There’s nothing better than enjoying the great outdoors with your whole family, and if you’ve got a baby in tow, the baby backpack carrier can be an invaluable piece of kit. With a carrier, you can travel with your baby safely on your back, so everyone can enjoy your family walk, even before your little one is ready to toddle about with you!
If you’re in the market for a new baby carrier, then you’ve come to the right place. With so many brands and models on the market, it can be difficult to narrow down exactly which baby carrier you should choose. We've not only sold but also used many of the top baby carriers available with our owns families. That’s why we’re really well placed to give you some top tips for choosing the best baby backpack carrier for your family, plus more specifically our roundup of the best hiking baby carrier to help you make a more informed decision.
Our tips will cover:
There are a few things to look for in a baby carrier to decide which is the best one for you. Some key considerations are:
By far the most important factor when it comes to choosing a baby carrier is the safety aspect. Look for a carrier with adjustable harnesses and seat so you can fasten your child in securely. Remember that they should be sat high enough in the seat that you can see the top of their head and be looking into the back of your head. You’ll also want to make sure that all buckles and straps are secure and high-quality. Buying from a reputable brand is a good way to ensure that your carrier is durable and reliable.
You’ll want to make sure that your carrier will be comfortable for both yourself and your child. Take some time fitting the carrier to you and if you and your partner are very different in height pick a carrier that can be adjusted to suit both of you. I'm 5'6" and my partner is 6'2" we found a carrier that we could both comfortably wear. Make sure that the waist belt can be securely and comfortably adjusted around your hips — this is where you should be carrying most of the weight. Some models will be more adjustable than others, so it’s worth shopping around to find one that can be adapted enough for your needs. Look for shoulder straps that can be adjusted in length and back height — which is particularly important if both parents will be wearing the carrier.
Weight is another important factor to consider, as you’ll want to make sure that you can carry both the carrier and your child comfortably while walking. It’s also worth bearing in mind that most baby carriers have weight restrictions that can differ between models, so you’ll want to choose a carrier that will fit your child now and into the future.
If you’re going to be using your carrier on daily walks the actual weight of the carrier is probably less important that getting one with a good fit for you. However if you’re primarily travelling with it in a car or plane, you’ll most likely want to choose a smaller lightweight baby backpack carrier. Both the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL and the Osprey Poco LT are super lightweight carriers, so they’re a good choice if need something that’s easy to travel with.
In a similar vein to weight, the size of the baby carrier may also be an important consideration. Most carriers can be adjusted to suit your height for a more comfortable fit. There is also a range of lightweight carriers available with smaller profiles that are perfect for use in urban areas or for those who may find a shorter backsystem more comfortable.
As the baby carrier will sit quite snugly to your body, you’ll want to make sure it has plenty of ventilation — this is even more important for those summer hikes! Look for carriers with a mesh component to the back of the adult harness which will really help to keep you cooler.
If you'll be using your carrier for long hikes, then you may also want to look for a carrier with extra storage options so you can carry all your essentials with you too. Most top of the range carriers come with zipped pockets so they can double up as a backpack to store water bottles, sunglasses, and gloves, as well as any spare nappies, toys, and valuables. This way, you don’t need to take anything extra. Some baby carriers come with more storage than others, so it’s worth considering just how much storage you need and if you’ll be taking another backpack on your hikes with you.
Any parent knows that little adventurers can get messy, and even more so when you’re on a hike! Choosing a carrier that is easy to clean with a mild detergent is essential, so you can get back out on the trails in no time.
The chin pad and headrest area will be closest to your baby’s face, and so are likely to get dirty quickly. Luckily, most baby carriers come with a detachable and washable chin pad/headrest for easy care.
While you’re out in the great outdoors, you’ll want to make sure that your little one is protected from the changeable UK weather. Most hiking baby carrier brands, such as Deuter, either have integrated sunroofs or sell separate sunroofs. All of Osprey’s range like the Osprey Poco and Poco LT, feature an integrated sun canopy to protect your little one.It’s worth remembering that the sunroofs always provide the structure for the rain covers. If you are using your carrier year-round in the UK, it’s definitely worth getting both the sunroof and rain cover for your baby carrier. You can find out more about this in our tips and fitting advice for Deuter baby carrier accessories.
Now that you know what kind of carrier you’re looking for, you’ll no doubt be wondering which is the best baby backpack carrier for you. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite carriers, all with their own unique features, so you can choose the best baby backpack carrier for your needs.
This Deuter Kid Comfort baby carrier is a classic all-rounder. As the name would suggest, it's designed for comfort, and comes with a breathable mesh backsystem to keep you cool on your walks. When empty, this carrier weighs 3.2kg and can carry children up to 18kg — by this point, they’ll no doubt be toddling about on their own! This carrier also boasts a 14L capacity so you can carry plenty of stuff with you.
The highlight of this carrier is its adjustability, with adaptable seat height and width, as well as adjustable shoulder and sternum straps. This option can fit adults from 5'3" to 6'4", so if you and your partner will be sharing the carrying responsibility throughout your hike, this is the perfect option for you.
Our video below takes you through all the key features of the Deuter Kid Comfort baby carrier.
Much like the Deuter Kid Comfort, the Osprey Poco is a great option for families who are serious about the outdoors. What really makes this carrier stand out are its extra features. The Poco comes with a built-in sunroof with a UPF rating of 50+, as well as a safety whistle included in the sternum strap.
The Poco is incredibly comfortable, with fully adjustable seat, footrests, and safety straps. The highlight of the Poco is its taut trampoline suspended mesh backsystem which boasts innovative AirSpeed™ technology for extra comfort and breathability.
There’s plenty of space to carry your little extras too. With two mesh pockets in the hip belt and an extra zipped pocket in the lower compartment, this carrier is capable of storing up to 25L, or 22kg. You can watch our video review down below to learn more.
Osprey Poco or Deuter Kid Comfort?
If you’re looking for a backpack that does the job well, then either the Deuter Kid Comfort or the Osprey Poco will be perfect. Both offer many of the same features, but each has their own unique benefits. To help you narrow down your choice, you can watch our in-depth comparison video below to find the right one for you.
With a slim fit, shorter back, and curved hip strap, the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL is shaped especially for women, making it the best option if mum will be doing most of the carrying. If you’re looking for a more lightweight option, this is the lightest Deuter carrier available at just 2.65kg. But don’t be fooled by its light weight. This carrier is capable of carrying children up to 22kg, and has a 12L storage capacity, including a hip pocket for your phone and other valuables, and a back pocket for little extras. As with all Deuter carriers, the Kid Comfort Active SL also has a detachable sunroof and raincover available to buy separately.
We think the Kid Comfort Active SL is the best baby backpack carrier for women, and you can find out more about why we love it in our video review below.
Like the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL, the Osprey Poco LT (available in both black and sky blue) is another super lightweight carrier, weighing just 2.3kg. However, unlike the Deuter alternative, the Osprey Poco LT can be folded down flat for easy storage — perfect if you want to pack it up and take it on your travels. The Poco LT also has a slimmer profile compared to other carriers, making it easier for you and your little one to slip in and out of doorways and navigate urban areas.
As with all Osprey carriers, the Poco LT comes with an integrated sunshade with a UPF 50+ rating, so whether you’re here in the UK or taking a walking holiday somewhere sunny, your child will always be protected. It also comes with an adjustable AirScape™ back-panel that’s incredibly breathable and will keep you cool and comfortable on your walks.
You can find out more about the compact Osprey Poco LT and its other fantastic features in our video review below.
If you’re looking for a carrier that will carry the weight of your child and still leave plenty of room for your belongings, then the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro is the best hiking baby carrier for you. This top-of-the range carrier is highly adjustable, so it’s perfect for both parents to carry, and also comes with an integrated sunroof and rain cover for total convenience.
The standout feature of this baby backpack carrier is its storage. Not only does it come with a 12L under-seat pouch, but it also includes a separate 10L daypack which can be attached to the front of the harness or can be worn separately. So, if you’re heading inside for a quick nappy change and can’t take the baby carrier with you, you can still take along your valuables.
The Deuter Kid Comfort Pro is the best backpack baby carrier for those who are serious about hiking, and you can find out more about it in our expert video review below.
Kid Comfort or Kid Comfort Pro?
The Deuter Kid Comfort Pro is essentially an advanced version of the original Kid Comfort. If you’re not sure which option would be right for you, our video comparison below examines the differences in detail.
Once you’ve chosen your baby carrier, you might have a few questions before you head out on your first hike. We’ve answered some of the most common baby carrier FAQs below, so you can enjoy your walk without a hitch.
What age can babies go in backpack carriers?
A baby can safely sit in a backpack carrier as soon as they can sit up by themselves and support their own head and neck. This is usually around six months onwards. Most backpack carriers will feature an adjustable seat so you can increase the size as your little one grows.
Are backpack carriers safe for babies?
Yes, backpack carriers are safe for babies from around six months and up. Specially designed backpack carriers feature a strong metal frame and padded seat to keep your child safe and comfortable. Most backpack carriers also include extra safety features such as colour-coded buckles and a sunroof.
To ensure your child is as safe as possible, always make sure you adjust the carrier as they grow. This means dropping the baby seat down and extending foot straps and harness straps. As a rough guide your baby should be looking into the back of your head when they are in the carrier.
You can read more safety advice in our guide to the dos and don’ts for your baby carrier.
How should I dress my baby when they go in their carrier?
How you dress your little one for an outing will depend on the weather but remember that your baby will be much more exposed in a carrier than they would be in a pram or buggy. In summer, T-shirts made from 100% organic cotton and loose-fitting shorts will be breathable enough to keep your child cool and comfortable but remember not to forget the suncream even with the sun canopy up.
In winter, layering is best. Alongside their top and trousers, you may also want to dress them in a thermal layer plus a cosy coat, such as a down jacket or suit or a waterproof jacket. Be sure to pack spare layers just in case! A top tip is to use the rain cover in winter even if it’s not raining as this will provide a windproof pod for your baby and really help keep them warm.
How long should a baby be in a backpack carrier?
There’s no rule as to how long your baby can sit in their carrier for. That being said, it’s a good idea to take them out every hour or so. Whenever you stop for a drink break or for your lunch, make sure to give your little one a break too.
When to stop using a baby carrier?
Most baby carriers have a weight limit of around 18 to 22kg, which is equivalent to a typical 3- or 4-year-old. However, once your child is big enough to have outgrown their baby carrier, they’ll most likely be ready to walk alongside you anyway.
Finding the perfect baby carrier can be a challenging task. The tips in this guide will help you navigate the specifications of each carrier, so you can find the best one for your family. If you’re still undecided, our expert team will be more than happy to help you out. Just get in touch or browse our baby carrier range.
As parents and outdoor enthusiasts, we’ve got first-hand experience in finding the right outdoor clothing and footwear for your little explorers. That’s why we’re committed to supplying only the best outdoor equipment for children of all ages. We stock a wide choice of waterproofs, camping equipment, outdoor accessories, and more from top brands, so shop the range today.