Family with baby hiking in Glacier National Park, Many Glacier
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Hiking with a Baby, Gear you Need and What to Pack! (+Free Printable Checklist)

Hiking with a baby or toddler can be overwhelming with all the extra things you have to think about! But we absolutely love getting outside with our little one. It does take extra effort to get out of the house and to the trail, but it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of fancy gear to hike with a baby.

We’ve got you covered with a complete list of hiking with a baby gear you need (and how to not overdo it!) Use this list to figure out everything you need to pack to have a successful day hike with your family.

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Hiking with a Baby Gear You nEed:

Of course, you’ll need a little bit of extra gear when hiking with a baby. BUT, it’s important to not overdo it and make your pack super heavy. You really need less than you think! I’ve highlighted the important things on this list and following the hiking baby gear list, I’ve also including what to pack for hiking with a toddler, some of the essentials for adults, and hiking safety essentials.

1. Hiking Carriers for babies

A hiking carrier is the first thing you’ll need for hiking with a baby. We’ve used a variety of different hiking backpacks/carriers depending on the age of our kids.

The Ergobaby Omni 360 Baby Carrier is what we’ve used for the majority of hikes with our baby. It’s easy to put on (even by yourself) and our baby always seems super happy and comfy in it. This baby carrier gives you the option to face them towards you (if it’s nap time), or away from you if they want to check out all the scenery. It’s also padded with lumbar support, so it’s comfortable for the wearer as well.

*The best age for the Ergobaby carrier in our opinion is from when babies have good head control up until they are about 22-23 pounds. However, it’s technically rated for up to 45 pounds.

The Osprey Poco Plus is an amazing hiking backpack choice. We absolutely love this pack and switched to it once our baby was too big for the Ergobaby carrier. We did try a different, cheaper backpack initially, but it didn’t work out for us. And it has a built in sun shade! The Osprey Poco is another great option if you want a slightly cheaper version.

If you’re hiking with a newborn, we used this Baby Bjorn carrier until our little guys had good head control.

TIP: Check All Trails ahead of time if you’re wanting to bring a stroller. Most of the time it will tell you if it’s a stroller friendly trail or not. We typically only bring our jogging stroller if it’s a paved trail.

2. Diaper supplies For hiking With a Baby

  • Changing Pad: You’ll definitely want this so you don’t have to lay your baby down in the dirt or on the rocks.
  • Diaper Rash Cream: Sitting in the pack for longer periods of time can cause a little diaper rash
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Bag for Dirty Diapers/Garbage: remember to leave no trace!
  • Diaper Bag: If there’s two of us hiking with baby, sometimes we bring our diaper bag so we don’t have to transfer everything to the hiking backpack and we can share the load

3. baby Feeding Supplies

What you bring for food will depend if you’re breast feeding, pumping, or formula feeding your baby. Some items you may not want to forget are bottles, formula, water, pump, breastfeeding cover (if you’d like if you’re on a crowded hike), burp cloth.

Depending on the age of your baby and the length of your hike, you may also want to bring some snacks. For baby snacks on the trail, we usually stick to the puffs so we don’t make a big mess of their faces and outfits

4. Clothes for Hiking with a Baby

  1. Hat: depending on the weather and tree cover, bring a sun hat or a beanie for warmth
  2. Extra outfit (just in case)
  3. Warm Layers: rain jacket or other breathable warm jacket
  4. Small blanket: It is really nice to have this to cover up your little one if there’s any chance of a chilly day. Our kiddo would get cold legs while in the front pack so we covered him up with a blanket so he was nice and cozy!

TIP: Make sure to cover baby up if they are too young for sunscreen (less than 6 months). You’ll want to dress them in lightweight clothes that cover most of their skin if you’re going to be doing a hike with limited tree cover. This is especially true if you’re hiking mid-day.

5. Other HIking with a Baby Essentials

  • Toxin free baby safe sunscreen: essential to have if your baby is older than 6 months old
  • Pacifier or small comfort item
  • Tweezers (if you’re hiking in the desert)

We don’t bring a first aid kit when our babies are young enough that they stay in the pack, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you want to pack one.

FREE HIKING WITH A BABY PRINTABLE PACKING LIST!

Additional Hiking essentials for toddlers and young kids

Above, we covered all the hiking with a baby gear you’ll need. If you’re hiking with a toddler, there are a few other things you’ll need to pack to have a successful day with minimal whining!

1. SNACKS

I can’t stress the importance of snacks enough when hiking with a toddler. You probably already know that kids can get hungry at really inopportune times. Plus, it’s a great motivator to have a fun snack like candy or a delicious sandwich when you get to the halfway point of your hike.

2. Water Bottle

We like this one with a straw, it’s easy to pull out for a quick drink along the trail. Just try not to put it upside down in your backpack or it could potentially leak.

3. Sunglasses

Our kids will not keep sunglasses on, but if your kids will wear them, this would be a good thing to bring on your hike.

4. Hat

As with the babies, you’ll want to be prepared with a hat for sun protection or a beanie for warmth

5. Rain Gear

Make sure to pack a rain jacket and waterproof shoes if you have any chance of rain

6. Extra Clothes/Socks

The socks are an absolute must! Most kids cannot resist jumping in a puddle or stepping in a stream on the trail.

7. Cold weather Gear

If there is any chance it’ll be cold, you’ll want to pack a warm winter coat and gloves.

Additional Hiking essentials for adults

This post is obviously about what to pack for hiking with a baby. But we’ll cover the basics for what to pack for a day hike here so you don’t forget things for yourself!

  • Snacks
  • Water bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera/Phone
  • Tripod (if you are trying to take family photos!)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat (for sun protection or a beanie)
  • Rain Jacket
  • Hiking Boots: waterproof hiking boots are essential, the ones linked do great in a variety of terrain and weather
  • Change of shoes (leave in the car): I keep sandals in the car, it feels so nice to take your hiking boots off after a long day of walking!
  • Chapstick

Safety essentials for hiking

It’s always a good idea to think carefully about the area in which you’ll be hiking. Is the area known for rattlesnakes? Grizzly bears? Extremes in weather? Thinking about the possible dangers will help you be prepared with the important safety hiking with a baby gear. You may not need some of these items if you’re only hiking a mile, but if you’re doing longer day hikes – it’s important to plan for the worst. Especially since you’ll be responsible for little ones!

  1. Bear Spray: It’s important to always know the area where you are hiking and if you need to pack bear spray. We do a lot of hiking in Montana so this is a must for us on most of our hikes.
  2. Water filter: If you run out of water or get lost, having a water purification system could quite literally save your life.
  3. Small first aid kit
  4. Lighter or matches
  5. Small pocket knife
  6. Headlamp: your phone flashlight could work well for this if you can keep a charge
  7. Map or GPS: If you have the All Trails App you can download the trail map before you go!
  8. Medicine: kids ibuprofen, tylenol, inhalers, epi pens, etc.
  9. Portable phone charger: Alternatively, make sure all adults have fully charged phones when you leave on the trail. Especially if you are using a navigation system because that can drain your battery quickly.
  10. Kid friendly bug spray

Okay you’re all packed and ready to start hiking with a baby, gear packed! If you need a packing list to make sure your road trip with baby goes smoothly, check out our full packing list for taking a road trip with baby!

Enjoy the beautiful outdoors and spending time outside with your family. Check out our other posts to help you pick the perfect itinerary for your next destination.

Happy travels!

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