The Best Hiking Baby and Toddler Carriers

best hiking baby carriers
I really miss my youngest being small enough to pop in the "bag" as I called it (or my toddler carrier), sling on my back and take him out for a walk. I just gave my hiking carrier away and he's officially too big for any of the carriers now. But here are some of the ones I tried and my take on the best.

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My youngest is 3 and half now. And he’s a big lad, so the prospect of carrying him up hills on my shoulders these days is sadly not great! And I recently gave away the last toddler carrier I had for hiking.

baby in hiking carrier

But I so so miss carrying him in the baby carrier and just getting out hiking. He would sing to himself or sleep as I hiked. He loved it in the carrier and it meant that I was able to get out and continue enjoying hiking when he was little as well.

I tried three different carriers from him being 6 months to being 2 and a half. Eventually, I settled on the LittleLife Freedom S4 carrier for a few reasons.

I’d have saved a few quid trying to not liking some though had someone given me some first hand experiences of theirs. So, after plenty of trial and error and hundreds of miles hiked with a baby/toddler on my back, here’s my take on the best hiking baby and toddler carriers and the things to look for.

Best Hiking Carriers for Babies and Toddlers in Summary

These are the ones I tried and liked them all.

LittleLife Freedom S4 (No Rain Cover)
Besrey Baby Backpack Carrier
Dromader Baby Carrier
LittleLife Freedom S4 Child Carrier | Baby Carrier
besrey Baby Backpack Carrier, Toddler Hiking Backpack with Safety 3-Height Seat, Adjustable Straps&Waist Belt, Foldable Frame Lightweight Large Capacity Child Carrier for Hiking Army Green
DROMADER Baby Carrier Backpack - Comfortable for Parents - Practical Pockets - Side Mirror - Toddler Back Carrier with Rain Cover & Sun Canopy Shield - Black and Yellow
What’s to Love?
Comfortable to carry, lots of storage. Sun shade with it. Rain cover available separately. Remained comfortable even once my (big) toddler hit 3.
Great price. Lower maximum weight than the LittleLife by a couple of kilos. But I used one of these twice with my tot and I just personally found the Freedom S4 more comfortable and settled on that long term. This is incredible value though.
High maximum weight on this one (up to 21kg). Personally I didn’t find the storage as roomy nor did I find it as comfortable as the LittleLife Freedom S4.
£190.61
£109.99
£154.99
LittleLife Freedom S4 (No Rain Cover)
LittleLife Freedom S4 Child Carrier | Baby Carrier
What’s to Love?
Comfortable to carry, lots of storage. Sun shade with it. Rain cover available separately. Remained comfortable even once my (big) toddler hit 3.
£190.61
Besrey Baby Backpack Carrier
besrey Baby Backpack Carrier, Toddler Hiking Backpack with Safety 3-Height Seat, Adjustable Straps&Waist Belt, Foldable Frame Lightweight Large Capacity Child Carrier for Hiking Army Green
What’s to Love?
Great price. Lower maximum weight than the LittleLife by a couple of kilos. But I used one of these twice with my tot and I just personally found the Freedom S4 more comfortable and settled on that long term. This is incredible value though.
£109.99
Dromader Baby Carrier
DROMADER Baby Carrier Backpack - Comfortable for Parents - Practical Pockets - Side Mirror - Toddler Back Carrier with Rain Cover & Sun Canopy Shield - Black and Yellow
What’s to Love?
High maximum weight on this one (up to 21kg). Personally I didn’t find the storage as roomy nor did I find it as comfortable as the LittleLife Freedom S4.
£154.99

I settled on the LittleLife Freedom S4 for a few reasons that I’ll go into.

What to Look for in a Hiking Carrier

Things to consider when you’re buying a hiking carrier:

  • Minimum and maximum weights. Some last longer than others! Some can carry your child right into pre-school age. With others, it’s a push beyond about 18 months
  • Storage. When you’re carrying a baby or toddler hiking carrier, you’ll struggle to carry much else. So your usual stuff you take hiking either needs carrying by someone else or you need to be able to get it into the carrier
  • Ease of getting the little one in and out, particularly if you’re hiking solo a lot
  • Availability of accessories like a rain cover and wind break
  • Comfort for you as the carrier – adding extra weight while hiking is tough going anyway so you’ll need comfort from the carrier itself

With that in mind, here’s why I settled on the Little Life Freedom S4.

Little Life Freedom S4 Carrier – Why I Think It’s the Best

Not going to lie. I liked the colour a lot and perhaps that’s what drew me to it first.

LittleLife freedom S4 - best baby hiking carrier

But the reason I stuck with is the functionality. The mesh on the back that gives breathing space between your back and the bag makes all the difference when you’re carrying a heavy load. The fact there are lots of different strap adjustment options means you really can fit it to your body incredibly well and it was this comfort element that was the most important thing for me.

I spent a lot of time with my tot hiking solo.

He absolutely loved it and I did too. We hiked in all weathers all year round and get got to see some spectacular views!

Sometimes I was just short reservoir routes with well trodden footpaths. Sometimes it was boggy hills. We went all sorts of places together but ultimately, I was alone with him.

And this meant that I needed to be able to get him in and out of it easily alone, to pick it up without help and to store everything I would need for a few hours including spare clothes, food, drink and changing stuff for the little one.

It’s quite a lot to carry when you think about it. So storage in the hiking carrier was up there as one of the most important things I had to consider.

The LittleLife Freedom S4 has a lot of storage for a hiking carrier. And I really like the storage on the belt too:

I have an Osprey hiking bag that has these pockets on the waistband too and it’s game changing. But when you have a baby on your back you don’t want to be stopping every time you need something important out. So I kept things like spare dummies or little snacks in there for him.

littlelife freedom s4 carrier

Above is one of the main storage pockets and there were storage pockets on the side too.

In other words, I could get everything I needed in here.

I bought the version with the raincover but you can get it with and without:

It is possible to buy compatible rain covers for slightly less than the LittleLife official one. But I found the Littlelife one great quality and easy to get on and off, personally.

Entertaining Baby in a Hiking Carrier

The one thing I wish the Freedom S4 had was some attachments for toys. I ended up tying a dummy on with string so it wouldn’t get lost and I tied a couple of fidget toys on too.

But mostly, my little one was happy just watching the world go by. And the toddler hiking carrier was also always his favourite place for a nap:

He was always so comfortable in there.

Buy Online or In Store?

I tried these three. One I borrowed from a friend, one I bought but ended up returning and then I bought this one online.

If you’re able to get into a store and get one fitted, then great! Personally, I didn’t have the time to do that.

So if you’re buying a hiking carrier online like I did, I would recommend:

  • Walking around the house with it first so you don’t damage it in case it needs returning. Put baby in it, put a load of stuff in it and ultimately load it up to its maximum weight capacity and wear it around the house for an hour or so to see how you feel after
  • Practice getting little one in and out with no help
  • See whether you can fit absolutely everything in that you would need on a walk

For me it was the LittleLife S4 hands down as the best hiking carrier I used for my baby/toddler.

But I don’t doubt that body shapes or where you plan to walk will influence this too. So take a look around, take advantage of deals and so forth.

And ultimately just enjoy the fresh air with your little one!

Now… I wonder if they do hiking carriers for 4 year old the size of small giants…

LittleLife Freedom S4 (No Rain Cover)
Besrey Baby Backpack Carrier
Dromader Baby Carrier
LittleLife Freedom S4 Child Carrier | Baby Carrier
besrey Baby Backpack Carrier, Toddler Hiking Backpack with Safety 3-Height Seat, Adjustable Straps&Waist Belt, Foldable Frame Lightweight Large Capacity Child Carrier for Hiking Army Green
DROMADER Baby Carrier Backpack - Comfortable for Parents - Practical Pockets - Side Mirror - Toddler Back Carrier with Rain Cover & Sun Canopy Shield - Black and Yellow
What’s to Love?
Comfortable to carry, lots of storage. Sun shade with it. Rain cover available separately. Remained comfortable even once my (big) toddler hit 3.
Great price. Lower maximum weight than the LittleLife by a couple of kilos. But I used one of these twice with my tot and I just personally found the Freedom S4 more comfortable and settled on that long term. This is incredible value though.
High maximum weight on this one (up to 21kg). Personally I didn’t find the storage as roomy nor did I find it as comfortable as the LittleLife Freedom S4.
£190.61
£109.99
£154.99
LittleLife Freedom S4 (No Rain Cover)
LittleLife Freedom S4 Child Carrier | Baby Carrier
What’s to Love?
Comfortable to carry, lots of storage. Sun shade with it. Rain cover available separately. Remained comfortable even once my (big) toddler hit 3.
£190.61
Besrey Baby Backpack Carrier
besrey Baby Backpack Carrier, Toddler Hiking Backpack with Safety 3-Height Seat, Adjustable Straps&Waist Belt, Foldable Frame Lightweight Large Capacity Child Carrier for Hiking Army Green
What’s to Love?
Great price. Lower maximum weight than the LittleLife by a couple of kilos. But I used one of these twice with my tot and I just personally found the Freedom S4 more comfortable and settled on that long term. This is incredible value though.
£109.99
Dromader Baby Carrier
DROMADER Baby Carrier Backpack - Comfortable for Parents - Practical Pockets - Side Mirror - Toddler Back Carrier with Rain Cover & Sun Canopy Shield - Black and Yellow
What’s to Love?
High maximum weight on this one (up to 21kg). Personally I didn’t find the storage as roomy nor did I find it as comfortable as the LittleLife Freedom S4.
£154.99

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