How to choose equipment to carry babies & toddlers on a hike

When it comes to hiking with babies and toddlers one of the most difficult things is trying to figure out how to carry them, especially when you’ve got 2 kids that need to be carried (but, we’ll get into that later).

As part of our hiking with babies and toddlers series, today we’re talking about ways to carry kids.

A few highlights from the video:

  • Here’s what’s worked for us, if you’ve tried something else, agree or disagree let us know.
    • New babies (<1 month old): We hike with new babies in a wrap. It’s not the most comfortable for distance and strenuous hikes but who is doing those with a newborn anyway? We used the baby k’tan because the moby looked way too confusing.
    • Babies (>1 month old): We hike with babies in our Ergo baby carrier. It’s very comfortable for both us and the baby. The biggest thing to watch for is ensuring the baby doesn’t get too hot (but we’ll talk about this later too). A baby carrier where the baby faces out like a baby Bjorn, can really effect your center of balance when babies get squirmy and you’re on a steep climb or descent so we went with the Ergo where the baby faces the wearer’s chest. It’s easier to hike wearing an Ergo and I feel like it’s easier to protect baby’s little face and head from the sun, wind, rain and snow when they are snuggled up against my chest.
    • Older babies (>6 months old): Once our babies have good head and neck control and a solid core capable of holding their torso steady we switch to a backpack carrier. We bought a used Kelty Journey– backpack carriers can get super pricy. We looked for one with a shade cover, kickstand, sternum and hip belt and of course one that fit both Al & I. Disadvantages are definitely the cost and the fact that backpack carriers take up a ton of room in the car. We only got one summer out of our backpack carrier since our toddler loves to hike, making me glad we didn’t spend a fortune and bought our Kelty used.
    • Toddlers (2 yrs old): We just discovered this cool product, the Piggyback Rider. It’s two simple harnesses worn by the adult and the kid making it easy for the toddler to get off and hike or hop on and ride when he gets tired. Our 2 year old LOVE this. And we love it because it’s lightweight, easy to use and takes up minimal room in the car.
    • Stroller: We’re not that into stroller hiking because we like to explore places that aren’t stroller friendly. But if we’re on an old logging road or open trails we sometimes hike with our Chariot–especially if it’s me out solo with the kiddos and I can wear the baby in our Ergo.
  • We’ve found great deals on carriers from Amazon, Sierra Trading Post, garage sales,  and used gear stores.

How do you carry your babies and toddlers? Any tips on good carriers or where to get them that you can share?


p.s. We don’t get paid to see nice things about any of the products we mentioned.

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User Comments

  1. aspie |

    If you are going hiking with a toddler, any child under 5 or a child who has frequent potty accidents, I would thinks that diapers are a must regaurdless of wearther or not the chld has been potty trained or not. Think about it this way, A long hike with a young child, maybe evan two, not many toilets around, and if your not using a trail their is a potential to get lost, a child can not hold on to their bladder or bowles as long as an adult, and a child who has frequent potty accedents can hold it evan less. A child under 5 who is potty traind can hold for maybe 20 miniutes, a toddler who has been potty traind will not evan be able to hold it for that length of time.
    So it seems to me that diapers would be an esential thing to pack, they take up less space than extra underware and trousers.
    That all being said I am not a parent and I have never been hiking, I am just making an observation.

    • Rebecca |

      Interesting observation!

  2. William Long |

    Thanks for sharing! Cool story: HIking with our baby in a sling was easy because my wife WAS the milk supply and it was a natural movement that put baby at ease. She wasn’t exactly alert and itching for a hike and as eager as I was for the fresh air. Half way through the hike, her maternal instincts kicked in and her survival brain communicated to her body “STOP”. I bumped into her and was like, “why are you stopping?”. She said, “I dunno” and just then we both noticed a copperhead on the trail about 3 feet ahead sunning itself on the rocky trail.

    We’ve since had kid #2 and enjoying 2nd generation of our Kelty carrier…love it!

    • Rebecca |

      Wow! That’s awesome, crazy and cool all at the same time 🙂

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