It’s no secret that we are fans of the outdoors and that we love all things back country. So of course, we naturally brought our little one back country hiking with us! We love nature and getting out in the fresh air is good for the whole family!
The tips I’m sharing in this post are applicable for regular trail hikes, too, so even if you’re a novice hiker or just like the occasional nature walk, you’ll be able to apply this to your hiking adventures!
What to Wear:
To Go Hiking With a Baby
On Mama: Depending on the weather, I suggest a short or long-sleeved cotton t-shirt. I also recommend a great pair of lightweight technical hiking pants. The Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants are an absolute favorite of mine (my husband has them, too). These pants are everything you will ever need or want in an outdoor pant. I like to pack a zip up sweater of some kind, too, so that it can be thrown on while I’ve still got the baby carrier on me.
I know a lot of mamas love to wear lululemon pants or some kind of leggings, but I really don’t recommend them for hiking through the back country or any kind of brush. Burs and other plant matter will stick to them and they also don’t repel any moisture should you be walking through any wet brush.
You are also going to want a water resistant hiking boot. I do not recommend a hiking shoe as you are going to want ankle support of some kind, especially with that precious cargo strapped to you. I am a huge huge huge fan of KEENS footwear for the outdoors because they are hella comfortable and fairly waterproof.
On Baby: I’m a huge fan of Kyte Baby Zippered Footie PJs because they are super soft and breathable. They’re one piece so there’s no need to worry about socks, seams, anything riding up or baby’s skin being exposed to the sun. I also recommend one of their knotted caps because they stay on, protect baby’s head from the sun but also don’t hit you in the face like other hats might!
Pack this: an extra shirt and maybe an extra bra to change into post-hike. Consider that you’ll likely work up a bit of a sweat, plus if you’ve got a furnace of a baby strapped to you, that’s only going to add to the heat. You want to make sure that you don’t get a chill from wet clothing. It goes without saying to pack a change of clothes (or two!) for baby, but bring at least once for the same reason!
The Right Baby Carrier
Hiking with a little one means you’re going to have to find a way to comfortably carry them with you. I am a massive fan of the ErgoBaby Omni 360 Carrier for a multitude of reasons. My baby carrier criteria are:
- Back Support: You want to make sure that your back is properly supported by the carrier, too, especially as baby gets bigger.
- Breathability: Carrying a baby gets warm no matter what the outside temperature is. You will want a carrier that breathes as much as it can.
- Adjustability: My body has changed since my baby was an infant until now, so having a carrier that I can adjust to fit comfortably is ideal. Our carrier also adjusts to fit my husband, too.
- Carry Options: I have been able to use this carrier with an infant insert, baby facing me, and now baby facing out. Soon I’ll be able to carry her on my back, too!
- Sun/Rain Hood: This carrier offers a sun/rain cover to protect baby’s face when needed. It just tucks in and out of a zippered pouch.
- Weight: You can carry a baby from newborn up to 45lbs in this carrier.
Once baby is a little bigger, you’re going to want to transition to a backpack carrier. I have my eye on two different options in this department: the Thule Sapling Elite and the Osprey Poco. All offer all of the wonderful features I’ve listed above plus a few more such as:
- Storage: In my option above, there is no storage, thus your hiking partner will have to carry some items for you in their pack, or you can add a pack on top of your carrier straps.
- Weight: Both of these are light weight (around 7.7lbs) and allow you to carry a child up to 48lbs. Note: Baby must be a minimum of 16lbs for most hiking backpack child carriers.
- Kickstand: You can take the pack off and baby can still be sitting inside of it! Perfect if you need a break, but also easy to take on and off by yourself.
- Rain Covers: Rain covers are available for both of these, too!
What To Pack:
To Go Hiking With a Baby
There are a few things that I would consider a must for back country hiking even without a baby in tow. These tips are extra important when you’ve got one with you! Now, if you’re carrying your little one in a traditional carrier, hopefully your hiking partner will be willing to carry some of these items in their day pack for you!
Sunscreen: I recommend applying sunscreen before you leave so you don’t have to carry it with you. I also suggest a mineral based sunscreen like that from SunBum/BabyBum or Drunk Elephant. Both are natural and safe for both mama and baby.
Bug Spray: If you are hiking, especially in the back country, there are going to be bugs. Be sure to protect yourself with something both safe and natural like PiActive. I love it because it is family friendly (safe for children and pets), deet free, and works for mosquitos, black flies and ticks. It is also non-scented so it will not attract unwanted attention from bears.
Bear Deterrent: It is a good idea to pack bear spray and even a bear banger to deter bears should you meet one. So much of Western Canada is bear country, so you want to make sure you’re being safe and smart.
Trekking Poles: I find that trekking poles are a great thing to have when hiking with a little one because they offer much more balance and stability, especially on uncertain terrain. I love sets that are collapsible because they’re easier to store and transport.
Rain Gear: You honestly never know, so be sure to have lightweight rain gear in the bag, if possible.
Water & Snacks: Be sure to pack enough water and snacks for both you and baby. If baby is nursing that’s great and hella convenient, if not, be sure to pack enough formula to keep that little one hydrated.
Diapers: It’s always good to have a couple diapers and some wipes on hand because you never know (and it depends how long you’re hiking for). One of the easiest things to pack everything into is the Skip Hop Pronto as it is a change pad and holds everything you need for changing baby.
Pack this for post-hike: You’re going to want to pack an extra outfit for baby and an extra shirt (and maybe bra) for yourself. I find that both baby and I get quite warm and that means that we both get pretty damp and sweaty. To avoid getting a chill, we both change once we’re back at the car. I recommend a dry pair of socks, too!