Best Child Carrier Packs of 2019


Osprey Poco

Osprey Poco

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.

We regularly update our reviews and selections to always recommend you the best products on the market.

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.

Expert Selections
We only list top-tier products. Read how our selections of best hiking products differ from others here.
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2. The Best Child Carrier Packs

Best Child Carrier Packs

Best Child Carrier Packs

The Best Child Carrier Packs – List

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

Comparison

Feature/Product Osprey Poco AG PlusKelty Journey PerfectFit SignatureDeuter Kid ComfortThule SaplingKiddy Adventure
Volume26 liters26 liters14 litersn/a (<20 liters)n/a (10-15 liters)
Dimensions29 x 15 x 17 inches28 x 15.5 x 22 inches28 x 17 x 13 inches 28.75 x 12.25 x 13.75 inches35 x 17 x 9 inches (folded)
Weight7.67 lbs.6.6 lbs.7.17 lbs.7.5 lbs.6.2 lbs
Weight (Metric)3.48 kg2.9 kg 3.25 kg3.4 kg2.8 kg
Carrying capacity (child + gear) 48.5 lbs.48.5 lbs (child up to 40 lbs.)53 lbs. (child up to 48.5 lbs.)48.5 lbs.50 lbs. (child up to 40 lbs.)
Carrying capacity (child + gear) - metric22 kg22 kg (child up to 18 kg)24 kg (child up to 22 kg)22 kg22.6 kg (child up to 18 kg)
Hip belt (adult)26"– 48"34’’ - 51.5 ’’24’’ – 54’’27’’- 49’’Max. 56’’
Hip belt (adult) – metric66cm – 122cm86 cm – 131 cm61 cm – 137 cm69cm - 130 cmMax. 142 cm
Fits adult torso length15.5" – 21.5”15.5’’ – 21’’15’’ – 20’’15’’- 22’’S-XL
Fits adult torso length - metric39.5cm – 54.5cm39.5 cm - 53cm38 cm - 51 cm38cm – 56cmS-XL
Material210d nylon (main), 400HD Nylon, 420HD Nylon420D Polyester Ball Shadow (main), 420D Polyester Oxford210D Polyamide210D Cordura nylon (main), 420D nylonn/a
Colors33224
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 PerfectFit Signature

Kelty Journey PerfectFit Signature

2. Kelty Journey PerfectFit Signature

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling

Kelty offers three different child carrier packs, but our favorite is the Kelty Journey PerfectFit Signature. This child carrier is made of super durable 420D Polyester while still being one of the lightest backpacks on this list – not least considering that it offers 26 liters of storage space. The Kelty Journey Signature features the PerfectFit torso adjustment system in order to fit the backpack quickly and easily to whichever parent carrying the child. Both the back panel, shoulder straps and hip belt are cushioned and covered with breathable mesh fabric for optimal comfort on the go. On the other hand, your child will be seated safely and comfortably in the wide seat with a five-point harness and adjustable stirrups to avoid tired dangling little feet. The difference between the Kelty Journey PerfectFit Signature and its slightly pricier sister product Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite is that the latter has slightly more pockets and is hydration-system compatible. Otherwise the two child carriers are quite similar.

 

Pros:

  • 5-point adjustable child’s harness
  • Integrated sunhood
  • Plenty of pockets

Cons:

  • Not compatible with hydration system (choose Elite model if it’s vital for you)

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Video

Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier

Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier

3. Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling

German Deuter offers four child carrier packs: Deuter Kid Comfort (14l), Deuter Kid Comfort Active (12 l –also comes in a SL version specifically for women) and Deuter Kid Comfort Pro (22 l). For this list we chose the Deuter Kid Comfort (14l) as it has many of the same features of the Pro model but is slightly cheaper. Deuter’s back packs are often a little heavier than similar high-quality backpacks because they generally feature spring steel frames rather than aluminium. Steel is heavier than aluminium, but also stronger so it is perfect for carrying heavy loads. Due to the frame and well-padded flexible pivoting VariFlex ECL hip fins and shoulder straps, the Deuter Kid Comfort therefore enable the weight of your child and gear to be transferred efficiently from the shoulders to the hips where the muscles are bigger and better suited to carry heavy loads. Parents of varying heights can easily take turns carrying, since the Vari Slide adjustment system quickly can fit differing torso lengths. The ergonomic child seat and stirrups can also be adjusted to fit the child as it grows in height and width. Besides the bottom compartment, the Deuter Kid Comfort offers two zippered hip belt pockets, two elastic mesh side pockets and an elastic stash pocket in the front. The Deuter child carrier is made of high-performance materials with a PFC-free coating to resist water and dirt..

 

Pros:

  • Aircomfort Sensic Vario backsystem for up to 25% less perspiration
  • Vari Slide adjustment system to fit both moms and dads
  • Removable and washable chin pad
  • Stirrups for the child
  • Hydration system compatible (2l)
  • Sun roof included and easy to install
  • TÜV GS Certified

Cons:

  • 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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Post Author

Post Author

Laura P.

I loved to climb trees when I was a child – as an adult I use these skills for climbing and scrambling up mountain sides! I always wear a Merino baselayer, sunscreen and my hair tousled.

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