Guide to backpacking with a baby

By Rebecca Hext
Publish Date:

Just because you started a family does not mean you have to give up your hobbies. Companies such as REI and Osprey have created wonderful packs to hold your child and your gear.

If you are a new mom or dad but still want to get out on the trails, check out our guide to accomplish your first overnight with your new baby!


Before heading out on an overnight with your baby, be sure to test out their outdoor stamina on shorter day hikes. It is important to see how your child does on the trails before you are 6 miles away from the car in the backcountry with a very sad and angry baby.


Hit up some of your local trails, anywhere from 2-4 miles, to see how it goes. It is important to mimic the same scenario that you would encounter on an overnight. So, be sure to strap them in and dress them the same way you would need to for a longer trip.


Front packs are recommended for younger/smaller children, so be sure to talk with a staff member when shopping for a pack

Gear For Adults:

The main item you will need is a pack that holds your baby and some gear. There are tons of options online, but I would recommend heading to your nearest outdoor store to get an in-person look. At stores such as REI, talking with staff is extremely helpful in making sure you get the correct pack for you and your baby that works with your travel plans.

Be sure to ask questions, test the pack loaded up, make sure it fits correctly for both of you before purchasing.

Other than the backpack, make sure you add a couple of items to your first aid kit for your new hiking partner. Baby Benadryl, hydrocortisone cream, and liquid pain relievers are a great starter pack. Baby friendly sunscreen is also a must no matter what the weather entails.

Gear For Your Baby:

This may be the most fun part of your preparation, buying your kiddo some gear! Floppy hats to protect face and shoulders is highly recommended. Likewise, sunscreen and bug repellent (for 6-months or older) are important items to create a safe and calm trip.


Dressing your baby up in long pants, long sleeves and socks are important. You want to protect his/her precious skin from the elements. Have your baby sleep in an expander bag to keep warm, or a double bag between you and your partner. It may take some getting used to, but your baby will need the extra body heat to sleep well.


Setting up a comfortable sleeping situation for you kid is imperative to a successful trip

Where To Go:

Avoid heading out in areas that are very hot or very cold. You want to ease your baby into backpacking, not throw them in the deep end. I would recommend doing a trail you have already done before to avoid the potential stressor of getting lost.

Additionally, start with a one-night overnight (no more than five miles) in case you need to head back early.


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