How to carry one's baby when hiking?

As your family gets bigger, giving up outings in the open air is out of the question, naturally. However, you will have to adapt your behaviour to the new arrival and even when your baby can walk at about the age of 3-4 years, don't expect your child to walk at more than 1 to 2 km/h. A carrying system is therefore essential if you want to continue walking at your own pace.

How to carry one's baby when hiking?

Physiological carrying systems

This is the preferred system for daily carrying and it can be used from day one, given that it respects the baby's physiology and ensures that the carrier is comfortable. The baby is carried in a "sitting/squatting" position with the bodyweight on the buttocks, the knees bent at the level of the navel approximately and with the head nicely positioned in line with its spine.

* The baby sling
As its name suggests, the system involves carrying the baby in a piece of fabric thanks to its specific stretch and durable design that can be tied in different ways.
The sling can be used from birth and has no age limit. It can be used to carry baby on the front or on the back and is extremely comfortable. That said, it does take some getting used to. Please note, the sling keeps you warm and is therefore not very suitable for use in the summer!

* The pre-shaped baby slings
A good compromise between ergonomics and convenience. They are quite compact and generally look like "backpacks" equipped with belts, shoulder straps and buckles. The most recent models also have "light" or ventilated versions that are specially designed for travelling and hiking. Although the "loading" technique takes a bit of getting used to, the installation is quick and the adjustments are intuitive and rapid! Small detail: the "hood" is very practical for supporting the child's head when he or she is sleeping. It weighs between 300 and 600 g depending on the model – and there is the option to store it in a backpack if the child is a good walker.

The rigid carrying system

Most family trekkers are equipped with one. Its main advantage: part-backpack, part-baby carrier, it generally has a loading capacity of 10 to 25 L as well as storage pockets on the sides at the belt and a roof for sun protection. Most of the models are fitted with a stand so that they can be placed on the ground for easy loading. Finally, contrary to baby slings (pre-shaped or not), the back of the carrier and the baby are more "ventilated" because there is no contact between them. This means that the child is more exposed to the ambient conditions.

However, this type of carrying system has certain limitations:
As soon as your child attains the critical weight of 12-15 kg - added to the 3-3.5 kg of the bag excluding any other belongings, the weight becomes relatively uncomfortable.
What's more, it is not suited to children under the age of 12 months because it does not yet support the head and there is a risk of the baby slumping in the baby carrier.
Finally, it is also inadvisable to use it for long journeys because the child is resting on his or her groin and this type of carrying system is not ideally suited to the child's physiology. The foot rests and head rests, which can be purchased separately, can significantly improve the comfort of your child.
Before any purchase, try out various types of carrying system and different models in order to find one that suits you! keep in mind the following essential criteria: your comfort and that of your child.