Two years of hiking with a baby: tips and tricks

I love hiking. I love time spent outdoors, the quiet and calm of remote mountains, the challenge to keep on persuing your hike’s goal in the face of this silent steadiness.

While this description might be more appropriate for longer treks then the kind of hikes you can go on with a baby, I knew even before Otto was born that I would want to get back to hiking as soon as possible after his arrival.

After two hiking seasons with baby Otto on board, here is a short summary of my baby hiking experience so far, including a few tips and tricks for those about to lace-up their baby hiking boots.

It is safe to say that a lot of silent steadiness is requried from the parents, while the mountains become a lot less quiet … though I might be racing ahead to hiking with toddlers.

Returning to Sonnenbichl

Plodding up hill. For once I am not sorry about not being on the picture 😉

We set out on our first hike with Otto when he was five months old and have since done around ten hikes, eight of which you can read about in the baby hiking category. On the first ones we had the pram with us. We switched to a baby carrier when Otto was just over ten months.

There are at least two things that apply to hiking as much as to any other situation when you have to leave the house with a baby: you will need more time than usual and you will need to pack a million things.


When planning a hike with a baby allow plenty of time for breaks. You will need to change nappies, feed your baby, and most likely take breaks for breaks’ sake – a long time in one mode of transport can get boring.

In addition to allowing plenty of time for breaks, also make sure to lower your expectation on your own pace. You need to carry and move a lot more weight than usual. Your tiny baby will turn out not to be that tiny and you will need to carry a lot of things. Which brings me to my next point.

Packing … a million things

Again nothing new for any parent, you will need to take a lot of baby parafernalia with you: nappies, spare clothes, food and drink for your baby, toys and a few extra baby hiking bits and bobs:

  • Walleralm

    Look at that bag! Just the essentials for a half-day trip with a baby. (Though it also includes Constantin’s and my things)

  • A sturdy mat for changing nappies – you might have to change a nappy in the middle of a forest
  • Rain and sun cover for whatever baby mode of transport you are using
  • Waterproofs for your baby
  • Sunscreen for your baby

Once you’ve packed all this you will be tempted to cut down on the things that you will take for yourself, which might be a good idea, but do not forget to bring enough food and drink for yourself – you need to stay energised.

Now on to the more hiking specific points.

Route planning

You probably need to be quite conservative when it comes to how much distance and or elevation you can cover. With all the breaks you will need and the additional load there will be less time to actually hike and you will be slower.


Just because you hike with a baby, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy spectacular views. That’s the Triglav on the left, shrouded in clouds

Also be ware that your passenger might have enough even before you arrive at your destination. At a trip to Böhmerwald/ Sumava (which I have yet to write about), we found out that Otto can spend upto 4 hours a day in total in his baby carrier, after that he goes on strike.

As a rain drenched baby is a bad thing, checking the weather and planning accordingly is a very good idea. What always helps is to plan your route so that you can stop at a hut or a restaurant to refuel, change a nappy or hide from the elements.

Modes of baby transport

We’ve done most of our baby hikes with a baby carrier, but started off with a couple of pram hikes.

Hiking with a pram

Otto sound asleep waiting for our train back to Munich

Hiking with a pram

  • More space to stow all the baby stuff and you don’t need to carry it in the first place!
  • Always somewhere to change a nappy
  • Take a sling with you anyway to be able to mix things up
  • Your trip options are quite limited to those with sufficiently wide and good trails

Hiking with a baby sling

  • Valepp

    On our way to the Albert Link Hut … Otto no longer wants to be in his pram

  • You can go anywhere … well climbing or balancing on ridges is probably a bad idea
  • Potentially back-breaking if your baby is heavy and you can’t carry him/ her on your back
  • A big backpack to fit everything to be carried by the person without the baby is a good idea

Hiking with a baby carrier

Hinteres Laengental

Entering the Hinteres LĂ€ngental

  • You can use a baby carrier from when your baby can sit-up on their own
  • As with a sling you can go nearly anywhere and the weight distribution is a bit easier on your back
  • Not so comfortable for the baby to sleep in, but the views from up there are huge!
  • Before you set off on a first hike, make sure your child actually likes to sit in the carrier!
  • Don’t overestimate how warm it is. Otto gets fairly cold sitting in the carrier. He is not doing a high intensity cardio workout unlike either of us.
  • Always bring the sun roof with you – even in winter. A mistake we made on a skiing holiday.

More on my child carrier: Child carrier review: Deuter Kid Comfort II

And now it’s over to you! Get out there and enjoy the “quiet” of the mountains!

What are your tips for hiking with babies? What are your concerns about taking a baby on a hike? Feel free to leave a comment with either.

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