Our selection of the best baby carriers for toddlers for travel, hiking and everyday: Structured and semi structured toddler carriers we loved in airports, travels and for days outdoors.
A toddler carrier is a great piece of gear for hiking and travel as well as a fantastic everyday toddler essentials even just for trips to the mall.
When traveling, toddler carriers are perfect for airports, flying, museums and in general anytime you need cannot bring your stroller, may it be for security reasons (like in certain attractions) or for practicality (E.g. getting on and off public transport in a busy city).
Toddler hiking carriers are essentials when you want to tackle trails that are unsuitable even for all terrain strollers and any time you need to carry your child on less than even and smooth terrain.
Over the course of the years, we have tried many toddler carriers and have found several that worked for us. This is a selection of our favorite toddler carriers for travel, hiking and everyday.
Good to know: while we consider a carrier a toddler travel essential, we also recommend to always bring your strollers when traveling. You can find our selection of favorite lightweight strollers and favourite lightweight double strollers for travel here.
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Baby carriers for toddler chart
This is a quick chart to give an overview of the best carriers for toddlers we know.
Later in this article, I will go through our criteria for selection, what to look for when choosing a toddler carrier and will give more info about each model.
Please note: age and maximum weight in the table below are as as per manufactured specs. Always double check suitability for your child age/ weight before purchasing.
|Name of carrier||Type||Carrying positions||Age/wight of child|
|Ergo Baby 360 baby toddler carrier||Semi structured carrier||4||7-45lbs|
|Infantino Baby carrier Flip Advance||Convertible carrier||4||8-32 lbs|
|Eccomum Multifuncional baby carrier for toddlers||Multifunction baby carrier for travel and everyday||6||7-41 lbs|
|Tula Free to Grow baby to toddler carrier||Versatile baby and toddler carrier||3||7- 45 lbs|
|Tula Explore baby carrier||Versatile baby and toddler carrier||6||7- 45 lbs|
|Toddler hip seat||Hip seat||1||7-45 lbs|
|Deuter Kid Comfort||Kid backpack carrier||1||Up to 48 lbs|
|Luvdababy premium kid carrier||Backpack carrier for hiking||1||Up to 40 lbs|
|Piggyback Rider Scout Toddler carrier||Kid backpack carrier||1||Up to 50lbs|
|Osprey Poco Kid carrier Backpack||Kid carrier hiking backpack||1||Up to 48.5 lbs|
|ClevrPlus Deluxe||Kids hiking backpack||Back carrier||9-48 months (max 33lbs|
How to choose a toddler carrier
When choosing a carrier for your toddlers, I recommend you look for:
Toddler carriers usually allow for different carrying positions namely facing you, hip carrying and shoulder carrying.
All positions are good and picking one over the other vastly depends on your body shape and that of your child.
I personally found that my kids and I were most comfortable with them facing me when they were very young and then on my shoulders or on my hop.
For a short period of time when they were babies they also liked to face forward however, I found the forward facing position to be the least comfortable and this is why many of the carrier for toddlers in this list do not feature it (some do, it was just not one of my main criteria when choosing).
Types of carriers
Carriers come in several style and I usually find it useful to consider them falling into 3 vast categories: sling, soft/semi structured carriers and framed carriers.
Slings – these are non structured, soft carriers, usually made of a long piece of material that you wrap around you and your child with no buckles nor straps.
These are excellent for smaller toddlers and any time I needed them to settle.
They keep them nice and snug against you so they are great to reassure them shold the traveling and the new place upset them.
I find they are most suitable for babies and small toddler but I preferred a semi structured one once they started weighting a little more.
Soft and semi scructured carriers – semi structure carriers are my favorite type of carrier for toddlers as they have the advantages of the sling (non bulky, easy to wash) buit a great plus: they are super easy to buckle on and off!
This for me made them the best toddler carriers for flying and the best carrier for trave in general.
In the airport, you are always asked to remove your carrier when passing security so not having to unwrap a sling is a huge plus!
Good to know: if you are buying a carrier for air travel, you may want to have a look at our tips for flying with toddlers too!
Structured carrier/ Frames carriers for toddlers – structured carriers are those I recommend for hiking with kids and outdoor pursuits.
They usually have a metal frame and buckles for your child and they have them sit on your shoulder.
They offer less versatility of carrying positions than the others however, they are excellent on rough terrain and they are the best carriers for toddlers if you are into hiking and outdoor pursuits.
Adjustable, padded shoulder straps
These are the part of the carrier that will sit on your shoulders and picking a model with large, padded straps that do not cut into your skin is paramount.
Make also sure that they are adjustable, a little like a backpack: adjustable shoulder straps are what allows you to make the carrier sit in the right position on your back and will spread the weight best and will help prevent injury to you and your child.
Toddler carriers are made with different purpose and it is worth considering the use you will make of them before buying.
Soft carriers and semi structure carriers are great in cities and for smaller toddlers while we find on mountain terrain and hikes you want a purpose made hiking child carrier that allows you to keep your balance on the path.
These are usually more structured careers with metal frame and while they are a little bulky,they are axcellent on trails as they offer the best support and also stand on their own, meaning you can easily get your child in and out in pretty much all conditions.
If you are looking for a carrier for an older toddler or for hiking, then you want to make sure you pic one that offers a good hip strap: this is what you need to get lumbar support and minimise the risk of injury to your lower back.
A good thing to look for when picking a toddler carrier is how easy it is to wash.
Many soft structure carriers can go in the washing machine (excellent!) while more structure carriers are usually wipe clean.
Good to know! If you are worried about you and your baby being cold while babywearing, you can get a universal baby carrier cover like these ones.
Best toddler carriers for travel, flying and everyday
Let’s look at some of our favourite models a little closer.
Ergo Baby 360 – best all around toddler carrier for travel
The Ergo Baby 360 baby carrier is the carrier I used for my daughter and served us very well in the toddler years especially.
Actually, it served us so well we were able to pass it on to a friend and she also loved it, meaning the same carrier lasted for several years and several toddlers!
The carrier has 4 carrying position: forward facing, facing you, hip carrying and back carrying and it has good buckles, easy to open and close and a large hip band that is excellent for parents’ lumbar support and spreading the weight.
The shoulder straps are large padded and adjustable and the hip strap is also adjustable, which means the carrier is very comfortable.
The carrier is machine washable, very easy to keep clean, and comes in several colors too, which meant we were able to choose one that both myself and my husband were willing to use.
A nice additional touch is extra material on top that allow to protect your toddler head from light should they fall asleep on you.
Good to know: the one with the mesh insert is one of our favorite baby carriers for summer and hot weather destinations.
Good to know: Ergo Baby has several models and they tend to differ for color and material mostly, making them suitable for most parents and styles. With the use of a baby insert, this baby carrier can work for newborns too.
Infantino Flip Advance 4-1 carrier for toddlers
The Infantino Flip Advance is a good carrier for toddlers if you are looking for a semi structure, versatile carrier for travel and everyday.
The Infantino is a 4-in-1 convertible carrier with adjustable shoulder straps and adjustable hip strap and it is a good carrier for young toddlers as well as babies, allowing them to seat either facing you, facing out or sit on your shoulders.
It has an adjustable ergonomic seat that is great to ensure good positioning of your child and can be adjusted to offer the best support to their legs, hips and head as they grow.
Like the ergo, it is easy to put on and off and we found it a good baby and toddler carrier fo flying and city visits alike.
Eccomum Multi function 6-in-1 carrier for toddlers up to 36 months
If you are looking for a toddler carrier with even more sitting positions, then you may like the Eccomum Multi function 6-in-1 carrier.
This carrier is for kids from 6 to 36 months and it is designed to allow the so called ‘M’ sitting position, considered the safest for hip development.
Like others in this list, it has padded, adjustable straps to fit most body types but, unlike others, this also offers the opportunity to be used as a hip seat.
This handy for those times when you just need an extra boost when carrying your child but may not need to fully buckle them up or if you need to keep weight off your shoulders.
The seat for your toddler is made of memory foam to maximise comfort.
Tula Free to grow baby and toddler carrier
The Tula Free to Grow carrier is a versatile carrier you can use during the baby and toddler years since it is suitable from 7 to 47 pounds.
The carrier is made of breathable lightweight material and allows for 2 carrying positions: facing in and back carrying.
Padded shoulder straps and adjustable straps for back and hip make it suitable for most body types and the gender neutral color available mean it can be shared with dad too!
Tula explore baby carrier for babies and toddlers
Another good baby carrier for toddlers by Tula is this ‘explore’ model for children 7 – 45 lb.
The carrier is presented as 6-in-1 and this means you have three different carrying positions per baby / toddler age: facing in, facing out and back carrying.
The ability to have you baby facing out is what makes this carrier different form the Tula Free to Grow and makes this one a good choice if you want more versatility when it comes to carrying positions.
In all other respects, it ticks all the boxes as the the other Tula product, meaning it is one of the best carriers for toddlers we found.
Toddler hip seat carrier – an alternative to carriers for toddlers
A different take on the idea of toddler carriers is a toddler hip seat.
A toddler hip seat is a seat that you strap around your hips and allows your baby or toddler to sit int he same position would have scarring them in your arms with with extra support for you.
This is a good solution if you need to keep the weight away form your shoulder and we found it worked well especially on shorter walks or if you only need to pick up your chid occasionally – this is one of those things that is great to have in the stroller and use as needed!
A good example of a toddler hip seat carrier is here
Best hiking carriers for toddlers and hiking kid carrier backpacks
When it comes to picking. a good hiking carriers, we recommend you look at brands that specialize in outdoor gear and have special hiking carrier models.
Kid Comfort Deuter – best toddler carrier for hiking
The Kid Comfort Hiking carriers series by Deuter is our favorite hiking carrier for toddlers and one we have used extensively both at home and when hiking onboard.
This is a structured carrier with a metal frame, a comfortable seat for your child and adjustable straps to keep your toddler in place and secure the backpack to your back.
To put it on and off, you can place it on the ground and it has a handy lateral opening that allows your child to step in (you then close it to secure them, it is all very easy).
The carrier has soft padded shoulder straps, adjustable, and comes with a removable sun shade that is handy to protect your child.
Small pockets are handy for your phone or some day hike essentials: this is a back carrier so you won’t be able to also carry a hiking backpack. We found this to be an excellent child carrier for hiking and active travel.
Luvdababy child hiking carrier for toddlers
Another good structure hiking carrier for toddler is by Luvdababy backpack carrier for hiking.
Designed specifically for outdoor pursuits, this is a back carrier that has your toddler sitting on you back and ensures good spreading of their weight with adjustable shoulder and hip straps.
Easy to use buckets and a sun shade made the carrier safe and comfortable for kids and the several pockets mean you can bring your hiking essentials with you. It even has a diaper changing pad included!
Piggyback Rider Scout Standing Child Toddler Carrier Backpack
The Piggyback rider toddler carrier is a fantastic toddler carrier for hiking.
It is very different from others in this list in the sense that it has your child standing up rather than sitting down!
The carrier has shoulder straps and harness for your child and operates as a platform on your back your child stands onto.
This seemed to me an unusual arrangement at first but actually work very well as a carrier for older toddler who may not sit all the time but still need a little rest every now and then.
Unlike other child carriers, you will see the that your shoulders carry most of the wight here, meaning you feel it less on your lower back.
This is one of the best toddler carriers for hiking and good also for bigger toddlers and older kids who may outgrow the standard carriers quickly.
Osprey kid backpack carrier
Osprey is the brand I use for my travel backpack and I love it so much, I paid attention when I saw they made a hiking kid carrier backpack.
The Poco child carrier is excellent and make for the outdoors: this is a kid carrier backpack so your child sits on your shoulders and it has an in built sin shade to help keep your child protected while on the trail.
Like others on this list, it has adjustable shoulder straps and it is ergonomically designed for comfort of both toddler and parent.
ClevrPlus Deluxe Adjustable Baby and toddler carrier / kid backpack for Outdoor, Light Hiking
ClevrPlus makes this nice baby and toddler carrier good for outdoor pursuits with young toddler especially. Find official specs here.
the carrier has a metal frame that fold flat (great for travel) and it is lighwoght (again, great for travel!).
This is a back carrier and it is studied to be use for prolonged ours both in terms of comfort for you and storage. As well as space for your toddler is has several pockets including large one for diapers and side bottle holders for you and your child.
Like others in this list it has adjustable and padded straps, a rain/sun canopy and a high vis strip for safety.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of the baby carriers for toddlers that worked for us and it helped you pick your favourite child carrier for travel, hiking and everyday.