The Best Hiking Baby Carriers
The Deuter Kid Comfort 2 let us head out on multiple 5-plus-mile hikes with a 15-month-old in South Carolina’s Table Rock State Park and North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest without pause. That’s because the pack was the most comfortable of our tester packs, with straps that made getting a great fit ergonomically across the hips and around our shoulders easy, meaning we were shy of complaints five hours in.
So was our little 15-month-old tester, who consistently fell asleep 30 to 60 minutes into every hike in this pack and, when awake, was comfortably shaded with his feet in stirrups and puffs in the pockets close at hand. The pack’s adjustability was paramount compared with other packs here. “It works both for me at 5′3″ and my husband at 6′5″,” said Addy Lord, our Colorado-based tester, “Plus, I love that the sun roof/rain cover is great for cold-weather hiking, snowshoeing or Nordic skiing because it insulates really well like a tent, so your kid stays toasty inside.”
Osprey’s Poco AG Premiumcomes fully loaded. From its innovative Anti-Gravity suspension—which first found success in Osprey’s backpacking line—to the fact that it’s equipped with practically every available extra, like a sunshade, hydration pocket, cell phone pocket on the hip belt, extra-large main storage pocket, and more, the Poco AG Premium spoke loudly to our organization-obsessed testers. “I like to have a place for everything,” said Lyndsey Vaillancourt, our New Hampshire-based tester, “I especially like pockets I can easily access when the pack is on, like hip belt pockets for small items like tissues, Chapstick, a multi-tool, small snacks, etc. This pack has 10 pockets plus a hydration sleeve, which is more than double the competition. And there are two mesh side pockets that are easy to stash a hat or an empty snack wrapper with the pack on.” It’s this intuitive design that translates clearly on the trail that convinced us that the Poco AG Premium—delineated from the less-expensive Poco AG Plus by its removable day pack—was the top-of-the-line pack if cost is not an issue. The day pack is the cherry on top: “Carrying a 27-pound toddler on my back is heavy enough,” said, Tim Carr, our Southern California-based tester. “Having my wife carry the packed daypack helped ease my load so we could hike for longer.”
At less than half the price of most of the carriers in this review, and with many of the same capabilities—holds your kid comfortably, buckles in all the same places around your torso, has a storage pocket—this pack piqued our interest. Not to mention the Clevr is the lightest pack we tested, at a svelte 5 pounds, and rode just as light on rolling hills in New York’s Catskill Mountains. But because this pack shows the manufacturer’s preference for cost savings over comfort, we wouldn’t take this out for more than an hour or two a few times per year. For many people, that’s exactly how often they hike, which makes this affordable bare-bones pack a smart choice.
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