Baby Carrier and Outdoor Gear Guide
Your bundle of joy will spend time outside getting a feel for nature, and along the way they could experience sunburn, insect bites, and similar matters. Time spent outdoors with your baby is supposed to be positive, enjoyable, and uplifting.
The arrival of your baby will usually mean the arrival of baby items as well. From car seats and shoes to clothes and diapers, you’ll be busy buying baby stuff so you can take better care of your little one.
While shopping, don’t forget that you need to buy baby outdoor gear too. Your bundle of joy will spend time outside getting a feel for nature, and along the way they could experience sunburn, insect bites, and similar matters.
Time spent outdoors with your baby is supposed to be positive, enjoyable, and uplifting. To this end, we’ve put together a list of must-have items for you and your baby.
Baby Outdoor Gear
As you slowly introduce your baby to the outside world and expand their experience, you’ll realize that you’ll need outdoor gear.
Nature has its way of nourishing the body, soul, and mind. Naturally, you’ll get to a point when you need to buy a baby carrier so your baby can come with you in comfort.
Buying a Baby Carrier - What You Should Know
There are literally thousands of baby carriers you can buy in both online and baby stores. However, there’s only a handful of carriers that will match what you and your baby needs.
Baby carriers are designed to hold your baby while giving your two hands-free time for other things, such as preparing the formula or a change of clothes. They promote bonding time, reduce the effects of postpartum depression, and of course, provide a convenient way to carry your baby around.
The best baby carriers protect your child from external elements, are relatively easy to handle, and let you move easily around crowded places.
Most of these items position your baby upright, will have straps and padding to keep the kiddos secure and comfortable. Depending on the type, you may have to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the carrier’s mechanism and features.
Even after knowing this you still may have difficulty deciding. If this is the case, read on and we’ll help you choose the right baby carrier for your needs.
Which Baby Carrier is Best for You?
When shopping for a baby carrier you’ll want one that’s a combination of comfort for you, comfort for your baby, and versatility, among others.
First, there’s baby comfort and support. Since your child won’t be able to support their head and neck any feature that optimizes it will be very helpful down the line.
The carrier should be designed in a way that it holds its own even if both your hands are full. You shouldn’t have to worry about it coming loose even when you’re doing other things.
Babies grow quickly, and if you want to save money you can get one that can accommodate several sizes. Good ones will have several security options, such as buckles or straps so your baby won’t be able to get out by themselves.
Going deeper, you can then focus on things that add value. You’ll want it to be easy to clean and machine-washable so you spend less time. If you’re nursing, then a particular carrier with discreet breastfeeding features can be a nice plus.
Lastly, since the carrier will be spending most of its time outdoors you’ll want it to protect your baby from the elements. Some sort of sun protection will be welcome, while a cover that can stave off light rain, snow, or cold is always a good thing to have.
Not all these things will be available in a single product, so your choice will depend on the type of carrier you choose.
Different Types of Carriers
Backpack carriers are like regular backpacks but they mainly hold your baby instead of outdoor gear or equipment.
They are recommended only for babies who can support their necks to a degree. One of the best things about backpack types is they can hold your baby for longer compared to others.
These packs are also optimized for outdoor adventures, such as when you’re doing a light hike, camping, or similar activities. However, you will want to look for carriers that have several ways to secure your baby.
Mei Tai Carrier
Mei Tai is a combination of buckle and wrap to carry your little one. They’re more structured than a cloth wrap and offer better support as well.
You may need to familiarize yourself a bit with the adjusting mechanism and learn how to make an effective tie. It’s versatile in a way that you can tie your baby around your hip, front or back.
Soft Structured Carrier
SSCs are traditional baby carriers and have all the elements of one. You get a padded waistband and shoulder straps and space in-between for your baby.
Soft-structured carriers will have adjustable straps for security and customization. It evenly distributes weight around your baby and lets you sit your baby in multiple positions, including the hip, back, and front.
This type of carrier is good for getting your infant to its most natural position, which is the frog or spread-squat position. In a way, it promotes natural hip development better than other types of carriers.
A ring sling consists of two rings and a long piece of cloth.
Setting it up requires a bit of knowledge and practice. After that, you can make fine adjustments until you get the support you’re looking for. As for security, once it’s set there’s very little worry of being undone. It’s simple yet effective and lets you achieve a good snuggle.
Breastfeeding moms will find a ring sling to double as an effective cover. However, the fabric is not stretchy and not recommended for those with shoulder or back issues.
Perhaps the most simple and traditional type of carrier. It’s a long fabric you can use to wrap your baby close to your body.
You’ll probably need to spend an hour or so watching tutorials and videos on how to secure your baby, but after that, it should be smooth sailing.
Wrap carriers come in different sizes and types. Some are cotton while others are made of gauze to promote extra breathability during the summer.
Why Use a Baby Carrier Outdoors?
Babywearing has been around for hundreds of years and benefits both the mommy and baby in many ways.
As for the benefits of using a baby carrier outdoors, here are several of them.
Hands-Free Travel and Mobility
A baby carrier is sometimes better than a stroller, especially if you’re looking to travel light and keep your hands free for other things.
Soothes and Is Good for Their Health and Well-Being
Babywearing is proven to be good for babies in terms of happiness and fussiness. They’re put in the most natural position, which in turn helps with physical development and overall well-being.
Allows You to Do More
If you want to maximize outdoor time with your baby then a baby carrier makes the most sense.
Parents will have their hands free to show their babies nature’s highlights, such as a leaf or animals. You’ll be able to interact more, which makes for a better experience overall.
The Don’ts of Outdoor Babywearing
Now that you know the benefits of putting your baby in a carrier outdoors, you’ll also have to know when you shouldn’t do it.
Before doing an outdoor activity, pause and think- do I risk my baby? Common sense and being safe should play a main role here. Handling sharp objects and manning the barbecue or grill should be definite no-nos in this case, as are swimming or riding a bike.
Hands-free shouldn’t mean you do things as if your baby isn’t there. Do not carry heavy objects and set foot on unstable or slippery objects where you might fall and get hurt.
Last but not least, you shouldn’t attempt to run or complete any vigorous physical activity, such as climbing a wall. The idea of a baby carrier is to spend close and gentle time with your child and staying safe as much as possible.
How Can I Be Sure My Baby’s Safe in the Carrier?
The best baby carriers will have the best safety features so you and your little one will have a great experience. However, they can only take you so far- you have to make sure to follow these tips as well.
Before every use, it’s best to check for damage or defects. Tears and a loose buckle or strap can make it come apart at inopportune times. Repair or get a new one just to be on the safe side.
A carrier should provide enough support for your baby’s back and neck. Don’t allow your baby to curl up and keep them as close to your chin as possible. Also, get a clear line of sight from parent to baby so they’ll know where you are and can communicate with you if something’s wrong.
Before buying, consult with your doctor if it’s okay to use a carrier. Your baby may have a respiratory problem, or maybe you underwent a premature birth which makes using a carrier not recommendable.
Outdoor Safety FAQs
How do I keep my baby safe during summer?
- Sun protection is your top priority during hot days and summer months. Keep your baby in the shade especially on late mornings and afternoons. It’s not recommended to put on sunscreen for those that are below 6 months.
- When your baby is in the pram or stroller, provide added protection from irritants such as pollen and the direct sunlight with the KeaBabies All in 1 Multi-Use Cover. It's breathable and soft, and very safe to use.
- Keep an eye out for insect bites, sunburn, and dehydration. When close to a body of water, don’t stray far from them.
How about when my baby is in the water?
- A golden rule of playing with a baby in the water is that an adult should always be present and at arm's length.
- Keep your baby adequately dressed and make sure they get proper sun protection. A baby carrier is not recommended in this case.
How to keep my baby safe during cold weather?
- It’s important that you think about whether you’ll want your baby outside during cold weather. If it’s too cold then it may be best to postpone the trip and wait until it’s warmer.
- Dress your baby appropriately, e.g., with thick clothing and the usual mittens and hat. Pay attention to the extremities, such as feet and hands, and make sure they’re always dry and warm.
What can I do to protect my baby in playgrounds and parks?
- Babies may not be able to try all the attractions at a local park or playground. If your baby has good neck and head control and can sit up without needing help you can let them try bucket swings and mini-slides.
- It’s best to check and see if the plastic, rubber, or metal used in playgrounds aren’t too hot nor too cold before putting your baby in them.
Outdoor Gear for Mom
Moms will want to dress appropriately for the event, whether it be hiking, camping, and whatnot.
You can bring along binoculars to look around and see the flora and fauna with greater detail. A camp blanket, smartwatch, and water bottle are all good things to bring along.
A few other suggestions include comfortable sandals, a tough and spacious day pack, and a portable power bank.
Outdoor Gear for Dad
Dads are likely the assigned carriers of all the outdoor equipment and items, so you’ll need a spacious pack or bag to hold them all in.
For backpacks, we'd recommend the KeaBabies backpack bag, which comes in certified 'dad colors' and is functional, to boot.
Have a light source or two handy, as well as a mug and something to start a fire with. Cookeries, a Bluetooth speaker, and a multi-tool are all great recommendations as well.
Why It’s Important To Take Care Of Yourself, Too
Your baby will be relying on you for the better part of the year, and throughout their toddler years. It’s something that every parent should know and understand very clearly, even before they turn into one.
Lack of self-care can lead to all sorts of trouble, most of which can be avoided. You should always look out for your health and well-being and not just your baby, or pretty soon you won’t be able to function in full capacity.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t just apply to physical aspects. You should take the time to develop your well-being as well as your mental health. It may sound selfish, but you should devote a small portion of your time getting back to your hobbies and passions.
The things to look out for are depression and excessive stress. You’ll find walks in the park and spending time appreciating nature to work wonders. Take a break when things seem so hard, and have your partner or family member take over from time to time.
A Few Things You May Need
Going outdoors with your baby is a special event. Before heading out, we recommend browsing through our Outdoor collection and get a car seat mirror, diaper caddy, or a diaper mat, all of which are made with high-quality material. Aside from bringing the usual stuff, such as a sleeping bag, a stroller, and a pack of diapers, here are some things that can enhance the experience.
An Outdoor Mat. You’ll want an outdoor mat that’s big yet foldable and can serve as a spot for picnics, camping, and other things.
A Sun and Weather Shelter. Get a tent and umbrella hybrid that can sufficiently provide shade for your little one. It can provide a cozy atmosphere and allow your baby to sleep unhindered.
Hat or Bike Helmet. Depending on the outdoor adventure, you’ll want your baby protected from the elements.
A Stroller. A baby carrier is good for mobility, but there are times when you’ll want to set them down on a stroller. Items from renowned brands such as Thule are recommended.
Car Seat Mirror. Get to your destination safely and check your baby's status in the car easily with a car seat mirror.
Diaper Caddy. A diaper caddy is an essential pack for putting all your baby's diaper-changing needs.
Diaper Changing Mat. Put in a clean, convenient, and portable mat with a changing mat you can fold.
Baby Carrier Shopping Tips
Don’t Buy the First One You See
We recommend you check out all the available carriers and see the carrier types in action before deciding on which one you’ll need.
Each carrier will have its own pros and cons, and getting to try them in person will prove to be more helpful than simply reading reviews.
Check the Safety, Fit, and Comfort
These three factors take precedence over everything else. Make sure you’re not compromising on comfort for style or design, or safety for brand.
Shopping for baby carriers for outdoor use can be exciting. However, you should remember to keep in mind its function and what activities you’ll be needing it for.
After looking around and determining which one is best, don’t hesitate to give it a try before heading out. Also, don’t forget to bring things that could make your outdoor trip more fun!
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Avery K.
When she isn’t looking after the many needs of her 2 kids, Avery enjoys taking walks in the park, enjoying nature, and getting her daily fix of caffeine.