How to Buy Child Carriers for Hiking

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If you have a baby or a young child, you might feel like you’re anchored down by them and that your mobility is a bit restricted (as you’ve always got to have them by your side or in their pram/pushchair).

The thought of hiking or walking long distances with a baby/small child probably seems out of the question, no-matter how much you might long to do such things.

By using a child carrier, however, you can keep your child attached to you in a backpack-like device, enabling you to have your hands free and to roam wherever you please.

A Look at Child Carriers

Child carrier are great devices that allow you to carry your

For newborn or young babies you’re best option is to use an infant or baby carrier. Because your child will be fairly small in these cases, these carriers are usually frameless (as they don’t need to support a great weight) and allow you to carry your baby on your back or your front (depending on the design).

Child carrier backpackSome baby carriers also have places to store a certain amount of baby gear (such as a bottle or a dummy).

A child carrier, on the other hand, is designed for slightly larger children (meaning they require a frame for added support).

How do you know if your child requires a child or a baby carrier? If they can sit upright unsupported then a child carrier is right for them. If not, get them a baby carrier. In addition to this, they should weigh at least 16 lbs.

If you’re still unsure, ask your pediatrician for advice on which one is right for your baby.

Features of a Child Carrier

Most baby and child carriers will have most of the same basic features (apart from the fact that some have frames and some don’t) such as a kickstand and adjustable shoulder and waist straps.

In addition to this, there are all kinds of extra features that a child carrier can have (such as a removable daypack, a sun/rain hood and pockets for storing your gear).

Here are a few things that you’ll want to consider when buying a child carrier:

Front carrierHaving a kickstand on your child carrier enables you to balance it and have it stand up straight when you rest it on the floor.

This makes it extremely easy to put in and take out your child, as you won’t have to keep it balanced yourself while doing so.

Suspension? Isn’t that for cars? Yes, but it’s also useful when carrying a baby around.

Most child carriers come with an adjustable suspension system that can be changed depending on the size of your torso (to ensure a smoother ride).

Some child carriers come with fixed suspension (meaning it can’t be changed). The upside of this is that fixed suspension systems weigh a lot less than adjustable ones.

As I mentioned earlier, there are several additional accessories that a child carrier can have. While these additions can be great to have, if you’re not using them they’ll just add on unnecessary extra weight.

Typical accessories include:

  • A removable daypack
  • Sun or rain hoods
  • Pockets for storing your gear
  • A diaper changing pad

Child Carrier

Making Sure It Fits

Making sure your child carrier fits both you and your baby is paramount. Here are some tips for ensuring this:

How to Fit the Carrier to You
The first thing to do is to find a child carrier that fits you and that is comfortable to wear.

When shopping for child carriers, it helps to do it in person in a real shop where you can try them on (as opposed to shopping online).

Doing so enables you to make sure all of the straps can be tightened around you in a supportive yet comfortable way.

How to Fit the Carrier to Your Child
Once you’ve found a child carrier that fits you, you need to make sure it fits your child, and the only way to do this is to put your child in there and test it first-hand.

Things to look out for:

  • Make sure their legs come out the openings at the bottom.
  • Make sure the all straps tighten around them securely.

If they’re uncomfortable, they’ll let you know!

Additional Tips for Using Your Child Carrier

There are a few things you should be aware of when using a child carrier:

  • When putting on or taking off your child carrier (with your child in it) it’s a good idea to get someone to help you (at least until you’ve done it a few times).
  • Attaching a small toy to your carrier for your child to play with will help to keep them occupied and should stop them from grabbing onto your hair (as they seem to like to do).
  • If your child keeps grabbing your hair still, try wearing a hat to conceal it.
  • Never use a child carrier with a damaged frame.
  • If you’re walking over wet/slick surfaces, it’s a good idea to use trekking poles (similar to walking sticks) as they can give you better support and allow you to distribute your weight better (increasing you balance in the process).

Note that although child carriers can be used for when you go hiking (or when you do similar activities), the added weight of your baby can cause you to lose balance a lot easier, so avoid using them when walking over uneven or loose surfaces.

Related posts:

  1. How to Get Your Child a Passport
  2. How to Travel on a Plane with a Baby (VIDEO)
  3. How to Buy a Cold Weather Sleeping Bag
  4. How to Find the Best Hiking Boots For You
  5. How to Break in Your Hiking Boots

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