What’s the best baby carrier for dad?

Dave | |

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Dad’s do things differently to moms. That’s why we exist. Some Mars to counterpoint the Venus!

For us, a baby carrier has to be practical, well designed, functional and for some… look good… not be pink… you get the idea!

In this roundup, we’ve got you covered. Most (but not all) baby carriers could easily be used by mom or dad so If you just want the best baby carrier, that’s here. But if you want something that makes a little more of a dad statement, that’s here too 🙂

Our top picks for the best carrier for dad

Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices on Amazon and other retailers

What does a dad want in a baby carrier?

Dads and Baby Carrier Style

No pink. Did I mention that already?

Nor flowers really… spotty colorful designs… no. Dads don’t usually wear that stuff! Give us something that looks like it was designed by the Swiss or the Army, or the Swiss Army.

If we want to make a statement, normally it’s a fun one, and it’s for the benefit of the children.

So superheroes, comedy and in some circumstances, product advertising. These things work for us.

Mostly though, we’re fine with what works for mom, so long as it isn’t pink. Sorry, I digress…

A baby carrier with child in front facing position
A baby carrier with child in front facing position… It’s not pink, I like it….

Dad Carrier Size

Generally as a father, you’re bigger than mom, due to all that testosterone floating about in your bloodstream. So size matters.

A good baby carrier will fit a wide variety of body shapes from slender to plus size men. If you have extremely broad shoulders however some baby carriers aren’t going to fit as comfortably as others.

How tall you are shouldn’t matter. It’s about how the baby carrier fits your shoulders and waist.

Good carrier adjustment is a key factor. Does it have to fit both mom and dad?

Back Support

You often hear about men putting their back out. We certainly suffer vocally from back problems!

It might surprise you to know however that women actually suffer more (as this study shows). This might well have something to do with the changes to the body due to pregnancy.

It’s certainly something you need to factor into any decision.

A good thick waist belt will help to distribute baby weight through the hips. This takes it off the lower back.

You might want to checkout our guide on baby carriers specifically for bad backs.

A baby carrier with joined shoulder straps and good back support (ideal for dads)
A baby carrier with joined shoulder straps and good back carrying support

Fathers are Practical – Easy in and easy out

How you actually get your child into a baby carrier and out again is important. You don’t want to be manhandling them too much.

Baby carriers that allow you to load your child up first and then shoulder them afterward are good. If you can take them out easily without waking them. Also great.

As a guy though, you’ll learn the technique to get your little one in and out with the minimum of fuss pretty quickly.

One-handed front carrier loading, good if you're strong and confident with your child
One-handed front carrier loading, good if you’re strong and confident with your child

Child Carrier Safety and Hip Dysplasia

You’ll probably want to be a little more active in your baby carrier than mom. But not too active, certainly not before baby can hold their head up. Checkout our safety guidelines before you go hiking….

Hip Dysplasia is something to be aware of. Sitting in a baby carrier without enough support around the thighs with legs too close together for extended periods of time is bad for your child. It can lead to hip problems in later life. Here’s a good guide to correct seated hip positions that includes pictures. Some products are ‘Approved Hip Safe’, look for that.

Child Carrying Positions

In this respect Dad is much the same as mom to be honest. With the exception of the hip carry and needing a position to breastfeed, dad baby carriers will allow you one or more of the following positions:

Front facing in – Infant Carrier

For the first few months of life, babies don’t require a lot of visual stimulation. They can’t support their own head for extended periods of time. This carrier position is normally used for infants anywhere from 2-4 weeks upwards.

Once your child can hold their head up and look around they’re going to want more stimulation which is when you turn them around and move to…

Front (or hip) facing out – Infant to Toddler

In this position, your child can get all the external stimulation they need and still feel a closeness to you.

The only downside? It’s not great for children who want to get some sleep and unless they’ve got a good ‘off switch’ will do nothing but stimulate them.

You also, don’t get to see what’s going on with their little faces!!

On your back facing in (backpack) – Toddler Carrier

With a larger and heavier child, it makes sense to change your baby carriers position into one more like a backpack. This move your child into a front facing position your back. You can more easily naturally carry greater weight there. You’ll be more comfortable using a baby carrier for longer periods in this position too. A child can also feel comforted in the closeness of their parent and even get a little sleep by using your back as a pillow.

Great for long walks when they need to get some sleep.

Front in, front out and back baby carrier positions in a soft structured carrier
Front in, front out, and back carry positions in a soft structured carrier

Where’s my Man-Bag?

What Dad, you don’t carry one? Lots of us don’t…. Yet… I know I’d rather travel as light as possible. But with your child in tow that’s just not possible. You end up carrying a lot of stuff. A good change bag for a dad is also a must. But when talking about baby carriers somewhere to put your stuff (keys, wallet, change, baby wipes etc) is always useful. Especially if your carrier waist belt restricts access to your pockets. They sometimes do.

Dad Baby Carrier Reviews

Ergobaby Carrier

Ergobaby Carrier, 360 All Carry Positions Baby Carrier with Cool Air Mesh, Carbon Grey
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

This is just plain one of the best baby carriers available. It’s won awards for being so and is very popular. Any good search for a baby carrier will turn up the Ergobaby.

In the ‘dad style’ department it does come in a wide variety of colors, 18 at last check. Moonstone, plain black. Not camo, but, something for nearly everyone.

This baby carrier allows hip friendly seating in 4 positions. It’s easy to get your child in and out safely.

If there’s anything you could find fault with it’s the thick velcro waist belt. It provides good support for you and your back. The thick waist belt distributes weight around your hips and supports your lumbar area well. That velcro waistband feels snug and secure. The main downside is that it’s loud to unfasten and isn’t easy to adjust with the baby in the carrier.

If you live in a warm climate, there’s a Cool Air version of this baby carrier that does away with the velcro and has a buckle waistband instead. This version also has a mesh panel in the front to allow more air through onto baby to keep them cool.

The padded shoulder straps are well made and comfortable. Those straps aren’t permanently secured at the back. You fix them together once they are on your shoulders using a buckle behind your neck. That could prove hard to reach for anyone with reduced shoulder mobility.

Suitable for: Infants from 7 lbs (with infant insert) or 12 pounds to 45 pounds
Carry Positions: Front in, Front out, Hip, Back

What we liked:

  • Privacy, sun / rain hood tucked into a pocket at the front (so there’s a pocket you can use for keys/wallet)
  • Easy and safe forward baby in out position.
  • Loads of color choices. Something for everyone (even Dad).
  • Machine washable.
  • Certified hip friendly
  • Needs insert for infant.

What we didn’t:

  • Clasp for the shoulder straps will be awkward to reach for anyone with restricted shoulder mobility.
  • Loud velcro strap (check out the Cool Air version to avoid that strap)

Check the price on Amazon »

TBG Tactical Baby Carrier

TBG Tactical Baby Carrier (Coyote Brown)
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

TBG have designed one of the best baby carriers for looking cool that targets the Dad market specifically. Well, not to be stereotypical but most of the dad market at least!

This is a military styled carrier is made from 600D tactical polyester. That’s the same polyester you get in many high quality backpacks and luggage items. It’s heavy duty and designed to last. Unfortunately that doesn’t make it the most forgiving or the softest fabric you can use to carry your baby, but it will soften with use and it’s rugged, which tactical gear needs to be.

The padded shoulder straps are comfortable and cross over on your back, they are also mesh coated on the interior to keep things cool. Crossed or connected shoulder straps help distribute the weight of the carry on your shoulders more evenly and centrally. This is good for your back and comfortable to wear for longer. This carrier doesn’t feature the large supportive padded waist belt like many regular carriers, as men can find them uncomfortable. Removing that belt also makes the folded size of this carrier small.

The outside of the carrier comes with MOLLE attachment hoops. These are used often in tactical and military gear and allow hanging attachments onto the carrier and make adding compatible pouches both easy and flexible. TBG sell a range of these like a cooler pouch and a bottle pouch, all with matching color designs. But you can use any other MOLLE pouches or carabiners to add on whatever you like. This makes re-configuring your carrier depending on what you’re doing, a snap! There’s also a velcro panel at the top of the carrier (visible when you’re doing an inward carry) that can be used to add patches.

The carry position is hip friendly with a wide base to give that desired M position to the legs of the carried infant.

Suitable for: 8 to 33 pounds
Positions: Front inward facing, and outward facing.

What we liked:

  • Cool look
  • 4 camo/cargo color choices
  • MOLLE attachment system
  • Hard wearing
  • Washable infant insert
  • Matching attachment pouches

What we didn’t:

  • Fabric could be more baby soft

Check the price on Amazon »

Baby Tula Carrier – Fleet (Navy Camo)

Tula Ergonomic Carrier, Fleet-Standard Size(Baby), 15-45 pounds
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

Here’s a well-respected baby carrier that allows several positions and comes in a Dad friendly Navy Camo print (amongst others). Something that won’t look generic and certainly not girly. In fact, it looks like it would go well with a Navy dress uniform.

The Tula baby carrier isn’t officially certified as safe by the hip dysplasia institute, but the seating position of the carrier does conform to their best practices. Legs wide, knees high and support along the thigh. An M shape.

The OEKO-TEX certification standard is there to show you nothing harmful, illegal, banned or on any watchlist has been used in making it. Or in the factory making it.

Whilst this carrier base padded shoulder straps they are not permanently secured together. When the baby carrier is used in the front facing position you have to fix them together with a buckle behind your neck. Most people won’t struggle with this. But if you have any sort of shoulder injury or reduced joint mobility, this might not work for you.

Suitable for: 7 to 15 pounds with infant insert, up to 45 pounds.
Positions: Front inward facing, Back carry.

What we liked:

  • OEKO-TEX certified fabric
  • Storage pocket
  • Removable Hood
  • Wide range age weight range usage

What we didn’t:

  • Requires an insert for newborns and small children (sold separately)
  • No front outward facing position
  • Behind neck fastener, not ideal if you have a shoulder injury

Check the price on Amazon »

Lalbabu Dad Shirt

Lalabu Dad Shirt (L, Simple Gray)
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

Here’s a simple solution to the problem of carrying a small child. It’s not your standard baby carrier though but a shirt from Lalbabu that has a pouch in the front that you can pop your little one into, Kangaroo style. If you don’t want to learn about wrap carriers and slings, this has to be one of the best options for carrying baby as a father.

There’s no structure to this pouch so the baby just assumes whatever position becomes comfortable. Curled up, but usually squatting facing you, which coincidentally is a hip safe position so long as their legs are wide.

This isn’t a baby carrier that’s designed for long-term use. It’s a quick on, easy in, job done style of carrier. Perfect for guys!

There aren’t restraining straps for the child so you won’t be jumping around wearing this, or going hiking. Because they’re in a pouch, it feels natural to still hold them with at least one hand ‘most’ of the time. But you still essentially have the use of both hands when you need them.

There is a way to make a head support for the child using a drawstring at the front.

Suitable for: Newborn up to 15 pounds
Carry Positions: Front inwards facing

What we liked:

  • About as easy to use as any baby carrier could possibly be
  • Looks good
  • Head support

What we didn’t:

  • Not certified hip safe
  • Single position carry
  • Only upto 15 lbs
Take a look at this video from the makers. It shows the dad shirt in the second half. After the mom version has been discussed.

Check the price on Amazon »

KidsEmbrace DC Comics Batman Carrier

KidsEmbrace Batman Baby Carrier, DC Comics Deluxe Carrier with Hood, Black
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

If you or your child are into superheroes. Specifically Batman, this baby carrier might be worth a look.

It’s black and has a Batman logo on the front and a hood for the child with bat ears.

There are 3 carry positions, but unfortunately, no forward facing out.

The fabric construction of this contains a lot of mesh around the child which is going to help to keep things nice and cool. In the middle section of the carrier waistband, you can find a nice large zipper pocket that’s ideal for storing a phone.

Dads who are Avengers and Marvel comics fans…. Unfortunately you need to keep looking.

Suitable for: 7.7 pounds (newborn) upto 26.4 pounds
Carry Positions: Front in, Front hip, Back

What we liked:

  • Batman logo
  • Hood with bat ears
  • Multi position carrier
  • Large waistband storage pocket

What we didn’t:

  • Not certified hip friendly

Check the price on Amazon »

A stay at home dad and blogger. I'm lucky enough to have 2 wonderful children and the full set, a boy, and a girl! When I get a minute I like to share this tiring but amazing journey and my experience by writing!

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