Hit the trails! Here are our favorite hiking carriers for kids
By Aimee Heckel
The health benefits of spending time outdoors are extensive, especially for children. Even for the youngest among us, spending time in natural settings can reduce ADHD symptoms, reduce stress levels and even “protect children’s emotional development,” according to the National Wildlife Federation.
As we enter the heat of summer, head up to the hills. Introduce your babies and toddlers to hiking the trails — on your back.
Here are our favorite hiking carriers for kids:
1. Kelty Pathfinder 3.0.
We love the Kelty brand for all outdoor gear. REI calls this the “original” child pack, and REI even stands by a 100 percent guarantee or your money back. The Pathfinder has an external frame and features a zip-off daypack, diaper-changing pad, a height-adjustable child “cockpit” — with a washable chin pad, mind you. (Admit it, that’s beyond useful.) Find this pack at REI for just under $300.
2. The Onya Baby Outback Baby Carrier
This carrier is our favorite frameless pack, made out of recycled materials and designed to be ergonomic. It even contains a hidden seat that you can pop out when you reach camp. Find it for $139 at REI.com.
Need help selecting? Consider this to help you pick the right carrier:
- Pick a carrier that’s the right size for you kid. Carriers come in different sizes, from infant carriers (generally frameless, can hold up to 30 pounds) and a child carrier (usually with a built-in frame for children up to 40 pounds).
- Make sure it fits you well. You should feel stable and comfortable with the child on your back. Make sure it fits your torso (or look for a carrier with an adjustable suspension). Also look for carriers with a “kickstand” bar, which you can pop out to prop the pack up while you put your child in.
- Consider the other accessories. Pick a pack that meets your needs. You can find packs with everything from a built-in hydration pack to diaper-changing pad.
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