Saturday, February 21, 2009

Slingin' Saturday--Backpack Carriers

It's another Slingin' Saturday! This week, I'm giving the writing reins to a guest contributor, my sister-in-law, Sarah!

Since my daughter Eve was born nearly 18 months ago, I have been given two different child carriers from people who no longer have a need for them. One is a Kelty Elite and the other is a Tough Traveler. Both fit like backpacks and the child sits inside with legs dangling and head peering over Mommy or Daddy’s shoulder. My husband and I were eager to have one and we had our eyes on a Kelty. Kelty makes quality, durable camping and hiking supplies. It was for these purposes we wished to have a child carrier in the first place. As it turns out, both packs have come in very handy.

The Kelty is more of an upper-end model with an aluminum frame. It gives more support to the child, and it is more comfortable for the parent to wear as it has more padding and also spreads the child’s body weight evenly across the parent’s back, shoulders, and hips.

Furthermore, it has more “bells and whistles”: a detachable rain shield fitting over the child’s head, a compartment for hiking supplies such as snacks and water, and also adjustable straps that adjust to each child’s size to secure him properly in his seat. For this reason, the Kelty could accommodate a slightly younger child than the Tough Traveler. The drawback to the Kelty (and I hate to list any since I am overall so pleased with it) is that in the heat of the day, it can seem like just too much. On a stroll around the neighborhood on a hot day, all the padding and bulk can really make you (or at least me) sweat. It is designed more for a rugged hike where stability for the child and comfort for the parent is important.

The Tough Traveler is much more lightweight, though also made with an aluminum frame. Its design is more simple, not as strappy or padded as Kelty. And though there are some adjustments for both child and parent, the system is not nearly so complex. It is actually for this reason that I like the Tough Traveler. For everyday use, this child carrier works quite well. For walks through a mall or museum, strolls around the neighborhood or park, even for mowing the grass, it is sufficient. It is more “breathable” than the Kelty Elite. And though it is not as comfortable in the long run, I find that I actually use it more than Kelty because of its simple, lightweight design.

Eve enjoys being in either pack. She loves being close to her Daddy or Mommy and also being up high and seeing things from their perspective. The packs are comfortable enough that she can fall asleep in them.

And I don’t recall a time when she’s ever squirmed because she’s wanted out. The child carriers are ideal for when the parent needs to have a set of free hands, to push another child in a stroller, etc. But the child must be several months old before he is stable enough to somewhat sit up by himself. Each frame is made to hold up to 50 pounds.

Note from Sarah: Kelty no longer makes the Elite style of child carrier, though I was able to find it on Ebay for $50. Kelty’s current models are $120, $170 and $200 for the FC 1, FC 2, and FC 3 models respectively. The Tough Traveler has several models, ranging from $142 to $198.


  1. I have a Kelty and love, love, love it!

  2. Hey... I like your new blog layout! Very easy on the eyes. :)

    I have always kinda wantd to try one of those... maybe someday!

    God bless-


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