The 4 Best Baby Backpack Carriers For Mountain Hikes And Road Trips

Get behind me, Junior.

by Jonathan Stern
outside activities

If you want to build up the idea that your kid can climb any metaphorical mountain, start by climbing a literal one. These fully-equipped baby backpack carriers are just like the ones you took to Europe during your “semester abroad,” except these built to support toddlers and babies up to 40-ish pounds and hide away essential like blankies and binkies, not souvenirs from Amsterdam.

RELATED: The Best Hiking Carriers For When You Want To Haul Your Kids Hands-Free

Probably the best feature of all is that they’re built to evenly distribute weight and keep your center of gravity stable. That means you will save a few vertebrae while you do the outdoorsy thing. Here are the best hiking packs you can buy.

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0


  • Weight max: 40 lbs
  • Space: 1300 cubic inches
  • Sunshade: Yes
  • Extra features: Kickstand for the ground, mesh pockets

Pros: The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 is the godfather of baby backpack carriers, so show some respect. According to Outside‘s Erica Lineberry, the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 is great for “backpackers, climbers and day hikers that want plenty of storage space.” The hiking pack also includes 1300 cubic inches of space across 4 zippered pockets, and one zip-off backpack. One Amazon customer touted the ease of adjustment, saying, “The placement of the buckles is a godsend. Not only is there a 5-point restraint, but the ability on the leg straps to [slide] down onto the thighs adds that much more security.”

Cons: Lineberry said your big kids might have a rough time, saying “Large children (or children with bulky layers) can be difficult to load into the pack.” And another reviewer says the backpack carrier is pretty big — maybe too big for a petite spouse. “The bag doesn’t quite fit my wife (5’4″), the frame is a bit long and so hangs below her tailbone area, this makes her feel like she’s having to constantly lean forward.”

Buy Now $300

Deuter Kid Comfort 3


  • Weight max: 40 lbs
  • Space: 1100 cubic inches
  • Sunshade: Yes
  • Extra features: Umbrella, rear-view mirror, detachable pillow, hydration bladder

Pros: Kate Arnold of Outside says the Deuter Comfort 3 is the “Suburban of child carriers, where size is no issue and bells and whistles come standard.” That means roomy compartments, padded headrests, a removable pillow in case your baby flops forward like a barfly at last call. The baby backpack carrier even comes with a rear-view mirror and built-in umbrella, that one reviewer says, “has saved our adventure a few times and made it fun while daddy got soaked!”

Cons: The Deuter Comfort 3 not for the compact man or woman, weighing 7-pounds 10 ounces. The pack also sits 35-inches high, so you have to be mindful not to clothesline your kid. Arnold says “like driving a U-Haul into a parking garage, two words come to mind: low clearance.”

Buy Now $240

Osprey Poco AG Premium


  • Weight max: 48.5 lbs
  • Space: 2380 cubic inches
  • Sunshade: Yes
  • Extra features: Drool pad, grab handles, built-in sunshade, extra large mesh pocket, quick torso adjust

Pros: Little Trekkers likes the Osprey Poco AG Premium because “It features a strong and lightweight framing system, and comes complete with a built-in sunshade, detachable daypack and a padded lightweight changing pad.” And an REI mom digs the versatility, saying, “I can carry my 18-pound 16-month-old with ease, and I can also quickly adjust to my 38-pound 4-year-old if I need to!” And she goes on to rave about the baby backpack carrier’s even weight distribution “taking the stress off my shoulders. I love how it hugs me!” Better save this pack for when the kids go to college.

Cons: A curvy Amazon reviewer says the hiking backpack is really one-size-fits-most. “Try as we might, we could not get this comfortable on me. We finally realized it’s because the hip pads go straight down; they do not bend or flex to accommodate the female shape.” Hey Osprey, this is what a real hiker looks like.

Buy Now $330

Vaude Shuttle Premium


  • Weight max: 40 lbs
  • Space: 1650 cubic inches
  • Sunshade: Yes
  • Extra features: Froggy face pad, built-in sun/rain shade, Tergolight suspension system

Pros: Vaude Shuttle Premium gives you what you need in a hiking pack: Sunshade, rain cover, neck support — soft froggy face pad. This one also happens to be an updated version of the one expedition photographer and pro climber Jimmy Chin uses. And as Little Trekkers points out, “The shuttle Premium is a free-standing child carrier, so [it] is stable when on the ground. which makes it perfect for pit stops and refuelling hungry tots.”

Cons: The baby backpack carriers is not as spacious as some of the other packs on the list. LT says, “At 27 litres [about 1650 cubic inches] there is slightly less storage than other brands top of the range child carriers have.”

Buy Now $330