Best Baby Carrier for Hiking

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best hiking baby backpack carriers

Just because you have an infant does not mean that you are confined indoors. There are quite a few gadgets and devices available to allow parents to still participate in many of the same activities as they did before having children.

One of these much-loved activities is hiking. Now, with hiking backpack carriers, you can bring your little one along with you on your adventuring.

Here are ten of the most popular brands of hiking baby backpack carriers:

*All product links in this article will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com, scroll down for our in-depth reviews below.

When to Use a Carrier

Trips with your little one don’t have to be limited to quick runs to the store. With baby backpack carriers, you will have the option to take regular carriers to a whole new level.

Backpack carriers not only have space for your child, but also space for extra equipment and features that make hiking or other outdoor activities a breeze while providing the maximum safety and comfort needed for longer excursions.

Backpack carriers are great to use for hiking, traveling, and camping. Pretty much any extended excursion can be made easier with the carrier.

The carrier should not be used for certain activities that could risk you falling over with the child on your back. Some of these would be skating, skiing, running, or bicycling.

Definitely do not wear your child in the carrier if you are on a motorcycle, or any other type of motorized vehicles. Hiking and walks are safe to carry your child along with, as long as you are hiking where you have a sure footing.

While backpack carriers offer many options to make it more convenient to hike with a child, one thing it does not have is the additional head and body support many regular baby carriers have. This is why backpack carriers are not recommended for newborns.

A child can be carried in a backpack carrier starting around 16 pounds. This is usually the weight a child is when they are able to fully support their head as well as sit up for long periods of time.

A backpack carrier can then be used up until your child is between 30 to 50 pounds. This, of course, will vary from child to child as well as the brand of the backpack carrier.

All backpack carriers should have a maximum weight, but it is always important to double check if the weight is specifically for the child, or if it is the weight of the entire backpack and its contents together.

Most carriers have the weight limit at 40 pounds for the child, and 50 pounds for the entire carrier as a whole.

The weights are mainly a guideline to help you know when your child is ready for the carrier. Some other signs to look for as to when your child is large enough, or when your child has outgrown the carrier are the straps and harness.

The straps and harness are what will keep your child safe as you traverse the bumpy paths during your hikes. They will also keep your child from wiggling out on their own.

If the harness is too tight or too loose even after adjusting the straps, then you may need to consider a different type of carrier.

Hiking Backpack Carrier Requirements

In order to be sold, all backpack carriers need to pass the guidelines outlined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Under the CPSC, hiking backpack carriers qualify as a frame child carrier. This is because it is a child carrier that has a metal or other type of frame which holds a child upright.

The main goals of the regulations are to prevent your child from being hurt from any exposed or sharp edges, falling out of the carrier from inadequate straps, or the carrier collapsing.

The latest regulations were put in place in September of 2016, and all carriers made or imported after that time had to comply with the CPSC guidelines.

The JPMA has also created a certification process for juvenile products where the product will undergo strict testing in order to receive a stamp of approval from the JPMA to certify the product’s safety.

The JPMA certification is not required for a product to be sold. A carrier only needs to pass the CPSC. But the JPMA certification shows that a product has gone above and beyond the minimum when it comes to safety.

They have not only designed extra safety features, but it has also been tested for that extra peace of mind that you really are getting the safest product possible.

The JPMA is a certification process that is only used in the USA. Other countries have their own equivalents to the JPMA. Many carriers and other products are made in other countries, so understanding their safety requirements is important for guaranteeing your child’s safety.

The TÃœV Rheinland is a certification process similar to the JPMA. They are based out of Germany but test products from all over Europe as well as abroad.

Features of a Backpack Carrier

The hiking backpack carrier differs from regular carriers due to the many features that make longer treks, as well as exposure to the elements all safer for your little one.

Safety Harness

The first thing you should look for in a carrier is a safety harness, according to Consumer Reports. The best harness for a backpack carrier would be the five-point harness.

This will have two shoulder straps, two thigh straps, and one strap that goes between the legs. Any other type of seat belt or strap on its own is not sufficiently safe to keep your child in the carrier.

The harness shouldn’t be the only part of the carrier that should be adjusted for your child’s safety. The leg holes should also have some sort of adjustment available. If the leg holes aren’t able to close, then there is a risk your child could slip through them.

Support and Padding

The backpack carrier isn’t all about your child’s safety, it is also about your own safety. The next part of the carrier to examine is the support and padding on the straps you wear.

The carrier backpack will be much heavier than a regular backpack, so proper support is vital to help maintain your health. The proper straps on a backpack should be two shoulder straps, one chest strap, and a waist strap.

The shoulders should have sufficient padding to help ease the discomfort the heavy weight of the carrier may cause. The shoulders should also be adjustable so you can make sure the backpack always remains at the appropriate height on your back to avoid unnecessary strain that is caused by it sinking too low. The waist strap should also be adjustable in order to assure that most of the weight is carried in the waist.

Many carriers will have stirrups for your child’s feet. This will help your child be more comfortable, and ease some of the strain. Another feature that is helpful for your child’s comfort is extra cushioning, especially around the head.

Even though your child may be able to hold their head up, giving them the option of relaxing against a sturdy pillow will allow you to hike for longer without having to take a break.

Kick Stand

When it comes time to take a break, most carrier backpacks will have a kick stand that will allow you to set the carrier backpack upright with your child.

Some carriers make it easier to open the kick stand so that you can pop it down before you even take off the backpack so the transition is easier.

It is important that the kickstand is sturdy on all surfaces so your child doesn’t fall over in the carrier while it is stood up.

Weather Resistant Material

Carrier backpacks need to be made durable enough to withstand all weather and heavy hiking, but light enough to allow both you and your child to ventilate.

The materials should be made out of nylon or other weather resistant yet sturdy materials. In the child carrier, there is often times vents or mesh that will allow more air flow.

Make sure the material will keep moisture away from your child, because prolonged exposure to sweat or other moisture can cause your child to catch a cold easier.

Reflectors

For you and your child’s safety, it is always better to look for a carrier with reflectors. The reflectors will help cars and other passing vehicles to see you when you hike around roads.

If the backpack doesn’t have reflectors, you can always purchase reflective tape to attach to the back and sides of the carrier, as well as wear a reflective jacket yourself.

Mirror

Another great safety feature to have is a mirror. Many parents use mirrors to keep track of their child when driving in a car. Hiking should be no different.

You want to be able to constantly monitor that your child is doing alright, and is comfortable.

Pockets for Storage

The carrier should not just hold your child, but also essential supplies. This is why it is called a backpack carrier, because it functions as both.

With a child on your back, you won’t have any room for carrying an additional backpack, that is why there is normally a backpack and pockets attached to the carrier for both you and your child’s supplies.

While this is a hiking backpack, not all carriers will have a pocket for a hydration bladder, like a camelback. If this is an essential part of a hiking backpack, then you would need to double check for that feature before assuming it has the pocket and opening for the hydration bladder. Otherwise, some of the backpack carriers have the hydration bladder, but only a smaller version.

Handles and Hooks

Handles and hooks are great for attaching items. If you are on a longer hike, you may want a toy or pacifier to keep your little one occupied.

Last thing you’d want is for that toy to be dropped on unknown ground with no water nearby to wash it. If you have hooks or handles close to the child, you can make sure all items are securely fastened before giving them to your child.

Handles also help make it easier to lift up the backpack when putting it on, or moving it about.

Sun and Rain Protection

Nature can be unpredictable, this is why it is essential to have all the proper gear for whatever storms may come. Two of the main natural enemies to your child are the sun and rain.

Some carriers offer a built-in visor or sun roof. There is usually also some sort of rain protection or tarp that can also be used to protect your child. Rain shields are also available separately if your specific backpack does not have one already.

How to Wear a Carrier

The proper fitting needs to be achieved in order to prevent injury to yourself or your child. The outdoor and sports company, Rei, outlines the safety guidelines for wearing a backpack carrier.

Due to the carrier’s extreme weight, proper distribution of the weight is imperative to avoid back strain or other injuries. This can be achieved through the adjustable straps on the shoulder and waist.

The waist strap should carry most of the weight for the healthiest carrying posture. While it is called a waist strap, the proper position for the strap is to be against your hip bone area.

The adjustable straps both on the waist and the shoulders should help you distribute the weight so that your waist strap has the brunt of the weight.

Your shoulder straps, on the other hand, should allow for at least a three finger space in order to prevent too much shoulder strain.

The last strap is your chest strap. This should be tight enough to help keep everything in place, but shouldn’t be so tight that you feel like it is preventing proper breathing.

Your child’s straps should be fastened securely against your child but not too tightly that they are uncomfortable. The height of the carrier should be adjusted so that your child’s chin rests on the chin pillow. Their feet should also rest comfortably in the stirrups

When you put the backpack on, it is easier to have a second person to help make sure it is done safely. Handles should be available that can be used to lift the backpack up.

First put your arms through the shoulder openings, then attach the waist. The chest strap is the last part of the backpack to fasten. Once the backpack is fully fastened, then you can tighten the straps to adjust the weight.

Before you take the backpack off, you should loosen the straps on your shoulder. Next, you can unbuckle all the straps and belts before someone uses the handles to gently lift the backpack off your shoulders.

Hiking with a Baby Safety Guidelines

To make sure your hiking experience is fun for all, there are a few general rules that should be followed to prevent unnecessary complications or injuries. Rei gives some great advice for parents for the safest way to experience the fun of the outdoors as a whole family.

Before starting out, make sure everyone is comfortable and fed. You do not want to give your little one snacks while you are hiking, as they can easily choke. This is why you should let them eat beforehand so they have the necessary energy to keep up.

Make sure everyone has plenty to drink. Stop as often as necessary to keep your little one regularly hydrated, especially on hot days. If your child is sweating, try to find ways to cool them down, then give them a little extra to drink.

If the sun is out, you will also want to make sure you use baby sunscreen to prevent sunburns. Your child’s skin is more vulnerable than an adult, and should be fully covered with hats, sun visors, and sunscreen to prevent too much exposure.

The hat should also have either a brim or cloth that hangs down to cover the neck as well. If your little one would allow it, you could even try giving them sunglasses.

Just realize that all items put on your child risk being thrown off later on in the hike. It is best to find hats and sunglasses with strings that tie them securely in place.

One way to keep your child and yourself cool is by using a spray bottle of water that can be spritzed regularly on each of the hiking party as needed.

While water can be great when you are hot, water is dangerous when it is cold out. A little dampness can wreak a lot of damage. If there is any rain or snow, make sure your little one is bundled up securely, and use a rain shield or visor on the carrier.

If the weather is too bad in general, it may be best to postpone the trip entirely until better weather.

To prepare your child for the hike, you may want to let them sit in the carrier a few times at home so it is familiar to them before they are stuck in it for an extended period of time.

The last thing you want at the start of a couple hour hike is a screaming baby because they decided the carrier is not their friend. A few short trips around your neighborhood should be enough to ease their fears.

If you would like the hike to be even easier, then try timing the hike around your child’s sleep schedule. The hiking motion is similar to the rocking of riding in a car, meaning that it will lull your child to sleep in most cases.

Timing the hike at your child’s nap time won’t mess up their sleep schedule, and may make it easier for you to hike. Just make sure to check on them regularly so that their head leans securely on the headrest and does not hinder their breathing.

And of course, have fun! Your child is never too young to learn to love the out of doors!

Best Baby Carrier for Hiking

Here are reviews of some of the most popular hiking baby carriers we like:

Hiking Child Carrier Backpack with Ergonomic External Frame by Be Mindful

The Hiking Child Carrier Backpack by Be Mindful tries to provide the best value for all you might need in a hiking carrier.

You not only receive the carrier, but also a weather shield and a hydration pack. When you purchase the carrier, Be Mindful will also give you a duffel bag for additional storage when you travel.

Extra padding all over the seat area is meant to give your child all the comfort they will need for extended hikes. A headrest pillow offers a place for your child to rest during the trip. The pillow has a removable cover so that you can keep the pillow clean between hikes.

There is plenty of storage with this carrier. The main storage compartment is about a square foot. In addition, there is also an insulated compartment on the back of the carrier.

This is perfect for storing food or other items for short periods of time that are heat sensitive. The last item of storage is the hydration bladder, which comes with the carrier.

Be Mindful has added many of the most needed features on their carrier. The most important is their weather visor. The visor comes over your child’s head and protects them from rain and the sun.

There is also a kickstand that comes out the back and makes it easy to put your child down in the carrier to give you both a small break during your hikes. The mesh back of the carrier makes it more breathable for the parent while they carry their child.

Be Mindful passed all the required safety inspections before bringing the carrier to you. Their backpacks are free of lead and other harmful chemicals. The materials is also fire retardant. The entire backpack was tested by a CPSC approved lab. The carrier as a whole has also been tested by their own staff in hiking situations in order to bring the very best to their customers.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

  • A sun and rain hood is included with the carrier.
  • A hydration pack comes with the carrier.
  • There is plenty of room to store items.
  • The backpack includes an insulated pocket for food.
  • The headrest pillow has a removable cover.

 

Cons:

  • This pack is very difficult to take children in and out of.
  • The waist belt is uncomfortable to wear.

Be Mindful’s carrier is an all-in-one option with all the features you may need in a carrier for one great price. They try and offer what some of the more popular but expensive brands offer, for half the price so that everyone can experience the joys of hiking with their little ones without breaking the budget.


 

Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier

Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier is a more expensive carrier with top notch quality when it comes to hiking carrier backpacks.

Osprey is known as one of the most comfortable options for your child, with their top of the line padding for your child. The backpack also comes with a sunshade and hooks for your child’s toys.

Osprey’s carrier has plenty of storage. Not only do they have plenty of room, but they also have multiple pockets for better organization.

The main compartment is underneath the carrier. It is large enough to fit diapers, clothes, and other essentials for your child. On either side of the carrier are mesh pockets for additional storage.

Just be aware that your child may be able to access whatever you choose to put in those pockets. The top of the carrier has a zippered pocket for small essentials such as car keys.

There is a space for a small hydration bladder, about 2 liters. The bladder does not come with the pack.

The entire backpack is made from a sturdy material that can handle all the wear and tear that is normal on hikes. The back of the carrier that sits against the parent’s back is made of pure mesh to help keep the entire contraption breathable.

The back can also be adjusted to fit different torsos depending on who is carrying the backpack. The back of the pack has a stand that does not require being kicked out, but is always ready for whenever you need to set down the pack.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

  • The pack is extremely comfortable for your child.
  • There is plenty of room for storage.
  • Osprey guarantees to fix any damage to your pack, no matter when it occurs.
  • The stirrups are both adjustable and removable.
  • The torso of the backpack can be adjusted.
  • There are loops placed strategically to attach toys and other items for your child.
  • There is a sunshade for your child’s protection.
  • The drool pad is removable for cleaning purposes.

 

Cons:

  • This is a more expensive pack.
  • The hip belt is stiff and very uncomfortable as it tends to dig into your sides.
  • The sunshade can be confusing, and finicky.

Osprey has created various hiking child carriers that have been well-loved and trusted throughout the years. This is one of their largest, most versatile options.

It has the most storage for when you go on hikes. In order to have their extra storage of the Plus option, you will end up sacrificing some of the comfort for the parent, especially in the waist band.

The earlier and smaller Osprey packs tend to be more comfortable in the waist, though they also have less storage space.


Kiddy Kiddy Adventure Pack

The Kiddy Kiddy Adventure Pack is a more affordable option for baby carriers. While it seems at first to offer just as many features as other packs, upon closer inspection it falls short of what it could be.

There are many better quality packs for similar prices available, but the Kiddy Kiddy Adventure Pack still has enough features that parents are willing to accept the lesser quality.

The entire pack is quite large compared to other carriers. Not only is it large, but it also does not collapse if you bring it along on a trip or flight.

Even though it is larger, it has very little storage. There are three storage compartments. The main compartment is underneath the carrier. The second is a zippered pocket on the back. The third is a small pocket on the waist.

The carrier can hold a child up to 40 pounds, and can hold a total weight up to 50 pounds. There are many straps to help adjust the carrier more precisely to you and your child’s size.

There is a little padding, but not quite as much as other carriers. A sunshade is attached to the back and comes out to protect your child from the elements. The seat cover is made from a lightweight, breathable material to help regulate your child’s temperature.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

  • This is a more affordable pack.
  • There is a replacement drool pad for keeping the pack cleaner.
  • The pack has a sunshade.

 

Cons:

  • This carrier is overly large compared to other carriers, and it does not collapse easily.
  • The kickstand does not lock in any position.
  • There are too many straps that make the pack confusing and awkward to use.
  • The sunshade does not come forward far enough.
  • The entire cockpit is not the most comfortable for your child.
  • There is very limited storage.
  • There are no stirrups.
  • There is no room for the hydration bladder.

While the Kiddy Kiddy has a better price, the quality just isn’t where it should be. The pack has many helpful features, but in a much lower quality than they should be to be useful.

The pack itself is sturdy and will hold up to hiking, though you will most likely be feeling it in your shoulders and waist as the comfort and padding is again less than great in comparison to similarly priced carriers.

 


Phil & Teds Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier

Phil & Teds Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier is a smaller design and overall lighter carrier for those going on smaller excursions who want more than a regular carrier, but not quite the extra features of the larger hiking backpacks.

On top of being lighter, it also has significantly less padding all around that makes it uncomfortable for long periods of time.

The carrier was built mainly for small errands versus some of the heavy duty carriers that are for hiking. With Phil and Ted’s backpack carrier, you can go about town, or to picnics with your child in tow.

Any trips that are longer than down the street will be difficult and uncomfortable for both you and your child.

While this carrier is lacking many of the essentials that make longer hikes easier, it does have enough features for those shorter excursions.

There is a small removable backpack on the base of the carrier that can either be attached, or given to a second child to carry. Two bottle holders make it convenient to bring water along on your trips.

The back of the pack has mesh so that you can breath easily and not get overheated. The backpack also stands on a small kickstand when you need to give both yourself and your child a break.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

  • The pack is more affordable than others.
  • The carrier is very compact which makes it easier to travel with.
  • The carrier is much lighter than other carriers.
  • There are two bottle holders.

 

Cons:

  • The cockpit is very wide, making it unsafe for most babies.
  • The back is not very comfortable due to the lack of padding.
  • There are no stirrups.
  • There is no padded headrest for your child to rest during the hike.
  • There is not much storage space available.

If you are not an extreme hiker, and are just looking for something small, then this will give you the best of both worlds.

You will have the storage and features of some of the heavy duty hikers, with all the convenience and weight of a regular carrier. Anything beyond short excursions, and you probably would want to look into a pack with more comfort, storage, and features.

 


Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier

The Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier is one of the most comfortable options along with the Osprey pack. Many customers compare the two carriers because they are so similar in many features and functionality.

Though Thule has some fun extras that Osprey does not offer. But, along with those extras comes a higher price tag.

The Thule carrier has plenty of storage space. A large removable backpack is great to throw in all the extras for you and your child that can be carried separately to save on weight.

In addition to the large backpack, there are smaller secure compartments hidden all over to make organization a breeze. You can even fit a 3 liter hydration bladder in the carrier.

Your child is very safe in this carrier. The extra padding makes long hikes comfortable for them. Adjustable stirrups help ease their legs.

There are quite a few straps in comparison to other carriers. These straps can get confusing and sometimes even cumbersome, but when all the straps are used properly, your child will have minimal bouncing even when going over rough terrain.

A separate mirror comes with the pack so that you can check on your little one as you hike.

The entire pack can be adjusted for the parent. Both the torso and the waist strap have different size settings so that any sized parent can have the pack fitted to their specific height and weight.

The padding and mesh back make the carrier just as comfortable for the parent as it is for the child. It is one of the larger carriers available, so it will be slightly heavier than other carriers when all is said and done.

The carrier has many great features that make it very convenient. The kickstand folds easily away, though if the bottom compartment is full it can be more difficult to lie flat, and can be popped out whenever you are ready to set the pack down.

A visor folds out over your child to protect them from the elements. An additional rain cover can be purchased along with the carrier in a bundle. This rain cover goes over the entire carrier as well as the visor in order to make the whole pack waterproof.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

  • This carrier is one of the most comfortable carriers for both parent and child.
  • A mirror helps you monitor your little one.
  • A removable backpack makes it easier to grab the essentials without needing the entire carrier.
  • A rain cover is available with the carrier.
  • A sunshade helps protect your child from the elements.
  • There is plenty of storage.
  • The pack has a side entry for loading up your child.

 

Cons:

  • This is one of the most expensive carrier options.
  • All the features make it more bulky than others.
  • There are more buckles to have to deal with which make the entire pack more secure for your child, but can be a hassle to go through each time you load up your child.
  • The kickstand is a little stiff and doesn’t always open as easily.
  • The carrier does not break down as small as other carriers.

If you have the extra finances to invest in a pack that has it all, than this carrier is definitely an attractive option. Thule combines all the features available in a carrier in one convenient child carrier.

Just be aware that the in order to have it all, you will sacrifice the size and weight, as this is one of the larger and heavier options.

 


Baby Back Pack CrossCountry Carrier Stand by Clevr 

The Baby Back Pack Cross Country Carrier is a less expensive carrier option with an impressively thorough covering. The entire carrier seems to be of a cheaper quality overall, which is reflected in the cheaper price. But the carrier may still work if you are not carrying your child for longer distances.

There is about the average amount of storage space on the carrier. The main compartment is below the carrier. There is a bottle holder on the side of the carrier to allow you to bring beverages with you on your hike.

The main feature of this carrier is its visor. This is what makes this carrier different from the others. While many other carriers have top visors, Clevr offers two plastic side panels.

These hang down from the visor, and keep the wind and rain away from your child for a more protected hike. Outside of the visor, the only other feature of the carrier is its kickstand that functions as it should.

The backpack itself has the option to be adjusted, but only to a certain point. Taller people have found that there is not enough strap space to fully adjust to their height.

The backpack also tends to put the main weight on the shoulders rather than the waist as it should. In general, the entire backpack lacks the necessary padding for ultimate comfort for both you and your child.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

  • The carrier is an affordable price.
  • The carrier includes a rain and sun visor.
  • Side panels on the visor give a greater protection from the elements.

 

Cons:

  • This carrier is not as comfortable as others.
  • The carrier is of cheaper quality than other carriers.
  • The storage unit is awkwardly located, making it hard to use.
  • The max child weight is less than other carriers, being only 33 pounds, rather than the regular 40 pounds.
  • The backpack does not fit taller people.
  • The belt is not padded enough, and cuts into your hips.

Clevr’s carrier is a cheaper carrier that would work in a pinch, but should not be chosen if you are able to invest a little more in a better quality carrier. Your shoulders will thank you if you decide to invest in a carrier that will distribute the weight where it should go.


Kelty Tour 1.0 Child Carrier

The Kelty Tour 1.0 Child Carrier is a lighter carrier option for shorter trips you may take your little one on. The smaller size makes this carrier more compact, and easier to travel with.

It also is cheaper than some of the larger, fancier carrier options. To have the smaller size and weight, some features are sacrificed that may make this carrier less than convenient on longer treks.

The child cockpit is very comfortable and secure for your child to nestle down inside. The carrier also makes it easier to load and unload your child from the carrier.

There is one compartment for storage located on the back of the carrier. It is not large enough for long hikes, but can hold enough for smaller trips or walks about town. The less storage is what helps keep the entire carrier more compact.

There is also a kickstand that easily pops out whenever you need to set the carrier down. It uses their patented Auto-Deploy to make the process easier. Unfortunately, the kickstand does not fold all the way back into the carrier and has a tendency to stick out.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

  • The carrier is JPMA certified.
  • It is very lightweight compared to other carriers.
  • There is plenty of padding to make it comfortable for your child and yourself.
  • The kickstand can easily be set up with their patented Auto-Deploy.

 

Cons:

  • There is no canopy that comes with the carrier.
  • There is significantly less storage room.
  • There are no stirrups for your child’s feet.
  • The frame tends to dig into your rear.
  • The carrier does not fit all parents, especially very small or tall parents.
  • The waist support does not work as it should, causing most of the weight to fall on the shoulders.

This is a great little carrier with enough padding to make those small treks comfortable for all. The lack of waist support and the minimal storage would not make this carrier the go-to choice when it comes to long hikes or camping.


Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Child Carrier

The Kelty Pathfinder Child Carrier is a more deluxe version of the Kelty Tour Carrier. This carrier offers more comfort, storage, and features to make those longer hikes easier.

With the more features comes a higher price tag, but if you are about to embark on a longer hike, you may want to consider investing in the extra features.

There is plenty of storage with the Pathfinder. The main storage unit is a backpack area on the back of the carrier. On either side of this backpack unit are mesh pockets that are perfect for small items or water bottles.

Underneath the carrier are slightly smaller storage packs. These are a little more difficult to reach. The waist belt has additional small pockets for items like keys, wallets, and phones.

Unlike the Kelty Tour, the Kelty Pathfinder has a canopy to protect your child from the elements. It not only goes over your child’s head, but also covers some of the sides for more of a 360 degree coverage.

There is plenty of padding to make this carrier more comfortable for both you and your child. This is a heavier carrier, so you will need as much comfort as you can get.

The child cockpit area is not quite as comfortable as other carriers, but it does come pretty close. There is a removable droll pad that your child can rest their chin on during the hike.

There aren’t any stirrups so your child’s feet will dangle. The straps and harness help keep your child securely inside the cockpit at all times.

The Pathfinder has the patented Auto-Deploy kickstand. This feature makes it very quick and simple to have the kickstand ready whenever you need to set the pack down. It then folds back up against the pack when you are ready to move onwards.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

  • There is a sunshade that covers the head and the sides.
  • There is a place for a 2L hydration bladder.
  • There is plenty of storage.
  • The entire carrier is very padded making it comfortable for both you and your child.
  • The carrier can be adjusted to different torso lengths in the parents who carry the pack.

 

Cons:

  • The buckles are difficult to reach and adjust around your child.
  • There are no stirrups.
  • This carrier tends to be heavier than others.
  • This is a bulkier carrier.
  • Some of the pockets are hard to access.
  • This carrier is higher priced.

The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Carrier is an alternative to the Kelty Tour for those who like the Kelty brand but would like something with a little more versatility in the way of features.

The extra storage and padding make this ideal for longer hikes. The bulk and weight would not be as necessary if you only plan on shorter excursions.

 


Deuter Kid Comfort III Framed Hiking Child Carrier

The Deuter Kid Comfort II Framed Hiking Child Carrier is a heavy duty, yet extremely comfortable carrier option for those longer hikes.

This carrier is one of the most comfortable carriers for both the child and parent. It has even been said to be more comfortable than both the Osprey and the Thule.

There is so much padding all around, as well as perfect weight distribution so that the parent doesn’t feel too much strain. This is especially important as this is also a heavier carrier option.

The Deuter Comfort III has plenty of storage space, though not quite as much as the Osprey or Thule. This helps to keep the Deuter more compact.

The main compartment is located underneath the carrier seat, but curves around the back of the carrier so that you can easily access the compartment without the kickstand getting in the way. Another pocket is located on the back of the carrier.

This is mainly for flat items. The waistband has the third pocket, which is ideal for those important items such as phones and keys. A fourth pocket is also located on the waistband. That pocket holds a mirror that can be used to check on your little one during the hike.

The backpack has an easy to use kickstand to make setting down the backpack more convenient. The design of the lower compartment allows for the kickstand to be pulled all the way back, even when the lower compartment is full.

There is also space for a 3 liter hydration bladder in an insulated pocket in order that it stays cool during your hike.

The Deuter Comfort has a much more secure feeling for your child. The back of the carrier is one of the tallest designs, giving your child more head support than other carriers.

There are also more straps to help keep your child secure. It is similar to a car seat with the 5-point harness.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

  • The carrier is JPMA certified.
  • There is plenty of room for storage.
  • There is plenty of padding, making this one of the most comfortable carriers.
  • There is a space for a hydration bladder.
  • The carrier holds the child securely in place to avoid them bouncing around too much.
  • There is a removable drool pad for your child to rest on during the hike.
  • There are adjustable stirrups for your child’s feet.
  • There is a canopy that protects against the elements.
  • The carrier comes with a mirror to see your child during the hike.
  • This pack allows for side loading of kids.

 

Cons:

  • This is a heavier carrier compared to others.
  • This is a more expensive carrier option.
  • The adjustments are harder to adjust quickly or while hiking due to the adjustments being placed underneath the padding.

When it comes to comfort, Deuter’s Comfort III has a definite edge. Many parents would rate it as one of the most comfortable carriers they had tried. The extra padding does add weight, but that weight is evening distributed in all the right places, mainly in the waistband.


 

Deuter Kid Comfort Air Child Carrier for Hiking

The Deuter Kid Comfort Air Child Carrier for hiking drops some of those extra features of the Deuter Comfort III in order to give you a lighter and less bulkier option for shorter excursions.

While the Comfort III had maximum padding to make hiking as comfortable as possible for you and your little one, the Comfort Air is all about ventilation.

There is definitely not nearly as much padding as the Comfort III has, but it still manages to remain reasonably comfortable for both baby and their parent.

The main difference is in the significantly smaller headrest that is not the most comfortable at times. But, in a trade-off for the comfort, there is more breathability and an overall lighter feel to the carrier. This is definitely appreciated if you go on long hikes in warmer climates.

The positive side to the less padding is that it is easier to adjust the carrier. Unlike the Comfort III who’s buckles are hidden by padding, the Comfort Air leaves the buckles out in the open to be adjusted on the go.

The compartments are a similar design to the Comfort III, where the main compartment is located on the bottom of the carrier but rides up the back to make it easier to access. The kickstand can also be put away easier with the main compartment out of the way.

PROS & CONS
Pros:

  • This carrier is JPMA certified.
  • This is a very lightweight option for carriers.
  • There is more ventilation than other options.
  • Your child can be loaded in through the side, versus the top.
  • A 5-point harness keeps your child secure.

 

Cons:

  • The sun and rain cover needs to be purchased separately.
  • There is not as much head support as the Deuter Comfort III.

The Deuter Air provides many of the same features and security of the Comfort III, without as much weight. Granted, it will not be as padded and comfortable, but it is also not as heavy.

This is also one of the most breathable options when it comes to carriers with the unique ventilation system designed by Deuter.

 


The Winner

Out of the ten reviewed backpack carriers, the Deuter Kid Comfort III comes out as the top choice. It wins in three main categories.

First, it is the one of the most comfortable options available. If you are going to be carrying the carrier for a long period of time, you will want to guarantee that both you and your child are comfortable. All the additional padding and support makes this carrier pass with flying colors.

The second category is safety. Deuter is one of the few JPMA certified carriers. In addition, they went above and beyond with their safety by adding a harness with a similar security to a car seat.

The third category is convenience. While the Deuter Comfort III does not have the most storage room, it does have more than average.

With this middle ground, you have space without as much of the bulk that others, like the Thule, have. The more streamline appearance makes it easier to fold up the kickstand and move about while hiking.

It also has a visor and mirror, all necessary features to make keeping your child safe and comfortable as easy as possible. This is why the Deuter Kid Comfort III is our top choice for hiking baby backpack carriers.

Peter
Peter
Father of two wonderful kids, love parenthood and feel blessed to have an amazing family.
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