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Your toddler wants to accompany you on your next hiking trip, and he or she insists they’ll walk the entire way. You know better though. A few steps into the walk and they’ll throw their arms up at you and ask you to be carried. So, you need to go prepared. That’s what this list of the best hiking carriers for toddlers is for–the parent who knows they’re going to be carrying their toddler over the hiking trails.

We see you, and we want to make sure you have the sturdiest, safest, most comfortable carrier so you can share your love of hiking with your kid. Cancel the babysitter and bring your little tyke along for memory-making instead!

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out the Best Hiking Backpacks for Kids

 

Quick Answer - The Best Hiking Carriers for Toddlers

  1. Deuter Kid Comfort Active
  2. Osprey Poco AG Plus
  3. Clevrplus Cross Country
  4. Kelty Journey Perfectfit
  5. Thule Elite Sapling
  6. Deuter Kid Comfort Pro
  7. Luvbaby Premium
  8. Chicco SmartSupport
  9. Kelty Journey Perfectfit Elite
  10. Osprey Poco AG

 

Comparison Table - Best Hiking Carriers for Toddlers

PictureNameWeightWeight LimitStylePriceRating
Deuter Kid Comfort Active5 lb 14 oz48 lb 8 ozBackpack$$4.9
Osprey Poco AG Plus7 lb 11 oz48.5 lbBaby Carrier$$$4.5
Clevrplus Cross Country5 lb 6 oz40 lbBaby Carrier$4.3
Kelty Journey Perfectfit6 lb 6 oz50 lbBackpack$$4.6
Thule Elite Sapling7 lb 14.4 oz48 lbChild Carrier$$$4.0
Deuter Kid Comfort Pro8 lb 5 oz48 lb 8 ozBackpack$$$5.0
Luvbaby Premium6 lb 6 oz40 lbBackpack$$4.6
Chicco SmartSupport6 lb 6 oz40 lbBackpack$4.4
Kelty Journey Perfectfit Elite7 lb 4 oz50 lbBackpack$$$4.4
osprey poco agOsprey Poco AG6 lb 14 oz48.5 lbBaby Carrier$$4.6
PictureNameWeightWeight LimitStylePriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Hiking Carriers for Toddlers

Deuter Kid Comfort Active

Specs
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Weight: 5 lb 14 oz
  • Material: Polyamide polyester
  • Style: Backpack
  • Weight Limit: 48 lb 8 oz
  • Frame: External Aluminum
Features
  • Safety Harness Keeps Your Child Strapped In
  • Padded, Ventilated S-shaped Shoulder Straps Provide Superior Comfort
  • Adjustable Torso Length And Adjustable Seat Height
  • Large Pocket Under Child Seat, Large Front Pocket, Zippered Hip Pocket, And Key Clip
  • Kickstand Feature And Side Entry Make It Easy For Kids To Hop Inside

BEST FOR: KIDS WHO LIKE TO WALK AND RIDE

Bigger kids can get inside this carrier all by themselves through the side opening while the bag is propped on its kickstand. Then, you can get them all settled inside with the adjustable back and footrests. The torso length is adjustable too so you can switch off carrying your child with a partner.

Every feature of this carrier is meant to keep you and your child comfortable. Carrying a kid on your back can get heavy and hot, but the aluminum frame and athletic build cut down on weight and considerable ventilation allows for steady airflow. You’ll appreciate how the extra weight of your child improves your conditioning.

Osprey Poco AG Plus

Specs
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Weight: 7 lb 11 oz
  • Material: Ripstop nylon
  • Style: Baby Carrier
  • Weight Limit: 48.5 lb
  • Frame: Internal Aluminum
Features
  • Fleece-lined Child Safety Harness And Padded Cockpit
  • Adjustable Child Seat Height And Adjustable Torso Length
  • Built-in Sun Shade For Your Little Travelers
  • Multiple Pockets And Storage Compartments Throughout
  • Adjustable Hip Belt With Mirror To Check On Your Child While They’re On Your Back

BEST FOR: SUNNY DAY PROTECTION

This child carrier has a built-in sun shade to protect the delicate skin of your precious cargo. If you’re headed out into a sunny location or plan to be out in the heat of the day, this feature gives you extra protection along with sunscreen. Plus, the shade is nice if your babe falls asleep.

Another notable feature of this bag is its plentiful storage space. There are pockets everywhere for snacks, maps, diapers, and bug spray. The hip pocket, harness pocket, and snatch pocket allow you to reach for the most needed items without taking the whole pack off.

Clevrplus Cross Country

Specs
  • Breathable: No
  • Weight: 5 lb 6 oz
  • Material: Oxford Cloth
  • Style: Baby Carrier
  • Weight Limit: 40 lb
  • Frame: External Aluminum
Features
  • Sun Canopy With Rain Flaps For Changing Weather
  • Adjustable Seat Height, Safety Straps, And Stirrups Grow With Your Child
  • Energy-absorbing Lumbar Padding And Thick Padded Shoulder Straps
  • Large Below-deck Storage Pack, Side Bottle Pockets, And Additional Pockets For Everything
  • Aluminum Kickstand So You Can Stand It Up Without Leaning It On Anything

BEST FOR: KIDS WHO LOVE TO SEE EVERYTHING

This backpack carrier keeps your kid higher in the air so they can see over your head. It’s a great vantage point to play “I Spy” or to point out neat things for them. The position may affect your center of gravity, but the padded hip and shoulder pads relieve some of the pressure. This carrier is also one of the lightest weight packs available, which takes off the strain.

The backpack helps you nail your parenting skills with pockets for everything you could possibly need on a hike. The sunshade and rain flaps keep your little one protected from the elements too. This carrier gives new meaning to spending quality time with your family!

Kelty Journey Perfectfit

Specs
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Weight: 6 lb 6 oz
  • Material: Polyester
  • Style: Backpack
  • Weight Limit: 50 lb
  • Frame: Internal Aluminum
Features
  • Adjustable Suspension System And Sternum Straps
  • Load-lifter Straps Distribute The Weight
  • Five-point Safety Harness And Roll Cage For Child Protection
  • Storage In The Large Zippered Pocket And Mesh Hipbelt Pocket
  • Wide Child Seat Base And Adjustable Stirrups

BEST FOR: TECHNICAL TERRAIN

If you’re worried about your chances of falling with your child on your back, then this PerfectFit carrier calms your fears. The five-point safety harness and aluminum roll cage keep your child protected from accidental jolts and bumps on rough patches. The encased design does make it a little bit more difficult to access the harness and keeps your kid a little more confined, but that may be what you prefer. 

The quality suspension system on this carrier is also worth noting as it helps distribute the weight and switches easily between parents. You can adjust the torso length quickly when you need to hand your honey over for awhile.

Thule Elite Sapling

Specs
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Weight: 7 lb 14.4 oz
  • Material: Nylon
  • Style: Child Carrier
  • Weight Limit: 48 lb
  • Frame: Aluminum
Features
  • Fully Adjustable Back And Hip Belt For Carrying Trade-offs
  • Ergonomic Seat With Inner Thigh Support And Adjustable Stirrups
  • Pull-out Sunshade For High Noon Hiking
  • Comes With A Removable Backpack That Can Double As A Diaper Bag

BEST FOR: HIKING YOUR CHILD TO SLEEP

Countless reviews of this child carrier confirm that children seem to love taking naps in the Sapling. Perhaps rhythmic strides combined with the cushy ride, thigh support, and adjustable stirrups create a comfy lull conducive to sleep. If you have a child who fights sleep, you can even take him or her for a walk around the neighborhood until they succumb to sleep.

This pack is also great for travel because it allows you to carry everything you need on your back. You can use the mini backpack that attaches to the back of the carrier as a diaper bag, so your hands are free for exploring. Next time your bring your little buddy, reach for your Sapling.

Deuter Kid Comfort Pro

Specs
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Weight: 8 lb 5 oz
  • Material: Polyamide Polyester
  • Style: Backpack
  • Weight Limit: 48 lb 8 oz
  • Frame: External Aluminum
Features
  • Cushy Adjustable Cabin With Side Cushions And Pillow
  • Easy Sliding Torso Length Adjustment For A Personalized Fit
  • Arched Frame And Load Adjustment Straps Distribute The Weight
  • Removable Day Pack, Zippered Hip Pockets, Long Side Zippered Compartment, Back Stretch Pocket, And Side Mesh Pockets
  • Built-in Sun Roof For Hot Midday Strolls

BEST FOR: MINI WORLD TRAVELERS

You’re not only going to want to use this professional child carrier for hiking, you’re going to love it for travel, neighborhood strolls, and mall shopping too. Imagine your child swaying with their favorite person inside their favorite warm padded rocking chair, and that’s what it’s like for them riding in this palanquin-worthy, decked-out carrier.

The carrier takes good care of you too! It perfectly distributes the weight across your back and toward your hips for less strain, so you can get more miles in without strain. It also has a really generous storage capacity for all your family’s essentials. Superior ventilation and a pull-out sunroof help you and your little one stay cool in the heat of the day.

Luvbaby Premium

Specs
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Weight: 6 lb 6 oz
  • Material: Ripstop Polyester
  • Style: Backpack
  • Weight Limit: 40 lb
  • Frame: External Aluminum
Features
  • Water-proof External Fabric And Rain Hood Keep Them Dry
  • Ergonomic, Height-adjustable Back Support And Load-bearing Hip Belt
  • Padded Safety Harness, Cabin, And Stirrups
  • Generous Storage Compartments, Including A Thermal Bottle Pocket And Diaper Changing Pad
  • Self-supported Aluminum Kickstand

BEST FOR: WET CONDITIONS

The Luvbaby has some of the best rain protection features of any of the carriers on this list. Clear windows on the sun roof fold down to protect your baby from splashes when it starts to rain without blocking their view. The main fabric of the carrier is also waterproof, so your toddler stays snug inside their padded piggyback ride.

You should be able to collect far more memories than backaches too with the ergonomic back support. The back height adjusts so both parents can take turns in comfort. The carrier doubles as a backpack too, with a thermal compartment for food and plenty of space for diapers, snacks, and a change of clothes. Just pack up and get out there!

Chicco SmartSupport

Specs
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Weight: 6 lb 6 oz
  • Material: Polyester
  • Style: Backpack
  • Weight Limit: 40 lb
  • Frame: External Aluminum
Features
  • Five-point Safety Harness Keeps Your Child Contained
  • Height-adjustable Child Seat Grows With Your Child
  • Multi-position Sunshade Gives Your Little One Just Enough Coverage
  • Padded, Vented Lumbar Support, Hip Belt, And Shoulder Straps
  • Aluminum Kickstand And Fold-flat Design

BEST FOR: STROLLER ALTERNATIVE

If you’re taking your child to visit a place where you’d rather carry them than push them in a stroller, then this carrier is a great compromise. The seat is similar to a stroller seat, it’s just on your back instead, so you don’t have to navigate the wheels over gravel, bumps, and potholes. Meanwhile, your kid feels like they’re on top of the world, riding on your shoulders.

The carrier won’t take up as much space as a stroller either. The aluminum frame folds down flat and slips right into your trunk without that crazy stroller dance. The only drawback is it doesn’t have any storage, so it’s more appropriate for shorter jaunts on paved pathways (i.e. amusement parks, zoos, etc) than outback hiking.

Kelty Journey Perfectfit Elite

Specs
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Weight: 7 lb 4 oz
  • Material: Polyester
  • Style: Backpack
  • Weight Limit: 50 lb
  • Frame: Internal Aluminum
Features
  • Built-In Sunshade for Midday Heat
  • 9+ Pockets and Compartments for Generous Storage
  • Adjustable Suspension System, Load-Lifters Straps and Sternum Straps
  • Five-Point Safety Harness and Roll Cage for Child Protection
  • Wide Child Seat Base and Adjustable Stirrups

BEST FOR: THOSE WHO NEED EXTRA STORAGE

The difference between the Journey PerfectFit and The Journey PerfectFit Elite is the number of additional features you get with this upgraded child carrier. First, it comes with a built-in sunshade for your little one’s protection. Second, it comes with way more pockets and compartments so you can bring all your extras. 

One of those compartments is a wipeable “dirty” compartment where you can keep soiled clothes and diapers away from everything else until you get back to basecamp. You also get a large main compartment with an organizer, hydration sleeve, bottle pockets, and easy-reach hip pockets. You can’t possibly forget anything!

Osprey Poco AG

Specs
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Weight: 6 lb 14 oz
  • Material: Nylon
  • Style: Baby Carrier
  • Weight Limit: 48.5 lb
  • Frame: Internal Aluminum
Features
  • Fleece-lined Child Safety Harness And Padded Cockpit
  • Adjustable Child Seat Height And Adjustable Torso Length
  • Built-in Sunshade For Your Little Travelers
  • Multiple Pockets And Storage Compartments Throughout
  • Adjustable Hip Belt With Mirror To Check Behind You
osprey poco ag

BEST FOR: ACHY BACKS

This child carrier takes pains (pun intended) to keep your back happy. AG stands for anti-gravity, inspired by the technical suspension system that supports your back. The extra padding, ventilation, and support help keep you from waking up with an aching back, although the practice should strengthen your back with every hike. 

The main difference between the AG and the AG Plus version is the internal capacity. The AG Plus can hold more, but also weighs more to accommodate more accessories and gear. If you need a little less storage and don’t want added weight on your back, than the original Poco is your better choice.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING HIKING CARRIERS FOR TODDLERS

 

SAFETY

As with car seats and strollers, it’s important that your child carrier have a safety harness to keep your child securely in place. Another safety feature a few of the carriers offer are roll cages (see Features Explained), which protect your child in case you fall. Consider how tough the terrain is where you like to hike to determine which safety features might be necessary.

 

WEIGHT

When you’re hiking, every ounce you carry on your back counts. The same is true with your child. Consider how much your toddler weighs in addition to the pack and any gear you plan to store inside. Remember, you’ll be carrying all that weight on your back.

 

WEIGHT LIMIT

Every child carrier has a max weight limit associated with it, and that typically includes your child plus gear. Make sure your kids and their stuff fit within the weight limit. Some of the carriers on this list have enough space for a small toddler but may not fit larger children. 

 

STORAGE

If you’re bringing a child on a hike, you’re also going to need to bring all that child’s necessary gear for said hike. That might include diapers and wipes, snacks, a change of clothes, and toys. You can’t forget about your own essentials either. Make sure the child carrier you choose has the right storage capacity for all your things.

 

WEATHER

Some of the carriers on this list are great for hot-weather hikes while others are suitable for rainy weather. A carrier with a sunshade and heavy ventilation, for example, makes sunny hikes a little more pleasant. On the other hand, a rain cover and waterproof fabric can keep you moving through a storm.

 

ADJUSTABILITY

Ideally, your child carrier should adjust for both you and your child. A height-adjustable back allows you to switch off carrying with your hiking partner. An adjustable child seat gets you more use out of your carrier by adapting as your child grows. Learn how to get the proper fit for your child carrier here.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

 

KICKSTAND

Like a kickstand on a bike, a kickstand on a child carrier allows you to prop the pack upright on the ground. This type of kickstand creates a stable surface for your child to enter and exit the carrier as well.

 

COCKPIT/CABIN

The cockpit, or cabin, is the area inside the carrier where your child sits. The cockpit should keep your child in a natural position so they stay comfortable throughout the entire hike.

 

POLYAMIDE POLYESTER

Polyamide polyester has moisture-wicking and durable qualities. Sometimes used for parachute construction, it’s strength and tear-resistance makes it reliable for child carriers. Get the down-low on the amazing properties of polyamide fabric here.

 

OXFORD CLOTH 

Oxford cloth is a thick, woven material that has durable, weather-resistant qualities that make it popular for tents, flags, slipcovers and, of course, kid carriers.

 

SUNSHADE

A sunshade is like an umbrella shade on a stroller that pulls out and gives your child shade from the sun. This helps protect them from both the heat and the damage from the sun. Sunscreen is still necessary, but a sunshade definitely helps!

 

ROLL CAGE

Like a roll cage on a racecar, a roll cage on a child carrier adds an extra buffer from multiple angles around your child. If you were to fall while hiking, the roll cage helps shield your child from getting hurt.

READ MORE

For more of our top hiking & backpacking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

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