The best baby backpack carriers

The top carrier backpacks for babies and toddlers, tried and tested by expert mum and dad reviewers, great once babies can sit up unaided and ideal alternatives to buggies while out walking outdoors

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1. Little Life Adventurer Carrier, £119.99

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2. Thule Sapling Elite Carrier, £259.99

3. Bushbaby Premier Back Carrier, £170

4. Phil &Ted’s Escape Carrier, £179

5. Osprey Poco Premium Carrier, £300

6. Deuter Kid Comfort Air Carrier, £165

7. Little Life Voyager S4 Carrier, £209.99

8. Phil & Ted’s Parade Carrier, £99

What is a baby back carrier?

If you imagine a rucksack with your baby sitting in a special seat, harnessed into the top looking out over your head facing the same direction as you, you’ve got a rough idea of how a back carrier looks.

It may sound obvious, but back carriers can only be worn on your back, making them different from normal baby carriers, baby slings or wraps which often have multiple seating positions (front, hip, back) and are often suitable from birth.

When can I use a back carrier with my baby?

Back carriers are suitable for babies who can sit up and support themselves – generally you’ll see them labelled as being okay for use from 6 months. A back carrier can last until your child’s 4 or 5 – if your back can withstand it!

Why would I use a back carrier with my child?

They are great alternatives to pushchairs, back carriers are probably the easiest way physically to carry an older baby or toddler and ideal if you’re going on long walks or hikes.

How much do back carriers weigh?

Unlike carriers suitable from birth, back carriers are notably more weighty, that’s because typically they are structured, consisting of tougher fabrics and sometimes have a metal frame.

That’s why we’ve made sure we’ve added information on how much these carriers weigh, as an extra kilo or two can make a difference when carrying a child on your back.

Many back carriers have freestanding legs (like a portable chair), so you can load your baby into it while it’s on the ground, then hoist him up onto your back within the carrier. Look for adjustable straps that fit round your hips to balance his weight.

Back carriers are useful for more serious walking or hiking, and you can often purchase useful rain and sun protectors.

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1. Little Life Adventurer Carrier, £119.99

Age suitability: 6 months to 3 years (7kg – 15kg)

Weight: 1.9kg

Founded by keen traveller Mark Cobham in the 1980s following an accident while trekking in Zanzibar, Cobham realised there was a gap in the market for specialised travel first aid kits – and LifeSystems was born.

The Little Life Adventurer has a ‘pick up and go’ feature,, which means it’s intended to make a quick job of strapping children in and putting on your back without much preparation. With the Adventurer you just open out the kick stand with your foot, stand it on the floor, add child and swing it on.

There are handy pockets in the sides of the carrier to store a wallet, phone etc and a surprisingly large amount of storage under the seat, in the space behind the kick stand, in which you can store two spares nappies and a pack of wipes if needed.

Our MadeForMums reviewer calls the Adventurer carrier a ‘well designed, durable and lightweight carrier that will be useful in any situation where you need to take your baby out of the house. Good value for money. Highly recommended.’

You can read the full review of the Little Life Adventurer carrier here

Available to buy on the Little Life website.

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2. Thule Sapling Elite Carrier, £259.99

Age suitability: 6 months to 5-6 years (7kg – 22kg)

Weight: 3.3kg

Thule is a name more familiar to most of us for their range of automotive carriages, storage products; roof bars, roof boxes, cycle carriers and the like.

But that type of fixing, securing and strapping know-how has plenty of other applications, and carrying that most precious cargo of all – children – was a logical move for the company. Hence the Thule Sapling Elite – a back carrier that is suitable from 7kg (6 months) to a massive 22kg (5 years).

It comes complete with a fully adjustable back panel and hip belt, child viewing mirror, removable backpack and roomy hip belt pockets, mesh pockets, hydration reservoir sleeve, load stabiliser straps, sunshade, dual access and removable stirrups – phew, that’s a lot.

Our MFM mum loved it and gave the carrier 4.5 stars out of 5 in the review

You can buy the Thule Sapling Elite carrier at Amazon.

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3. Bushbaby Premier Back Carrier, £170

Age suitability: 6 months to 4-5 years (7kg – 20kg)

Weight: 2.5kg

The Bushbaby Premier Back Carrier lets you carry your child on your back from 6 months to 4 years.

The back carrier can pack down flat for travel, is adjustable for different adult heights and distributes the weight of your growing tot well.

Suitable for parents of varying heights, it has an adult height range of 5ft to over 6.4ft.

Our MFM mum tester was impressed with the ‘quality materials, comfort and safety,’ and called it ‘an ideal buy’.

Read the full Bushbaby Premier Back Carrier review

You can buy the Bushbaby Premier Back Carrier at Absolute Snow.

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4. Phil &Ted’s Escape Carrier, £179

Age suitability: 6 months to 4 years (7kg – 18kg)

Weight: 3kg

If ever there was a company synonymous with parenting and the great outdoors, it’s Phil & Ted’s.

The all-terrain specialist has a few back carriers in its collection, but we love the Escape because of its compact exo-skeletal structure, rugged non-rip materials, self-sprung quick-fold base, and lots of storage spaces.

We also really like the breathable fabrics, child ‘stirrups’, child hood and rain visor, adjustable padded child shoulder harness and adjustable child’s buckle for a secure fit.

You can check out the full Escape review here

The Escape carrier is available to buy from Phil&Ted’s, KIDLY, or Mothercare

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5. Osprey Poco Premium Carrier, £300

Age suitability: 6 months to 5-6 years (7kg – 22kg)

Weight: 3.7kg

The Osprey Poco Premium Carrier is an impressively light and easy-to-use back carrier. It’s quick and easy to adjust and has a cleverly designed sunshade that just slides out of pocket on the back and buckles into place.

It also has a ‘drool pad’, which is great when baby dribbles or pukes a little bit in the seat, as instead of having to wash the whole carrier, you can just remove the little pad, clean it and pop it back on.

There’s even a built-in changing mat, a slot for a ‘camel’ style water bag for long hikes, and a very cute little toy attachment.

Here’s the full Osprey Poco review

You can buy this carrier at Osprey and Trekitt

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6. Deuter Kid Comfort Air Carrier, £165

Age suitability: 6 months to 3 years (7kg – 15kg)

Weight: 2.8kg

Featuring a lightweight steel frame, the Comfort Air carrier has a 5-point harness for strapping kids in the carrier.

The Comfort Air also has an adjustable footrest, loads of pockets for storage and a removable chin pad for when little ones fall asleep.

Available from Outdoor GB

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7. Little Life Voyager S4 Carrier, £209.99

Age suitability: 9 months to 4-5 years (7kg – 20kg)

Weight: 3.2kg

Described by our reviewer as a ‘super comfortable carrier’ with bags of storage, a thermal bottle pocket and built-in pull-up sunscreen.

The Voyager S4 stands at the top end of the Little Life range and looks more like a rucksack than most carriers, with no external bars and a cheerful bright colour scheme.

It has a detachable backpack and mirror, which is tied to the hip belt and is very useful, so you can hold it up to see your child’s face.

Read more about the Voyager S4 carrier here.

Available to buy at John Lewis or Amazon

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8. Phil & Ted’s Parade Carrier, £99

Age suitability: 6 months to 4-5 years (4kg -18kg)

Weight: 3.2kg

A really affordable back carrier, the Parade is lightweight and super comfortable for both babies and parents.  Great if you’re on a country trek or city stroll, it folds compactly but still has storage compartments a plenty!

Our MadeForMums reviewer calls it ‘perfect for day trips and competitively priced’, while being suitable from 6 months to 18kg (around 4 years).

You can read the full review of the Parade carrier here.

Available from: Precious Little One

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MadeForMums product reviews are independent, honest and provide advice you can have confidence in. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links. However we never allow this to influence our coverage. Our reviews and articles are written by parents who are professional journalists, and we also include feedback from our parent community and industry experts.

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