Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing.
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Ktrain
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Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by Ktrain » Fri Dec 11, 2020 1:34 pm

Looking for recommendations on baby carriers. Tried out the Osprey and Deuter at REI the other day and the Osprey seemed okay. Any other brands out there that anyone has had luck with? How long did you end up using the pack before the kid wouldn't let you carry them anymore? (I'm sure Scott P is going to chime in and say his 3 mo old was already crawling up their first 14er and he didn't ever use a pack :lol: )

Also, what's the youngest you've taken a kid out backpacking and what kind of setup did you use? I took my friend's two year old backpacking at golden gate one time, but that was just a mile hike in so we just waited as the kid toddled along. Hoping to get my little one out next summer at about 1 yr old and go a little further afield. I saw one of those social media ads that looked like a seat that could possibly go above a pack, but I'm not sure it would work with my backpack as the lid is about as high as my head.
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Re: Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by Conor » Fri Dec 11, 2020 1:52 pm

We had a kelty carrier, which was a hand me down. I would think up to 4 or 5 would be fine. But, my 4.5 year old did some pretty easy hikes this year (mt ellen, little wildhorse/bell) where she walked most of the way.

If I'm being honest, backpacking with a kid in diapers sounds like zero fun to me. Plus they're not really able to communicate what is going on. I don't even like car camping with kids who can't communicste what their issue is. Most couples i see backpacking with kids, one carries the kid and some gear, the other carries a lot of gear.

Also, my oldest got motion sick in the carrier and would throw up on your neck/back. Needless to say. We didn't do a lot of hiking with her.
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WildWanderer
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Re: Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by WildWanderer » Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:01 pm

Congrats on wanting to get your little one outside!

I started taking my kids backpacking after they had their first shots. It's actually easier before they become mobile: They just slept alongside me in my sleeping bag. I'd carry my pack on my back, and ten in a sling on my front. When I was a ranger I carried my youngest on my back until she was 2 years old, when my back gave our from carrying her for so long. From then on she was hiking alongside me, doing 5 miles a day by the time she was 3 and helping me give interpretive hikes (and loving it).

Start them off early with responsibilities (ask them where they'd like to go or which way (left or right at junctions, or make it a penny hike and turn left at heads, right at tails, etc), stop and play in every stream, let them plan the meals, carry water for the group, then eventually their own gear, etc. and they'll enjoy it more. My kids liked identifying birds, insects, and tracks.

A word of advice: make sure you turn around on a hike/trip BEFORE the kid gets tired, as turning around is only halfway.

Good luck!
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Re: Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by Scott P » Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:08 pm

Ktrain wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 1:34 pm
(I'm sure Scott P is going to chime in and say his 3 mo old was already crawling up their first 14er and he didn't ever use a pack :lol: )
No, I wouldn't say that. I carried my son until he was 20 months old and my daughter until almost age two. I would say that I wouldn't carry a kid after age 2; that sounds like torture.

By age 2 the kids could get five miles a day. By age 3 my son could get 12 miles a day, but my daughter didn't get 11 miles a day until age 5. Even if a kid doesn't get that much, there isn't any reason to torture yourself by carrying kids that are old enough to walk on their own. Once they are old enough to hike, if you aren't patient enough to hike at their pace, maybe try shorter hikes.
Also, what's the youngest you've taken a kid out backpacking and what kind of setup did you use?
We waited until the kids were three months old and used a Kelty. I'm not sure what's available now days.

Apparently my parents took me when I was two weeks old, but I don't know if I'd recommend that.
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Re: Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by Jorts » Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:11 pm

WildWanderer wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:01 pm
Congrats on wanting to get your little one outside!

I started taking my kids backpacking after they had their first shots. It's actually easier before they become mobile: They just slept alongside me in my sleeping bag. I'd carry my pack on my back, and ten in a sling on my front. When I was a ranger I carried my youngest on my back until she was 2 years old, when my back gave our from carrying her for so long. From then on she was hiking alongside me, doing 5 miles a day by the time she was 3 and helping me give interpretive hikes (and loving it).

Start them off early with responsibilities (ask them where they'd like to go or which way (left or right at junctions, or make it a penny hike and turn left at heads, right at tails, etc), stop and play in every stream, let them plan the meals, carry water for the group, then eventually their own gear, etc. and they'll enjoy it more. My kids liked identifying birds, insects, and tracks.

A word of advice: make sure you turn around on a hike/trip BEFORE the kid gets tired, as turning around is only halfway.

Good luck!
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Re: Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by madbuck » Fri Dec 11, 2020 3:10 pm

Ktrain wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 1:34 pm
Looking for recommendations on baby carriers. Tried out the Osprey and Deuter at REI the other day and the Osprey seemed okay. Any other brands out there that anyone has had luck with? How long did you end up using the pack before the kid wouldn't let you carry them anymore?
We bought a used Deuter 2 (btw, the Front Range of CO has to be about one of the best places around to find used gear) ~6 years ago, it's been great, for my son 3+ years, and then my daughter (who just turned 3). The metal kickstand has broken over time from bashing into rocks and trees, but otherwise works fine. The kids never complained about anything particular with the pack for up to 5 hour hikes. (They've complained about many other things in general, of course!). I've used it a few times for light XC skiing as well.

I had carried my son past age 4 on parts of some hikes, along with him doing his own hikes other times.
Scott P wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:08 pm
By age 2 the kids could get five miles a day. By age 3 my son could get 12 miles a day, but my daughter didn't get 11 miles a day until age 5. Even if a kid doesn't get that much, there isn't any reason to torture yourself by carrying kids that are old enough to walk on their own. Once they are old enough to hike, if you aren't patient enough to hike at their pace, maybe try shorter hikes.
I like and agree with those age*2 in miles for younger kids so far. And while there isn't a 'need' to carry older kids (definitely not if you find it torture), and I'm all about promoting their own activity, there are plenty of individual situations where you might enjoy carrying them longer. With 2 kids, for example, you can do some family hikes that are more challenging for the older one but lets everyone go together. If you're training for something (like mountain races), you can get a good workout with your kids instead of time away from them. Often enough, even at age 3, they'll still get a nice nap out of it. Strollers/stroller running works well for this too.

Enjoy it, it goes quickly! As excited as I am to do 'bigger' stuff with my kids, there's something special about having a singing, babbling little one on your back on a nice day in the mountains!
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Re: Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by Fletch Lives » Fri Dec 11, 2020 4:22 pm

Osprey Poco Plus. Easy peasy. 3 kids and counting. Plus a dog one time too. Bomber.
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Re: Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by terrysrunning » Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:20 pm

Hiked with my daughter in the Osprey from the time she could hold her head up (6 months in this pic). Loved it. She started walking at 8 months, though, and by a year wanted to get out of it sometimes. The stronger she got, the more she just wanted to hike and only got in if she was tired. By 2-1/2 she was so big and used it so infrequently that I sold it for the same thing I paid for it on Marketplace, and used the money to buy her climbing shoes and a helmet.
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Re: Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by dpage » Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:43 am

I've been using the Deuter Kid Comfort 2 for 4.5 years between my 2 kids on 10+ mile days and up 12,000' summits. I like it for the extra storage room for gear, clothes, food, etc. The sun shade was wonderful for when my kids wouldn't keep their hats on, and the rain cover has been great when caught in bad weather.

As far as how far I've backpacked with them, I haven't yet but this couple from my hometown went on a long walk with their baby.

https://www.wdbj7.com/content/news/Roan ... x%20months.
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Re: Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by CaptCO » Sat Dec 12, 2020 9:27 am

terrysrunning wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:20 pm
Hiked with my daughter in the Osprey from the time she could hold her head up (6 months in this pic). Loved it. She started walking at 8 months, though, and by a year wanted to get out of it sometimes. The stronger she got, the more she just wanted to hike and only got in if she was tired. By 2-1/2 she was so big and used it so infrequently that I sold it for the same thing I paid for it on Marketplace, and used the money to buy her climbing shoes and a helmet. Ava 2018-05 (51).jpg
That is one happy baby! Great pic
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Re: Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by carson_h » Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:10 am

The Osprey Pico Premium has some storage areas that are helpful for longer outings, or if you're hiking without another adult.

The age at which you don't need the pack depends on how far you want to go. Our kids usually started hiking solo for some distance, then jumped into the backpack we they got tired.
The carrier packs are heavy and have a lot of structure that you don't need for kids >2, so we also used a soft carrier for toddlers (that support either front or back carrying) when we wanted to travel farther.

We did our first overnight backpacking trip with my daughter at 14 months old -- she loved it and continues to love it. Our backpacking has evolved over time, but basically a >=4 year hikes exclusively, while a 2-4 year old hikes some or is in a soft carrier on Mom's front (Mom also has a small daypack with snacks, suncreen, etc.). I'm carrying an "ultralight weight" 110L pack with gear for the entire family.

We set a goal of "hike your age", so a four year old should be able to hike four miles, etc. However, the pace could be 0.5 miles per hour, so plan accordingly and bring lot of gummy worms for encouragement.
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Re: Baby Carriers - Hiking/Backpacking

Post by Matt » Fri Dec 18, 2020 11:14 am

I have an Osprey Poco Plus and have been happy with it.
It got less use than I'd have liked before my son grew too tall for it. By the time he was 31" tall, he was done, but he was comfy until then.
It's a few years old, but in great condition.
OP, If you decide you like this model and live in Denver, I will sell it for $125.
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