User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Pros:Sturdy, auto-retractable kickstand; 5-point harness; thick padding in all the right places; zip-off backpack
Cons:Large; takes some getting used to
The Bottom Line: COMFORTABLE backpack for both you and your child!
The Kelty K.I.D.S. Trek Carrier is soooo COMFORTABLE! My sons currently weigh in at 24 lbs (11 months) and 38 lbs (4 years). I've carried them both in the backpack and have found the pack to be very comfortable in each case.
Recommend this product?
· Automatic kickstand for loading/unloading
· Kickstand has 4 non-skid rubber feet; 2 no-pinch hinges; wide base (~16.5"x23")
· Large, padded upper and lower back supports
· Padded shoulder straps
· 2 layer padded waist belt
· 5-point harness system
· Load balancing straps
· Loosen & tighten straps for easy loading/unloading
· Zip-off, small backpack (~14"x11") with 1 mesh water bottle pocket
· 2 toy/pacifier loops
· 3M Scotchlite reflective materials around the pack and backpack
· 2 strap handles for putting the backpack on and taking it off
· Bright blue fabric with black accents
Per the Kelty instructions sheet:
· WEIGHT: 5 lb 10 oz (stripped down) or 6 lb fully equipped
· VOLUME: 350 cu in
· SIZE: Fits torsos 13 to 21"
· Fits babies 6-8 months or ~17 lbs who can hold themselves and their heads upright
· Fits children up to 45 lbs. or ~4-5 years
· Overall load limit including child is 60 lbs.
· May not be appropriate for especially tall children, or for special needs children
The Kelty Trek is identical to the Kelty Elite in all ways except the Elite has the following additions:
· Zip-off back has 3 mesh water bottle pockets (vs. one)
· 3 layer padded waist belt (vs. 2 layer)
· Removable sun/rain hood (you can buy this as an add-on)
I have used this pack sporadically for about 2 months now. I have found this pack to be very useful in getting things done around the house when my younger son wants to be carried because it leaves my hands free to get basically anything done. My younger son loves to ride up high in the backpack around the house and while shopping; he has even fallen asleep in the backpack. (I have found that it is not possible to get him out of the backpack without waking him up though)
The Search for my Backpack
Before I purchased this particular backpack, I went to several types of stores and test-carried their models with both my 24 lb. son and my 38 lb. son inside. I found that a majority of the backpacks on the market were convenient for loading and unloading as long as you had someone else to help you; were easy to adjust; and were lightweight. The things that sold me on the Kelty Trek Backpack were the 5-point harness (only 1 other pack offered this feature); the auto retractable kickstand (my older son snapped the other backpacks with kickstands open and shut with his feet and I found this very annoying); the wide sturdy kickstand made it possible for me to easily load my sons and to put the pack on without help; the "Loosen" and "Tighten" straps made loading the child into the "cockpit" extremely easy once all of the adjustments for the child were correct; all of the thick padding made the pack very comfortable even under the heavier weight of my older son.
The First Time
Prior to using the backpack for the first time, I would suggest that you carefully read all of the instructions for fitting the backpack to yourself as well as your child. There are several different adjustments meant to make the load you're carrying easier to handle. The child's portion of the adjustments can be fitted to the child one time and then you may use the very convenient "loosen" and "tighten" straps to load and unload the child. The convenience is similar to an easily adjustable car seat.
Storing the Backpack
In order to store the backpack, I fasten the waist belt around the backside of the frame and this keep the kickstand in a retracted position. I then hang the backpack on my coat rack by the back door for easy access.
I began using this on and off when my son turned 9 months old, until then I didn't feel like the pack fit him well even with the "cockpit" (as Kelty refers to it) in its highest position. I have also found that you have to wear this pack quite a few times to get the feeling of the weight and of how far off your back it actually is; in the beginning I ran into things quite often because I would forget how large it was. Also, with all of the padding in the "cockpit," I'm sure that my son will get fairly warm during the summer months. So be sure to dress your child appropriately for the weather conditions.
Before You Buy
I would recommend that you (and anyone else who will frequently wear the backpack) tries several types on for fit and comfort as well as ease of loading. I would also recommend that you put your child in the backpack and wear it around the store for at least 10-15 minutes to insure that the backpack actually fits you well and that your child fits comfortably and securely in the backpack. A fairly large selection can be found at a combination of your local toy store, sports store, and outdoor recreation store.
There are a lot of accessories available for the Kelty Trek backpack that will make your day trips and even your hiking trips more manageable. Several additional storage options are available as well as stirrups for your child's legs so that they are not left hanging during long trips. There is also a sun/rain hood and no bug netting.
A DEFINATE Buy
This backpack has really served me really well so far and I know that as Spring and Summer approach I will be using it even more for walks, trips to the zoo, shopping, and so on. This backpack fits my body type and my two boys really well and after all of the looking around and backpack test-drives I did, I would absolutely purchase this backpack again.
Amount Paid (US$): 120.00
Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months