NFR Baby backpacks

I guess this is sort of fishing related, but I was wondering if anyone out there has any experience and suggestions for a good backpack that I can carry my toddler son in while flyfishing? I bought a pretty heavy-duty one at a consignment shop, but it is pretty large and cumbersome. My wife has an Ergo which would probably work pretty well if I could figure out how to get my son in it on my back.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am not planning on taking him out until this summer so there is plenty of time to do some research. Oh and my son just turned one last weekend so he would be about 16 - 18 months or so by summer.

I have one of those big bulky hiking baby packs that works really well. The ergos are okay, but I think they get uncomfortable for the kid after a while. When I fished with my daughter with the hiking pack she enjoyed it a lot more because she was sitting up higher and could see what was going on, as well as pull my ears and take my hat off.

Steve Unwin

Active Member
I don't think the ergo would be that great. I have a hiking backpack that I have used a fair amount and I can wear it for hours without much trouble. But my wife would get uncomfortable with the Beco/Ergo/whatever) after an hour or so. Since it doesn't have any structure to transfer weight to your hips and legs, all of the weight goes through your torso. Not ideal. The hiking backpacks are a lot more stable as well and usually have at least some storage for snacks, toys, diapers, etc.

I have a Sherpani Rumba that I like pretty well. It has some adjustments that not all of them have. But really your best bet would be to take yourself and the kid to REI or similar and try several. Make sure you pick one that fits your needs. There are some that have less of an exoskeleton which might be nice for fishing.
We have the Deuter Kid Comfort II. We went to REI and tried them all and liked this one the best--relatively easy to modify between fitting me or my wife and it's "saddle" design looked more comfortable for the boy compared to the "bench seat" design of some of the others. Never used it fly fishing, but I think it would work ok. We also got the optional sun shade which would probably be useful in protecting the kid's head for any errant cast with a big streamer…Having hooked myself in the back of the head on a beach this summer, I worry about such things!!


Rob Ast

Active Member
Its been a few years since we last had one (our daughter is now 7), but after trying several we ended up with a Sherpani superlight. It was the lightest and narrowest I found allowing for longer carrying and less getting tangled when walking tight trails. That being said, like with all backpacks, it comes down to what is most comfortable for you.


Active Member
I remember going through these same decisions. With a child on your back you're going to limit how aggressively you cast, wade and even boulder hop, but it'll be fun.

I'd go with the one you already have. You can put up with anything (even if it's less than ideal) for the short period you'll be carrying a child in a pack. You blink once and they're suddenly twelve years old.

It's amazing how quickly children outgrow all those stroller, backpack and jogger decisions. Don't sweat over them too much, it's not like a fly rod you'll use the rest of your life and potentially hand down!
Thank you for all of the replies. I have the Kelty Ridgeline (with sunshade) and I will try it again this spring/sumer. I tried this last summer, but I think part of the problem was that my son was a bit too small for it at that time. There are also a lot of adjustment points that I probably need to take more time monkeying around with.

I did take him out this summer with the Bjorn (strapped to my chest, my son facing out) on a really small stream for a short time. It was fun, but he got fussy after about an hour. I definitely will be sticking to small streams with that precious cargo strapped to my back.

The next time we are at REI I may just give the others a whirl since many of you are correct that some packs work better for some people and not others. My most comfortable backpacking backpack is a cheap external frame backpack that is lighter than most internal frame packs (also it is massively adjustable adjustable to fit my 6'4" body).