Moms Guide to Wearing Baby On a Hike

I am a firm believer in “Baby in a Backpack”.  Babies and toddlers are generally very content when they are outside and in motion.

Plus it gives mom the opportunity to release a little stress and get some beneficial, and oftentimes much needed, exercise.  Great combination, wouldn’t you agree?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was thrilled to find a used child carrier backpack at a second hand store.  To this day, I don’t know what brand it was.  But it was, by far, the best spent $30 baby gear purchase I ever made.

If you’d like more information on child carriers, check out my post Hiking With Babies and Toddlers – Child Carrier Tips.  But here I’d like to talk about the business of mom hiking alone with a child carrier.

Mom Hiking Alone With a Child Carrier – My Best Tips

Mom wearing baby in child carrier

When my daughter was a baby (my first and only child at the time) – I was a stay at home mom, and frequently took her on hikes alone.  There were some challenges to this, for which I’d be happy to share the solutions I found with you:

Mom Hiking Alone, Tip #1:  Getting the pack on and off

A nearby picnic table at the trail head, or sitting on your tailgate (of a pickup or open hatchback) works just fine to set the baby-loaded pack on while you strap yourself into it.  If you aren’t familiar – any child carriers I have seen all have some type of kick stand feature, where they can stand alone on a flat surface, even with your child inside.  This helps a great deal with the loading and unloading.

Mom Hiking Alone, Tip #2: HYDRATING!

(This one took me awhile to figure out…) I’d get so thirsty, but you can’t reach around to the mini-pack behind your child.  I found a very cool, light waist pack that held two water bottles, from REI.  At hip height, they were easy to grab and then put back.  I’d wear this in addition to the child carrier, and it worked perfectly!  I could even hold it over my shoulder and give her a drink.  I recently discovered the site Ribz, which looks like an interesting option, as well.

Mom Hiking Alone, Tip #3:  Staying Safe

An unfortunate reality is that it’s not entirely safe for a woman to hike alone in many places.  I stuck to popular trails which were either out in the open or where I knew I’d be seeing multiple hiking parties.

Child Carrier ~ Keep the Sun & Bugs Away!

Child Carrier Sun protection on Hike

When you load your baby or toddler into a child carrier, make sure you’ve got them all set up and prepared for a comfortable journey.

A good tip I found was to have my baby wear soft pants that covered their legs.  This protected them from both chaffing and the sun.  I’d also put them in either long sleeves, or apply a good sunscreen and maybe even gentle bug repellant on their arms.

They do make carriers with arched sunshades over their head, but this will not typically keep the sun off of their arms.  A good sunhat will work wonders, if you don’t have a sun shade.

I’ve had skin cancer on my face before, and it’ s no fun.  Be sure to protect yourself from the sun, too, mom!

What Ages Can My Baby or Toddler Ride in a Child Carrier?

You’d want to check the manufacturers instructions, and this will vary with the style of child carrier.  They usually say you can start around the 6 months old, or when their neck is strong enough to easily hold their head up.  (I believe there are “soft carriers” that will work for younger ages, but I don’t have any experience using those.)

The great thing is, your child can ride in most carriers up until they are 50 pounds.  Do you want to have them riding in a carrier on your back when they are 50 pounds – probably not!  But we found as our kids got to be 2 1/2-3 years old, we would still bring the child carrier along on longer hikes, in case they needed to take a break.

Hiking with toddler in child carrier

Adventure Is Out There

I believe by hiking with them early, you are starting your child off right – with a love of the great outdoors and being active.  Plus, it’s such an affordable and healthy way for families to spend time together.

So get out there and start having some fun with that new little one!  Before you know it, they’ll be the one bugging you to go for a hike … and racing ahead of you, blazing that trail.

*o*     *o*     *o*

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About COMtnMom

Hi, I'm Tami! Writer, Influencer, and mom of two who loves travel, the outdoors, staying active, photography, reading books, and eating desserts. We are pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney World.


  1. Great post! We have been hiking with our daughter since she was 7 months and she loves her pack! We also have the Cadillac of packs – a Deuter Kid Comfort III – but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve used a Kelty I and it just wasn’t as comfortable for me, or our daughter. She actually can take 2 hour naps in her pack which makes it possible to do longer hikes.

    • COMtnMom says:

      That’s awesome! Does it get any better than you getting to hike, while baby takes a nap?! They really do love it and feel relaxed, don’t they?

      Also interesting that your Kelty just wasn’t as comfortable. You know, they make a regular backpack designed specifically for women that is the most comfortable one I’ve ever owned … maybe they should be applying that technology to the child carriers? 😉

      Thanks so much for stopping by – I’m going to check out your site now…

  2. I love your blog 🙂

    Thanks for the awesome post. There’s something about a baby in a backpack, they seem to be content for hours, so much to see from such a good vantage point I suppose! We just purchased a used Kelty pack…I have mixed feelings about it so it was good to read your positive review.

    • COMtnMom says:

      Thanks so much!

      THE VANTAGE POINT … an excellent point, I think that’s very true! Hey, I’m (obviously) all about acquiring a used pack – sounds like a great find. Enjoy!

      Really appreciate you stopping by – I just checked out your site. Very cool! New fan following, back at ya. 🙂

  3. Trasa Ogozaly says:

    This was wonderfully written and very informative. I no longer have little ones, but felt compelled to read this post. I will share this information with my friends that have small children. Love your posts!!

  4. I TOTALLY don’t think you should feel too guilty about a nicer pack IF it is more comfortable for you and the kid! 🙂 If not, then no need! 😉 We used a 15 year-old-pack (L.L. Bean) for our first and it was HORRIBLY uncomfortable for me!

    Now we have a 2012 Kelty and think it is great, but I think they did a lot of improvements for this year. And and Deuter Kid Carrier III too… 😉 Um, and we are currently checking out an Osprey Poco, which I honestly think takes the cake (it has stirrups for the big kids – whoop!)

    If you don’t mind me linking up, I did a post comparing our Kelty vs. Deuter ( and a video too:

    Will post a review of the Poco soon! 😉

    But, no matter WHAT carrier you are using, TOTALLY agree that those packs help Mama (and Daddy) gain SO much freedom and help the kids out too (what a view! ;))

    Thanks for another great post!

    • COMtnMom says:

      Ok, now I feel a little more guilt-free, after that pep talk…

      Amelia KNOWS HER GEAR, and she makes a good point – it HAS to be comfortable, or you’re setting yourself up for unnecessary pain. And there really is a huge range, it seems like.

      I don’t mind the link ups at all – check them out for great info (I’m going to right now!) … she does amazing gear reviews.

      And the stirrups sound like a fantastic idea! Appreciate you stopping by, Mountain Mama 🙂

  5. Hi! Do you have any experience with wraps and hiking?
    I don’t have any spare money to invest in a carrier like the ones mentioned, but I recently went on a small hike with my 11 month old securely wrapped on me. It went well and he was comfortable the whole time. The only thing there is he was on my front, I haven’t tried wrapping him on my back yet.
    Have you ever hiked with a wrap?

    • Hi there!

      We hiked a few times with our not quite 1 yr old in a soft carrier (a hand me down Baby Bjorn), which was really comfortable. We wore that on the front. But I have never tried a wrap – so can’t give you any guidance on that one. Sorry!

      I know what you mean – the framed backpack carriers are crazy expensive. We got that nice Kelty for 1/2 price, through my husband’s employer. And the one prior to that I got at a 2nd hand store for $30. Do you have any 2nd hand kid or outdoor gear shops, where you can keep an eye out for one? I also have seen them at garage sales … that’s how we found one for my in-laws to use.

      Hope you find something that’s affordable and works for you!

  6. Great post! Which backpack carrier are you wearing in the photo there (the red one)?

    • Hi Meghan and thanks!

      It’s a Kelty Pathfinder 3.0, and we’ve been really happy with it. We actually had a (slightly older) Kelty Pathfinder for our 1st child, but had trouble with the adjustable suspension. They completely warrantied it, and sent us this new red one as a replacement… it’s even better, now they’ve added a hydration compartment, and no more slippage of the suspension.

      Thanks for your comment and for swinging by! 🙂


  1. […] written on this blog about the hydration challenges I’ve faced with wearing a child in a carrier pack and hiking alone.  The only way I could take my child off my back was on a table or tailgate.  So during our hike, […]

  2. […] on this activity for years now… until this season when my son no longer rides in the child carrier backpack.  Alas, as full of boundless energy that this kid is – he doesn’t get that excited […]

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