Bringing kids outdoors can be a very challenging task for families. Most kids aren’t able to handle much walking until they’re at least five or six years old. For those who love the outdoors and even those who just love to be out and about, it can be a real challenge.
Luckily, there is a simple solution to this dilemma, and that is to bring a baby backpack carrier.
Baby backpack carriers can be a great mode of travel for your little ones, especially if you like to be active. The only thing is, where do you start? Trying to find the perfect fit for you and your child may seem like a daunting task, but that's why I am compiled an organized list of the best, top-rated baby backpack carriers on the market.
Before we get into that, let's first take a look at what exactly a baby backpack carrier is, and what qualities you should look for when buying your own.
Holding a small baby in your arms for even an hour can make your biceps burn.
While baby slings are great, they don't offer babies the support they would need during a long walk or hike, and they're not exactly easy to move in either. As for a baby stroller, forget about it! They're nice if you're walking on flat terrain, but there's no way you're going to push one of those up a rocky trail or a flight of stairs.
When your location no longer allows for a stroller, that's where a baby backpack carrier comes in handy. They are one of the best investments you can make in this type of situation because they keep your hands free and they save your back from injuries.
Baby backpacks look like camping backpacks: fabric on a rigid, generally aluminum, frame with a seat for your child to ride in. They come in a variety of sizes and models.
Baby backpacks allow you to walk longer distances and carry heavier children more comfortably because they distribute the weight of your child efficiently. Outdoorsy parents often get baby backpacks for hikes or camping, but they work just as well on subway escalators and at street festivals.
Another upside to these types of baby carriers is that most babies enjoy riding on your back. It allows them to observe the world and puts their head close to yours.
A baby backpack carrier comes in two forms: framed and unframed.
Framed backpacks do a great job at distributing weight all throughout the body. Most offer storage options and a few bells and whistles, although they are usually bulkier and more expensive.
Unframed ones are lighter and cheaper, but your child sits at a much lower level. This means that the weight could easily pull you down, which can be bad for your back. They often do not have a lot of options for storage, but that's what you get with a lighter carrier.
All backpacks are different, but these are the qualities you can expect when it comes to framed vs. unframed backpacks.
Before purchasing a baby backpack carrier, you will want to evaluate all of your options first. Listed below are five qualities I took into consideration before I made my purchase.
Make sure the backpack has a sturdy child-restraint system. The safest models have five-point harnesses that feature waist belts, straps that go over the shoulders, and a crotch strap.
For younger babies, check to make sure the leg openings aren't so large that they could slip through. The last thing you need is for your tot to fall out while you're on a rocky trail or a hectic public setting with lots of people.
Feel how the weight is distributed. Does your neck or back feel strained, or does the weight sit nicely on your hips? Before a purchase, try on the backpack with your child inside to make sure that it's not too heavy.
Quality backpacks have a well-padded hip belt, shoulder straps, and a chest strap to take the weight off your shoulders and prevent you from slouching.
Also, make sure to check if the fabric is soft enough to not irritate your child's skin. Some even have mesh fabric to keep you and your baby cool on a hot day.
It's likely you will be walking long distances if you're utilizing something like a baby backpack carrier. Long-distance walking means sweat, which is why it's important to buy one that is easy to keep clean.
The fabric should be durable and easy to wipe down. Some backpacks even have fabric that can be removed and washed. It isn't the end of the world if yours doesn't have this though. While it's a great bonus, it can be hard to find one that has this quality.
Choosing a pack with an adjustable inside seat that will grow with your child will save you from having to purchase a new backpack each time they have a growth spurt.
Make sure that your backpack can be adaptable to different types of weather. A removable canopy is nice for both sunny days and drizzly ones. A detachable plastic rain cover is handy for unexpected downpours.
Some models offer pockets for storing cellphones, water bottles and diapers. Some have loops for attaching toys.
All babies are different, including their needs. That means that a footrest could work great for one baby, but it could irritate the next. Make sure to be conscious of your child's needs when making a purchase to ensure that they are happy and content.
To make your selection process easier, I created a list of what is considered to be the best backpack carriers in today's market.
Style: FramedBrand: Osprey
This pack from Osprey is light weight, and offers support, ventilation and a versatile, easy-to-adjust fit. The fully framed and padded child cockpit features an adjustable child seat with safety leg loop, removable stirrups and a removable, washable drool pad.
With an AG-inspired suspension system from the award-winning Atmos and Aura AG packs, the updated Poco AG is more comfortable and better ventilated than ever before. It keeps child safety at the forefront of its design, meeting and exceeding all international safety certifications.
This pack is ready to face any types of weather. It has a removable rain cover, and rapid-deploy sun shade is built in to ensure your little one stays cool. You can also expect optimal comfort thanks to their mesh-padded straps, and secure, fleece-lined butterfly child harness.
It may look like a bear to put away, but this pack's foldable design makes for easy storage.
Overall, this pack is an excellent fit if you are looking for something lightweight, comfortable, and versatile.
Style: FramedBrand: Thule
This pack provides optimal storage for water, diapers, clothes, rain gear, and other essentials thanks to built in mesh pockets, a hydration reservoir sleeve, removable pack and large zippered compartmental storage.It also features a fully adjustable hip belt and back panel that make it easy to transition to another parent if you need a break.
You never have to worry about the warm weather getting to your child due to deployable sunshade that keeps your child cool and protected from the sun's harsh rays. Sometimes you can't help but wonder how they're doing back there, though. The pack's built-in viewing mirror is great because it allows you to monitor your child.If you ever need a break, dual access loading allows you to load your child from the top or side of the carrier.
Ultimately this product is about practicality. If you need a backpack carrier that is easy to use, then the Sapling Elite Child Carrier is for you.
Style: Brand: Kelty
- easily adjusts to fit both mom and dad so you can both comfortably share the load
- Integrated sunshade, just in case you forget the sunscreen
- 5 point safety harness and padded aluminum roll cage for no-worries trekking on any terrain
- Wide seat base and adjustable foot stirrups mirror your kiddos natural rest state