Spring has sprung in Greenville, SC, and we had a perfect blue-skied weekend to take our new Kelty FC 3.0 backpack carrier for a test drive. We decided to head to a nearby mountain for a 2-hour hike covering a few good ups and downs.
Now, first things first: My favorite part of a hike is the picnic that goes with it, so we made up sandwiches and snacks beforehand and packed them away in the carrier’s generous storage compartments. There’s a good-sized storage space under the seat where we stuck the granola bars and sandwiches; we used the upper backpack for water bottles (there are two mesh pockets perfectly suited for holding them upright), hand sanitizer, sunscreen and bug repellant, diapers and wipes (a decent changing pad comes with the carrier), and other essentials 8 month olds necessitate. (It was so nice not to have to carry a separate diaper bag in addition to the carrier.) We clipped a few doodads onto the handy toy clips for entertainment purposes and then loaded into the car to drive to begin our adventure.
When we arrived, we encountered almost zero resistance as we strapped our little guy into the FC 3.0. He was perfectly comfortable and content, thanks to the highly adjustable cockpit seat, which is intended to accommodate babies who are old enough to hold their heads up (usually in the 6-month range) up to 50-pound tots. My husband carried our boy for the first half of the hike, and we switched off for the second half (I managed to get out of carrying those fully, heavy water bottles—phew!). Baby remained happy the entire hike, which I think can safely be attributed to the comfy ride and nice view he had from way up on our backs. We also put up the sunshade for the second half of the hike since the rays was getting stronger, so he stayed nice and cool. (The mesh vents on either side of the cockpit help with airflow as well.)
As I mentioned, both hubby and I used the carrier and, get this, were able to adjust it quickly and easily to a position that was comfortable for us. That’s no small feat considering our 8-inch difference in height! The shoulder straps are nicely padded, but it’s the cushy waist belt that really shines, since it allows your midsection to carry the bulk of the weight. The carrier itself is really lightweight (a mere 7 pounds, 6 ounces), so the size of your baby (and quantity of snacks!) will definitely be the biggest factors affecting your load. The highly adjustable support system will work wonders though to make the carry—whatever the weight—manageable and comfortable.
Aside from the lack of an exterior water bottle pocket, I can’t think of a single improvement suggestion for Kelty—they’ve really done an outstanding job designing the FC 3.0. The waist belt has two easy access pockets for a cell phone, car key, etc.; the auto-deploy kickstand allows baby to be stabilized pre- and post-boarding mommy or daddy’s back (though I wouldn’t recommend leaving him unattended); the carrier fits snugly and securely, so it’s not sliding around as you head down steep hills; and the quality of the carrier is superb—I feel confident that it will last us a long, long time.
The Kelty FC 3.0 is an investment, sure, but it’s a worthwhile one. We couldn’t be happier to have a carrier that allows us to continue enjoying our outdoorsy adventures as our family clan expands.
To buy: kelty.com