When it comes to full featured child carriers that are capable of going the distance, the Deuter Kid Comfort III and the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 are at the top of the list. So if you’re having a tough time deciding between the two, I might be able to help.
Well, both the Deuter Kid Comfort III and the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 are designed to be used with children older than 6 months, or children capable of sitting unassisted, and holding their heads up. Both offer a lightweight aluminum frame, and weigh about 7lbs 10 oz. Both have a max load weight of around 50 pounds, with the Deuter offering just below that at 48.5 pounds. Both the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 and Deuter Kid Comfort III also offer load lifter straps that allow you to safely position the carrier and child on your back, along with removable and washable chin pads.
Child Cockpit Seats
The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 offers a padded V-Bar structured cockpit seat, also known as the roll-cage. The V-Bar structure keeps the cockpit seat from collapsing, which is a pretty neat safety feature. It also offers an easy-to-use, adjustable, 5-point child safety harness with buckles that fasten over the shoulders, and easy-access leg loops.
The Deuter Kid Comfort III also offers a padded cockpit seat with an adjustable 5 point child safety harness. The seat itself is an ergonomically formed saddle seat that is height adjustable. On the outside of the seat there are straps that adjust the size of the cockpit according to the size of your child. These straps also make it easier when you’re loading and unloading. Also, the Deuter Kid Comfort III has side-entry, which means that you can simply unbuckle the side, and your child can practically load themselves.
The Deuter Kid Comfort III offers a locking kickstand, which is perhaps more stable when loading and unloading, but it’s not near as handy. In fact, once your child is loaded, you have to unlock the kickstand on the lift, before you place it on your back. Otherwise, you have to be able to reach back behind you and unlock it. This is tough to do, unless of course you’re not alone, or you’re a contortionist.
The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 offers an extremely easy to use sliding pin torso adjuster. Simply unlock the pin, slide it up or down, and re-lock it. The Deuter Kid Comfort III offers a Vari-Quick torso adjuster, which is also pretty easy to use. Simply detach the shoulder harness, move it up or down, and re-attach. It’s not quite as quick as the Pathfinder, but it is extremely stable. The sliding pin torso adjuster on the old version of the Pathfinder, the Kelty FC 3.0, had a tendency to slip while you were wearing it. Kelty claims that the Pathfinder has a sturdier pin, so this should no longer be an issue.
The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 offers thermo-formed shoulder straps that are also curved and laminated. The waist belt is contoured and laminated as well, and effectively transfers the load weight to your hips. It also offers an adjustable sternum strap, and a padded back panel.
The Deuter Kid Comfort III offers an adjustable sternum strap, and contoured, anatomically correct shoulder straps lined with 3D Air-mesh material, designed to wick the moisture away. The back panel is also lined with 3D Air-mesh, and it offers an Aircontact ventilation system which actually enables air to circulate through the cushions, keeping you cool and comfortable. Now, the Deuter Kid Comfort III waist belt is really special. It’s called a Vari-Flex waist belt, and it has mobile hip fins on each side. These hip fins are designed to flex with your body, allowing you more freedom to move.
The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 has a large zippered storage compartment beneath the seat, big enough for a lightweight sleeping bag if needed. It also offers a zip-off daypack with two zippered pockets of its own, and two mesh water bottle pockets on the sides. It also offers hydration pack storage, a small pocket on the waist belt for necessities, and an easy-access water bottle pocket.
The Deuter Kid Comfort III also offers a large zippered storage compartment beneath the seat, as well as another large zippered pocket on the back of the headrest. It also offers another buckled compartment on top, hydration pack storage, and two mesh water bottle pockets on the sides. The waist belt also comes equipped with its own handy storage pocket for necessities.
The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 comes with a rain/sun shade, and a padded diaper changing pad, both of which are stored in the zip-off day pack. The Deuter Kid Comfort III offers a built-in rain/sun shade that stores in its own zippered pocket on the head rest. It also comes with a handy mirror that allows you to check on your passenger, and a Deuter Teddy Bear.
The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 lists for $279.95, and the Deuter Kid Comfort III lists for $298.95. However, you can usually find the Deuter on sale for about the same price as the Pathfinder.
Where to Buy:
Personally, if I had to choose between these two child carriers, I’d probably pick the Deuter Kid Comfort III. I love the side-entry, the adjustable cockpit, and the Vari-Flex waist belt. If you’re planning on some long hikes, and you have a maxed out load weight, the flexing hip fins are a huge benefit. I do like the Kelty Pathfinder’s auto-deploy kickstand better for simplicity, but the detachable day pack is not that big of a bonus for me. I also like the looks of the Pathfinder better. The Deuter’s huge head rest is not eye pleasing, but it does serve a purpose. So, in terms of comfort, the Deuter Kid Comfort III wins. In terms of simplicity and ease of use, the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 wins. Now it’s up to you to decide which is better for you.
Still not sure? Check out my full in-depth reviews listed below.