These days, everywhere you look you see children — both the newest and smallest, and some well into the toddler years —strapped to the torsos of moms, dads, grandparents, nannies, and caregivers alike. Baby-wearing is more popular than ever before, as modern lifestyles require parents and kids to be going and going. Parents need the portability of carriers in order to move about quickly and efficiently, and it’s a helpful (often) hands-free solution as we juggle cell phones, grocery carts, laptops, and older children as we move about our days.
As babywearing grows in popularity, the carrier market is following with new brands, styles, and options hitting shelves every day. To a new parent, it can seem overwhelming to choose just one or two, particularly since most will set you back around an average of $100. I’m here to help eliminate some of the guesswork and show you some of the best options available today. I tested the carriers myself, polled moms in person and through social media, and researched brands and reviews to make sure I found the cream of the crop. See below for my favorite baby carriers of 2013!
Osprey Poco Series | Hiking Backpacks
If you are the outdoorsy or adventurous type, you are likely already familiar with the Osprey brand. Known for their high-quality backpacking line, they have channeled all their research and experience with creating backpacks into the new Poco series of child carriers. These are hardcore, heavy-framed packs intended for serious hiking and adventure.
We hike quite a bit here in Seattle, and we’ve been using an Osprey Poco series carrier for the past year. The child seat is safely suspended within a hard frame pack and easily and quickly adjusts to the size of your child. Adjusting between parents is seamless too – simply slide a lever up the back to clearly marked size positions and click into place.
All Poco models include a removable, washable drool pad, adjustable foot stirrups for older toddlers, a hydration sleeve behind the back panel, and a breathable mesh backing. The Poco Plus is one step up, and the upgrades included with this model are substantial: a built-in sunshade, extra padding on the hip belt, a large, zippered lower storage compartment, extra cell phone storage pockets on the straps, and more. For the most adventurous hikers, the Poco Premium is the Osprey’s top-of-the-line carrier – featuring an additional detachable daypack and changing pad for families who need extra storage.