Hiking is an incredible way to see the world and it’s something you can still do when traveling with your baby. Whether you are exploring locally or traveling internationally, hiking with a baby is a great way to get outside. With a little practice a little preparation and the right hiking gear, you’ll be able to explore amazing mountain trails and national parks around the world with your baby.
We took our daughter on her first hike at around 6-8 weeks old. I’m not going to lie, the first time hiking with our baby was a disaster. We thought we were well prepared, but Mother Nature had other plans. With our tiny newborn in our Ergo baby carrier, we were so proud to have gotten out on our first hike.
We didn’t make it to our destination. It started to rain, which made us feel like the worst parents in the world hiking with an infant in the rain.
Turns out this wouldn’t be the last time we’d get stuck hiking with a baby in the rain. And I can’t even count how many times we’ve had to turn back before reaching our destination. It’s something that we’ve just come to accept when hiking with babies and toddlers. Turning back early is never easy, but it’s usually the right choice to make for everyone.
Despite that we have persevered and all those struggles early on have paid off in spades. Our kids are now able to hike long distances (for their ages) and we’ve even accomplished our first multi-day hike to the Lost City in Colombia with a 4 and 6 year old.
Hiking with a Baby
- Benefits of Hiking with a Baby
- Tips for Hiking with Baby
- Hiking after having a baby
- Celebrate the wins
- Have a plan and a checklist
- Picking the right time of day for your hike
- Finding baby-friendly hikes
- Dress your baby for hiking
- Finding the best baby carrier for hiking
- Hiking with a stroller
- Feeding baby on the hiking trail
- Changing diapers on the hiking trail
- Have a plan for how to carry baby hiking gear
- Hiking with a baby in the rain
- Winter hiking with a baby
- Essential Baby Hiking Gear
- What About Hiking Gear for Mom
- More FAQS on Hiking with a Baby
- Pin It For Later!
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Benefits of Hiking with a Baby
What are the benefits of hiking with babies? The biggest benefit is that it gets you out of the house. It’s something anyone can do. It’s a perfect outing. Your baby is happy to be snuggled in close to you and you get to experience a small part of your pre-baby life.
Sometimes just the accomplishment of getting out and doing something is what we need as new moms. Hiking in nature will lift your spirits. It will make you feel like you can still get out and do things.
Not to mention the benefits of fresh air for everyone!
Finally, it’s also something that you can do anywhere. Even when traveling internationally with a baby, it’s a great way to experience a new region. And it’s the one place you don’t have to worry about your baby crying!
Tips for Hiking with Baby
Here are our best tips for hiking with a baby:
Hiking after having a baby
I don’t need to tell you that your body has been through A LOT! Give yourself the time to heal before planning your first adventure hiking with your baby.
I know you are anxious to get back out there and do the things you did before having a baby! I felt the same way. I was hiking right up to a couple of weeks before having my first baby. I was just as eager to get back out hiking. It’s just too easy to push yourself too hard, too soon, so give yourself the time you deserve to heal.
I had a c-section with both kids, so we waited until around 6-8 weeks before any hiking. And even then, we started with long walks in our neighborhood followed by easy hikes we were familiar with.
Celebrate the wins
Yes, it’s very likely you won’t get to finish every hike you start. Celebrate anyways. You got out. You were in nature. You all benefited and even if it didn’t go well, you likely learned something for the next hike with your baby. Celebrate all of that!
Have a plan and a checklist
Before having a baby, it was easy to go where the wind took you. You’ll enjoy your day much more if you have a plan. If your baby has a feeding or sleeping schedule, try to plan your day around that. Take into account the time that it will take you to get to and from the hiking trail. You’ll also have to factor in the time on the hike to stop and feed your baby, diaper changes, etc.
More importantly, have a checklist for hiking with a baby. If you can, get as much ready the night before as possible. It’s just too easy to forget essentials when you are trying to get yourself and your baby ready for a hike.
Picking the right time of day for your hike
If your baby will nap on the hike, then this is the perfect time to be on the trail. This works especially well for hiking with a newborn, who might be spending a lot of time sleeping.
We always tried to plan our hikes with a baby so that our baby would be napping on the longest part of the hike. Then plan to stop and feed baby, do a diaper change and continue on.
If our baby wasn’t doing well napping in the baby backpack carrier, we might opt for a shorter hike in between naps.
Finding baby-friendly hikes
For your first hike out with a baby, try something a little more familiar. After that, look into the stats for the hike, like distance and elevation, to make sure it’s something you can do with the extra weight. You’ll probably be hiking a little slower while carrying a baby so take that into account as well.
If you know the hike, you’ll also know if there is a good place to stop and feed your baby on the trail. Depending on the time of year or where you are hiking, you’ll always want to make sure you can hike in the shade to provide some relief from the sun. Especially if you aren’t using sunscreen on a baby under 6 months old.
Need some inspiration? We’ve got just the thing in this list of best hikes with toddlers and babies around the globe and this list of best hikes with a baby or toddler in the USA.
Dress your baby for hiking
Keep your baby happy and comfortable by dressing your baby in layers for hiking. Your baby won’t be moving, so you’ll probably need to put an extra layer on your baby.
You can further protect your baby by using a hiking backpack baby carrier with a good canopy and a rain cover (this will also help protect a bit from the wind). A backpack carrier for babies is especially good on a hike where you’ll be sweating, so you aren’t getting your baby sweaty too.
Finding the best baby carrier for hiking
The age of your baby will determine the best baby carrier for hiking. If you are hiking with an infant, you’ll want a comfortable front carrying baby carrier.
If you’ll be hiking in warmer temperatures, opt for a baby carrier that is breathable with mesh panels.
We often used our Ergo Baby Carrier with the infant insert as our infant hiking carrier.
For older babies, you can look into other options like doing a back carry with your favorite baby carrier. This will make it much easier to hike, since you’ll be able to see the trail a lot easier.
For babies who are able to sit up independently (typically around 6 months), a hiking backpack carrier for babies is one of the best hiking carrier options. These will often have space large enough to carry snacks, diapers, water and all your baby essentials for hiking. It also keeps you and your baby cooler since they aren’t right against you.
Short on time? Shop all the best hiking carrier options in our convenient Amazon List.
Hiking with a stroller
If you prefer to hike with a stroller, it is possible to find stroller friendly hiking trails. Though your options may be limited, with a little research you should be able to find suitable hiking trails for a stroller.
Look for trails that are wide and relatively flat. You’ll also want an all-terrain stroller like this one if you aren’t going on a paved trail.
Feeding baby on the hiking trail
Be prepared for feeding your baby on the trail. If you are breastfeeding, it’s pretty easy to find a comfortable place to stop to feed your baby before continuing on your hike.
For formula fed babies, pack your formula in a measured formula dispenser, a travel bottle warmer and some extra water in a thermos to make your bottles on the go. Be prepared to make a few bottles on the go just in case the hike takes longer than anticipated.
For babies who are starting on solid foods, here are some options for hiking snacks for babies:
- Easy to grasp fruit like cut up blueberries or bananas
- Cooked and cut up vegetables like sweet potato
- Cheerios in a snack cup
- Small pieces of bread without crusts
- Teething wafers or other dissolvable snacks
- Food pouches
Changing diapers on the hiking trail
A portable change mat is a must because it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll be changing your baby on the hiking trail. Make sure to bring plenty of wipes and an extra outfit (or 2) for those blowouts. You’ll also want to pack a wet bag for the dirty clothes or diapers.
Always remember to pack out ALL your garbage.
Have a plan for how to carry baby hiking gear
In addition to your baby, you’ll also be carrying all your baby hiking essentials. If you are hiking with someone else, you can share the load by having the other person carry the diapers, wipes, snacks and other hiking essentials for your baby in their backpack. Otherwise, a hiking backpack carrier with a storage compartment is your best option. They typically even have a spot for a water bladder
If you are front carrying your baby on the hike, you can carry all your hiking essentials in your own backpack.
Hiking with a baby in the rain
Be prepared for the elements. As I mentioned earlier, our first hike with a newborn ended with us being caught unprepared in the rain. If you are hiking with a newborn and need a rain cover, get one of these rain covers for baby carriers.
Once we started to use a backpack carrier, we bought a rain cover and brought it everywhere with us. The rain cover also worked well for extra wind protection.
Winter hiking with a baby
Hiking in the winter with a baby is one of the best outdoor winter activities with a baby. All it takes is a little preparation and the proper winter gear. You’ll want to make sure to check your baby often as your baby will be much colder not moving.
Feeding and diaper changes also get more complicated, as you’ll want to keep your baby warm. We recommend picking the mildest of days for winter hiking with a baby.
See our recommendations for winter gear for babies here.
Essential Baby Hiking Gear
What hiking gear for baby do you really need? Your baby really doesn’t need all that much, as long as your baby is warm, fed and you can do diaper changes on the go. Here are our recommendations for essential baby hiking gear to pack:
- Bug spray
- Rain cover
- Baby carrier or hiking backpack carrier
- Anything necessary for feeding (formula, water & bottles)
- Extra outfit or two
- Diaper change mat
- Diapers & wipes
- Wide brimmed sun hat
- Warm hiking booties
- Warm hat and mitts for cooler days
- Wet/dry bag
- Breastfeeding cover
Everything on this baby hiking essentials list has been included in a convenient Amazon shopping list for you!
What About Hiking Gear for Mom
Plan to bring plenty of snacks for yourself and lots of water. We also recommend using proper hiking boots for extra stability and hiking poles (depending on the hike).
Don’t miss all our Resources for Hiking with a Baby or Toddler. We cover everything from hiking tips to the best carriers for hiking.
More FAQS on Hiking with a Baby
Yes! You absolutely can go hiking with an infant or baby. It will take more preparation and your hikes might be shorter, but this is a great way to get out with your baby.
Most age recommendations for a hiking backpack are when your baby is able to sit upright on their own, which is typically around 6 months old.
You can start hiking with your baby as soon as you are feeling up for it. Start with short hikes near your house and build up from there. Only you know how long your baby will tolerate being in a baby carrier.
It’s best to dress your baby in layers that you can adjust while out hiking. Keep in mind that your baby won’t be moving, so your baby should be dressed warmer than you. Also protect your baby against the elements like rain, wind and sun.
Yes, you can hike with a newborn as young as 2 months old. Hiking with an infant can be very enjoyable as they are happy to be carried and near you, sleeping on and off during the hike. As mentioned previously, try shorter and easier hikes first to gauge how your baby does.
If you are planning on hiking while traveling internationally with a baby, get all our tips for flying with a backpack carrier.
The best hiking carrier for a baby is the one that is most comfortable for you and your baby. If your baby is much more content in a soft structured carrier like an Ergo Baby Carrier or the LILLEBaby Complete Airflow 360° carrier, then use that.
If your baby prefers to sit up and see the world, then a hiking backpack carrier for babies might be better suited. Just make sure your baby meets all the recommended height, weight and milestones before moving to this type of hiking backpack for babies.
All the carriers we recommend plus the other baby hiking essentials can all be found here.