Baby slings are great, but they don’t offer babies the support they would need during a hike, and they’re not exactly aerodynamic either. As for a baby stroller, forget about it! There’s no way you’re going to push one of those up a mountain, no matter how determined you may be.
There is a solution, however: baby carrier backpacks. These dual-purpose backpacks allow you to carry food, water and other essentials while also providing a safe and secure place for your baby or toddler to be transported.
As it is, this is a relatively new market. This guide will help navigate you to finding the best of the baby carrier backpacks.
Things to Consider
Before you commit to spending your money, there are several things you should keep in mind before you buy.
1. Weight Capacity
Most baby carrier backpacks will accommodate a child weighing up to 40 pounds, but it’s always a good idea to check before you find out. You don’t want your child to outgrow the backpack too quickly.
If you’ve ever done much hiking, you know that you want to carry as little weight on your back as possible. This is doubly true if you’re carrying a 30-pound toddler on your back! Most of these backpacks weigh between five and ten pounds, but it’s something you should know beforehand.
Your child’s growth is not stagnant, so a child backpack has to be able to adjust to keep up. All of these backpacks are able to adjust to some degree or another, but the greater the flexibility the better.
Just how many cubic feet are in that backpack? Knowing how much room you have at your disposal is critical. Consider your hiking habits and needs and plan accordingly. Remember, you may have to pack diapers, a baby bottle and other baby necessities as well.
As you might expect, baby carrier backpacks are quite a bit more expensive than their mundane counterparts. Many of them cost upwards of $200. Cheaper ones are available, but they will lack many of the best features of pricier ones.
This is not a cheap backpack, but it is attractive and very well designed backpack, and is perfect for active parents who are always on the move.
Has a sun shade built in.
Supports up to 40 pounds.
Finding the best backpack isn’t an easy task even for a normal backpack. In some ways it’s easier to pick out a child-carrying backpack, as the selection is smaller. However, the stakes are a bit higher, as its not just your comfort but your baby’s on the line.
After careful consideration, we decided that the Deuter Kid Comfort 3 was the all-around best choice for a baby carrying a backpack.
- Weighs less than eight pounds
- Easy height adjustments support a child up to 40 pounds
- Over four and a half gallons (18 liters) of roommate
- Ergonomic design keeps both child and parent comfortable
- Includes built-in pillow so baby can sleep
Best Baby Carrier Backpacks Under $100
10. Katyland Baby Carrier Backpack
This isn’t quite a hiking baby carrier backpack, but it is in between that and a standard sling. If you don’t want to spend $100 or more on a backpack, this is going to be your best bet.
This backpack is very comfortable for both mother and baby, and is designed to be used all the way from four months to three years of age. It can be worn in four different positions, and can support a toddler up to 35 pounds. It’s padded nicely, and it does have a couple small pockets to store valuables or baby gear.
If you’re looking for a fully-fledged hiking backpack, this probably isn’t going to cut it. But it is very comfortable and, like most baby carrier backpacks, will accommodate your child for several years.
Best Baby Carrier Backpacks Under $150
9. Deluxe Baby Back Pack Cross Country Carrier
When I first saw this backpack, I thought it looked like the real deal. It was very similar in material and appearance to backpacks I used with my dad when I was a kid. Unfortunately, as this is a budget model, the actual backpack elements are fairly limited.
As far as a baby carrier goes, this is pretty good. It’s comfortable backpacks, it offers your child a lot of support and it can carry a kid weighing up to 40 pounds. I tried using it to carry my two-year-old son and it worked great. There’s plenty of room for the kid, it has a retractable canopy, it folds and adjusts easily.
The real problem is that there just isn’t much room for actual storage. Sure, there’s a miniature pack that can be used to carry some snacks and maybe a couple diapers, but it’s not a true backpack in the traditional sense. This may be perfect for some families, but I wouldn’t want to use it on a long hike.
8. Gorilla Carrier Child Hiking Backpack Carrier
If you’re looking for an inexpensive child-carrying backpack, the Gorilla Carrier Child is one of your best best. It’s definitely not the greatest backpack, but it does a great job for the price.
The backpack is rated for children weighing 16 to 40 pounds, so this is suitable for kids about 6 to 8 months and up. It has a couple of nice features that come in handy, such as a sun shade and rain hood. It adjusts in 19 different areas and ways, so it’s really easy to customize this to suit different babies and children and keep them comfortable. It has several different storage areas, so it’s also pretty functional as a backpack.
It was comfortable, but there are other more ergonomic designs out there. I also wish it was able to hold babies a little smaller than 16 pounds, although that isn’t a dealbreaker. Still, if you don’t have several hundred dollars to spend on a backpack, this is a good buy.
7. phil&teds Parade Lightweight Backpack Carrier
For some reason, this backpack makes me think of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. I think it’s the name, because it has literally nothing to do with the movie. It’s actually quite an excellent baby backpack for its price.
First off, the backpack is incredibly light – its less than 4 pounds, but can carry a child up to ten times that weight. An internal aluminum frame helps it stand upright while you’re loading it with supplies, but it also folds easily.
This backpack has several really cool features I like. The first is that it has two bottle holders in it. This is really convenient, whether you’re on a hike or just out at the local farmer’s market. Both the shoulders and hips are padded, so it’s pretty comfortable. There’s plenty of storage space, and it also has a miniature detachable backpack for your little one. They can wear it while walking with you, and you can carry them on your back when they get tired.
The backpack has two different colors, orange and blue. I saw the orange one, and the color was a little obnoxious, so I hope the blue is a little better. Still, there are some nice features on this backpack, and it’s sold for a very reasonable price.
Best Baby Carrier Backpacks Under $200
6. Kelty Junction 2.0 Child Carrier
Before I begin, I want to offer a disclaimer. There is a newer model of this backpack, and I didn’t find out until after I’d already tested it. However, I suspect it is very similar to the one I tried, and this model is cheaper.
This isn’t a perfect backpack, but it’s pretty good. While it isn’t the most comfortable backpack I tried, it’s not uncomfortable either. It has a convenient foot stabilizer to help your little one climb on. One thing I liked is that it’s very lightweight, weighing less than five pounds. It has a bottle holder and several pockets for storage.
I carried my son around in it and he seemed pretty comfortable. There are loops where you can hang toys, and the seat is adjustable so you can fit it to your child’s preferences. While there’s nothing truly extraordinary about this pack, I couldn’t find anything wrong with it either, and that seems as much a reason to recommend it as any.
5. Kiddy Baby Back Carrier Adventure Pack
This backpack actually feels like a backpack! There are several different pouches where you can store diapers, food, water and other essentials. It has a solid aluminum frame with a kick stand to stand upright, and plenty of cushioning for both you and your child. This is far and away the best of the baby carrier backpacks under $200.
Weighing in at just under six pounds, there are lighter backpacks on the market, but in general they all lack something this one has. Whether it’s a headrest for the baby, additional padding or sufficient storage space, they all seemed to fall just short of a true hiking pack. This one isn’t perfect, either. It can only support 50 pounds of total carrying weight, so when your baby is getting to 30 and 40 pounds, you won’t be able to pack too much stuff. But this is perfect for hiking or day trips with a younger child.
This is a very nice pack and is available for a fairly affordable price. While there are better backpacks out there, they’re going to cost you $80-$100 more, which is the reason in itself to recommend this pack to those with a tight budget.
Best Baby Carrier Backpacks Under $300
4. Deuter Kid Comfort 2
I had heard a lot about Deuter Kid Comfort prior to trying this out, and I can say I wasn’t disappointed. The pack was a little too pink for my taste and weighed a little more than some others at seven+ pounds, but neither of those things matter all that much.
With four gallons of storage space, there is enough room to carry all the essentials for a nice day hike. The carrier backpack has an aluminum frame that makes it very durable, but it’s also incredibly comfortable. It has plenty of padding on both ends and lots of storage areas so both you and your child can carry all the essentials.
It’s easy to adjust the height, and there are a lot of different ways you can customize it to keep your baby comfortable. The pack is designed for maximum ventilation, helping keep your baby cool and dry. There’s enough storage space for a long hike, and the pack is comfortable enough to make a long hike enjoyable.
There are a couple of minor complaints. It doesn’t include a canopy, which seems a little cheap considering this pack sells for well over $200. Still, this is an amazing pack that is durable, comfortable and not too heavy. Well worth the price.
3. Thule Sapling Child Carrier
This is not a cheap backpack, but it is an attractive and very well designed backpack and is perfect for active parents who are always on the move.
This pack is designed with convenience in mind. The fully adjustable back and hip panels are designed for quick transitions, making it easier for mom and dad to share the load with a minimum of hassle. In addition to a large storage area in the back, it has two smaller areas on the hips, providing quick access to essentials. Unlike the Deuter Comfort 2, it comes with a canopy/sunshade that protects your child from the sun and rain.
The back panel is designed for optimum airflow, keeping your back cooler. It has two kick stands in the back that make it easy to load up the pack while you’re getting ready. It’s got plenty of straps to keep your kid safe, and its plush enough to keep them comfortable. This backpack is outside of my price range, but if you can afford it, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better pack.
2. Deuter Kid Comfort 3
If I had any complaints with the Deuter Kid 2 (I did, although they were minor), I don’t know that I have any for the bigger and better 3.0. It takes everything I didn’t like about the 2.0 and fixes it.
This ergonomic pack is even bigger than before offering a full 18 liters of volume. It’s a little heavier than the former backpack, but only by eight ounces. It features an integrated kick stand that makes it easy to keep the carrier upright when on the ground. Intuitive adjustable measurements allow you to change the settings even when your kid is in the pack. Plenty of padding ensures both you and your child remain comfortable and happy.
Pretty much everything else I said remains true of this model, although it does include an integrated sunroof, as well as a removable headrest. If there is anything else one needs from a child backpack, I don’t know what it would be. This pack is amazing.
Best Baby Carrier Backpacks Under $350
1. Osprey Packs Poco AG Premium Child Carrier
The granddaddy of all baby-carrying backpacks, Osprey is the name to beat. With a ton of great features, from a removable daypack to an easily adjustable cockpit for your child, this backpack does it all.
Let’s get started on the cockpit. I haven’t seen any cockpit quite like this one. The baby has a fully padded back and front area, keeping her perfectly safe and secure. Straps keep her in place so she doesn’t wiggle and throw you off balance, and stirrups on each side help her climb in and keep her from kicking you.
The detachable daypack is perfect for your partner, so they can carry all the essentials, leaving you free to carry your child simply. There is plenty of storage space, and more than sufficient padding to keep you happy and comfortable.
I can’t think of any way to improve this backpack. It’s simply the best.
Baby carrier backpacks are quite a bit more expensive than standard slings, as you have no doubt realized. That said, they pose numerous advantages over standard carriers in terms of storage. Whether you’re on a budget or have the money to buy the best, we hope that we have helped you to understand your options and make an informed shopping decision. If you have any questions or comments, let us know. We’d love to hear from you!