by Diane Spicer
Baby hiking backpacks may have come onto your radar recently.
Either you are a new parent, or shopping for a gift for a new parent.
Babies and hiking are a good fit, so let's be sure the backpack for baby and parents is a good fit, too.
All of the following features are important, regardless of whether the child carrier is going to be used on a hiking trail or around the mall.
So even if you're not a hiker, these tips on how to select the best baby carrier might help you out.
And if you're a hiker?
Once your baby is sitting up under his/her own steam, it's time to hit the trail and introduce baby to the great outdoors.
The best backpack for carrying baby will include:
Welcoming a little one into the family, whether through birth or adoption, is an expensive proposition.
So let's put the cost of the baby hiking backpack at the top of our list.
How will you decide?
My advice: Don't overbuy this item unless you plan to do a lot of hiking on trails that are at the moderate (or beyond) level: elevation gain, rocky footing, navigational challenges such as blow downs or wash outs.
Another consideration for your ideal price point:
How many babies will be riding in the pack over the child bearing years of the family?
Also tied to cost: the weight range the baby hiking backpack will carry safely.
This ties directly to how long you will be carrying the child on the trail.
Some families launch a Toddle Trail Training Program as soon as the child becomes restless in the child carrier (I myself had my daughter hiking under her own power when she was two).
Other parents prefer the control and safety that keeping a toddler in a child carrier gives.
But let's face it, toddlers conk out for naps and need to be carried anyway!
Next up on the list: comfort.
The comfort of the parent wearing the baby backpack is super important, because if the pack doesn't fit, baby won't be going on a hike.
Look for parental comfort features such as:
And of course baby's comfort and safety is really important as well, so look for:
Here's a great little baby backpack by Kelty that would be suitable for casual dayhikes near home.
Kelty has a good reputation in the outdoor gear industry.
Notice these features at a reasonable cost:
Here's what I like best about this particular baby hiking pack: It converts to a daypack when your baby/toddler is elsewhere. So you'll get more use out of it.
Sturdy hiking parents, looking to do some camping and long day hikes, might prefer this top pick: the Osprey baby hiking backpack.
This one is great because it:
If you're near an REI Co-op gear store, try on these two models and compare the difference.
Keep in mind the type of hiking you plan to do with your little sprout, and go from there.
REI has a generous return policy, so if things don't work out, you can work on finding a better fit for yourself and your baby.
One more reason to love REI:
Need some virtual side-by-side comparisons?
As with all things in life, that depends!
It depends on your hiking plans, the size and age of your child, your physical fitness level, and your hiking/camping gear budget.
Hopefully these tips got you started on the path to choosing the best backpack for your baby.
Parenting is hard, but rewarding work. You're doing the right thing by taking your baby for a hike.
The world needs all of the curious, adventurous kids it can grow, now doesn't it?
Baby Hiking Backpacks
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Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer.
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