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It is almost summer here and me and my wife would like to get back to hiking after recently having a kid in September. He is almost 9 months old now and we would like to take him with us.

I have a Manduca to carry him, but it is not very comfortable after a while.

I was wondering if you guys have any gear and packing tips for weekend hikes of this sort. We will be camping in huts and he sleeps well and quiet from 22 to 8 in the morning.

Is it too soon for this?

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    Some trip reports with infants here and here. – requiem May 19 '16 at 15:03
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It's not strictly too soon. I have known plenty of people who camped with a nine month old in rougher conditions than you describe. It's too early if you are not in condition to carry a baby in addition to all of your gear.

They make packs specifically for carrying wee ones. That's really the best way to go.

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    Yes, the rucksack style carriers are much better for any distance than the fabric front carriers - even if they can be put on your back as well. – Chris H May 19 '16 at 5:51
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    Take poles too. Falling on your face is one thing, falling on your face with a 9 month old strapped to you is another...! – user2766 May 19 '16 at 7:12
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    @Liam, take poles if the terrain is the sort you normally use poles on. If you're not used to poles and you take a tumble, they might not help and could flail around. – Chris H May 19 '16 at 10:20
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    I am used to poles and I was considering taking them exactly for preventing falls and other sudden moves, but I can see how they could also be more dangerous in some situations... – Paul Irofti May 19 '16 at 14:38
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Carrying all the gear won't be easy. Whoever has the baby will probably only be able to carry one day's worth of baby stuff and nothing else. Either you get a rucksack carrier as Russell suggested (I recommend this as well, a Deuter kid comfort fitted me and was still usable over age 2), or you wear a daypack as well as a front carrier and have 2 sets of straps. In neither case is the weight distribution very good. Babies aren't amenable to being packed in an ergonomic (for you) way.

So the other person will be carrying a lot - even if the adults travel ultra light, babies don't. So try it for day hikes first. This will also help with the weight distribution - you'll need to work out what works for you.

Also, don't forget protection from the elements for your baby - the sun shades on many baby carriers are no more than a good start.

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Last month I camped with my then-nine-month-old son. This was his second time sleeping in a tent with us, the first time he was four months old.

It helps that my family, including our 7- and 9-year old daughters, have been camping in tents since they were infants. I'm not sure what the conditions in a hut are, so I'll give advise for tents which I should imagine are as rough or rougher than huts. Just pack for the baby like you would pack for any over-night stay, and ensure that the baby has a safe, fenced-in place to sleep in the tent. In our case, we put one large sack on the extreme side of the tent, the baby's crib's mattress up against it, and another large sack to the other side of that. Myself and the wife slept squished over to the side, and the 7- and 9- year olds slept in their own tent next to ours. The baby was well-dressed and additionally had a light blanket covering him.

  • Guess I was too scared to even think of tenting, but that changed with your answer and some related comments from the others. Thank you! Just to clear things up, you had a 2 person tent and placed the child on one side along with the two of you, right? One other option would be to put him above your head, or is that bad? – Paul Irofti May 19 '16 at 14:33
  • We slept three people (two parents, one baby) in a four-person tent, and two children in a separate two-person tent. I don't think that there is enough room above the head to put the baby, but to the side is rather comfortable. The critical thing in my opinion is that the baby's sleeping area should be fenced in to prevent wandering while the baby sleeps. It is dangerous for the baby to fall off the mattress as they may not be able to turn around to breathe. – dotancohen May 19 '16 at 14:52
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As others suggest, it's almost certainly best to go with a backpack style kid-carrier.

One option you might not know about is the Aarn Universal Balance Bag which attaches to your pack.

http://www.aarnpacks.com/#!balance-bags/c1paj

The balance bag counterbalances the awkward weight of a kid on your back, and gives you easy access to water, maps, hats etc etc without having to go through the difficult process of taking off your pack. I use their backpacks, and you'd be surprised by the difference the counterbalance can make.

No affiliation - just a fan of their products.

enter image description here

  • That looks interesting, though of course it adds to the weight for taking on and off. – Chris H May 19 '16 at 14:07
  • I don't use this particular product, but I think you put it on after you've put on the pack. The added weight of the pockets themselves is more than offset by the increased efficiency in carrying - they've teamed up with a professor of ergonomics who has studied this quite extensively. – Tullochgorum May 19 '16 at 15:10
  • OK, that makles sense. I agree that the extra weight is a good thing when carrying, it was the lifting on and off that I was concerned with. It would also be too hot for me, but that's another story – Chris H May 19 '16 at 15:16
  • On the packs the front ventilation is fine - the front pockets sit well away from your body. . I've used the pockets in blazing heat with no problems, and I run very hot. In fact they are a popular choice for desert races. For the bags, the website claims that ventilation is also good - you'd have to ask them for details. – Tullochgorum May 19 '16 at 23:00
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    I like this idea, My experience with kids in backpacks is the number of times you need to sort out food, drink, adding or removing clothing or picking something it up off the ground compared to when you are on your own. You really must have items immediately at hand if you don't want to spend more time stopped than walking. – user5330 May 20 '16 at 1:24

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