Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Kids Backpack Carrier Review

by Chrystal Johnson on November 13, 2012

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We got our first Kelty pack when Zoë was just under a year old. It was the transit carrier style and we used it all the time. During our year in Uruguay, it got used almost daily. Zoë loved sitting up high where she could see everything that was going on.

After 3 years of frequent use, it finally wore out, so we were ecstatic to receive a Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 to review. There are so many awesome places to hike where we live, but the girls can’t always walk the whole way so it’s nice to have a carrier to pop them in.

The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 is a top-of-the line JPMA certified frame carrier that’s designed to provide the ultimate in safety and comfort for your child. It has a kickstand that auto-deploys and a lightweight aluminum frame.

The carrier features a new and improved easy-to-access adjustable suspension system that ensures the perfect fit for both mom and dad.

The shoulder straps and back panel are laminated and padded.

There are also new leg-secure straps and an adjustable 5-point harness too keep your little one comfortably in-place.

A detachable sun hood is included. It’s easy to install and uninstall and fits neatly inside the pack. We found this to be one of the essential features in a good backpack carrier.

There’s plenty of storage for you to bring items on your hike, including 2 zip compartments on the top of the backpack, one under the seat and a hydration-ready compartment.

The waistbelt adjusts from both sides and is laminated, padded and contoured. It has a water bottle pocket and a small storage pocket.

The backpack portion zips off of the carrier and can be used as a daypack.

If your little one is still in diapers, this pack also includes a changing pad.

Additional features include:

  • Toy loops
  • Carry/lift handles
  • Removable, washable chin-pad
  • Load-lifter straps
  • Sternum strap

Brian does most of the backpack carrying of the girls, so I had him put it on first. He was amazed at how much more comfortable it is than our previous carrier. They have made some awesome improvements to their design over the last few years. However, the one thing he said she wishes it had was the rearview mirror our old Kelty pack had.

I had problems wearing the transit carrier comfortably, but the Pathfinder 3.0 fits me much better. I think I could actually wear it out hiking!

Kaylee said it was comfortable to sit in as well. The child’s seat is padded and adjustable so you can get a good fit for your kiddo.

You child needs to weigh a minimum of 16 pounds and a maximum of 40 pounds to be worn in the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0. That gives us 1 more pound before Zoë hits the weight limit (she’s 4 ½).

The maximum weight load (child + gear + pack) is 50 pounds. The pack itself weight 7 pounds, 10 ounces, so that leaves you with about ~42 pounds you can carry in the pack (kid + gear). With Kaylee, we can carry about 16 pounds of gear and stay within the weight limit, so we’ll be able to use the pack for a good amount of time.

If you’re an outdoors family, I highly recommend the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0. It’s comfortable, safe and well made. And be sure to connect with Kelty on Facebook and Twitter.


About Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal, publisher of Happy Mothering, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who's willing to listen.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashley T November 14, 2012 at 6:53 am

Wow, my husband has been wanting a Kelty carrier since we found out we were expecting! I have an onya that I use, but he is a Kelty fan. We would love to have this carrier :) I will be sure to visit come back tomorrow to check out the giveaway.


2 JulieLynnes November 15, 2012 at 8:04 am

Awesome! Wish i had one when my little one was little :-)


3 Amanda J November 15, 2012 at 8:38 am

We have a similar, older Kelty carrier that we LOVE. It has saved us from being boring parents that let go of their outdoor lifestyles due to kids! I love Kelty! Great quality. Nice job on the review, thanks!


4 Maile
Twitter: MaileAllen
November 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm

This is awesome. Great and thorough review! Very helpful and only confirms my need for one :)


5 Amy Norg November 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm

We’ve found that anything made by Kelty is durable, stylish and all-over fantastic! I would think that this carrier would be no different!


6 Milly B November 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I love that it has a water bladder pocket. This looks like a great pack. My oldest is 6 at 41 pounds, and there are 4 other little girls younger than her. We could get some good use out of one of these! :)


7 Ellen B. November 18, 2012 at 8:23 am

As a parent who has let their outdoor lifestyle go due to children- I would love to win this! We have never been able to afford a Kelty, but had a cheaper backpack that we used for a while. We both found it was just too uncomfortable to carry for long so we stopped… :(


8 Laura Love November 21, 2012 at 7:06 am

Wow, that pack looks awesome. I’m really impressed with how high the weight limit is – 50 lbs! That means you can use it for a really long time, and it looks sturdy enough to last a long time.


9 Maile
Twitter: MaileAllen
November 26, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Man, this only makes me want one MORE! I love this pack!!


10 Kyna November 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Would love to have that for hikes. :)


11 Kathy S. January 19, 2013 at 8:17 am

I love this pack and my son-in-law would love it for my grandson. I like that you said it was lightweight and lets the child see better because it sits high. Thanks for review


12 polly January 19, 2013 at 11:58 am

like all the features this carrier has especially the padding for the kids


13 Denise Taylor-Dennis January 23, 2013 at 6:01 am

This looks sturdy and easy to use, I’ve never had one of these before. Thanks for the great review and pictures.
Denise Taylor-Dennis recently posted..Giveaway – Infantino Go Gaga Twist & Fold Gym


14 cathy henatyszen January 23, 2013 at 11:20 pm

What a wonderful looking rig !!! never had anything like this when my kids were that small


15 Tiffany
Twitter: momtosprouts
January 27, 2013 at 11:58 am

That look amazing! I have a 3 year old that I can’t carry bc of medical conditions and I HATE trying to keep her with us when we’re walking. This would be perfect for anyone that wants to keep their kids close!


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