We have always loved going hiking. Not super professional with complete equipment, but just a weekend in the Harz or a tour lasting several hours on vacation in Bavaria or Italy. It's not about breaking records, just about exercise in nature - even in challenging terrain.
Since the kids arrived, we've tried a lot of things. Because we didn't want to accept that hiking wouldn't be possible for the next five to ten years.
The first attempt was with the Croozer - the common bicycle trailer, which is also a great help as a buggy replacement in many situations. However, we only used it for hikes once, because we always had to skip the interesting paths because we simply couldn't get through with the bulky Croozer... and let's be honest: it's not even half as much fun on the big main paths .
So the next time we rented a crib, our son was a little older than a year old. The narrower paths were possible again. But of course it was exhausting. The crib weighed over 3 kg and our son already weighed 13 kg. And we actually wore it all the time. Even with alternation, it wasn't necessarily comfortable. Nevertheless, we were happy to have borrowed the Kraxe for our vacation.
We didn't want to buy the Kraxe because we hadn't seen many occasions where it would have been used. So on our next vacation we borrowed the child carrier backpack again. I think it was a different model this time. But again she was a good help to us.
Things became problematic when our son was about 3 years old. It was simply too heavy to be carried in the crate. We were really annoyed by the constant dragging, also because his fidgeting was constantly disrupting our walking rhythm. And then he complained that his legs felt “weird” after a while. So to make matters worse, he became naggy.
We should have just let him run himself a lot more. But to be honest, he was hardly used to it.
With my daughter, we did exactly that differently right from the start... also because we had now developed the first prototypes of the HOMB. She was always supposed to run herself and was only allowed to go on the HOMB occasionally if she couldn't keep up with the big guy's pace or if she just needed to go faster now and then. That was so much more relaxed for everyone.
Of course, the HOMB only became a real alternative for hiking weekends when you were around 2.5 years old. (Before, we always used it on shorter routes in everyday life.)
Overall, our experience shows that a crib is a great help for vacations - especially when the little ones are still really small (i.e. up to around 2 years old). After that, the “hop on hop off” concept is more relaxed for everyone.