The Lillebaby CarryOn AirFlow Child Carrier is Put to the Test in a National Park with a 4-Year-Old
When it comes to baby carriers, ages four and five get tricky. After all, your little one isn’t a baby anymore! Instead, you’re probably finding that your little preschooler is too big for most carriers, but has legs that are still too little to do big hikes easily. Those sweet little legs get tired easily!
Quick Link: Here’s the link to my favorite child carrier for preschoolers and older kids. Read on for my full review!
On a recent trip to Glacier National Park with my four (almost five) year old, I was a bit unsure of how we were going to handle some of the longer hikes we wanted to do.
I knew my seven-year-old could hike a few miles easily, but my four-year-old? Not so much.
I didn’t want to be stuck carrying her on my back because that wouldn’t be any fun for me. Plus, it would probably become uncomfortable for her faster, too.
We still had two baby carriers from the baby/toddler years: an Ergo 360 and an Osprey Backpack Carrier. I love both those baby carriers and they have served us well over the years.
However, my daughter was now too big for the Ergo. And I wasn’t sure if I could handle the Osprey on a 4+ mile hike by myself. Usually, my husband carts the kiddos around in the Osprey, but this trip was going to be me, the kids, and my mom.
I was starting to wonder if we just weren’t going to be able to do some of the longer hikes I had planned when I remembered something. A good friend of mine had her 5-year-old son in a baby carrier on a local hike we did a year before. I quickly texted her asking for the brand and if she recommended it, which she wholeheartedly did.
The brand is Lillebaby and I was able to get it on Amazon. It came in two days, which was terrific because we were left for our trip 48 hours later!
About Lillebaby Carriers
Lillebaby is a brand that solely focuses on baby, toddler, and child carriers. They have three different types of carriers for three different stages of development. Lillebaby also sells a couple of comfortable-looking wraps. They even have a carrier that converts into a hip seat carrier that goes around your waist like a fanny pack.
Most of the Lillebaby products are for babies and toddlers, as is the case with most child carrier brands. However…
Lillebaby does have a carrier for the stage of development after toddlerhood: the Lillebaby CarryOn AirFlow. This style is perfect for preschoolers and even kindergartners and first graders that fit into the weight limit.
Lillebaby CarryOn AirFlow Review
So let’s talk more about this cool child carrier for older kids! Read on for my full review and why I think this is the best carrier for hiking with preschoolers.
The CarryOn AirFlow carrier has a taller back and wider seat, making it more comfortable for older children beyond the toddler years…though it works for toddlers, too! The CarryOn AirFlow can hold a child who weighs up to 60 pounds.
It’s also worn more like the Ergo or BabyBjorn that you may be familiar with. For me, this made it much more comfortable and easy on long hikes because of the way my daughter’s weight was distributed. The Osprey carrier, on the other hand, has your kids sitting up a bit higher so that there can be ample storage underneath. While this has its perks (I’ll get more to the storage in a minute), for my body type it just wasn’t as comfortable with a bigger kid (though my husband still prefers the Osprey).
The CarryOn AirFlow Lillebaby carrier has thick straps with a chest fastener and a thick, secure belt strap to go around the waist that you can cinch up to make it as tight as needed.
It’s very easy to get on. I was never able to figure out how to put my kids into back-wearing baby carriers on my own when they were babies or young toddlers. I always needed help from another adult.
But with the CarryOn child carrier and my eager preschooler, I was able to get her in quite easily with her help. She would just hold on around my neck while I got the carrier situated around her. Then when it was time to get out later, she would hold on around my neck again while I undid the buckles and then I would help guide her in sliding down my back. It was so easy!
I did have my mom with me though and having an extra adult came in handy the one time my daughter got her foot twisted in the shoulder strap while I was trying to secure her on my back, but we would’ve probably been able to figure that out on our own, too.
LilleBaby CarryOn AirFlow in Use
For me, the Lilllebaby CarryOn AirFlow was amazingly comfortable and cool. The AirFlow design provides plenty of ventilation so even when hiking in 80-degree weather neither of us got overheated.
I had no problems with backache from the carrier or things cutting into my sides from it on our hikes – and we did some fairly strenuous hikes for a family with little kids!
We did the Hidden Lake Overlook hike at Glacier National Park’s Logan Pass. This hike was 90% covered in snow when we were visiting plus it was pretty steep in parts. But I was able to easily navigate it with my preschooler on my back thanks to the Lilllebaby carrier. I never felt like my center of gravity was off.
We also did the 4.5-mile hike from Many Glacier Lodge to Grinnell Lake along the Swiftcurrent Lake Trail in the Many Glacier area of the park. This one was flatter but had some inclines and hot, unshaded areas. It would’ve taken us so much longer without the CarryOn AirFlow. I think we would have even reached the point that my seven-year-old wouldn’t have been able to do this hike if we hadn’t had the carrier to be able to go faster with my youngest in it.
So you can obviously tell I liked the Lillebaby on our hikes and think it was an excellent investment, but what about my daughter? Did she like it you may be wondering? Because after all, if our kids are whining then hiking is not fun for anybody. The good news is… She loved it!
She was so happy to be in there, singing for most of the hike (which is also a good bear deterrent, ha!). She seemed very comfortable in it. She did some of the hiking on her own, so it was nice that it was so easy to get her in and out of the Lillebaby child carrier. Another cool thing about the CarryOn AirFlow carrier?
The fact that it can hold up to 60 pounds!
Yes, I already mentioned that, but it’s worth mentioning again because it meant my oldest also got to try out the CarryOn. The high weight limit came in handy when my oldest was having some trouble on a hiking trail we did in the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park.
My youngest got out of the carrier and we gave my 7-year-old a break from hiking. I carried her in the pack for about five minutes just to give her a little break from hiking in the heat. She was also very comfortable in it, and I had no problem carrying my tall seven-year-old in it.
It was an unexpected, but great perk with the Lillebaby CarryOn AirFlow carrier to be able to have the option of my almost-second grader going in it, too, even though that was the only part of the trip we needed it for her (she’s an awesome little hiker!).
I’m sure my 4-year-old will be a great hiker someday, too, but in the meantime, I’m so glad we have the Lillebaby CarryOn AirFlow child carrier to help us do some epic family hikes sooner than later.
We brought it on our Disney World trip, too! It meant we didn’t have to navigate with a stroller and was great for fireworks so I didn’t have to hold her up the whole time.
Review Bottom Line: The Lillebaby CarryOn AirFlow can hold up to 60 pounds and is comfortable for adults and children alike. It is a must-have, worthy investment for active parents of children who are past the toddler stage but can’t quite keep up yet. I highly recommend it!