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Child Carriers

Top Picks

How we choose: The best child carriers highlighted here were selected based on 38 reviews of 25 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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If you've used a child carrier that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

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Top Child Carrier Frame

Deuter Kid Comfort

user rating: 5 of 5 (6 reviews)

We recently bought the Deuter Kid Comfort 2 backpack child carrier. We bought this pack to carry our 6-month-old daughter on our frequent hikes. The Kid Comfort two has brought our family closer together and our daughter seems to love riding in it. Anytime we put her in the pack she smiles real big and begins to kick her feet in excitement. She is constantly looking in every direction on our hikes and has not fussed or become upset. My daughter asleep in the Deuter Kid Comfort 2. Take note of the optional sun shade, retracted kick stand, and under seat storage and large padded hip belt The Kid Comfort 2 is a aluminum frame backpack child carrier capable of carrying 50 pounds.

Read more: Deuter Kid Comfort reviews (6)

Child Carrier Frame

Deuter Kid Comfort Pro

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Loaded with features, the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro is both luxurious and practical. Highly adjustable for both the wearer and the child, this pack has very few limitations. With pockets galore, there is easy access to the many items needed when hiking with a little one (i.e. snacks, change of clothes, wipes, diapers, and the list goes on and on) and the integrated sunshade makes for a more comfortable child.

Reasons to Buy

  • Highly adjustable for both wearer and child
  • Comfortable shoulder straps and waist belt
  • Generous storage space
  • Integrated sunshade
  • Removable daypack
  • Soft, washable chin guard for kiddo
  • Color-coordinated buckles for child harness

Reasons to Avoid

  • Weight shifts on uphill and downhill
  • Torso adjustment system (Varislide) requires nimble fingers

UPDATE (June 2021): I am now the parent of a 21-pound (9.5kg) 9-month-old and have taken this pack on several additional trips since the initial review. The latest trip was a 3-mile riverside loop that included some steep sunken-log steps.   Conditions: This initial review of the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro will be updated over the coming months after more use. So far, I’ve only carried a friend’s kid in the pack, but with a recent newborn myself, my wife and I will be taking our own kiddo for strolls in this pack once she is old enough to safely do so.

Read more: Deuter Kid Comfort Pro review (1)

Child Carrier Frame

Osprey Poco

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

The Osprey Poco AG offers a fabulous child carrier. Osprey incorporates its super comfortable suspension system with ventilated back panel, hipbelt, and shoulder straps. Many features make this a highly coveted child carrier.

Reasons to Buy

  • Superb carrier suspension system
  • Comfortable padded child compartment
  • Reliably sturdy “kickstand”
  • Big brand pack technology
  • Well-designed child retention harness
  • Durable materials throughout
  • Removable, washable drool pad
  • Integrated retractable sunshade with dedicated zippered sleeve
  • Simple "fold flat" roll cage operation

Reasons to Avoid

  • Non-zippered mesh hipbelt pockets
  • Limited storage for serious excursions

With my growing quiver of active grandchildren born to my adventurous children, I decide to purchase a few child carriers. The Osprey Poco AG was my first purchase this past December. There are several models in the Osprey child carrier line. I opted for the entry level pack, which in hindsight, I regret not moving higher up the line that offered more storage. I will add, purchasing online, sight unseen is unwise in this category (which I did for both child carriers I bought from two different manufacturers).

Read more: Osprey Poco reviews (2)

Child Carrier Frame

Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

A strong contender in the "bring your kid along on the adventure in comfort" child carrier niche. Kelty has progressed considerably in this market...and this offering is worthy of your consideration! To be cliché...this is a feature-rich pack for a child carrier.

Reasons to Buy

  • Pockets and storage galore
  • Removable drool pad
  • Sturdy protective "roll cage"
  • Hydration bladder compatible
  • Convertible hipbelt pocket/water bottle holder (R)
  • Size adjustable child harness, expands with the child
  • Substantial padding and support for the carrier
  • Included, retractable sunshade
  • Reliable and secure kickstand

Reasons to Avoid

  • Convertible hipbelt pocket/water bottle carrier is left discriminate.
  • Child harness buckles a tad cumbersome

                       The Kelty Journey PerfectFit Signature Elite Child Carrier The constant push for better, more comfortable, and supportive child carriers for the adventurer has driven a handful of companies to continually expand, upgrade, and innovate this niche market. Kelty being one of those companies that have been offering child carriers for a very long time. When my kids were small and we were always off exploring parts unknown, the child carriers of that day were painful contraptions of torture for both the carrier and the carried.

Read more: Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite review (1)

Child Carrier Frame

Osprey Poco Plus

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Our little guys loved going on adventures last year in it at six months old. And we've already gotten out a few times this late winter/early spring with our now 18 month old. He LOVES being in the pack and it makes getting around with him a ton easier.

Reasons to Buy

  • Easy fit and adjustment
  • Great storage
  • Sunshade for your passenger is awesome bonus

Reasons to Avoid

  • The bottom storage compartment requires the 'foot' of the pack to be opened. Not a big deal, just have to remember your backside sticks out more.

This will be season two for our Poco Plus. Our little guys loved going on adventures last year in it at six months old. And we've already gotten out a few times this late winter/early spring with our now 18-month-old. He LOVES being in the pack and it makes getting around with him a ton easier. He's about 30 pounds and you'd never know it with a pack that fits exactly like a backpacking pack.   If you know how to fit yourself for a pack, then this one is SUPER easy. It's amazingly adjustable so my wife and I can swap carrying duty and in under a minute we can have the pack readjusted to fit either on of us.

Read more: Osprey Poco Plus review (1)

Child Carrier Frame

Tough Traveler Stallion

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Summary: We highly recommend the Tough Traveller Stallion as a kid carrier, but mainly for day use. Ours has proven durable and functional. We bought used, but would consider new if we couldn't find used. Use: This is a great kid-carrier because it has adjustments for both parent and child that make the ride more comfortable. The carrying yoke slides up and down on a rail to accomodate both my wife's 5'4" and my 5'9". It has a reasonably padded hip-belt and a sternum strap. The child harness adjusts for our 6 month old, our 19 month-old, and our 2-1/2 year old.

Read more: Tough Traveler Stallion reviews (2)

Child Carrier Frame

Osprey Poco Premium

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Lightweight and well designed. I don't believe there are any features that they didn't incorporate to make this pack perfect for hiking with a little one.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Sunshade
  • Adjustment straps
  • Storage space

Reasons to Avoid

  • Bulky

My wife and I hike all the time with our daughter and she absolutely loves riding in this pack. It's super comfortable for her and has so many pockets to store her toys and baby gear. I personally love how relaxed she can be in there which makes it easier for me to focus on my hiking. I have done several 10+ mile hikes with her on my back and she does great, always comfortable and able to catch some z's. I use a 3L hydration bladder that doesn't seem to give her any issues riding in the back as well, considering she's a little bigger than when we first started hiking with her; she's a 2-year-old so much heavier, but I'm still able to stay comfortable myself even with all the added weight.

Read more: Osprey Poco Premium review (1)

Child Carrier Frame

Kelty Trek

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

After thirteen years and five kids we passed it to friends in 80-90% condition.

Reasons to Buy

  • Kids love it and sleep in it while carried
  • Attached diaper bag is perfect
  • Holds kids securely

Reasons to Avoid

  • Pant legs creep up

I carried all five of my clones in a Kelty kid carrier.  It came with a rain cover which I may have used a total of two times (Eastern WA).  I carried them on day hikes, pheasant hunting (makes shooting harder but doable), and all over the state over a thirteen year period. It is rated and will fit kids up to 45# but I usually kick them out and make them walk by age 3-4.  I just passed it on to a buddy and it is still 80-95%.  I tripped a$$ over teakettle once and my daughter was still secure in back, unfazed.  I loved the kick stand for taking breaks.

Read more: Kelty Trek reviews (3)

Kelty Base Camp

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

My wife and I recently went on a short 2-mile winter hike in the N.H. White Mountains with our 9-month-old son. It was the first time I was able to try out the Kelty Base Camp child carrier (other than two brief cruises through the house when I adjusted the pack's seat and straps to my 26 lb son). Having older sons (20 and 15 y/o) I've have used several older models of other generic child carriers frequently for them when they were young children. Those carriers worked, but were only barely comfortable for them as well as for myself.

Read more: Kelty Base Camp reviews (2)

Child Carrier Frame

Sherpani Rumba

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

We did some shopping around before we bought. Although, besides an older model Kelty, this is the only one I have actually used on my back. Features are outstanding. Our 19-month-old was extremely comfortable riding around. The rain cover (included) was excellent protection against wind and rain as we visited Niagara Falls in March. Even though they do not have a bug net that is offered with the comparable Kelty model, we just bought a bug net at Kmart for strollers and that works fine. Storage space is great.

Read more: Sherpani Rumba review (1)

More Reviews of Child Carriers

Trailspace reviewers have shared 38 reviews of 25 different child carriers.

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Other Types of Backpacks

Find more backpacks reviewed in these related categories:

Daypacks (under 35L)

Overnight Packs (35-49L)

Weekend Packs (50-69L)

+9 more types

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