Tips for Tandem-Carrying Kids While Hiking

My new job has meant more time at home with Evan and Kate, so we have been joining my friend Jenn and her daughter Abby on hikes!

Tips for Tandem-Carrying Kids While Hiking

Carrying Evan and Kate, while my friend Jenn carries her daughter Abby.

And so, I have become one with the art of hiking while carrying not one, but two kids! Though I was nervous at first, I’ve gotten accustomed to getting both kids into their carriers and on my body. Because Evan is lighter, I wear him in front using a lightweight Ergobaby carrier. In addition to being super comfortable, I love that it has an adjustable cloth hood that I can use when he falls asleep (which he almost always does while hiking!). Kate rides on my back in our Deuter Kid Comfort III Child Carrier. She likes being up high so she can check out the scenery, and I love the roomy pockets that let me store everything we need on our hikes – extra clothing, diapers, wipes, a first-aid kid, snacks, bug spray/sunscreen, and milk. Plus, it has a hydration bladder sleeve, which means I don’t have to stress about trying to reach for a water bottle while I am on the trail.

Tips for Tandem-Carrying Kids While Hiking

When tandem-carrying the twins, I use an Ergobaby carrier in front and a Deuter Kid Comfort III Child Carrier on back.

When getting the twins in their carriers, I use the same method each time. Before we even leave the house, I pack everything we need into the Deuter Kid Carrier. Once we arrive at the trailhead, I keep Evan is in his car seat while I get the Deuter Kid Carrier out, set it on stable ground, and strap Kate into the seat. Then I strap on the waist-belt of the Ergo and put Evan in that carrier. Once it’s comfortable, I lift Kate onto my back. (Jenn helps lift her up onto my back.) The shoulder straps and waist belt of the Deuter go over the Ergo’s. I buckle the Deuter waist belt under Evan’s bum, and slide the sternum strap under the shoulder straps of the Ergo and snap it into place.

Tips for Tandem-Carrying Kids While HikingThe combined weight of the kids plus gear is about 60lbs., so we have stuck to relatively short, flat trails (1.5-2 miles and 200-300 ft. of elevation change). Even while carrying the kids, we tend to average about 1.5 miles per hour, making most of our hikes about an hour-long. The kids enjoy our jaunts in the woods, and Jenn and I get a good workout and a chance to unwind and reflect surrounded by nature.

Tips for Tandem-Carrying Kids While Hiking

  • Choose comfortable carriers! Nothing is worse than wearing one kid carrier that doesn’t fit properly, let alone two!
  • Practice at home – it’s not easy to get both kids into their carriers and safely onto your body. Practice at home with help!
  • Start easy – you’re carrying a lot of weight, so gradually increase the length and intensity of your hikes.
  • Wear the lighter kid in front – this will help you keep your balance.
  • Take extra breaks to refuel and hydrate – you’ve got a heavy load, so break more often for snacks and water!
  • Hike with another adult – as well as needing the extra hands to give the kids snacks, it’s just safer. Hiking solo with multiple little ones could quickly turn disastrous.

About Jen

Outdoor adventurer and traveler. Writer, Photographer & Communications Professor. Wife. Mom of twins plus one. Tubbs Snowshoes Ambassador. Blogger at gayfamilytrips.com.

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3 Responses to Tips for Tandem-Carrying Kids While Hiking

  1. Rob Bignell October 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    Great tips, Jen! Sticking to flat trails is wise – seated children in a carrier change your center of gravity, which makes significant elevation gains and losses difficult for the body to adjust to (and I can imagine some physicist somewhere is salivating at the figuring out the mathematics of where the center of gravity is upon adding another child to one’s front side).

    Rob Bignell
    Author, “Hikes with Tykes: A Practical Guide to Day Hiking with Kids”

  2. Uplifting Families October 15, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    Yikes, you are a super hero. I had trouble carrying one child in a carrier let alone another one of my back. I didn’t have one of the great carriers though so that might have been part of my issues. Plus, back problems didn’t help the situation.

  3. Piggyback Rider June 11, 2015 at 3:40 am #

    Wow, what a supermom ! Great tips indeed. I’ll have it on my list. Try Piggyback RIder for toddlers 2.5 y/o + up to 60lbs, a kid carrier backpack that is made of high quality buckles and enjoy while hiking, touring, shopping, walking, watching, exploring, wandering, bonding at amusement parks, carnival, sporting events, malls, markets and everywhere else you may go. Thanks !

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