Kelty has a thing for pets and kids, but at least they don't try to carry cats around in Baby Bjorns. They keep them separate, like chocolate and peanut butter in their natural states. For the kid who needs a fully pimped ride comes the Kelty FC 3.0 child carrier, a giant step forward from the days when my folks threw me loose in a Radio Flyer wagon to bounce my skeevy little head off the metal rail on the smallest bumps.
The Kelty FC 3.0 is truly cush for both baby and parent. A five-point harness in a fully padded cockpit for the LittleFlogger accomodates any rugrat+gear up to 50 pounds (that's Denali quality training right there) and features a complete array of adjustments from height to legs. The parent gets equal treatment with a suspension worthy of an expedition backpack, including a fully padded hip belt connected to a beefy aluminum frame with an auto-deploying kickstand and no-pinch hinges. Dry weight is a manageable 7.5 pounds.
You can dial in the fit with a sternum strap, torso length adjustment and even load lifters to save your lower back from oblivion after seven hours on the trail, whether it's in Appalachia or Disney World. A rain/sun hood is included, as is a nicely designed folding changing pad with – get this – actual padding so it's usable on a rough surface. Three full-size zippered compartments behind the kiddo let you organize a bunch o' stuff, plus there's a separate little toy garage down low. Getting your little ingrate in and out is much easier than with other carriers we've used, just two buckles for the shoulder straps and a couple quick tugs to snug it up.
Once s/he is on board, the Kelty FC 3.0 carries like a dream. We loaded up a highly active and freakishly strong three-year old for a three-mile jaunt up a muddy trail, and we were nervous about the inevitable bucking about as she tried to grab every single branch and leaf she saw. Imagine our surprise – and relief- when it turned out very little torque passed through the suspension. The only surprise was when when she started imitating my air-blow nose clearing technique on the back of my head, but that was my bad for doing it right in front of her. Overall the FC 3.0 is the best child carrier we've used to date.