Deuter Kid Comfort vs Thule Sapling vs Osprey Poco Child Carriers – Pick the Right Hiking Child Carrier for You and Your Child

When it came to choosing a baby carrier for hiking, I was drawn to the Deuter Kid Comfort vs Thule Sapling vs Osprey Poco child carriers. Being an avid hiker, living in Switzerland, we recently did the Klontalersee Lake Hike with our daughter. We didn’t regret choosing the Deuter Kid Comfort as our top pick!

Every hiker knows the importance of the right gear and it’s no different when taking your baby with you on a hiking trip. Not only was comfort important for both myself, my partner, and my daughter, but also safety features and weight were important factors to consider.

Buyer’s Guide for Best Child Carrier for Hiking

Buying a baby carrier for hiking and other outdoor activities can be difficult especially with so many products to choose from. I have put together this guide to make your decision easier by ensuring you make the right pick for you and your baby. Before I go on with my review, please remember that hiking can have its dangers and if you are going to take your baby or child with you, be sensible and be prepared for all eventualities that could go wrong. The 3 child carriers I review today are, in my personal opinion, the most premium backpacks (so high quality) you can choose from. The key feature that made these child carriers stick out for me was their lightweight aluminum frame which gave structure for carrying heavier loads (aka your child) and their gear. The other features were ventilation keeping both you, the hiker, and your child cool while adjustable height settings for seating will give your child great views!

What is a Baby Carrier and Why it is Good for Hiking

A baby carrier is used to carry your baby or young child while you are hiking or walking outdoors. It is important to note that the softer type of baby carriers are perfect for when you are carrying your baby around the house or garden. But, as your baby gets older, extra comfort and safety features are important especially when taking long hikes or spending many hours outdoors. Designed to fit on your back like a backpack, it allows you to carry your child with minimum hassles. A good child carrier will also prevent any backaches or aching shoulders, a common complaint from many hikers with ill-fitting equipment. I have spoken about all terrain strollers which can be used for hiking purposes, but if you are looking for ease of use, e.g. to traverse rocky terrain you’ll probably need a child carrier.

The Benefits of Baby Carriers for Hiking and Outdoor Activities

Hiking can be extremely beneficial for the whole family. Consider the following benefits when deciding to purchase a baby carrier for hiking:

  • Even if your baby can’t walk, they can join you on hikes and other outdoor activities. Word of caution: It is advised that babies who can’t hold up their heads without assistance should not be put into a child carrier for hiking purposes.
  • A good baby carrier is designed to keep you and your baby comfortable and safe while you are hiking.
  • When your active toddler gets tired, you can pop them into your baby carrier without halting your hike. The same applies when your toddler or baby wants to sleep. We tried it and she slept very well in the carrier surrounded by fresh air.
  • A baby carrier is useful for those outings to the farmer’s markets or parks. You can keep your baby on your back without worrying about them running off and disappearing into the crowds.

How to Pick the Perfect Baby Carrier for Hiking

As with every choice you make when buying baby gear, you need to consider your own personal requirements as well as the comfort and safety features each baby carrier offers.

  • Adjustable fit for parents: When hiking, a comfortable fit is essential when carrying a child carrier on your back. The Deuter Kid Comfort has a hip belt making load distribution for both parents easy while the Thule Sapling allows for fast and simple fit adjustments. The Osprey Poco also factors in different torso sizes of parents.
  • Storage: We all know how much we need to pack whenever we take the baby out! Zippered compartments on all 3 backpacks guarantee enough storage space with the Deuter Kid Comfort having large external pockets and 2 hip fin zippered compartments. The Osprey Poco has a lowered zippered compartment while the Thule Sapling offers ample storage with one large zippered compartment.
  • Adjustable height settings for child: It’s important that your child enjoys hiking too! The Deuter Kid Comfort includes a height-adjustable seat, giving your child a good view. The Osprey Poco offers adjustable foot stirrups while the Thule Sapling has adjustable height settings for the baby’s seating.
  • Weight: Weight is everything for a hiker and this is no different when it comes to child carriers. While all very similar in weight, the Deuter Kid Comfort weighed in at 7.1 lbs with the Thule Sapling at 7.5 lbs and the Osprey Poco at 7 lbs.
  • Ventilation: Hiking is dirty work and sweating is part of the deal! The Deuter Kid Comfort factored this in offering a back system that allowed for airflow between the back and the child carrier without compromising safety. The Osprey Poco has meshing on its back panel while the Thule Sapling does not specify specific ventilation features.
  • Sunshade: Being outdoors for long periods of time poses the risk of sunburn for both you and your child. While both the Osprey Poco and Thule Sapling have integrated sunroofs, it should be noted that a sun cover accessory could be bought for the Deuter Kid Comfort. And, while we are talking about being outdoors, don’t forget a lip balm to keep your lips moisturized and protected.
  • Pricing: If you are keeping to a strict budget, you can’t go wrong with Osprey Poco being the cheapest option of the three child carriers.

My Top Picks

Product Reviews

Best Overall – Deuter Kid Comfort


With its load and precision fit adjustment features as well as the ventilation back system, this product made our 2-hour Klontalersee Lake Hike do-able and a pleasure . The adjustable height settings for the seat as well as the chin pillow pad ensured that our daughter was comfortable even when she fell asleep as you can see it in the image below. This product comes with cool accessories such as the KC Sun Roof which is easy to attach and to store away when not being used. The KC Rain cover Deluxe will keep your child warm, dry, and comfortable should the weather turn.

Deuter kid comfort child carrier test hike

Who It’s For

It’s the perfect choice for children with a torso length of 15 – 21”.

Why You Should Buy It

I am always on the lookout for safety features and this product’s safety harness feature allowed for safe and easy loading of my daughter into the seat. The other top buying point was the ventilation feature keeping both yourself and your child cool. The shoulder straps are perforated, adding to the ventilation features included.

Product Information

  • Weight: 7.5lbs
  • Storage Pockets: Yes
  • Adjustable seat and foot: Yes
  • Child size/weight: Torso length 15 – 21”/40 lbs

Pros

  • Safety & comfort
  • Adjustable settings for child’s seating and torso of hiker
  • Folding frame for easy transport

Cons

  • Only the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro has an integrated sun cover
  • Does not include a hydration bag
  • Rain cover not included

 

Best for Value – Osprey Poco Child Carrier


A straightforward child carrier, every parent who wants to hike with their child will find this child carrier simple and easy to use. It has a washable drool pad and a lightweight folding aluminum frame. This child carrier offers ample storage, with numerous pockets and zippered compartments. As an accessory, you can purchase the Osprey Poco Rain cover which is exceptionally easy to install and includes side windows for your child to look out of which is a feature I personally love.

Who It’s For

This is best suited for a minimum child weight of 16 lbs going up to 40 lbs (plus 8 lbs for extra gear).

Why You Should Buy It

With its built-in sunshade offering protection against UPF 50+ UV sunlight, you can rest assured that your child will be protected from sunburn. The adjustable and removable foot stirrups guarantee your child’s comfort while sitting in the cockpit. The adjustable torso fit suits a wide range of adults. A bonus feature is the external hydration sleeve which fits up to 1.5L reservoirs.

Product Information

  • Weight: 7lbs
  • Storage Pockets: Yes
  • Adjustable seat and foot: No (seat) Yes (foot)
  • Child size/weight: 40 lbs

Pros

  • Ample storage for baby gear and toys
  • Lightweight foldable frame
  • External hydration sleeve

Cons

  • Seat height is not adjustable
  • Sunshade is not detachable
  • Rain cover not included

 

Best for Dual Access – Thule Sapling


A child carrier that is great for both safety and comfort, the dual access allows the child to be loaded either from the side or the top. A load stabilizer for on-the-go adjustment ensure maximum comfort for the hiker. The Thule Sapling Rain Cover can be purchased as an accessory for the child carrier. Its rollaway front window can be pulled up whenever the rain stops and its durable material keeps the child dry and damp-free.

Who It’s For

It’s best for children who can sit upright without assistance and at least 16 lbs in weight.

Why You Should Buy It

This child carrier offers the best fit all around. From the easily adjustable back panel and hip belt to the plush, height-adjustable seat both you and your child will feel extremely comfortable. The simple fit adjustments make for ease of transition from one parent to the other. With its adjustable back panel and contact points, airflow is maximized between the hiker’s back and the child carrier.

Product Information

  • Weight: 7 lbs
  • Storage Pockets: Yes
  • Adjustable seat and foot: Yes (seat) No (foot)
  • Child size/weight: Maximum 48 lbs (child and gear)

Pros

  • Dual access for both top and side loading
  • Removable stirrups
  • Deployable sunshade

Cons

 

FAQ

Do child carriers include sunshades?

For the most part, yes, all the products reviewed do include sunshades. While the Osprey Poco and the Thule Sapling sun shades are not detachable, the Deuter Kid Comfort is easy to attach and to detach.

Can you take child carriers as a carry-on for airline travel?

It’s always best to check with the airline you are traveling with but most airlines do allow for your child carrier to be taken on board with you.

Conclusion

While I chose the Deuter Kid Comfort as my top pick for hiking with my daughter, it was a difficult choice to make. When it comes down to Deuter Kid Comfort vs Thule Sapling vs Osprey Poco child carriers, the choice between all 3 premium backpacks can make you want to end up buying all of them! In all honesty, the accessories were what finally helped me make my top pick for me and my baby. It’s all about finding the right one that ticks all the boxes for you as a parent AND as a hiker. Comfort, safety, and weight plus the accessories should all be your deciding factors.

Last update on 2020-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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