Here we tell you everything you need to know about back carriers for your baby, and six of the best back carriers to choose from.
Whether you want to climb hills or just keep your hands free on the high street, a back carrier lets you leave your baby’s buggy behind.
A back carrier is similar to a rucksack, but it has a seat where your baby or toddler sits. As well as two shoulder straps, there’s a belt that goes around your waist to spread his weight onto your hips, easing the burden on your back.
>> SIX OF THE BEST BACK CARRIERS REVIEWED
Why buy a back carrier?
It means you can carry your little one easily, and leave the pushchair at home, which is really useful if you’re heading to a place where the terrain is unsuitable for wheels, or there will be so many people that manoeuvring a buggy becomes difficult.
Many parents also find them good for holidays, as they’re more practical for airports or sightseeing. They’re also handy for public transport.
How old does a baby need to be to use a back carrier?
Back carriers are typically for use from six months of age, when he can sit up sufficiently well, to three years, when he’ll get too heavy.
How often will I use a back carrier?
There’s a real balance to be struck between how comfortable the carrier is for you and your youngster, and how bulky it is.
Those with more features might be great for longer hikes or if you want to carry your youngster for more than a few hours at a festival, but their dimensions can make them a big piece of kit to store. If you’re only going to be using it to pop to the shops, or take on holiday, a more compact model might be better for you.
Be sure to consider the weight…
Another consideration is the weight of the carrier. You might think that all those extra features are great, but they all add weight to the carrier, on top of the load of your increasingly heavy toddler.
So, think carefully about what features you really want, and whether they’re worth the extra weight.
Where will I use a back carrier?
Some carriers stick out further behind you than others. If you’ll be using the carrier on peaceful countryside tracks, then this isn’t a problem and you may appreciate the extra storage it gives you.
But if you’ll use it mainly in crowded shops, then a more slimline design means you won’t knock anything – or anyone – over when you turn around!
Test it out in the shop
If you speak to parents of older children, the biggest reason they didn’t get their money’s worth from a carrier was because it proved too tricky to get their child into it, and then lift them on to and off their back.
So, this is a piece of baby gear that’s worth trying out, to make sure it suits your needs.
Will my partner and I both use it?
Some carriers are more adjustable than others, so if you and your partner are different heights and/or builds, then you’ll need one that adapts easily to fit you both.
If you’re likely to switch wearer frequently, for example mid-walk, then you’ll want straps that you can adjust without getting your youngster out of the carrier.
Six of the best back carriers
LittleLife’s Ranger Baby Carrier is so light it’s ridiculous! It pops on and off easily and is robust as well as comfortable – for both wearer and child. The baby carrieradjusts easily and the inclusion of a front bumper dribble pad is ingenious – even better is that it can be removed and washed.
>> READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE LITTLELIFE RANGER
Deuter Kid Comfort II
It’s especially easy to pop your little one in and out of this carrier. There’s good head support and all the testers remarked on the soft chin-pad.
>> READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE DEUTER KID COMFORT II
This has an easy-to-fold frame and four height adjustments on the parent harness. The baby harness has padded shoulder straps and a soft, mesh headrest.
>> READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE CHICCO FINDER
A lightweight option that’s really compact when folded. We like the bottle-holders and pockets, and love the detachable backpack for little ones to wear when walking.
>> READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE PHIL&TEDS PARADE
Thule Sapling Elite
With a fully adjustable back panel and hip-belt, this is versatile – you can load your child from the front or side. There is a nifty reservoir you can fill with water, and a small removable backpack. We like the child-viewing mirror and the easily-accessible storage pockets.
>> READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE THULE SAPLING ELITE
Osprey 4 Poco AG Plus
We like the integrated sunshade and rain cover of the Osprey 4 Poco AG Plus Baby Carrier, and the adjustable foot stirrups are an excellent additional feature.
>> READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE OSPREY 4 POCO AG PLUS
>> VIEW MORE BACK CARRIERS, BABY CARRIERS, AND SLING REVIEWS