Best Child Carrier Packs


Osprey Poco AG Plus

Osprey Poco AG Plus

Is there anything better than bringing your children, big and small, into nature and showing them the pleasure of hiking and outdoor experiences? While older children can walk on their own, smaller children will inevitably have to be carried some or all of the way as baby strollers will be too troublesome to deal with on all but the most pruned (and even) paths. To use a child carrier pack for hiking safely and efficiently, it is, however, important that the child isn’t too small; it should at least be able to sit up straight on its own – which usually happens around the age of six months. Smaller children should be carried in a baby carrier or sling on your frontside instead. In the following we have reviewed the best child carrier packs for hiking to make your purchasing decision easier.

1. Buying a Child Carrier Pack – What is important?

Quality and durability

Never is the quality of a hiking backpack more important than when it is used to carry the most precious you have. You don’t want to compromise with quality when a torn strap or seam could endanger the safety of your child, so here we only included top-notch manufacturers with the best reputation and track record. That being said, always remember to respect the limitations that the manufacturer of your child carrier pack has specified – for instance with regards to weight or torso circumference.

Stability and comfort

The most important feature of a child carrier pack is that it allows your child to sit safely and comfortably while the load on your back is at the same as stable and comfortable as possible. Therefore it is important that the reclining space for the child is comfortable and that the backpack has a quite rigid frame which allows the weight of the backpack to be efficiently transferred from the shoulders to the hips (via the hip belt). That way you will be able to perform better on the trails carrying a child as the hips are supported by larger muscle groups than the shoulders.

Adjustability

Adjustability is vital in two aspects. First the obvious: Children grow fast! It is thus important that the reclining space in the child carrier pack can be adjusted, so you can use the pack for more than just one season. Secondly, parents might want to take shifts at carrying the child when the whole family is out and thus the child carrier pack itself should be adjustable to different waists and torso lengths. You can get tips to measure your torso length here.

Weight

The weight of the pack itself should be as light as possible – without compromising the quality of the materials – as your child will unquestionably be the heaviest part of your load. Thus we have mainly chosen child carrier packs with lightweight aluminum frames which can carry a combined load (of pack + gear + child) of around 22 kg/49 lbs. – which appears to be the maximum for all child carrier packs across the market.

Storage space

Never mind the equipment you want to bring; depending on the length of the hiking trip you will probably need various bulky items for your child, such as diapers, extra clothes, toys, snacks etc. However, a hiking backpack should always be packed sufficiently full to ensure stability (read more in our article How to pack a backpack) – which is even more crucial when you are carrying a child who is more than likely to shift his or hers weight around and thus potentially cause imbalance. Thus you also shouldn’t get a backpack which is too big for your actual needs; keep in mind that most child carrier packs listed here come in similar (if not identical) models with more or less storage space.

2. The Best Child Carrier Packs

Best Child Carrier Packs

Best Child Carrier Packs

  1. Osprey Poco AG Plus
  2. Kelty Journey 2.0
  3. Deuter Kid Comfort II
  4. Thule Sapling
  5. Kiddy Adventure

Comparison

Feature/Product Osprey Poco AG PlusKelty Journey 2.0Deuter Kid Comfort IIThule SaplingKiddy Adventure
Volume26 liters21 liters16 litersn/a (<20 liters)n/a (10-15 liters)
Dimensions29 x 15 x 17 inches30 x 19 x 15 inches28 x 17 x 13 inches 28.75 x 12.25 x 13.75 inches35 x 17 x 9 inches (folded)
Weight7.67 lbs.7.05 lbs.7.17 lbs.7.5 lbs.6.2 lbs
Weight (Metric)3.48 kg3.2 kg 3.25 kg3.4 kg2.8 kg
Carrying capacity (child + gear) 48.5 lbs.50 lbs 48.5 lbs.48.5 lbs.50 lbs. (child up to 40 lbs.)
Carrying capacity (child + gear) - metric22 kg22.6 kg22 kg22 kg22.6 kg (child up to 18 lbs.)
Hip belt (adult)26"– 48"30’’ – 46’’24’’ – 54’’27’’- 49’’Max. 56’’
Hip belt (adult) – metric66cm – 122cm76 cm – 117 cm61 cm – 137 cm69cm - 130 cmMax. 142 cm
Fits adult torso length15.5" – 21.5”15’’ – 19’’15’’ – 21’’15’’- 22’’S-XL
Fits adult torso length - metric39.5cm – 54.5cm38 cm - 48 cm38 cm - 53 cm38cm – 56cmS-XL
Material210d nylon (main), 400HD Nylon, 420HD Nylon420D Polyester Ball Shadow (main), 420D Polyester OxfordPolyester/ ripstop nylon210D Cordura nylon (main), 420D nylonn/a
Colors31224
Osprey Poco AG Plus

Osprey Poco AG Plus

1. Osprey Poco AG Plus

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling

Osprey offers three excellent child carrier packs, which mainly differ by size (volume for equipment) and thus price: the Poco AG (20 liters), the Poco AG Plus (26 liters) and the Poco AG Premium (39 liters). The Osprey Poco AG Premium only weighs 640 grams more than the smallest Poco AG and otherwise the three child carrier packs have quite similar features and are available in the same three colors; blue, green and black. The Osprey Poco AG Plus and Premium feature more pockets and a more advanced Fit-On-the-Fly adjustable hip belt than the smallest Poco AG and the Premium furthermore has a removable 11 liters daypack. The packs are collapsible, meaning that the sidearms on each side of the headrest can be unclipped and instead attached to the middle of the sidepanel (see more in video below). The Osprey Poco AG packs are all made of 210-denier ripstop nylon and have a maximum load capacity of 22 kg (48.5 lbs).

 

Pros:

  • Collapsible sidearm and footbar for storage or travel
  • Extra secure fleece lined butterfly harness inside fully framed and padded child cockpit
  • Anti-Gravity inspired suspension system
  • Removable and washable drool pad
  • Built-in sunshade (UPF50 rating)
  • Stirrups for child
  • TÜV GS Certified

Cons:

  • /

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Video

Kelty Journey 2.0

Kelty Journey 2.0

2. Kelty Journey 2.0

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling

Kelty offers no less than six different child carrier packs; however, our favourite is the Kelty Journey 2.0. It is made of super durable 420D Polyester while still being one of the lightest backpacks on this list – not least considering that it offers 21 liters of storage space. The Kelty Journey 2.0 features two zippered storage compartments, a pocket for a water reservoir as well as a camera pocket and water bottle pocket on the hipbelt. Furthermore, the child carrier pack has two unique patented features; a kickstand that deploys automatically when the shoulder straps are loosened and no-pinch hinges that protect little (and big) fingers. If you don’t need as much storage space as the Kelty Journey 2.0 offers, you might be happier with the Kelty Tour 1.0 (with the volume of 13 liters) which is cheaper and lighter while offering pretty much the same features.

 

Pros:

  • 5-point adjustable child’s harness
  • Auto-deploy kickstand
  • Hydration compatible
  • Sun hood included
  • JPMA Certified

Cons:

  • No stirrups for child’s feet

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Video

Deuter Kid Comfort II

Deuter Kid Comfort II

3. Deuter Kid Comfort II Child Carrier

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling

German Deuter offers four child carrier packs: Deuter Kid Comfort Air and Kid Comfort I, II and III. These packs only vary slightly among one another in weight, volume and minor features but more so in price. For this list we choose the Deuter Kid Comfort II child carrier pack as it offers the best compromise between features and price. This pack offers no less than 7 pockets besides the main compartment, Vari Quick adjustment system for easy adjustment when parents take turn carrying, pivoting Vari Flex hip fins for a comfortable snug fit, a padded 5-Point harness system and an ergonomic child seat with a washable comfortable headrest and soft plush side panels. The Deuter Kid Comfort II child carrier pack comes in red and blue.

 

Pros:

  • Padded 5-Point Harness System
  • Vari Quick adjustment system
  • Dual access loading of child; from top and side.
  • Removable and washable headrest
  • Stirrups for the child
  • Hydration system compatible
  • TÜV GS Certified

Cons:

  • Sun roof/rain cover sold separately

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Video

Thule Sapling

Thule Sapling

4. Thule Sapling

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling

Swedish Thule specializes in safe transportation of what you value the most and thus it is not surprising that the brand offers two high-quality child carrier packs; the Thule Sapling and the Thule Sapling Elite. The main difference between the two backpacks is that the Elite child carrier features a 12 liters detachable daypack (and thus slightly more storage space) as well as a child-view mirror. Like the Osprey Poco AG, the Thule Sapling child carrier packs are made of durable 210d nylon with reinforcements of 420d nylon in exposed areas like the bottom.  The Thule Sapling also features a breathable fully adjustable backpanel and hipbelt, two large zippered compartments, hydration reservoir sleeve (fits bladders with the volume of up to 3 liters), mesh pockets and two roomy zippered hipbelt pockets for essentials. It is, however, not disclosed exactly how big the compartments are but based on measurements and pictures we estimate that there is between 15 and 20 liters of storage space in the Thule Sapling child carrier packs.

 

Pros:

  • Hydration Compatible
  • Dual access loading of child; from top and side.
  • Deployable sunshade and kickstand
  • Adjustable and ergonomic plush seat for child
  • Removable stirrups for the child

Cons:

  • Exact volume of backpack not disclosed
  • Price compared to size (volume)

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Video

Kiddy Adventure

Kiddy Adventure

5. Kiddy Adventure Pack

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling

German manufacturer Kiddy specializes in top-security child transportation gear and offers the Kiddy Adventure child carrier backpack for hiking. It is the lightest and cheapest product on this list, but also the one which offers the least amount of storage space for gear. The actual volume has not been disclosed but is estimated to be something between 10 to 15 liters, divided between the two zippered compartments in the back. The Kiddy Adventure pack also features mesh pockets on the sides for water bottles, a hip belt pocket for valuables and a smaller bottle holder up near the child’s headspace. The padded 5 point child harness is height-adjustable and the backpack panel can also be adjusted to accommodate the adult’s torso length (4 settings: S-XL). In the lower back area there is extra padding for better comfort.

 

Pros:

  • Padded 5-point harness system
  • Removable washable droolpad – pack comes with an extra.
  • Certified by the European EN 13209 standard and the American ASTM F2549 standard
  • Adjustable shoulder straps for snug fit
  • Extra padded lower back support
  • Reflective strips
  • Foldable sun and rain cover

Cons:

  • Exact volume of backpack not disclosed
  • No stirrups for child’s feet

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Video

 

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