For the active parent, tandem babywearing is a great way to get some exercise while your kids are still small. If you have the suburban terrain maybe you are ready for something more challenging?
Tandem babywearing while hiking will step up the physical challenge while also introducing your kids to new and stimulating environments, which could be the start of a lifelong love of nature.
So, how possible is it to carry two kids on the hiking trail? We will explore this question in this article, consider what equipment you need, and provide a number of tips to help you hit the hiking trail safely.
Is Tandem Babywearing While Hiking Possible?
Tandem babywearing while hiking is possible if you are physically capable of carrying the weight of two children while walking long distances, on unpredictable terrain.
You will need to be more selective with the type of baby carrier you use for this task when compared to everyday tandem babywearing.
Your kids will also need to be more physically developed and have strong neck control so that you can position them appropriately.
We will cover these points in more detail throughout the article.
Suitable Carrier Designs for Tandem Babywearing While Hiking
There are no hiking carriers designed for tandem babywearing so you have to improvise!
Sure, a standard hiking carrier can be part of your tandem setup but they are generally larger and heavier. So you will need to stick to high-quality models that are as lightweight as possible – check out the Deuter Kid Comfort or Osprey Poco for this.
If you are less confident in your ability to handle that much weight then our recommendation is that you stick to soft structured baby carriers. They are strong and will stand up to the demands of a hiking trail. Your tandem options here include:
- Twin baby carriers – one carrier designed for tandem babywearing.
- Two structured baby carriers – One at the front, one at the back!
You could also use a baby wrap in some circumstances, which we will cover later on.
The bottom line is that you need at least one carrier that can accommodate the back carry position.
Unsuitable Carrier Designs
The following designs are unsuitable for tandem babywearing:
- Baby wraps – Tandem baby wrapping often involves newborns huddled together in the front inward carry position. This is not great for hiking as all the weight is at the front.
- Ring Slings – Similar issues to the baby wrap, and less suitable to combine with a structured carrier. So we will discard this design altogether.
Child Size Combinations
Two Same Size Babies
The easiest option here is to use a specialty twin baby carrier. This allows you to use just one carrier to take care of your needs.
This is an underserved market and TwinGo is the only reputable manufacturer of this style that we have found.
You will have to wait until your children are old enough to use both the front and back carry positions simultaneously with this style of carrier.
You can also use two separate soft structured carriers. This is a more expensive option but provides some more flexibility for your non-hiking days.
Two Same Size Toddlers
As your children get older then flexibility becomes more important. Using two separate structured carriers will allow you to carry both kids at the same time, but also let one down to walk when they want to do so.
You could alternate each child so you only have to wear one carrier, or you get some relief when they both want to walk and explore together.
One Baby and One Larger Toddler
This is the only combination where you would consider using a baby wrap.
You can easily secure a smaller infant in the front inward carry position and then wear a structured carrier with the larger child in the back carry position.
However, if you do not want to use a wrap then the combination of two structured carriers or just a twin baby carrier would do just fine.
This is also the most suitable combination for a traditional hiking carrier at the back.
Tips For a Tandem Carry Hiking Trip
Use the Best Quality Baby Carriers you Can Afford
We have established that soft structured carriers are the most suitable style of baby carrier to use for this purpose.
- Low Range – $20-$80
- Mid Range – $80-$150
- High Range – $150-$220
There is a strong correlation between price and comfort and a higher investment can be what makes tandem babywearing possible when doing more demanding activities like hiking.
You Must Adjust the Carrier to Fit
You can make your baby carrier more comfortable by tightening all straps to a snug fit, without restricting your level of movement.
This should ensure the weight is well distributed across your hips, back, and shoulders.
Practice Tandem Babywearing First
You should get used to tandem babywearing in a controlled environment before venturing out onto a hiking trail where you may be walking on uneven surfaces.
Practicing at home is a great way to start while you get used to the extra weight, and adapt to an appropriate pace of movement.
Plan Conservative Hiking Routes
No matter how fit or confident you become when you start hiking with your kids, you should never be too far from help if something was to go wrong.
Conservative distances are recommended on trails that have predictable conditions.
Use Hiking Poles
Anything you can do to further distribute the weight you are carrying will help delay the fatigue setting in.
Make sure you get poles with a wrist strap so you can free your hands at a moment’s notice!
Take Regular Breaks
Twice the weight means your body will be working hard and burning through lots of calories.
Make sure you rest frequently, drink plenty of water, and snack along the way to keep your body fuelled.
Keep Your Cell Phone Within reach
Ideally, you would always hike with another adult but in reality, you probably wouldn’t carry two kids at once if you had another adult with you.
So, the next best thing is to have your cell phone accessible to you without having to take off the carrier.
Most carrier designs will have a storage pocket built-in and you can just add this as one of your essential criteria when selecting your carrier.
Tandem babywearing is the ultimate fitness challenge for a parent and a great way to improve your wellbeing.
Taking this practice to the hiking trail can be a fun experience and a great learning experience for your kids as they get into new environments.
However, it is not something to be taken lightly. An unsettled baby, or babies, can quickly turn a day into a stressful occasion. So be conservative with the challenges you undertake and build up your own, and your child’s resilience.
You will have a lot of fun experiences together exploring nature while tandem babywearing.