Baby carriers for long dayhikes

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Baby carriers for long dayhikes

Post by dmx » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:29 am

Does anyone have any advice regarding baby carriers for longer day hikes? We have a 6 month old and have been using wraps and our ergo, but it feels like we'd benefit at this point from a framed rear carrier. The lack of structure seems to result in a lot of back and shoulder strain, and it's frackin' hot ;)

Here are a few carriers we're considering:
Sherpani Rhumba or Rhumba Superlight
Littlelife Freedom
Deuter carriers
REI carriers

Does anyone have any experience with the above? Any other recommendations on what works for hiking with a 6-18 month old for 7-10 mile trips in summer?

Thanks in advance for any advice or recommendations...


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Re: Baby carriers for long dayhikes

Post by Ikan Mas » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:32 pm

Can't help you with the selection, but here is a couple of things I noted on the trail. I offer this advice with all sincerity and appreciation for your situation.

Saw a family hiking with one of those when the kid was asleep. The little guys head really flopped around a lot. Don't know how that would be on their neck, but looked painful to me.

Secondly, most of the carriers seem to put the weight really high so the child can see over your head. I would be concerned about going down on a rough trail. I saw several stumbling fathers on the trail recently at Hetch Hetchy and it was a little scary.

Lastly, you are going to pay top dollar for an item that you will probably only use for a few months before the child outgrows it. That's what I found when I bought one 20 years ago. Unfortunately a lot of baby equipment is like that.

Best wishes and good luck.

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Re: Baby carriers for long dayhikes

Post by ERIC » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:58 pm

We have a like-new REI carrier that I picked up off of Craigslist for $50. I know we'll only use it a handful of times, so I didn't want to spend a whole lot. I loaded it up with some weight, and it seems to be comfortable and is balanced the way I would hope it would be, but I wont know for sure until the little one is big enough to use it. For now, like you, we have an Ergo carrier which works great, but like you point out does get warm.

Wish I could be more help. Good luck!
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Re: Baby carriers for long dayhikes

Post by quentinc » Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:42 pm

The Deuters are really good. Only problem is we couldn't keep the kid in it once he was able to walk on his own!

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Re: Baby carriers for long dayhikes

Post by BrianF » Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:59 am

Can't comment on the ones you listed but we had a Tough Traveller "Stallion" when my son was little. It was well designed, had good gear capacity and adjustability and was comfortable for him as well. It was very comfortable to carry even with alot of weight and a squirming child. I took him on many long hikes of 10+ miles (used it even when he weighed about 50lbs - 65 lbs with gear, to be able to extend hikes when he got tired, we had to add stirrups for his feet when he was bigger) I also used it cross-country skiing and it rode great for that. We had the sun shade but seldom used it, prefering hats and long sleeves, but it did come in handy for rain or snow showers. The child sits down in a pretty deep pocket which is more secure - he couldn't fall out even when he stood up bracing his feet on the frame, and it was fine for napping too. It had a kickstand arrangement for setting it down and getting the child in and out that folded out of the way tfor carrying- do not leave the child unattended like that beause it can tip over. We used it from about 9 months to 4+ years and well over 100 times. So if you get out alot it is worth buying a good one. The first one we had (a hand-me-down) was very uncomfortable- for him and me. Don't forget it is useful on around-town excursions too. One tip: on hikes without my wife I used to carry a small "rear-view" mirror in my pocket to check him when he was napping or just to make sure he didn't chuck the hat.
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Re: Baby carriers for long dayhikes

Post by Carne_DelMuerto » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:07 am

I had an REI carrier that I loved. I'd take my son on 5+ mile hikes all the time. Once he reached 40 pounds, the pack started giving me some discomfort after about 2 miles, so we retired it and handed it over to my sister. It served us well for over 3 years.

The only complaints I had were that the strapping would make noise when hiking, making it hard for me to hear hikers/bikers coming up behind me. Also, it does tend to move your center of weight a little too far back, but that wasn't a big issue with me.

I'm not sure REI still offers the carriers, so you may need to look for a used one. While I have no experience with them, Kelty Kid Carriers have be cycling on Steep and Cheep lately.

I really loved hiking with my son in the carrier. Not only was it a great way to train for backpacking and stay in shape, the time out on the trail with my son was priceless.
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Re: Baby carriers for long dayhikes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:27 am

Regardless of the type of carrier, remember that your child is sitting and you are walking. You may be comfortable working up a sweat, but he may be cold. I took my babies out in the winter and this was a critical factor. I checked their hands and feet often. As for kids heads flopping around when sleeping, they are pretty flexible and that did not ever seem to bother my kids. I actually took my babies backpacking- put a interior hanging seat inside my Kelty external frame pack and then added a sun shade (welded an additional bar on the extension bar and sewed a canopy that also had mosquito netting). The babies faced backwards, but that did not seem to bother them- have someone walk behind you and the kids are happy. I also tried to keep them awake when we walked because if they sleep all day the keep you up all night. Every hour we would stop and take the kids out of the carrier and let them wiggle around.

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