You can have your baby and hike with her, too! That’s the good news for adventure-loving parents-to-be everywhere. Bringing a little one into the world doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to all of your hobbies (although the hang-gliding might have to be hung up for a while). Taking your baby into the great outdoors with you is doable, and indeed enjoyable, with the right planning and the right gear. All you need is the best baby carrier for hiking.
We have some tips for parents hiking with little ones below as well as a review of our absolute favorite hiking baby carrier: the Osprey Poco AG Plus.
The Osprey is jam-packed with fantastic features we can’t wait to tell you about, but first things first: the unbeatable All-Mighty Osprey guarantee.
One reason this company makes our hearts sing is because they fully stand behind their products and then some. Osprey will not only repair any damage or defect in their products, regardless of the cause, but they will also replace it if they can’t. And there’s no time limit on this guarantee. When purchasing an Osprey Packs Poco Plus, you can rest assured that you are making a wise investment in a product made by people who stand behind it. As baby gear goes, baby carrier for hiking may not set you back as much as, say, a jogging stroller, but they are not an insignificant purchase either. This guarantee is worth the money.
Now, on to all the other reasons why this is the best baby carrier for hiking around!
Lightweight yet durable construction. The Osprey Poco AG Plus weighs in at under 8 pounds, making it easy for any parent to use. Its frame is constructed of lightweight aluminum which is also durable enough to withstand the load.
Comfortable Fit for Little Ones and their Parents, Too! When hiking with a baby or toddler, you certainly want to ensure they are comfortable in a carrier but not at the sacrifice of your own comfort. After all, you are doing all the work! The Osprey can easily be adjusted for different heights. So, if mom is a petite 5’2″ and dad towers at 6’4″, both can use the carrier comfortably! The torso adjustment has an impressive six inches of range, creating an opportunity for a personalized fit to achieve the optimum comfort level. The Osprey’s angled headrest will ensure your little one can snooze comfortably (remember: babies can nap ANYWHERE!) and the soft padding makes a cozy space for your little one.
Just as the pack and shoulder straps are adjustable to fit both mom and dad, the components that impact your little one are adjustable as well. The seat pad is height adjustable and the stirrups can be adapted for height. Best of all, color-coded adjustment points help you quickly figure out how to custom-size your carrier. It may look like a lot of bells and whistles when you first see it but rest assured you will get the hang of hiking with this pack in no time at all!
Ample Storage Space for all the Hiking “What Ifs.” Gone are the hikes of your youth, when you might have set out with a good pair of boots, a simple backpack, a hat to protect your face from the sun, an energy bar, and a bottle of water. Hiking with a little one means bringing along numerous necessities for diaper changes and more and the Osprey has you covered with plentiful storage space that outshines the competition.
A main zippered pocket is attached to the Osprey’s kickstand, where you can carry most of the larger items you will need (for example, extra clothing, diapers, bottles, a water bottle, and more). Smaller pockets on the top and at the waistband can be used for a pacifier, smartphone, and your wallet or ID. The top pocket also stores the canopy, which is another great feature on the Osprey, when you need to protect your little one’s delicate skin from the sun’s rays.
One of the smaller pockets also contains a handy key clip and a mirror and of course you can stash a snack in one of the smaller pockets for easy reach when you need a boost. Lastly, a rain cover is a fantastic accessory for the Osprey; it fits around the canopy to keep your baby dry if you get caught in unexpected showers.
Now that you have the perfect carrier you are ready to set out on an adventure with your baby or toddler! We have a few important tips to keep in mind before you hike.
Thanks to the Osprey you have extra storage, but don’t overdo it! Most hikes with babies or toddlers would be a few hours at most so you do NOT need to place the proverbial kitchen sink in your carrier. Review your packed items carefully and think about whether you can remove some of them to lighten your load.
Hiking trips with a baby or a toddler are no time for winging it. Perhaps you did it this way in your early 20s, hiking with friends, feeling carefree and even energized when a 2-hour hike turned into an 8-hour hike. But with a little one in tow, you need to know exactly where you’re going, the kind of terrain to expect, and the safety of the route. If possible, try it out on your own before going with the baby.
You may be so consumed by the thought of packing bottles and keeping your little one fed that you forget about your own hydration! This is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a safe, healthy, and happy hike. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after!
Timing is Everything No one knows your little one better than you, and that may mean passing up a group hike during your baby’s “witching hour.” Don’t be tempted to push her beyond her limits or interfere too much with nap time. Before you know it, you will be back to enjoying longer hikes with a 12-year-old hiking alongside you. It will happen in the blink of an eye!
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