Being a parent doesn’t mean abandoning your long hikes in the woods. In fact, getting outdoors with a new baby or a toddler is rejuvenating. Baby carriers let you bring your child while leaving your hands free. As a bonus, most babies enjoy being held close and find the walking motion soothing. Also
, carriers let you explore trails that would defeat a stroller.
Here are four carriers that can get you and your baby outdoors in comfort.
What: A soft, structured carrier with padded waist belt and shoulder straps.
• Baby can be carried on front or back (usually around 6 months)
• Fits a wide range of people
• Fits baby from birth (with an insert) to at least 40 pounds (has been tested to 90 pounds)
• Some models have lighter weight, quicker dry materials
• Optional backpack option gives you more carrying space
• Infant insert is an extra cost for newborns
• Learning curve to getting baby on your back. May need help to get smaller babies on your back
• Backpack option is also an extra cost
• Baby sits very near your body, which could mean you both get sweaty
• Most models are cotton, and therefore slow drying
Cost: $115 for basic carrier, $135 for performance carrier with lighter-weight material; $25 for infant insert; $48 for add-on backpacks
What: A very long, stretchy piece of soft fabric that is wrapped around the body and tied in place
• Excellent for newborns and small babies
• Many different ways to carry your baby
• Fits pretty much anyone
• One of the few carriers that makes it possible to carry twins
• Can wear a backpack at the same time without much trouble
• Small learning curve to figure out how to tie it and how to insert the baby
• Hot in warm weather, slow to dry if it gets wet
• Not suitable to carrying your baby on your back
• On long hikes, fabric can sag, forcing you to adjust it
• Not ideal for heavier babies on long hikes
What: A long piece of rectangular woven fabric that can be tied in a variety of ways to support your child. Comes in a variety of lengths depending upon your size and the carries you want to do.
• Extremely versatile. Baby can be carried on your front, back or hip. It also doubles as a blanket, sun shade, fort material, etc.
• Comes in many beautiful colors and patterns. Some wraps are works of art
• Can carry a baby from birth until at least 30 pounds, and many wraps go higher
• Fits a wide range of adults
• Many options for lengths, materials, styles, colors
• Steepest learning curve
• Bulky knots make it difficult to wear with a backpack
• Possibly hot, depending upon material
• Probably slow drying, depending upon material
Cost: Variable, but expect to spend at least $50 for a short, high quality wrap; more for longer, more deluxe wraps
Website: www.granolababies.com offers several options; http://bit.ly/18ELSK has a huge list of directions on how to wear a woven wrap
What: A framed pack similar to what backpackers use.
• Very supportive. Frame and waist belt help distribute child’s weight well
• Probably best option for long or overnight trips
• Many models have extra carrying space for gear
• Many models have an optional sun or rain cover
• Takes up most space while you travel to the trail
• More specialized than other carriers, not ideal for around the house, for example
• May be hard to fit adults that are exceptionally tall or short, or couples that have a wide difference in height
Cost: Starting about $110
Website: www.kelty.com/c-kids.aspx, Kelty offers varieties