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Traveling with Kids: Child Carriers

We travel with our kids almost everywhere we go, but there are times that child carriers are better suited to the activity than strollers. It seems like there are so many kinds of carriers out there, which one do you choose? Well, here are the ones we've been pleased with the "field test results" over the last 5 years on our international travels and family vacations.

BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier
Pros: Lightweight, washable, adjustable. Very easy to wear. Four positions of wear (front and back, facing in or out). Compact. There are also separate cold weather accessories that are really cozy. Several color options/styles.

Cons: No pockets. As the child grows, the front options are impractical and the back options get cumbersome.

Verdict: This was our go-to carrier after the girls got too big to carry in the car seat, but were still small enough to fit in one that you could carry them in. Recommended Weight range: 8 to 25 lbs.
Strolling in Germany

ERGO Baby Carrier
Pros: Lightweight, washable, comfortable & adjustable. Three positions of wear (front, back, side). Small zippered pocket built in, and set includes hood & baby insert. Child has direct contact with wearer's back. Several color options/styles.

Cons: Not a lot of space for anything but the kid. If the wearer sweats heavily, the kid gets sweaty...and if the kid sneezes it's all over your back. Somewhat difficult to put on and load the kid in until you get the hang of it.

Verdict: We got this when the kids outgrew the BABYBJÖRN. We've only used it in the front and back positions, but it currently goes with us now on all of our trips. Recommended Weight range: 7* to 45 lbs (*Newborn with Infant Insert)
Day Hiking in Canada

Phil & Teds Escape Baby Carrier
We had an older model of P&T than the model on the left, but you can see a similar style to what we used reviewed below.

Pros: Built like an internal frame backpack, easily carries larger toddlers. Quality materials, cavernous pocket, free-standing. Comfortable for the kids. Waist pocket.

Cons: Bulky and takes up storage space. Also, all standing backpacks can be unstable if the passenger starts to move suddenly.

Verdict: Good for the long haul, but may be overkill for short hikes. Recommended Weight range: 5 to 45 lbs.
Climbing Mayan pyramids in Mexico

Chicco Smart Support Backpack
We never owned this model, but it was similar to our older phil & ted model so I'm using it for illustration.

Pros: Cheap. Let's face it, these packs only serve their purpose until they are out-grown. If you're into hiking and go frequently, you should pay the money and get a good one like these from Kelty or Osprey . If you're going on maybe one or two hikes a year, this would work.

Cons: Bulky. Shoulder straps and hip belt are a little under-padded. For larger/taller folks, the standing backpack leg frames often dig into your hips when under load. This particular model has a really wide base for stability, but that catches on stuff when you're hiking. Also, this doesn't appear to have any pockets to hold diapers, wipes, snacks, hats, water, etc.

Verdict: Budget child carrier that fills a need. Recommended Weight range: 17 to 40 lbs.

I also came across several familiar and useful accessories while pulling together the info on these child carriers. A mirror, hat, bottle strap, and this Nalgene bottle should be on your checklist regardless of which pack you're looking for.
I hope that this review has helped you prepare for your next outdoor adventure with children. Comments are open, so let me know if you've got a favorite to add to the list.
Read more of our product reviews or visit the Passport Stamp Collector Store on Amazon.

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