Carry on Hiking: Our Top 7 Hiking Carriers for Babies and Kids

Posted in Carriers, Out & About Gear, Travel Accessories.

Panda Carrier hiking baby Australia

If you love the great outdoors, adventuring with your child doesn’t have to slow you down – the key to avoiding aching arms or endless piggybacks is a comfortable Hiking Carrier.

Also known as a baby backpack carrier, a hiking carrier is a type of backpack designed to carry a baby or small child while hiking or walking. Heavier and more robust than soft-shelled baby carriers, they usually have adjustable straps and a harness system to keep our precious cargo safe and secure, along with a sunshade or rain cover to protect them from the elements.

We asked the huge Mum’s Grapevine Facebook Baby Group members if they’d used a hiking carrier before and what they wish they knew before buying one, and these are the ones they recommend.

Helpful tips for buying a Hiking Carrier:

  • Is the weight capacity suitable for your child’s growing weight?
  • Put yourself in your child’s shoes – does it look comfy for a couple of hours’ hike?
  • Does it have a 5-point safety harness?
  • Does it collapse for easy storage when not in use?
  • Does it have pockets for a water bottle?
  • Is there a sunshade and rain cover included (or available)?
  • Does it fit your body AND your partners body well?

Lightening bolt illustration with the word safety above it.

It might surprise you but there are currently no Australian standards for baby carriers, slings and backpacks. However, you can look for a carrier with the European standard EN 13209-2:2005 or the US standard ASTM F2236-08.

7 hiking carriers for all-day adventures

To help you find bub (and you!) a comfy carrier for hiking, we’ve put together this list of our favourite brands to help get you started in your search.

In no particular order, here are seven of our favourite hiking carriers for 2023.


Deuter Kid Comfort Hiking Carrier

Deuter Kid Comfort Active Child Carrier ($499.99)

Thanks to the ingenious Aircomfort Sensic Vario backrest system (that’s a mouthful!), the Kid Comfort’s load is transferred perfectly across the wearer. With a fully ventilated back, side access and easy-to-access belt, we love the addition of a large pillow for naps on the go.

Carrier weight: 3.23kg
Age range: 6 months to 4 years
Maximum weight: 22kg
Accessories included: Sun cover

Buy Now from Sherpa


Panda hiking carrier

Panda Child Backpack Carrier ($460)

The Panda Child Backpack Carrier puts the ‘pack’ in backpack. With seven (yes seven!) pockets and 15 litres of storage, we had no problem carrying our kiddo AND all the extras we needed to take. If you’re thinking of this one they have a 30-day worry-free return policy so you can shop with peace of mind.

Carrier weight: 2.8kg
Age range: 7 months to 4 years
Maximum weight: 20kg
Accessories available: Sleeping pillow, rain cover, fly net, hip belt extender

Buy Now from Panda Carrier



Jumply hiking carrier 3

Jumply Adventure Carrier ($270)

Thoughtfully designed in Australia, the Jumply Adventure Hiking Carrier has everything you’d expect from a  large nappy bag on a compact 2.35kg frame. We particularly loved the wide opening harness to easily get the kids in and out. And the carrier itself was light enough for a mum to use without additional assistance.

Carrier weight: 2.35kg
Age range: 6 months to 3.5 years
Maximum weight: 15kg
Extras available: Rain cover, sun hood, insect net.

Buy Now from Jumply


Mini Meis shoulder carrier for hiking

MiniMeis Shoulder Carrier ($269.99)

Suitable from six months to five years of age, the MiniMeis weighs a tiny 1.5kg, making it the lightest hiking carrier on our list. We love that it distributes a child’s weight evenly, and the compact fold (30x30cm) was impressive.

Carrier weight: 1.6kg
Age range: 6 months to 4 years
Maximum weight: 18kg
Extras available: Sunshade

Buy Now from Playette


Macpack Vamoose hiking carreier

Vamoose Child Carrier ($499.99)

Safe and comfortable for kids up to 20kg, the Macpac Vamoose comes with an extra wide padded hip belt and an adjustable seat so the carrier can grow with your child. We love how they’ve provided lots of room for storage and the removable day pack is a handy inclusion.

Carrier weight: 3.9kg
Age range: from 6 months.
Maximum weight: 20kg
Extras included:  Sunshade, rain cover. Pillow sold separately.

Buy Now from Macpac



Thule sapling carrier

Thule Sapling Child Carrier ($549)

With a machine-washable ergonomic seat, a huge storage compartment and ventilation in all the right places, the Thule Sapling Carrier is perfect for long hikes. We were impressed with the dual-access design which allows you to load bub into the carrier from either the top or side.

Carrier weight: 3.2 kg
Age range: from 6 months
Maximum weight: 18kg
Extras available: Rain cover, sling pack

Buy Now from Thule



Osprey Poco Plus Carrier

Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier ($499)

Just what you need on a sunny day, the Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier has a mesh harness and back panel that allows plenty of airflow so everyone is kept cool, even on hot days. We loved the addition of the easy to use built-in sunshade which is easily stowed away in the pocket when not in use.

Carrier weight: 3.49 kg
Age range: 6 months to 4 years
Maximum weight: 22kg
Extras included: Sunshade

Buy Now

FAQ: Your questions answered

Buying any kind of hiking carrier can be overwhelming if this is your first time, so to help you out, we’ve answered some of the most common questions.

From what age can safely you use a Hiking Carrier?

We know how important it is to keep your child safe while enjoying the great outdoors. When it comes to hiking carriers, the right age for your little one depends on their weight, size, and development. But in general, these carriers are typically designed for kids who are at least 6 months old and can sit up on their own without needing support.

How long can you leave a baby in a Hiking Carrier?

As a parent, it’s important to keep in mind it’s not recommended we keep our babies in a hiking carrier for to long. How long is too long depends on the child’s age, weight, and developmental stage, as well as the type of carrier you’re using and the circumstances of your hike. So with all that in mind, it’s best to limit the amount of time your child spends in the carrier to just a few hours at a time.

Is it safe to buy a secondhand Hiking Carrier?

If you’re looking to save some cash on a hiking carrier, buying secondhand can be a smart move, but it’s important to take certain precautions to make sure that the carrier is safe and in good condition before using it with your child. Check for any signs of wear and tear, like frayed straps or broken buckles, all zippers and closures are working properly and give it a good cleaning to get rid of any dirt or germs.

7 of the Best Hiking Carriers in Australia 2023

Know a carrier that’s suitable for hiking that we could add to our list? Contact us and let us know, we’ve been curating Australia’s best baby products into helpful lists for over 15 years and we’re always happy to support new brands and businesses.

Read next…

Ask other mums

Looking for a carrier to take hiking and still not sure if any of these are right for you? Join the huge Grapeviner community in one of our private Facebook due date pregnancy groups and ask thousands of other mums due at the same time as you which ones they recommend. Join today!

We want you to know

At Mum’s Grapevine, we’re a team of passionate mums with over 15 years of experience researching and writing about all things baby and parenting. Our reviews and recommended products, like the ones in this post, may include paid inclusions, but we promise to only feature products that we truly believe in and have used or seen ourselves. We want to ensure that our readers have access to the latest and greatest products in the parenting world, and we’re committed to maintaining our high standards of quality and honesty. See our Disclosure Policy.

Thank you for trusting us to be your go-to source for all things baby-related.

Share On