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The Outdoor Life: Kelty FC 3.0 | KIDS Frame Carrier Review

My first “big” date with my husband, we hiked Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. The tallest peak in the eastern United States. What in the world was I thinking? It was a nine-hour date in which we toiled (I toiled, hubby was fine!) through a fine mist and clouds of fog, past enchanting waterfalls, and nervous-making dropoffs to the top. Definitely a relationship make-or-break-er!

As we scrambled over slick rocks lining the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail (we took the White Mountain Classic Trail up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail and down by the Jewell Trail), we saw a family with children making their way down. Parents bringing their children hiking on a strenuous trail? I was impressed. I resolved not to let having children keep me house-bound when I became a parent (oh yes, I was certain I would marry that man loping easily up the trail ahead of me!).

Raising an outdoor baby is not without challenge. First, new moms have to physically recover from birthing. Then, logistical challenges. As in, how to carry the baby? Traditional cloth baby carriers are great for errands, picnics, or mild recreation. But for longer adventures, a frame carrier is a good choice. It bears a heavy load comfortably, plus it has storage for food/supplies (good for day hikes). The cushioning for baby to ride in comfort is good, and there are several mesh openings for airflow.

We were thrilled our very first Kids’ Frame Carrier was a Kelty! My husband has always packed a Kelty backpack when we hike, and we have a few other Kelty items, so we know and love the Kelty brand for outdoor gear!

What do we love about the KeltyFC 3.0 Kids Frame carrier? (Beside the striking orange-curry fabric!).

  • Holds children up to 50 pounds, making longer hikes possible with toddlers / preschoolers. The seat padding is substantial and feels comfortable! (The Velcro pad is a bit easy for baby to remove though).
  • The 5-point adjustable harness secures the child and buckles hid under soft microfleece so they don’t irritate the skin.
  • Children are level with the adult’s head, to take in scenery without craning their necks. My son loves to pat my husband’s head and urge him forward. He’s always pointing as he rides, and is much more active in this carrier than my other carriers.
  • Two storage areas – under the seat and rear allow you to stash lunch, diapers, etc.
  • Really loved the enclosed bottom portion – this keeps baby’s legs safe from swinging branches, cold, rain, wind. There is room to wrap a blanket around his legs for added protection.
  • Sun/rain hood has a high arch to avoid touching babies head. The side screening lets them see out but stay protected (oh, and there’s a changing pad! Loved that!).
  • Torso-adjustment to fit taller/shorter adult builds – keeps the baby riding lower for better balance.
  • Patented kick stand – automatically pops out when you loosen the belt/straps.

Obviously there is a lot to say about the Kelty FC 3.0. How did it work for us? My husband loves Kelty so I made him test it out first! He raved about the fit and quality construction. At first I worried it would be “too much carrier” for me, but that was not the case.

Our first hike with the carrier was smooth, baby loved it, daddy loved it, and… mommy decided to try too! We switched packs on the trail, and I adjusted the Kelty carrier to my size in just a minute or two. I had to readjust after walking a little ways, but once I got the carrier settled on my hips, it felt good. Adjusting the torso height of the belt was a little challenging for me; I think this will come with practice.

Excuse the homemade hats made from flat diaper clothes – we forgot our hats AND bandanas, and the tick population is high in our area!

The adjustable fit is impressive, since I am 5’5″ and hubby is 6’2,” and the pack worked for both of us! I need to work on my core strength for toting a growing boy long distances, but fortunately, I do not hike without my husband! Our son is twenty-four pounds, plus the pack’s seven pounds, so I definitely felt a shift in my center of gravity when I wore the pack, but I didn’t struggle (our hike was not very “climby” as I didn’t want to attempt anything challenging with new gear and the baby).

Although the carrier is bulky for packing into the car, we managed to take it camping with us. Which was a huge benefit when it rained the night before we left, and we needed to pack up camp in slightly muddy ground. My husband threw the carrier on, put the baby in, and we packed up without him getting dirty! Another time, we went to an amusement park, and the Kelty was definitely easier than a stroller. We packed in the diaper bag and some food. Definitely made use of the changing pad enclosed in one of the three pack compartments. We got caught in a downpour, so the rain hood came in handy; baby does not love being underneath it despite the ample see-through screens!

I found myself wishing for a water bottle holder in the front or side. I had to share my bottle with hubby or grab his out of the back storage. And some loops on the pack for small gear/carabiners might be a nice addition. Otherwise, the Kelty FC 3.0 is a sturdy piece of outdoor gear that will last many years! While we have other carriers that work well around town, farmer’s markets, library, the Kelty helps us expand our outdoor adventures beyond what an all-terrain stroller can handle!

Maybe someday you’ll be climbing Mount Washington and we’ll be waving hello to you as we make our way down… with our children!

The Kelty FC 3.0 Kids Frame Carrier retails for $249.95, and can be ordered at Kelty.com and many other outdoor gear retailers! Follow Kelty on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on the latest in outdoor equipment!

Do you hike? Do you take your children? What’s your favorite feature of this carrier?

WIN IT! Kelty just wants to get families outdoors! So they are giving away THREE Kelty FC 3.0 KIDS Frame Carriers! WOW!

Disclosure: I was sent a product to facilitate this review, and was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are 100% my own.

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SOPHIE AND MOMMA

Friday 12th of August 2011

I look for the overall comfortable and fit between child and parent. If my child cannot stand the carrier for a good length of time, then I would end up in a pickle if we were out on a hike! So Comfortableness of the carrier as well as the Safety.

Thanks! I look forward to getting out in the mountains of WA! :) sophieandmomma at gmail dot com

SOPHIE AND MOMMA

Friday 12th of August 2011

I look for the overall comfortable and fit between child and parent. If my child cannot stand the carrier for a good length of time, then I would end up in a pickle if we were out on a hike! So Comfortableness of the carrier as well as the Safety.

Thanks! I look forward to getting out in the mountains of WA! :) sophieandmomma at gmail dot com

mandy bunn

Thursday 11th of August 2011

I have never been a hikers but have been thinking of ways to lose the baby weight (baby is 3 weeks, others are 13,4 and 1) and this would be awesome to use to hold at least one of the bunch ;)

mandy bunn

Thursday 11th of August 2011

I have never been a hikers but have been thinking of ways to lose the baby weight (baby is 3 weeks, others are 13,4 and 1) and this would be awesome to use to hold at least one of the bunch ;)

Kristine Ng

Thursday 11th of August 2011

We look for comfort for baby and parents. Hubby is big on how easy it is for him to use, ie. putting the carrier on and taking it off, adjusting, and how easy it is to put in the baby and taking him out. I want to make sure it's not too heavy for me. Extras I look at is how easy it is to clean, if we can use it from infanthood to toddlerhood, shade for the baby, water bottle holder for parents, and maybe extra storage for parents.

Hubby loves hiking and exploring and hopes to share his love for the outdoors with our kiddies. =D

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