Backpack also comes with a separate daypack, which can be attached or removed within seconds, enabling you to customize the amount of storage space if required.
Besides excellent storage space, the Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier Backpack is also big on fancy features. From a handy mirror to keep an eye on your precious cargo, to an integrated sunshade to keep your kid protected from the sun; this carrier has all the high-end perks.
According to other hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, the Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier is just as comfortable for parents, as it is for little ones. The silhouette features special ‘load stabilizer straps’ for quick, on-the-go adjustments of the pack’s center of gravity – ideal when dealing with challenging terrains. The plush child seat is adjustable in height and cleverly helps distribute your kid’s weight by providing inner tight support. Dual-access loading enables you to load your little one from both the top and the side, whilst (removable) stirrups let your child rest their legs when needed.
Also available in a basic configuration
If you like the look and feel of the Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier, but don’t need ‘all that jazz’, you’ll be pleased to know this design is also available in a more affordable, Original version. The regular Thule Sapling Child Carrier does not come with the removable daypack, handheld mirror, and as much storage space, but still features the same quality construction and safety elements.
- Generous storage space
- Separate daypack
- Hydration reservoir sleeve
- Zippered waist-belt pockets
- Integrated sunshade
- Load stabilizer straps
- Inner thigh support in the child seat
- Dual-loading access
- Removable stirrups
- Made of high-quality materials
- Excellent durability
- A renowned brand in child seats
- Not the lightest
- The included mirror is handheld
Clevr Plus Urban Explorer Child Carrier
The Clevr Plus Urban Explorer Child Carrier is a lightweight yet sturdy carrier with streamlined features. Though affordable, the carrier comes fully-equipped with many high-end elements, such as ample storage space with multiple storage compartments. It even included a baby changing pad, which can be stored in one of the larger zippered compartments. The storage options don’t stop here, as you’ll also get a cute separate daypack included. This removable backpack can be used for extra storage space when hiking with your little one, or simply used on its one when you leave the children at home!
Easy adjustments, comfy padding
The Urban Explorer by Clevr Plus has an aluminum frame to minimize its carrying weight and features an easy adjustment system to provide a comfortable fit for you and your little one. The design comes with metal kickstands to sit upright on a flat surface, and folds flat for easy storage when not in use. The child seat is padded and has excellent adjustability to your child’s torso length and fits kids from 9 to 48 months (maximum weight 42lbs).
Other features of the affordable Urban Explorer by Clevr Plus are padded shoulder strap; padded waist belt straps, zippered side pockets, a removable sunshade/rain canopy, a hydration pack compartment (hydration pack not included), and two water bottle holders.
To keep your child safe and secure, this baby backpack carrier features ease-to-use safety belts and metal foot stirrups, keeping your little one firmly perched, even when fast asleep. When it’s nap-time, your kid can even rest their face on the design’s soft drool pad. And yes: of course this drool pad is fully machine-washable, allowing for a quick clean-up and maximum hygiene.
As one of the most affordable baby carriers for hiking, the Clevr Plus Urban Explorer Child Carrier is surprisingly complete; as it boasts many of the same high-end design elements as competing brands that are twice the price. Granted, it’s construction is slightly less heavy-duty, and it’s not quite as comfy to carry as the Osprey or Deuter models, but for its affordability, that’s a worthwhile compromise. If you plan on doing many longer hikes with lots of miles – you may want to spend your money on a more state-of-the-art suspension system…
That said, for most hikers and family campers, this great carrier should be more thana sufficient in quality, durability, and design. Lots of fancy perks, highly-rated on Amazon, and low in pricing: we can’t deny it, this is simply a steal!
- Very affordable
- Excellent value-for-money
- Padded shoulder straps
- Padded waist belt straps
- Zippered side pockets
- Removable sunshade/rain canopy
- A hydration pack compartment
- 2 Water bottle holders
- Machine-washable drool pad
- Metal kickstands
- Separate daypack
- Stylish and trendy aesthetics
- Not the most durable/heavy-duty
- Maximum load only 42 lbs
- No special suspension system technology
- Not the comfiest for longer hikes
Each Hiking Child Carrier on this list could be considered ‘the Best’, depending on what features and functionality you’re after.
For example, for hikers on a budget, the Clevr Plus Urban Explorer Child Carrier could be ‘the best’ fit due to its affordable pricing. Even though this carrier is not the most heavy-duty, it still comes with an impressive list of features and design elements to keep you, and your little one, comfy and secure.
However, hardcore outdoor enthusiasts that plan to hike long trails, or even take their kids on a cross-country adventure, may find ‘the best’ match in a more durable and upgraded option such as the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro, the Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier, and/or the Thule Sapling Elite Carrier. Made by renowned brands in outdoor gear, these high-end products adhere to a superior quality standard and use state-of-the-art techniques to literally ‘help carry the load’. From ‘Anti-Gravity’ suspension techniques, to ‘Aircomfort Sensic Vario’ mesh paneling: these baby carriers are packed with innovative features to improve comfort, stability, ventilation, and more.
And for those day hikers and campers that want a very durable carrier, but don’t need all the bells and whistles, a slim-downed and more affordable version of these high-end carriers, such as the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Child Carrier could be ‘the best’ option.
No bad choices
Rest assured: each hiking child carrier in this overview is a fantastic choice, and we reckon you can’t go wrong with any of them. Every product this list offers excellent value-for-money and comes with the required 5-star Amazon ratings that testify that they’re the real deal. Whether you want to spend a lot, or a little, there’s a match for every hiker!
Deciding on a top pick from this list of fantastic hiking baby carriers is nearly impossible, as each has its specific pros and cons. That said, there is one carrier that truly surprised us: the Clevr Plus Urban Explorer Child Carrier. We hadn’t expected such a complete, highly-rated, and solidly constructed baby carrier to be available at this price-point. Frankly, it’s a steal for the price listed, especially when you take into account all its high-end features.
Padded shoulder straps; padded hip belt straps; a removable sunshade/rain canopy; water bottle holders; foot stirrups; a drool pad; and lots of storage space including a stylish (removable) daypack – the list is very impressive.
Granted, it’s not the most heavy-duty, neither does it feature the state-of-the-art suspension systems that the high-end brands use. But for the price listed, we think it’s amazing value-for-money. According to its many 5-star Amazon reviews, the Clevr Plus Urban Explorer Child Carrier is still comfortable and sturdy enough to securely take your little one out in nature. Cheap and cheerful: the Clevr Plus Urban Explorer Child Carrier is our budget-friendly favorite.