Here at The Kid Packer, we are huge proponents of the baby backpack carrier. It has been a life-changing addition to our lives that have given us access to places we would never have considered before using one. In some cases, carrying a heavy baby backpack is either not possible or less ideal. Even with our love of the backpack carrier, we acknowledge that there are other ways to transport your baby while traveling. We wanted to compare travel with a stroller versus a baby backpack carrier in five different travel scenarios!
Stroller vs. Baby Backpack Carrier: Family Visit
For a family visit with a baby, a stroller is most likely the better fit for transporting your bundle of joy. A trip with grandparents, walks around the neighborhood, a visit to the zoo. These are all great places to use a stroller! A baby backpack carrier can definitely be used in these travel scenarios, but it’s better to have a stroller. It is a lot less straining to push a stroller than carrying a pack on your back, and grandparents and other family members would love to help and push the stroller.
Stroller vs. Baby Backpack Carrier: Flying Internationally
After pondering this for a while, we really couldn’t think of many situations where a stroller would be better than a backpack carrier while flying (except one listed below). I don’t think many parents consider a baby backpack carrier for flying internationally with a baby and are asked frequently: ‘Can you fly with a baby backpack carrier?’ The answer is yes! There are so many benefits to flying internationally with a baby backpack carrier versus a stroller. Here are our top 5:
Everyone feels the same pressure of other passengers watching you while going through airport security. Especially if you have a baby in tow, it is so much easier to collapse a baby backpack carrier and place it on a conveyor belt than to unpack and collapse a stroller that may or may not fit through the security scanners. Baby backpack carriers typically fold flat, and you can leave the contents in the pack storage compartments. This can be a big time saver during an already stressful and time-crunched moment.
Ever try filling out immigration paperwork with a long line of grumpy travelers behind you while trying to keep track of your documents, child, and sanity? Now picture yourself at baggage claim with a stroller, suitcase, car seat, diaper bag, and a purse. This is where the baby backpack shines! It can be so difficult to deal with luggage, the kids and manage the wonderful chaos that is travel. Utilizing a baby backpack carrier for your child and their things can free up your hands so that you can tackle any obstacles while traveling.
Impromptu High Chair
In this case, a stroller is probably better for an impromptu high chair, but a baby backpack carrier works. If you are eating in the airport and need a safe/clean place for your little one to be while trying to eat, the baby backpack can be just that! I didn’t prefer my son to eat messy foods in the baby backpack (especially at the start of a trip), but when in a pinch, it works!
Overhead Compartment Compatible
We took our baby backpack carrier on countless flights. We never had to check, or even gate check our pack, even on small planes. Once the pack is flattened/folded (different per brand), it perfectly fits the overhead compartment. The amount of time and stress saved by having the baby backpack on board with us is unmeasurable. The thought of waiting in line for a gate-checked stroller on a tight connection is just ridiculously stressful so, walk right past that line with your kid on your back!
No nipped heals here! A baby backpack carrier allows you to nimbly navigate crowded airports without having to say, ‘Excuse me! Sorry’ a million times. With a baby backpack carrier, you have the same footprint as you would with any big backpack. This alone is a huge benefit to the baby backpack carrier versus a stroller while flying internationally.
Take a look at our Top 10 Items for Flying with a Baby!
Stroller vs. Baby Backpack Carrier: Road Trips
Depending on your road trip length and where you are going, a baby backpack carrier may make the most sense. If your road trip includes hiking, then a baby backpack carrier is the way to go! If your trip includes exploring new cities, theme parks, shopping, or a festival, you could use a stroller or a baby backpack carrier. However, we would still lean towards the backpack carrier. A baby backpack allows for a much nimbler experience in crowds. Baby backpack carriers also fold and compress to a small footprint, perfect for packing in the car.
If you are planning a road trip, take a look at our Tips for Road Trips with a Toddler article which includes details on planning, packing, and taking a road trip with a toddler in tow!
Stroller vs. Baby Backpack Carrier: Beach Vacation
There are pros and cons to both strollers and baby backpack carriers on a beach vacation with a baby. The most obvious con to a stroller at the beach is that pushing a stroller through the sand is just not going to go well. The pros with a stroller are the ability to store a ton of beach gear underneath but, not being able to push it in the sand kind of makes it a no-go. Walking with a baby backpack on the beach is no problem but, while there is gear storage on most packs, it’s definitely not enough for a day at the beach.
A con for both strollers and baby backpack carriers is all the sand that is nearly impossible to get out. Depending on your intentions for the beach, you may leave both behind but, if you need help with carrying your baby, the baby backpack has the advantage here with mobility in the sand.
Stroller vs. Baby Backpack Carrier: Cruise Ship
Taking a cruise is a wonderful way to travel with a baby! Deciding on packing a stroller versus a baby backpack carrier for a cruise mainly depends on your itinerary. If you plan to spend most of your time strolling beaches, then a baby backpack carrier would be best. If you plan to stay mainly on the ship and explore different ports, then a stroller would be your best bet.
If you own a baby backpack carrier and a stroller, you are covered for almost any type of travel with a baby! Determining which to bring for a trip depends on the trip. We feel that, in general, a backpack carrier provides the most flexibility in most travel situations with a baby. This is not always the case, though! There are many travel situations with a baby that a stroller would be a better fit for.
In addition, carrying a heavy pack may not be feasible for everyone, which is completely OK! You and your baby can travel the world, or just your neighborhood, in the way that best suits you and your family. We encourage you to take those opportunities whenever and however you can!
If you are interested in purchasing a baby backpack carrier after reading this but are unsure where to start looking, take a look at our Top 5 Baby Backpack Carriers!
Here at The Kid Packer, we want to help you live your best life. A great baby backpack child carrier can help you do just that! After having used a child carrier backpack for over 1,500 miles of adventuring and exploring, we have a passion for them and know what makes a great pack that both you and your child will love. We hope our comprehensive research allows you to find the right backpack for your needs confidently!