Toddler Hiking Gear – 4 Must Bring Items

toddler hiking gear

Angels landing in Zion National Park, Utah.

Here are 4 essential pieces of toddler hiking gear.  These items will ensure that you and your toddler have a fun time hiking together in the mountains or wherever you choose to go.

Hiking with toddlers can be a ton of fun and it has lots of benefits.  You can read about some great tricks to make hiking with toddlers fun here.  These items listed here are in addition to the 11 essential items to take when you go hiking and are specifically directed towards hiking with toddlers.  Some of these items are repeats, but I’m listing them here to stress how important they are.

toddler hiking gearToddler Hiking Gear – 4 Must Bring Items

Child Carrier

When hiking with a toddler I would highly recommend bringing along some kind of carrier for the child. We have tried many of the different kinds and here are my suggestions about picking a child carrier. I would suggest that you visit your local store to feel and try on the different kinds and see what works for you.

toddler hiking gear

On the left is a good baby carrier and on the right is a toddler child carrier – a big pack with a frame.

The two main types are a big pack with a frame (like a backpacking pack) or a smaller frameless pack.  At first we used a big frame pack that had a sun-shade on it. The kids liked it and it kept the sun and rain off of them.

Once we had a second kid we picked up an Ergo Baby, which is a small, frameless pack. We really liked it a lot because you can use it from the time your kids are babies until they are nearly 6 years old.  It holds babies on the front, or you can switch it to your back and it can hold kids up to about 6 years old.

toddler hiking gear

This is an example of the Ergo Baby.

One benefit of the bigger, frame pack is that it comes along with bigger pockets and room to hold your gear. The Ergo Baby does not have much room in the pockets to hold much of anything. But, when not in use the Ergo Baby weighed almost nothing compared to the big pack, which still was bulky even without a kid in it.

Food/Snacks – LOTS!

When I go hiking I like to have along snacks because I know I’ll get tired and maybe grouchy. Well, now you have a little toddler with you so it is absolutely crucial that you bring along lots of snacks and food.

It seems like toddlers are almost always eating something and when you go hiking you need to make sure they eat enough to keep up their energy. Maybe give them a little snack just before you begin the hike, then after a half hour or hour stop for another snack.

Sometimes, we will give a little snack to eat while we are hiking and then take a longer snack break after an hour or so. At the longer break we’ll put down the blanket and make ourselves comfortable.

Diaper and Wipes – SOME:)

If your toddler is still wearing diapers or pull ups make sure you bring along several extra ones. One tip is to put an extra diaper or pull up into a plastic bag or Ziploc bag. Then when you change them you can just put the used, stinky diaper into the bag and voila.

You do not want to run out of diapers on the trail…trust me I’m speaking from experience. It is not a pretty thought, but if it does happen your toddler can just go au natural for a bit and he or she will survive.


Yes, it is true that some toddlers may need a little favorite toy or such to keep them happy and content. Our daughter always had to have her pink blanket along with her. Yet I remember a friends’ child always needed to have a tiny stuffed animal. If your toddler has a special, tiny toy then you may want to bring it along. Just be careful with it so as not to lose it on the trail.

toddler hiking gear

Hanging out and having a snack.

Toddler Hiking Gear – Other Thoughts And Final Advice

Remember that when you head out into the mountains with kids your top priority should be to keep everyone safe.  These four pieces of toddler hiking gear are my suggestions to help you feel comfortable and have fun.  However, don’t be careless and forget something that you know you or your baby needs, such as medical supplies.

Hiking with toddlers is great fun and good exercise.  But, make sure you stay within your own limits.  We all have differing degrees of experience and we should stay within our own limits.