Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Review – Is It Really An Improvement?

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Customer Rating: 6/6 – 100%Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Review - 5 Stars with 6/6

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Review

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0

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  • Minimum weight recommendation – 6 months, or when child can sit up unassisted
  • Maximum load weight – 50 pounds, includes the child and gear
  • Lightweight aluminum frame – weighs 7 pounds 10 oz
  • Total storage – 1300 cubic inches
  • Auto-deploy kickstand
  • No-pinch hinges
  • V-bar structured cockpit, aka the roll cage, prevents the cockpit from collapsing
  • Child seat is padded and height adjustable
  • 5-point child harness with padded shoulder straps that unbuckle from the harness for easy loading and unloading.
  • Easy access leg loops that buckle over the legs instead of having to feed their legs through small holes
  • Laminated, padded and contoured waist belt – designed to transfer load weight to the hips
  • Laminated, curved padded shoulder straps

    Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Review - Waist Belt

    Waist Belt

  • Laminated, padded back panel
  • Sliding torso adjuster
  • Zip-off day pack with two zippered pockets
  • Large zippered compartment under the cockpit – can easily store a sleeping bag
  • Waist belt pocket for storage and a pocket for water bottle
  • Hydration pack storage
  • Changing pad included
  • Kelty’s rain/sun hood included
  • Removable, washable chin pad
  • Load-lifter straps
  • Sternum straps
  • Carry/lift handles
  • Toy loops

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Review:

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Review - Side ViewIn case you’re wondering, the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 is almost identical to the old Kelty FC 3.0, except for the few changes listed below.

  • New child safety harness
  • Hydration pack storage
  • Easy-access water bottle holder on waist belt
  • Improved torso adjuster
  • New colors

I like what they’ve done with the new Kelty Pathfinder 3.0. I feel like they raised the bar and put it in a whole new category. The addition of the hydration pack storage compartment was long over-due, and the new child safety harness is a huge bonus.

The Kelty FC 3.0 was probably the MOST popular child carrier on the market. I say “was” only because it’s getting harder to find. Not only was it well-built and durable, but it was affordable. And to top it off, people absolutely loved it!

Now, the new Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 is everything that the Kelty FC was and more. They’ve even taken the time to fix what little issues there were with the FC, one of which was kind of a major issue in my book.

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Review - Torso Adjuster

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 – Torso Adjuster

The Torso-Adjuster on the Kelty FC 3.0 used to slip. Apparently after minimal wear and tear the pin no longer stayed in place and would frequently slide down. Talk about freaky! The new torso-adjuster on the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 is sturdier, and there should be NO sliding problems.

Another common complaint that I found was that taller people, over 6 foot, had problems getting the Kelty FC 3.0 to fit properly on their backs. I compared the size dimensions on both Kelty Child Carriers and found that they’re pretty close to the same. They did add one inch of adjustment to the torso on the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0, which may or may not make much of a difference.

Customer Feedback:

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Review - Legion BlueNow the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 is still pretty new to the market, so it doesn’t have a whole lot of customer feedback out there yet. From what little I could find I’d have to say, so far so good. People really seem to like it! With 6 out of 6 rating it 4 to 5 stars, that’s 100% customer satisfaction so far.

The only complaint I found was regarding the torso length on the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0. Apparently, even on the smallest adjustment, one reviewer had trouble getting it to fit her 5’4 build. She said that the frame hung down below her waist making her feel as if she needed to lean forward. Now this could be an adjustment issue. I found a similar review with another women that also has a small build. She said it fit perfectly.

Now I did notice that the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 has a different waist/hip belt adjustment range. It used to be 30 – 58 inches on the Kelty FC, now it’s 28 – 46 inches on the Pathfinder. So it may fit smaller builds better now, but I’m afraid that it won’t fit the larger builds as good as it use too.


All in all, I think the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Child Carrier is an excellent improvement from the original FC 3.0. The only thing I wish they hadn’t changed was the price. Adding all those extra features put it in a new category. And now, instead of being the affordable option, it now has to compete with some pretty heavy duty child carriers.

If you were to compare the Pathfinder 3.0 to other child carriers in this price range, it would be a tough decision. Let me explain.

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Review - Auto-Deploy Kickstand

Auto-Deploy Kickstand

The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 doesn’t offer the most storage, but more than some, like say the Deuter Kid Comfort III. Another thing it has going for it is the sunshade which you don’t have to purchase separately. However, I wish that it was integrated, like the one on the Osprey Poco Plus. You have to detach it and store it when not in use, whereas the sunshade on the Poco Plus just rolls up and stores in it’s own pocket.

I will say this, the auto-deploy kickstand on the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 is probably my favorite feature. Other child carriers offer locking kickstands which are great, but they can be a huge pain to operate when you’re hiking solo.

Also, the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0’s V-Bar structured cockpit, aka roll cage, is a safety feature that no other child carrier offers. If for some reason you fall while out on the trail and land on your back, this V-Bar structure will keep the cockpit from collapsing on your child. Kind of puts it into perspective huh.

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Review - Roll Cage

V-Bar Structured Cockpit (Roll Cage)

Oh, and one other thing to consider is the detachable daypack. The only other child carrier that offers this right off the bat is the Osprey Poco Premium, which is considered to be a deluxe full featured carrier with a high-end price tag.

All things considered, if you can find the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 on sale, go for it! It really is a great choice. Now if you can’t, I will throw one more option out there. The Kelty Journey 2.0 is the next step down from the Pathfinder. It offers all the same features except that it doesn’t have the detachable daypack. It’s also about $35 dollars cheaper.  

The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 lists for $279.95. Last I checked, Amazon had the best deal, however, feel free to click on the links below to view the most current sale prices.

Where to Buy:

Video Demonstration:

Get the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 @ Amazon – Best Price


Comparison Reviews:

Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 VS Osprey Poco Premium

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Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 Vs. Kelty FC 3.0

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