We love to hike, so as soon as we found out we were expecting, we knew we had to prepare for hiking with our baby. We were interested in finding the best carrier for hiking with a baby that was specifically geared for outdoor activities, with some storage, and comfortable for parents logging 6+ miles. We wanted to ensure we had a quality product that could grow with our child and be used with the next as our family grows.
We did an internet search and quickly found the Deuter Kid Comfort Active Child Carrier. After almost a year of use and over 100 miles, the Deuter Kid Comfort Active Carrier has exceeded our expectations and proved very versatile beyond its initial purpose as a hiking carrier. We would definitely consider it to be one of the best hiking backpack carriers available.
In this article we’ll share all the best things about this hiking child carrier, what we love and what best features to look for.
Why You Can Trust This Deuter Kid Comfort Hiking Carrier Review
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Deuter Kid Comfort Active Review – Table of Contents
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Using the Deuter Kid Comfort Active
We have been using the Deuter kid carrier since our little guy was six months old and are still going strong with a nearly 18-month-old. We waited until our son was six months old to start using the carrier to make sure he was strong enough to sit up on his own, support his own head and comfortably nap in the seated position.
We love the versatility of the carrier and have traveled with it both domestically and even flown internationally with our hiking carrier. A big selling point for the carrier is having it replace a stroller on trips. When flying with the Deuter, we gate check the carrier at the airport like we would a stroller and have never had any issues. We have also used the Deuter as a carry-on as it collapses flat and can fit in the overhead compartment, though it doesn’t meet strict carry-on size restrictions.
We have put the most miles on the Deuter kid carrier while hiking with our baby. We have used the carrier at multiple National Parks, including Joshua Tree National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park in Montana was a true test of its durability with an 8-month-old. We averaged 9 miles of hiking a day on trails like Iceberg Lake and Hidden Lake Overlook.
We had our concerns planning our trip to Glacier National Park with a baby. Would our baby nap in the Deuter Kid Comfort Active? Will we be comfortable having him on our back all day? Will our little one get antsy after a few days in it? Thankfully, we had no issues.
Our little guy napped every day in Deuter just fine… it appears to be quite good at lulling to sleep being slightly bounced for hours. Our legs were sore from the elevation, but our back and shoulders felt good with the carrier due to the thick shoulder straps and adjustable waist strap to distribute the weight. Each morning, our little guy was ready to be strapped in again for a new adventure.
We took the Deuter Kid carrier to New Zealand for three weeks of hiking with a toddler. Our new concerns were focused on the growing weight in the backpack and having a rambunctious child who likes to run around. We were grateful once again that the Deuter served its purpose. We hiked a 12-miler, 10-miler, and 8-miler with little disruptions. Continuous hiking seems to keep our little guy entertained for 6+ hour hikes, especially being seated slightly higher than us and getting to look around, and he has only grown fussy when we are stopped.
Even as a toddler, he continues to nap well in the Deuter about halfway through our hikes. Our toddler is just under 25 lbs and we have started packing the Deuter with more supplies like snacks, water, extra layers, etc. which is a notable weight difference from just carrying a baby but still very doable.
We experienced varying weather on the trip but felt the Deuter Kid Comfort Active withstood the test. We hiked Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a 12-mile trail with 3,200’ elevation gain with wind and some rain at the higher altitudes.
We were thankful to have the Deuter kid carrier accessories: the sunshade and rain cover. The rain cover acts as both a windbreaker and rain poncho to protect from inclement weather. Through our three-week trip, we loved how convenient it was to strap in a toddler and start a day of hiking.
Deuter Kid Comfort Active Hiking Carrier Specs
What we like most about the Deuter Kid Comfort Active Carrier is its lightweight frame and user-friendliness. The Deuter carrier weighs 5lbs 14oz and holds up to 48lbs, which is close to other child backpack carrier alternatives we’ve researched.
There are three storage areas on this carrier: a back pouch, a large drawstring pocket on the bottom and a zippered pocket on the waist strap – great for holding your keys or wallet. It comes in two colors: blue and teal. There is also a women’s version available suited for a shorter torso. The carrier is 28 x 17 x 13 inches and is easily collapsible.
The strapping in system on the carrier is great for speed and security. The Deuter Kid Comfort Active has the option for a top or side entrance/exit on the carrier. The side entry allows you to completely open one side of the carrier by just unbuckling a single buckle. We usually set our child in from the side when setting up and help him get out from the top.
Once settled in the seat, there is a chest harness and two waist clips, all of which are easy to adjust for a snug fit. On the back there is a collapsible ‘kickstand’. This is great for balance and allows you to easily strap in a child without needing to hold up the carrier. The frame is a little bit wide on the carrier, so we have to be cognizant when in crowds or stores not to knock anything over.
For parents, the shoulder and waist straps are adjustable to help distribute weight appropriately. The Vari Quick system allows you to adjust the height of the shoulder straps to accommodate different torso lengths and adjust how high the weight sits on your shoulders. It’s easy to set-up and operate alone with a top handle to help swing the backpack over your shoulder.
All accessories are sold separately which include the sunshade and rain cover (the rain cover requires the sunshade to work properly). We have gone on plenty of sunny hikes without the sunshade but have found it to be a good investment to purchase both of these accessories to be prepared for sun, rain, or wind.
The carrier has a detachable washable chin pad but there is an additional chin pad for purchase for extra napping comfort.
Comparing the Deuter Kid Comfort Active Child Carrier
There are three main brands that stand out for their active carriers: Deuter, Osprey, and Kelty. Each brand offers high quality hiking carriers with a few different models differing slightly in price and specific features.
Deuter offers multiple child carrier models: the Kid Comfort ($$), the Kid Comfort Pro ($$$), Kid Comfort Venture ($), and the Kid Comfort Active ($) which we have. The Venture is toted as a ‘value-driven’ model. Compared to the Deuter Kid Active, it lacks a chin pad, provides less storage and does not allow for side entry.
The standard Deuter Kid Comfort is slightly heavier at 7 lbs and bigger than the Active model but can carry additional weight up to 52 lbs. Additionally, it provides a zippered bottom pocket, includes the sunshade, and is compatible with a hydration bladder.
The Kid Comfort Pro is the heaviest but also has the most features. It has a taller back to provide more child support though this may be a drawback for packing and travel purposes. In addition to the features of the Kid Comfort, the Pro model comes with an attachable daypack for more storage, dedicated pocket for a hydration bladder, and integrated sunshade rather than a separate accessory.
We prefer the Deuter Kid Comfort Active because it has the features, we need but is leaner and lighter than the others. Overall, these models are very similar in size and design, the decision will come down to preference for specific features and budget.
Osprey offers the Poco($$), Poco LT($), and Poco Plus child($$$) carriers ranging from $300 to $395. These carriers can support the same weight as the Deuter carriers and have similar dimensions. Similar to the Deuter carriers, the Osprey has padded shoulder straps, waist strap, kickstand, and child seat.
The Osprey Poco offers an integrated sunshade, rain cover, hydration bladder compartment, toys loops, drool pad, and zippered storage. Tradeoff between models is primarily between lighter weight with the LT or more features for parent and child with the Pro. Overall, the Osprey Poco is very highly rated and offers a few more features than the Deuter.
Kelty offers three PerfectFit models include the Kelty PerfectFit ($), PerfectFit Signature ($$), and PerfectFit Elite ($$$). The Kelty design differs from Osprey and Deuter where the storage is top loaded on the back. Kelty has the same weight limit and similar dimensions as the Deuter but is slightly heavier.
The PerfectFit does not have a sunshade included, is not hydration bladder compatible, and has less storage than the other models. The Signature and Elite both include sunshades. However, the Elite has more grab handles, is compatible with hydration bladders, though heavier. The Kelty models are also highly rated for kid and parent comfortability.
All of these models offer very similar capabilities and have positive reviews from users. Ultimately, it comes down to specific features you may be looking for to cater to yourself or your child on the trails as well as your budget.
Note– there are other hiking carriers that are less expensive. However, there is a sacrifice to comfort, functionality, and features which is why we researched the other carriers above.
What we Love About the Deuter Kid Comfort Active (Pros)
Overall, we love the Deuter for its ability to carry our child long distances, through multiple terrains and cities, all while providing a comfortable experience for the parent and child. Our main interest in a child carrier was to be able to share our love for hiking with our child. This included all day hiking, rain or shine hikes, and through difficult terrain – we’ve been able to do that and more with the Deuter Kid Comfort Active carrier.
We love knowing our little guy is safe, comfortable, and can handle the conditions. The seat design and strapping system are a big factor in safety and child comfort plus they are very easy to use. The frame kickstand provides a good balance for strapping in or getting out so our little guy doesn’t topple over.
Once we are up and moving, we have a happy little guy looking around with a prime view from the top and eventually a little napper leaning on the chin pad.
In terms of weather, we have had no issues with overheating in the sun due to the mesh design and can usually keep him pretty covered with the sunshade accessory. The rain cover is a good idea to purchase if you anticipate any hikes in rain, snow, or wind.
As a parent, we value a carrier that has multiple uses and is comfortable and usable for us to use as well. We appreciate the three storage spaces allowing the Deuter to also act as a diaper bag on hikes, hold snacks/water, and additional layers.
In terms of support, the shoulder straps have a nice cushion to prevent digging in and the waist strap is easily adjustable to transfer weight for better ergonomics.
The Deuter Kid Comfort Active carrier is one of the lightest models which helps offset the new weight. Almost a year into using this carrier, the Deuter has become our favorite companion while traveling and allows us to be on the go with our little guy easily.
What Could be Improved on the Deuter Kid Comfort Active (Cons)
Now that we have used the Deuter Kid Comfort Active carrier for hiking with a baby and for hiking with a toddler, we feel there could be a few enhancements to improve functionality and make for an easier hike day. Ideally, we would like the sunshade and rain cover included as this was an additional $70 for these accessories.
The sunshade is a detractor as it only provides decent protection for your child from the back and does not cover the legs. However, the rain cover works well but does require the sunshade for set-up.
Our child sleeps very well in the Deuter but is usually sleeping lopsided with his head off to the side of the chin pad. Other carriers offer a thicker chin pad or one with buffers which would help rectify the situation. Additionally, we have noticed then when hiking rocky terrain or steps, there is a bounce not enough to shift him in the seat but does create a little turbulence for napping.
The Deuter Kid Comfort Active carrier does lack some nice to have features. We would favor the zippered storage in lieu of a drawstring to better protect items. Now that we have a toddler, I wish the carrier had a snack or drink holder to allow him to eat or drink on his own while on the trail. A workaround is to attach a toddler snack cup to the carrier with links, a key piece of toddler hiking gear!
Additionally, we would love to have hydration bladder capability. Ultimately, we are very happy with the carrier we have and in the long run would take the lightweight product over additional features.
Final Thoughts on the Deuter Kid Comfort Active Hiking Carrier
If hiking or walking is a passion for you – we highly recommend the Deuter Kid Comfort Active Carrier and can attest to its ability to travel well domestically and internationally for outdoor trips. Deciding between a Deuter vs. a competitor is a difficult decision as each model is designed very similarly, with almost identical features, and high ratings. We ultimately decided on the Deuter as we had other friends recommending this product, and liked its available features, price and quality.
If you decide to get the Deuter Kid Comfort Active, welcome to the club! To get familiarized with this carrier we watched a few online tutorial videos to ensure we mastered the strapping system and clipping in the accessories properly. It only took a few times before becoming second nature and now feel like professionals especially getting our little guy quickly in and out at airport security. If you are interested in longer or frequent treks, we recommend starting young and with shorter hikes for your little one.
Our final bit of advice – beware the Deuter child carrier does solicit many comments. Be prepared to hear “that’s the best seat in the house”, “can you carry me up the mountain in that”, “mom’s doing all the hard work”, etc.
All joking aside, we’re so glad we bought the Deuter Kid Comfort Active carrier to share our love of the outdoors with our little guy and would never be able to experience these adventures without it!