Thursday, August 09, 2012

Long Term Review: Kelty FC 3.0 Child Carrier

I reviewed the Kelty FC 3.0 just before leaving on a 6 week trip of Europe. On the trip, we had our Chariot Cougar as well.

The Kelty FC 3.0 has been nothing short of amazing, out perform the cougar in every respect. First of all, it's compact compared to the cougar. That meant I could carry Bowen on and off trains, trams, buses, and any transport option. Using the stroller, by comparison, meant that in Vienna we had to wait for the disabled-compatible trams, which came on an unpredictable schedule compared to the regular trams. It also took up less space during rush hour.

Obviously, on hiking trails and the mountain trains in Switzerland, there was no choice but to bring the Kelty. Others have suggested the Ergo Baby as an alternative, but here's the thing about the Ergo Baby: it only carriers the baby. The Kelty will carry diapers, formula, disposable wipes, toys, pillows, your wallet, cell phone, keys, and other items as well! I frequently hung a water bottle on a carabiner on the Kelty for the long hikes.

I'll admit that the Kelty ends up being heavier as a result of all the stuff I put into it. However, it meant that I could relieve XiaoQin of a lot of the stuff she would otherwise have to carry, and the carrier also acted as a central point of carriage for all things baby, so I rarely had to hunt around for stuff that the baby needed. As a result, I was always organized. The various compartments are also well designed, with the top compartments with pockets that were perfect for holding the milk bottles upright.

Most important of all, Bowen loved the carrier. Midway through the trip, he started protesting about being put into the stroller/trailer for any reason whatsoever: he'd gotten used to being up high and being able to interact with people at eye level, especially when using public transit. He could reach out, play with people, make eye contact with strangers, and interact in a way he wasn't able to do in the stroller.

Finally, lugging around 17 pounds of baby, 6 pounds of backpack, and another 10 pounds of miscellaneous stuff definitely made me workout. It's definitely all the weight bearing exercise my doctor ordered and then some. I definitely became fitter as a result.

All in all, the carrier is highly recommended and came through long term daily use with flying colors. Before the trip, I did discover that the instance of the carrier I had slipped the hip belt every so often with the baby in it. Fortunately, I'd bought the pack from REI, so a visit to the store and an exchange later, I had an instance that did not have the problem. If I had the trip to do all over again, I'd leave the stroller behind (and buy cheap strollers whenever I needed them), and just bring the backpack stroller.
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