Child carriers that carry the child in front of you are designed to hold a smaller child. These are designed specifically for the baby who hasn't developed control of her head yet. Until your child is able to hold her head upright for extended periods of time, using a child carrier backpack is not recommended.
Front carriers are designed for children usually six months old and younger. The carrier is simple in design, with the child being supported against your chest. Most of these carriers are relatively basic with a sling-like design and don't have the bells and whistles of their backpack-carrying cousins. Front child carriers are relatively inexpensive, ranging in price from $25 to $60. You should be able to find one at your local outdoors store or online through an outdoor outfitter or an auction site.
Child Carrier Backpacks
Child carrier backpacks are specifically designed for the older child who has complete head control, but can't complete a long hike. These backpack carriers are designed for children aged six months to five years old and can usually carry up to 70 pounds. Depending on the brand, features and style, these backpack carriers can range in price from $75 to several hundred dollars.
Child carrier backpacks come in a vast array of styles. You can choose from the basic frame with an attached seat to those specifically designed for long or overnight hikes. These packs have extra storage compartments for diapers, clothes, food and bottles. If your journey will be long, you might want to invest in a backpack carrier that has a changing pad. If not included, you might want to also invest in a rain/sun hood, so you'll be prepared for changes in the weather. As with the front carriers, you'll be able to find backpack carriers at local outdoors stores or online through the various outfitter stores or auction sites.
Considerations When Buying a Child Carrier
There are things you'll want to take into consideration when buying a child carrier. The age of the child will determine whether a front or back carrier is best to use on your hike. You'll also need to consider the weight capacity of the backpack and the weight of the backpack itself. Remember, you'll be the one having to carry everything. Some backpack carriers come with seats you can adjust as the child gets bigger.
It's also important to choose a carrier that meets your height and torso length requirements. Make sure to read all the manufacturer's specifications for a particular carrier before buying. If you won't be hiking for long periods of time or backpacking, you probably won't need a more rugged and expensive carrier. But if you are an avid backpacker and hiker, you'll probably want to invest in a more expensive carrier that has the extra features for the trail.