Best Frame Backpack Baby and Child Carriers

Another category of carriers are the frame pack backpack carriers.  These packs are made for heavy duty hiking or even backpacking.  The more compact version have an internal frame, most don’t have a kickstand for easy loading and unloading of your child, but are less bulky and great for traveling.  Many of these carriers come with small day backs that can be removed or attached as well as pockets you can fit a hydration system into.  All only allow you to carry your child on your back.  These backpack child carriers have a cockpit that your child sits in that has adjustable straps to ensure that your child is comforatble and secure.

Internal Frame Baby Carrier Backpacks

Back only carriers are the newest to the market of baby carriers.  They are basically a simple version of hiking backpack carrier with the frame.

  • The 5 point harness on most of these back only carriers keep an older child safely on the back and allow the child to sit slightly away from the back of the adult to increase air flow.
  • The nicely padded shoulder and hip straps provide more comfort especially when carry a child for long distances
  • The lack of an external frame makes these backpack carriers less heavy
  • Most of these backpack carriers have an added day pack for carrying additional supplies long with you on you back and still remain hands free.
  • When child carrier is not in use, it zips into the backpack neatly and you can use the backpack as a day pack.
  • Easy to transfer a child from one adult to another
  • Easy to get your child into a back carry position without help



  • Most of these back only carriers do not have a kick stand, making it hard to get a child on your back without the help of another adult
  • Unlike a frame pack, these backpacks don’t offer much additional storage, so they can’t be used for overnight backpacking trips.
  • A lot of straps and snaps to secure your child
  • Not so comfortable for a taking a nap on the go



Best child carrier for:

Day Hikes with a heavier child
Long Day Out at a theme park
Traveling to a place with Hot and humid weather


External Frame Baby Carrier Backpacks




  • The biggest plus of a frame back is that you can very safely get a child onto your back without any help.  These carriers can stand up independently when loading and unloading your child.  As a result, they are more bulky than all the other carriers.  If you’re traveling solo with a child, who you plan on carrying mostly on your back, this is the way to go.
  • There are lots of straps to secure your child safely in place and to adjust the distribution of weight on your back for a comfortable fit.  Furthermore it allows you to carry both a child and your day back on your back at the same time leaving both hands truly hands free.
  • With most frame backs, your child will be sitting above your shoulder line that offers your child a high vantage point that most kids enjoy.
  • In hot humid weather, a frame carrier is probably the most comfortable option because your sweaty bodies are not directly against each other.  At the same time, in very cold weather where your child and yourself are both wearing bulky jackets, the frame carrier allows everyone enough space to fit comfortably.
  • Many have a drool pad that provides some support for a sleeping child



  • It’s bulky – there’s no getting away from this.  A frame carrier makes it hard for you to squeeze into crowded spaces and will most definitely not fit in a diaper bag.
  • Our REI Piggyback weights about 5-6 lbs, so it does add to the load.  If you’re planning to visit a large city and your child is going to be in and out of their child carrier, it is a lot of additional weight to carry around and the straps can be rather cumbersome to deal with.



  • Deuter Kid Comfort ($220-280): Quick adjust suspension seat.  3D air mesh lining keeps your back cool. Pockets do not detach. Compatitable with hydration systems.
  • Sherpani Backcountry Baby Backpack ($230): Only fram back that can be adjusted while you are wearing it.  Includes a suspension system.  Removable kids day pack and can carry up to 70lbs.  Removable kid day pack.
  • Kelty FC Baby Backpacks ($150-250):  Streamlined design, some have daypack that detaches, auto deploy kick stand, 5 point safety harness.
  • Osprey Poco ($211-$244) – spacious storage and built in sun screen that folds away when not in use. Premium version has a detachable day pack.
  • Chicco Smart Support Baby Backpack ($90):  Another lighter weight option without additional compartments, but has a sun and rain screen as well as kick stand.  The least expensive of it’s kind in the market.
  • Kokopax Classic Carrier ($150): A basic frame child carrier without any compartments for additional “cargo”. Padded waist support and kick stand so you can put a child on your back easily.


Best Baby/Child Carrier for:
Overnight Backpacking Trips
Solo travel with heavy child who has trouble walking long distances


“Note: This article contains affiliate amazon links.”




LiLing Pang is a contributing author on Trekaroo – a reviews site dedicated to exploring and traveling with kids.

Travel with kids to: CA | CO | DC | FL | HI | IL | MA | NC | NY | PA | TN | TX | VA | WA

updated: May 01 2012 by LiLing Pang

at 05/25/2010 05:10AM 00tedsgirl wrote:
Kelty also makes a line of internal frame back carriers that are less bulky than external frames. I know a few other brands make them as well. We love ours since it is easy for us to exchange who is carrying our 30 lb toddler and he is happy to ride in it. I also love that I don’t need to carry another bag or purse with it like a front/back carrier.
About the author

LiLing Pang is Co-founder and CEO of Trekaroo . She is a mom to two boys and a girl (13, 11, and 3) currently traveling through Central America. Together with her husband, Brennan Pang, they hatched the idea of Trekaroo one summer day along the California coast while searching for the best kid-friendly tide pool near La Jolla with their curious 2.5 year old.

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