Whether you’re spending a long weekend in Vienna or a whole summer exploring the best parks in the USA, there’s nothing better than exploring the world with your family. Unfortunately, little ones can make those types of trips a bit more stressful. While most people have strollers for their babies, not everyone considers baby carriers.
Baby carriers make traveling with infants and toddlers so much easier! They allow you to be hands-free while keeping your baby close, comfy, safe, and supported. With several different types of carriers on the market and endless different products, it can be overwhelming to figure out your perfect fit. From the best backpack carrier for baby to the most comfortable wraps for infants, we’re going to help you narrow it down in this guide by showing you what to look for and consider when purchasing your new favorite baby accessory.
Comparison Table of the Best Travel Baby Carriers
Below is a list of the best baby carriers for travel. Click on the name to read reviews and check prices.
What to Look for in a Good Baby Carrier
There’s no point in buying a carrier if it’s not comfortable for you and the baby. Softer materials are typically preferred, and it’s usually recommended to avoid heavier carriers. Have you thought of what happens if it rains or it’s really sunny while your baby’s hanging out in the carrier? Some carriers come equipped with a sun and rain cover to make sure a bit of rain or too much sun doesn’t ruin the day.
Ease of Cleaning
Spit-up and drool are inevitable with babies. Machine washable carriers are super popular since they make it easy to clean up messes, but if you’re looking for something like the best baby carrier for hiking, then it’s likely going to have some metal for extra support. Others may come with a removable cover or have an option to add one. Even if you can’t throw the whole carrier in the washer, be mindful of the material it’s made of so you know how easy or difficult it will be to keep clean.
Ease of Use
Some carriers are super simple because you can throw them on your back and go. Others may be a bit more confusing at first…namely, wraps. In order to keep babies safe in some wraps, it’s vital that you wrap it properly. Yes, wraps are super cute, but just know there may be a bit of a learning curve. Other carriers may have several buckles that may be confusing. Whatever the case, just be sure you fully understand how to safely secure your baby in the carrier before you head out. Not only is it important to know how to use it, but when you’re not using it be mindful of how easily it can be stored or stowed, especially if you’re going to be traveling by airplane frequently.
One of the absolute most important things to ensure is that the baby will be safe in the carrier. Make sure the carrier can support the baby’s weight. Also be sure that it will stay safely connected to you and allow you to operate hands-free without sliding or shifting. Finally, what’s most important for newborns is that they’re not at risk of suffocation and that their neck and head are supported.
Type of Carrier
Each type of carrier has its own pros and cons. Be sure to consider how you’re going to be using the carrier. If you’re an adventurous family who likes to do a lot of hiking, then it’s probably better to look for the best baby backpack carrier so you’ll have plenty of storage while you’re exploring nature. Many carriers are made with moms in mind, but if dad’s going to be wearing the carrier frequently then consider checking out the best baby carrier for men so he doesn’t feel like it’s too feminine when he’s out with the little one.
1. Backpack Carrier
If you love the outdoors, backpack carriers may be a perfect fit. With a baby you can’t carry a full backpack, but you will have some extra storage as your baby bounces on your back and marvels at the world around them. These are best for older babies as you won’t be able to get to them as easily as you could if they were in a different type of carrier. Because they’re on your back facing forward, you won’t be able to see your child when they’re in this carrier, however some carriers do have a viewing mirror so you can keep an eye on them. In terms of the weight on your back, many models have a good amount of padding, straps, and lumbar support to stabilize and balance the load.
2. Front Facing Carrier
Tried and true, front facing carriers are the most popular carrier type on the market. The best ones will be great for both newborns and toddlers as you have the option for them to face you or face outward. They’re perfect for maintaining closeness with your baby when they’re smaller, but also giving them the freedom to look around as they get a little older.
3. Hip Carriers
One of the positives of hip carriers is that they don’t throw off your center of gravity. They let you keep your front and back free while carrying the baby on your hip. These carriers spread the weight between your hip and shoulder. While on first glance they may seem a bit unsafe, they’re secure enough to allow your baby to stay secure in the carrier even if you need to bend over or grab something.
These soft, one-shouldered carriers are super cute, but they do have some safety concerns. If you don’t wrap it properly, there is a risk of them coming undone putting the safety of your baby in danger. In addition, they can pose a suffocation risk for infants if they’re unable to control their head and neck muscles. If you’re going to go with a sling, ensure you read the instructions, always make sure the baby is in a safe position, and be careful when bending over or trying to reach something.
These types of carriers tend to be inexpensive and very comfortable. Wraps are usually super simple, lightweight, and breathable. Another reason people love them is because they’re often machine washable. Some wraps come ready to wear, but others will take you through a process of multiple steps until it’s ready for a baby to be swaddled in. One thing to be mindful of is where the weight will rest. This will be different for different carriers, but if you have shoulder or back issues, be sure you know where the weight rests before you buy a wrap.
Best Baby Carrier Reviews
Deuter Kid Comfort III Child Carrier
JPMA-certified for safety, this five-point safety harness is one of the best baby carrier backpacks you’ll find. With comfort in mind, the baby’s seat can be modified even while the child is sitting in it, and the Vari-Flex hip belt pivots to keep mom and dad comfortable by stabilizing the load. The AirContact back system boasts excellent breathability resulting in 15% less perspiration compared to other body contour backpacks.
This carrier is designed for children who are between 16 and 40 pounds who are able to sit up by themselves. There’s an integrated sunroof to keep the little one shaded while you’re hiking the Great Ocean Walk or exploring Europe’s best cities, and there’s even a super soft chin pad for the baby to relax on. The 18-liter aluminum carrier also has plenty of storage pockets, a fold-out kickstand, and height-adjustable footrests. The Deuter Kid Comfort III has all of the key elements needed to be among the best-rated baby carriers.
Osprey Poco Child Carrier
Osprey’s Poco is designed to be perfect for every family adventure. The adjustable harness comes with everything necessary to be one of the best infant carrier options on the market from foot stirrups to a built-in SPF 50 sunshade. It has thoughtful additions that include an integrated and detachable rain cover, a removable and washable drool pad, and a sternum strap with an emergency whistle. This carrier nearly eliminates the need for a backpack diaper bag thanks to its variety of pockets and storage.
In addition to the standard Poco, there’s also a Poco Plus and a Poco LT. These upgraded models can include additional features like twin zippered hip belt pockets, a sizeable lower zippered compartment, and even a removable 11-liter daypack. Keeping your baby protected and you comfortable no matter where you find yourself, the Osprey Poco more than deserves its ranking among the top baby carriers.
Kelty Journey Perfectfit Child Carrier
This 27-liter backpack makes it easy to carry your child and the necessities everywhere from the beach to the park. While the plush cockpit keeps the baby comfy, you’ll be kept comfortable thanks to the suspension that makes it easy to adjust when you’re on-the-go. The carrier is built to last with its Poly 420D Small Back Stafford, and the stretch mesh pockets make them simple to access if a baby emergency arises.
This carrier is specifically designed for children between 16 and 40 pounds. No sunshade is included, so if you’re not going to purchase one then be sure you don’t leave behind your sunscreen. Developed with a pediatric specialist, keep your baby safe and comfortable with the Kelty Journey Perfectfit.
Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier
The Thule Sapling Elite has all the bells and whistles needed to be called the best baby carrier. Comfort and safety are obviously a top priority with everything you’d expect, from load stabilizer straps to a deployable sunshade. One of the unique things that allows it to highlight the list of the best child carrier backpacks is the dual access loading capability that lets you load it from the side or the top. In addition, the Thule Sapling Elite is definitely what you need if you’re looking for the best hiking baby carrier because the viewing mirror lets you keep on eye on your baby as you trek through nature.
The storage is to die for with this child carrier. With a maximum load of 48 pounds you can store everything from clothing to diapers, and you can even fit a small lightweight jacket inside in case you’re expecting rain or it gets a bit chilly. In case you’re not interested in carrying around your water bottle, there’s a zippered compartment for a hydration reservoir. Topping it all off with a removable daypack, it’s hard to beat the Thule Sapling Elite carrier.
Clevr Cross Country Baby Backpack Carrier
One of the most popular baby carriers on the market, Clevr has focused on making this carrier lightweight and convenient. The aluminum carrier weighs only five pounds, but can hold children up to 33 pounds. Because of its weight, it’s been considered the best baby carrier for flying. When the baby isn’t inside, it folds down to save space making it easy to check on a plane or put in the trunk of a car. Ideal for children between the ages of six months and four years, they’ll be easily protected from sun and rain thanks to the canopy. Adjustable foot stirrups are included as well as a washable drool pad.
For the parents, the child seat adjusts three ways to make it as convenient as possible. The waist strap and shoulder straps are padded and there are several pockets to hold the essentials, plus two water bottle holders. If you’re needing the best baby carrier for plane travel, don’t miss the Clevr Cross Country Baby Backpack Carrier.
Boba 4G Carrier
This top-selling carrier highlights the list of the best baby carrier for dad and mom alike. 100% cotton and free from any potentially harmful dyes or materials, this carrier keeps little ones safe from infancy to toddlerhood. As an infant, the baby can face you in the carrier until they get to 25 pounds. Once they get a bit bigger, you can use it as a back carrier until they grow to 45 pounds. Foot straps are included and there’s even a removable sun / sleeping hood.
The Boba 4G Carrier is equipped with several pockets to hold the essentials; there’s even one on the waist with a zipper. The adjustable straps make it easy to adjust the position of the baby for things like breastfeeding, and there’s also a bag strap holder to secure an additional bag or two. Designed to adjust to every family adventure, its soft and comfortable structure makes it one of the best baby carriers for newborns and toddlers.
BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Original
JPMA-certified, the BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Original is designed to help you bond with your baby through its first year of life. Pediatricians helped designed this carrier to ensure proper head, neck, hips, and spine support. The head support is adjustable and there are color-coded buckles with safety click to make sure the carrier is secured safely.
Great for home and outdoors, it’s simple to get the baby out of the carrier whether they’re sleeping or awake. Unfastening the side buckles opens the front part of the carrier for quick removal. The baby can face you or face outward (without needing an insert) to provide essential closeness when they’re younger and to let them see the world as they get older. The BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Original is an ideal option to keep your baby close and protected during their first year of life.
Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier
Because this Infantino carrier allows you to carry your baby any way you’d like, it can be considered the best baby carrier for travel. Designed for infants and toddlers, babies can face inward, outward, or they can be carried on your back. The seat adjusts from narrow to wide so the baby stays safe and comfy regardless of its size.
The Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier is designed to hold babies ranging from eight pounds up to 32 pounds. It’s equipped with a patented Wonder Cover bib that protects clothing and the carrier from drool and spit-up. In case the carrier does get messy, it’s machine washable. Thanks to its versatility, its spot on the list of the best travel baby carrier is secure.
LILLEbaby Complete Baby Carrier
When you Google “which baby carrier is the best”, it’s almost guaranteed the LILLEbaby SIX-Position, 360° Ergonomic Baby & Child Carrier will come up because there’s so much to love about it. The baby can be carried on your front, back, or hip, and the baby can face in, out, or be in a fetal position. The versatility of this carrier makes everything easier, from camping to hiking to exploring your favorite city.
It’s designed for newborns up to toddlers weighing 45 pounds. One of the greatest things about it is that it’s the best baby carrier for summer and hot places thanks to its exclusive 3D cool mesh panel. If it’s cooler outside, the mesh zips up to keep the baby warm. Not only is the carrier perfect for a baby, but the lumbar support is unmatched, making it a fan favorite for moms and dads everywhere.
CuddleBug Baby Wrap Ergo Carrier Sling
Slings are among the best front facing baby carrier options available, and this one will more than convince you of that fact. The CuddleBug Baby Wrap Ergo Carrier Sling helps create closer bonds between parents and their babies while allowing the little ones to be perfectly swaddled in a womb-like environment. If you’re just heading out to run some errands or going on a short walk and don’t feel like bringing along your travel stroller, this is the perfect alternative.
This multipurpose sling can’t only be used as a baby carrier, it can also be used as a postpartum belt and nursing cover. It’s also heat regulating to make sure babies stay comfy even if it’s a little warmer or cooler than you’d like it to be. The French terry cotton and spandex materials combine to make one of the most comfortable and top-rated carriers on the market.
Having your little one in a good quality baby carrier will let you experience the best of the world while keeping your child up close and personal. Once you use your baby carrier, you’ll never want to take another trip without it.