Hiking provides a multitude of benefits, making it an important part of people’s lives. Hiking is an adventure that nourishes not just the physical body, but the emotional and mental states as well. Certain life milestones, however, have kept avid hikers away from their hiking boots and trails. Having children, for example, hinders them from partaking in mountain adventures, opting instead to change diapers, cook mushy food, and make countless milk bottles daily.
The presence of children shouldn’t hinder your love for the outdoors, however. Hitting the trails once more can be made entirely possible with the addition of another companion, albeit one that’s small and in need of more than just a hand. You can essentially carry your child with you as you walk up trails, all with the use of a hiking baby carrier. These packs are made especially for outdoor parents, ensuring that children stay comfortable strapped on their back.
Unfortunately, the mere thought of hiking up a trail with a child on your back may sound ridiculous, especially when considering the exhaustion after the journey. With proper preparation and sound investments, however, a hiking baby carrier can be ergonomic and easy to use. There will be no back pain, but that’s likely the least of your worries.
A baby carrier can be the perfect solution for an introduction to the great outdoors, however, as well as a safe reintegration back into what you love doing. You’ll be hands-free along the way, all the while ensuring that the baby stays as close to you as possible.
PART 1: Investing In The Baby Gear
What should you look for in a hiking baby carrier?
Half of your hiking trip success will depend on your chosen baby carrier. Unfortunately, choosing the right one can be easier said than done. In most cases, you can end up feeling overwhelmed, especially since your child’s safety and comfort are at stake.
You need to know exactly what they need, which should also include your preferences. To help you come up with a well-informed decision, make sure to ponder on the following factors:
Factor #1: Security
Harness and cockpit features
Your first priority would be to ensure your child’s safety, especially since you’ll likely be traversing in rocky and slippery areas. You’ll want your carrier to be secure as possible, as well as supportive enough to keep them comfortable. For these reasons, you’ll want the best harness and cockpit features:
- Harness: With a good harness in place, your child will be kept safe every step of the way. Make sure to look for a system that gently hugs their legs, arms, and shoulders, but can be adjusted as you see fit.
- Cockpit: The cockpit is essentially where your baby will be sitting, and where his entire weight will be distributed. You’ll want to invest in a carrier with a well-designed cockpit, which should also nestle the back, head, and neck carefully. Cushions must also be present, especially since your child will likely be napping on the journey.
Factor #2: Age and range of movement
Baby carriers come in various sizes, all of which are arranged according to the age range. A newborn carrier will be designed with better neck and head support, especially considering how fragile their state is.
Backpacks are reserved for babies and toddlers with extra support, such as when they finally learn how to hold up their heads and necks. Make sure to consider your baby’s age and range of movement before purchasing.
Factor #3: Adjustability
Strap sizes for adults
You likely won’t be the only one carrying your baby throughout the hike. What fits your body now won’t fit the others, so it’s best to invest in a carrier that can accommodate various adult sizes and shapes. Purchasing two packs can be costly—make sure to invest in a flexible one right off the bat.
Factor #4: Weight
Baby weight capacities
Apart from your baby’s age, you’ll also want to consider their weight before purchasing. Hiking baby carriers come with recommended weight capacity, and this will help ensure that your little one is entirely supported no matter how long the trail will be.
With ample support, they’ll stay still and comfortable, and least likely to make a fuss. More importantly, you’ll want a carrier that can last for years—it’s best to invest in one that can accommodate your child’s weight as he grows.
Factor #5: Added features
Better value for money
Depending on your chosen brand carrier, you’ll likely have access to a wide range of practical features. Most carriers come with handy uses such as sunshades and rain covers, including fun extras such as toy loops. Others offer padded changing pads for changing diapers, but you’ll want to invest in a carrier offering extra storage. Here’s a quick breakdown of each:
- Storage: When it comes to planning a hike with your baby, the inevitable part is that you will need to carry numerous items. You’ll need diapers, bottles, and extra food, including small toys to keep them occupied. Sterilized water is also necessary, so it’s integral to have a carrier already offering storage areas for all the baby necessities.
- Accessories: Comfort is key, but you’ll also want a few perks to enjoy. Additional pockets for your mobile phone and keys are crucial, as with shades for sunshine and rain. A drool pad can also help make the adventure a more pleasant experience, especially since you won’t have to stop and wipe drool off your neck along the way.
Factor #6: Testing results
Does the carrier pass your needs?
Before finalizing your purchase, bear in mind that you first need to scrutinize every single detail about it. Testing is necessary, but if you’re making an online purchase, several scenarios must be taken into account. Consider the features you already know about, and answer the following questions below:
- If your child is ready for a nap, will you be able to reach the carrier’s pockets easily?
- Will you be able to help your child out of the carrier with little to no fuss? Will the transition between carrying and walking be easier, considering the features made available to you?
- Is there enough room for snacks, bottles, and other on-demand items?
PART 2: The Actual Hike
What should you do before the big hiking adventure?
Step 1: Plan things carefully and come up with comprehensive checklists
While hiking adventures were easier to do without a baby, planning one with your child can still be just as enjoyable. Planning will be the key to your success, especially if your baby runs on specific feeding and sleeping schedules.
You’ll want to plan your day accordingly around their needs, particularly when it comes to the actual travel time. However, make sure to leave window time for unexpected situations, such as diaper changes, feeding, and even merely stopping to rest during a fussy moment.
More importantly, however, it’s best to create a checklist of everything you need to bring. The most ideal way to prepare would be days prior to your trip, especially since you risk forgetting essential items as you gear up for the hike. To make sure you have everything your baby can need, consider the following items below:
- Baby snacks, particularly packaged ones
- Sunscreen and bug repellent spray
- Rain covers and a wide-brimmed baby hat
- Feeding formula, including sterilized water and bottles
- Extra clothing, including jackets
- Diapers, wipes, and tissue
- Diaper-changing mat
- Breastfeeding cover
- Wet and dry bags for changing
- Boots and sandals
Golden tip: You’ll also want to invest in a baby medical kit, which should include baby Benadryl as a precaution. You may end up running into hornets and other insects, so it’s always best to pack for allergy essentials. In doing so, you keep your baby safe and sound—from every possible harm!
Step 2: Choose your hiking time carefully
If you want your baby to take a nap during the strenuous trail, you’ll want to plan the hiking time carefully. Doing so in the early morning ensures that your baby sleeps throughout the journey, keeping them snuggled behind you as you carefully traverse rocky paths.
Stopping to feed the baby will be necessary after a few hours, as with a diaper change. Taking cute photographs along the way is also ideal, but you’ll want to continue as soon as possible. If your baby cannot nap much in a hiking baby carrier, opt to go for short hikes in between their naps.
Step 3: Opt for a baby-friendly location
If it’s your first hike out with your little one, it’s best to choose a location close to home. In doing so, you make sure that you’re travelling in a familiar area. You’ll also want to consider elevation and distance, particularly because you’ll be carrying extra weight. Expect to hike a little slower than you’re used to, and frequent breaks for feeding and diaper changes.
Knowing the trail will also provide you with the opportunity to look for places to stop and rest, especially when you need to lay them down for changing. Shaded areas can also be useful, helping provide relief against the afternoon sun.
Step 4: Dress your baby for hiking
Hiking will likely lead you to unexpected places and situations, so make sure to dress your baby accordingly. A chilly day should leave you bundling your little one in layers, especially if you don’t expect them to move for hours. Adding an extra layer of blanket is also ideal, as well as a small hat or beanie for their heads.
Should a shower occur, make sure to have a canopy and rain cover on hand, especially since it can also help protect them against the wind. For warm days, make sure to dress your baby in comfortable clothes. Too many layers can cause them to sweat, leaving them uncomfortable and fussy throughout the hike.
Step 5: Invite the right crew
You’ll have your partner by your side during the hike, but the right crew will help make the hike fun and exciting. You’ll be able to take turns carrying the baby, leaving you with ample opportunity to rest in between. When it comes to hiking with a baby, however, patience is key.
Once your baby starts crying, it’s time to stop and rest. Other parents in your crew can also assist, especially when one runs out of diapers and wipes. Companions with no babies can also help immensely, so long as you remain on the same page throughout the hiking adventure.
Step 6: Don’t rush!
Finally, never rush! Trust the process, especially since you’re carrying a child. Take your time walking, as it will take longer than usual with a baby in tow. You’ll want to start the adventure as early as possible, ensuring that you won’t have to chase the daylight.
Ending your hiking journey at night can be dangerous, but back lamps and flashlights just in case. However, make sure to be as flexible as possible. Time constraints will be inevitable, but failing to finish your trail doesn’t mean a less than ideal experience!
Planning A Fun And Safe Hiking Adventure With Your Baby
From everything said and done, the best thing about the outdoors is that it can be entirely baby-friendly. You don’t have to toss your hiking boots away, not when you can put your child in equally cute baby boots. Hiking with your little one is possible and done right, will be enjoyable and likely to repeat for the years to come.
You’ll need to plan carefully and with patience, however, as well as invest in the right baby gear. Your passion for the outdoors will widen your baby’s interests, and the sights, smells, and sounds of the world out there can help them become closer to nature at such a young age. Next thing you know, hitting various trails will be your bonding time in the future.
It’s never too early to start—just make sure you have the right baby carrier by your side! For the best baby carrier for hiking, Onward has you covered. We offer you unmatched products, with unique counterbalance features, storage accommodations, and excellent comfort to keep your adventures safe and fun. Order yours today!