This review was hard for me because I am an avid baby wearer and want all the carriers with equal fervor. Each of these carriers has an outstanding quality that makes it one of the best carriers around. Whether you are looking for a carrier for piggyback, shoulder, hiking or day-to-day, you will find it here.  

Dada Airflow 360 Ergonomic Baby Carrier with Hipseat for Infants and Toddler

The Dada Airflow 360 Ergonomic Baby Carrier with Hipseat is super comfortable to wear. I needed to mow the lawn, so I threw it on and put my son in a front facing position (the only way he will let me put him in carriers anymore). I don’t know what provoked me to mow at high noon with 80-degree weather, but I did. I worried he or I would get overheated, but the breathable 3D mesh material kept us cool.  I wore him for about an hour and barely knew he was there. The hip seat and the carrier’s H-shaped shoulder straps helped take pressure off my back and shoulders and kept my son relaxed with an ergonomic seat—to help avoid hip dysplasia. I could wear the DaDa all day.

Besides comfort, I really like the uniqueness of the DaDa. Like with most carriers, the baby can be worn in a backpack or front carry, but unlike most you can use the hip seat as a standalone. The hip seat helps distribute your toddlers weight, relieving pressure from your back, hips and spine. While wearing the seat, you can have the child use it as a stool to stand (with hand support), or to sit facing inward or outward against your hip, or babies can be laid flat against it for nursing or rest. Altogether that is seven different positions the DaDa can be used for. This is great for babies 4-36 months or 7.7-44 pounds.

Best For Baby Carrier + Hipseat:
Best Low Cost Baby Carrier:
Evenflo breathable carrier

If you are looking for a fashionable, affordable, basic infant carrier, then this is for you. The Evenflo has two carrying positions—baby facing in or out (outward once able to hold head and neck unassisted).  It has padded crossover backstraps to wear your baby comfortably. And best of all, the Evenflo is machine washable. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to wash my carrier—babies are gross. There is a removable bib to help with all the drooling, so you might not have to wash it near as much as I have had to with other carriers that don’t include bibs.

The carrier is made to keep baby cozy. There are mesh panels to keep baby from getting too hot, and extra padding in the head support and leg hole areas. The fabric is also fun. There are three carrier color options: grey chevron (self-explanatory), koi (black and yellow with some scale-like designs) and Marianna (pink and black). The cost (based on the design) ranges from $17.99-$29.10, which is a great price for a fashionable, yet comfortable carrier to use daily with babies 7-26 pounds. It would be more comfortable with a waist strap, though.

Piggyback Rider SCOUT model

Before I was asked to review the Piggyback Rider, my sister sent me a picture of the carrier backpack and I thought it was a joke. I had never seen anything like it before. Once I realized the contraption existed I was intrigued. The invention is simple and makes so much sense. It allows moms and dads to give their kiddos a piggyback safely without having to give up a hand in the process (to keep the kid from falling). The parent puts on the carrier that has a non-skid standing bar and child hand holds, the child is placed in a safety harness and attached to the parent, and off you go. Children 2-4 and up to 50 pounds can ride (the carrier can hold more than that, but 50 seems to be most peoples tolerance).

The carrier does shift more weight to the shoulders, which gives the back a rest, but because I have a bad shoulder I can’t wear this for a long period of time. I may consider purchasing a hip belt to hopefully relieve some off the pressure.  I recommend bringing this carrier hiking, to amusement parks or anywhere that there is a chance your kid will get tired of walking and may request a piggyback to rest their little legs. And this is definitely a great buy if you have already given many piggybacks and need a carrier to help take some of the pressure off.

The Piggyback Rider SCOUT model comes with the carrier, child safety harness, carry bag (to roll the harness up for easy carry when not in use), side pocket accessory, and a water bottle holder accessory. It adjusts, so all adults can wear it. I will get one of these once my son is two. Knowing him, he will love the height advantage and feeling like he has more freedom than he does in baby carriers.

Best For Piggyback Rides:
Best For Shoulder Carry:
SaddleBaby Shoulder Carrier-Original Model

The SaddleBaby is great for parents with children 2-5 who like to ride on their parents’ shoulders. The Saddlebaby allows for a hands-free shoulder carry—that’s right, hands free! Instead of holding your kids’ ankles to keep them from falling off, the SaddleBaby has a series of industrial Velcro and adjustable buckles that secure your child. There is a chest strap to go around the parent to help relive some of the pressure and secure the carrier. I recommend this carrier to people who want some neck and back relief from carrying their kids on their shoulders often already.

Many reviews I have read said the carrier is built more for men than women. Women have commented on it being uncomfortable because it goes around the chest area, making it hard to adjust with breasts in the way. If your kid isn’t already begging for shoulder rides, then it isn’t a necessary buy, but if you can’t get two feet without being asked to be picked up, then buy away—because anything that can make your life a little easier is a huge positive.    

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Kid Carrier

The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0, Deuter III and Osprey Poco AG Plus are all top of the line hiking backpacks. I recommend them all, but what makes Kelty stand out from the other two is that it has the most storage. It not only has under the seat storage and hydration storage like the other two, but the Kelty also comes with a small daypack that zips on to the outside of the pack to give it more storage. Two packs for the price of one!

What also makes the Kelty stand out is the auto-deploy kickstand—when you wear the pack, it brings the kickstand in and when you take it off it puts the kickstand out, so you don’t have to pull it out to set the pack down. The Deuter and Osprey do not have this function. And although all three come with a sunshade, the Kelty 3.0 sunshade pulls down in front of your child, keeping the sun completely out of their face. The kid cockpit is great and comfortable for baby.

The pack has an easy torso adjustment, so it can be traded from one adult to another if necessary. It is very comfortable to wear. The only issue I can see is that you can’t compress the Kelty down much for storage like the other two. With the additional storage it comes at a little higher price than the Osprey or Deuter, but it is worth the $419.99 price tag.

Best Hiking Carrier For Storage:
Best Hiking Child Carrier if You Like Pepsi:
Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier

Osprey and Deuter are like Pepsi Vs. Coca Cola on the trails. They both are in the same price range (a little less than $300), both are very popular and great hiking carriers, nearly identical in their capabilities, but a few key features separate one from the other. And with baby wearers you will tend to have people either be a huge advocate for one or the other. For example, I am a huge advocate for Osprey. I’m going to say Osprey is the Pepsi and Deuter is the Coca Cola just because I like Pepsi and I own the Osprey Poco AG (one down from AG Plus, so it just has a little less storage) and I love it.

The Osprey is very comfortable to wear. It has adjustable straps in all the right places (like on the hip belt, above the traps and shoulders), allowing for the user to distribute the weight more on the hips than shoulders, which is the goal. It has a lightweight aluminum frame, and super quick and easy torso adjustment if the pack switches adults on the trail.

The child seat has an adjustable double halo harness for safety, and side arms that buckle into place, keeping the cockpit sturdy at all times. It also has a padded cockpit with mesh sides for breathability. My son falls asleep in it a lot because it is so comfortable. There are little foot holders attached, so he can rest his feet or adjust himself. It has a built-in sunshade, which can easily be stored in the zipper pocket on the top of the pack. Sunshades are life savers while on the trail—saving parents from futile fighting with the child to keep their sunglasses and hats on. When needing to set the pack down it has a stable platform, so you don’t have to worry about it falling over. And if not in use it can fold up for storage.

The pack is very comfortable, sturdy and great at load-lifting. It comes in black, ivy green or seaside blue options. What Deuter has that the Osprey needs more of is storage. Though, the storage Osprey has is still significant—maybe not Kelty 3.0 two-for-one pack significant, but it holds the necessities.

Deuter Kid Comfort 3

In continuing with the Pepsi vs. Coca Cola analogy I will say the Deuter is the Coca-Cola of the two. I don’t hate Coca-Cola and tons of people love it, so it isn’t really dogging on either. Like I said the Deuter and Osprey have a lot of the same features that make them so popular. The Deuter is in the same price range as the Osprey (just under $300), it is comfortable to wear, has a lightweight aluminum frame, and adjusts in all the right places (though the torso adjustment is not as quick to adjust as the Osprey).

The 5-point safety harness adjusts to the child’s size and height to keep the child safe and comfortable. It is comfortable and breathable for the child, but the side bars aren’t as sturdy as the Osprey. The ventilation system on the Deuter is unmatched. Deuter designed the pack for a breathability that results in 15% less perspiration than similar packs.

Deuter has step-in-side access to make it easier for kids to get in and out of the carrier. A kickstand to stabilize the pack when setting it down. There are also footrests for the child. There is a sunshade that can be folded down and stored, like the Osprey. But unlike Osprey it has a removeable chin pad for added support and it is washable, which will keep the pack cleaner.

The Deuter isn’t as quick to adjust in the torso, but it has ample storage. It only comes in one color, but it does come with a teddy bear. There are so many positives and similarities between the Deuter and the Osprey that I think it might be better to just flip a coin to decide. Top of Form

Best Hiking Child Carrier if You Like Coca-Cola:
Best All Around Baby Carrier:
Lumiere UNIVERSAL 360 Ergonomic Baby Carrier

The Lumiere UNIVERSAL 360 Ergonomic Baby Carrier has everything a baby carrier needs. With its adjustable ergonomic bucket seat, the carrier will keep newborns, infants and toddlers (7-45 pounds) comfortable and in a hip-healthy position. The carrier can be used for front facing, outward facing, hip and back carrying—with the age adjustments it touts six ergonomic carry positions.

The UNIVERSAL has a temperature-regulation panel that allows the carrier to be used in all seasons. The panel can be zipped down to breathable mesh to keep baby and parent cool or zipped up to keep everyone warm. The carrier continues with the comfort by evenly distributing baby’s weight, taking pressure off the back and shoulders with padded shoulder straps that cross in the back and sturdy lumbar support and waist belt. There is also a pad to go over the buckle in the back.  

I don’t know why most day-to-day carriers don’t have a pocket, but the UNIVERSAL does! You also get color options—pearl grey or black and camel. I love options. So, to recap, this carrier is versatile, comfortable, has ventilation, a pocket—yay phone storage, and can be used from birth to toddlerhood. It is also less than $100!