The Ultimate Parents Guide to Backpacking with a Baby

Backpacking is always fun, especially if you’re ready to spend a weekend getaway with family, far away from civilization.

But, backpacking is decidedly not easy when you have to factor your baby into the formula – diapers, food options, extra bedding, carriers and more.

Backpacking with a baby can be good for the baby, seeing that the baby gets to take a breath of fresh air after being cooped up in the house for too long.

But how does it affect your journey?

Just because you are a parent doesn’t mean that your hiking and backpacking adventures need to come to an end.

With the right amount of planning and quality gear, you can spend a wonderful trip with your little one in the woods and cherish nature together.

Read ahead to know more about how backpacking with a baby works.

Table of Contents

Determining the Right Age of Your Baby For Hiking

People have different ideas on what is the right age at which you can take your baby with you on a backpacking trip. 1-6-month-old babies can be severely cranky when it comes to food and sleep during a hike.

6-14 months is the perfect time when you can consider taking your baby with you in a back carrier.

After this period, backpacking with a baby is considerably easier when you have all the other factors figured out.

Easing into the Idea – Hiking and Trails

If you are already familiar with day-hikes and family backpacking trips, then you’ll be familiar with the routine of packing the gear.

Now though, with a baby, it is important that you take several factors into account before you plan your trip.

You’ll have to decide whether or not you want to stay overnight in a camp and if your baby is ready to travel long distances for a few days.

Local Hike

You might be an avid hiker who loves scaling high altitudes and rough trails, but when you are with a baby, it is important to take it slow.

For the first trip, opt for a trail that you are familiar with – maybe a local Hike or a national park. 

Make sure to know the route well and plan a few rest spots along the way. 

Baby’s comfort with a Carrier

Backpacking with a baby is easy if both you and your partner are present for the hike.

This way, you can shoulder the gear equally and take care of the child without much fuss. 

One can carry the baby carrier while the other can concentrate on navigating the trail with the gear. 

Hard-frame carriers are steady and firm but they tend to be heavy.

On the other hand, soft-structured carriers are the best for babies when they need to sleep and keep them warm.

They might cause some chafing on your shoulder straps but you’ll be able to monitor your baby better with this carrier.

Do you research before departing on your hike and be sure to choose the carrier that keeps both you and your toddler comfortable.

A small trial run

If time permits, try to make a small trial hike without your baby.

This lets you get familiar with rest spots and other important markers during the actual hike. 

Also, you’ll have a chance to make sure your baby is comfortable and gets used to the new environment before the big trip.

Food and Other Complications

While you travel alone or with an adult companion, the complications related to food, stay and other stuff are relatively less.

Now when your baby is a part of this practice, you’ll have to undertake rigorous planning to avoid any mishaps.

The Necessary Gear

Opt for cotton clothes and try to layer up sufficiently.

Sturdy boots or hiking shoes with a pair of comfortable socks are the best footwear option. 

Always carry one or two t-shirts and pants extra, for emergency purposes. 

Add a blanket, a fully-charged phone, a GPS device, and a torch to the ever-growing list.

A small first-aid kit also is highly recommended.

Snacks and Drinks

It is best to get ready with breast milk or formula of the same if you are traveling with babies of 1 to 24 months old. Other than this you’ll be needing several bottles of water and some light food.  


Hiking on a sunny day definitely demands a need for sunscreen. If you are planning on venturing into deep woods, bug-repellent is a must.

Sleeping Arrangements

Figure out the sleeping arrangements for both you and your baby before you begin your trip. Sleeping bags are the best way to go, but make sure to plan it out whichever makes your baby comfortable. Backpacking with a baby becomes tough when it involves an overnight stay, so think in advance about the nuances of this.

Final Words

Sharing what you love with your family and loved ones is a beautiful experience and the same goes for hiking with your baby. Planning meticulously in advance will ensure that all the members of your family who are taking the trip can relax and know that everything is going to be perfectly fine.

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