My husband and I love to go hiking, or as we say in New Zealand “tramping”! Half a year before I became pregnant, we did one big 3-day hike once each month. We had also booked us into the Great Walk on Stewart Island over Christmas, which is a fairly easy hike. But by that time, I was 8 weeks pregnant, felt total rubbish and only managed to finish the hike because my husband ended up carrying all our gear by himself!
Once our daughter was born, my husband was very keen to go out hiking again – me, not so much, mainly because it felt so complicated most of the time. But together as a family we started going hiking again when our daughter was 7 months old.
From my own personal experience, I have put together a bit of information about babywearing when you go hiking.
These types of carriers might be best
The two types of carriers we have used when we went hiking were our meh dai when our daughter was 7 months old and after that a soft structured carrier (we used a Manduca).
Looking back, I would say that a meh dai is not the best carrier when you go hiking, as you’ve got long tails that will most likely get dirty.
A soft structured carrier with good padding (for example the Boba X) that will be comfortable when wearing your child for long stretches of time is best. For older children who can walk part of the way an onbuhimo is a good option too, as those carriers are less bulky than soft structured carriers.
Front carry or back carry?
I have tried both and they have their advantages and disadvantages. With a small baby (up until about 8 months) a front carry will most likely be the best solution. Carrying your baby on the front also means that you still have space on your back to carry a backpack.
Once your baby gets older and heavier it is more likely easier to carry your child on your back. The disadvantage is obviously that the person who carries the child now doesn’t have any space to carry a backpack. A great solution is to invite friends along on your trip who can share the load of carrying the gear. Or just stick with a day trip when not too much gear is needed to be carried.
What about a backpack carrier?
I have personally never used one of the framed backpack carriers (for example from Kathmandu). I have always found that I didn’t want to add another 4kg to my child’s weight. These carriers do have some advantages though as they often have some structure to provide shade for your child and room to store some essential items for your baby.
Have you been tramping with your baby or toddler? Which carrier have you found works best?
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