Introducing the 2012 Kelty Pathfinder 3.0

We were SUPER excited when Kelty agreed to let us be some of the very first people to try out the new Pathfinder 3.0 (just released in January 2012.)  We are going to introduce the pack here (but please excuse our (VERY) amateur video skills!) and then update this post with additional thoughts as we use it throughout the year.

In general, we are super impressed.  It is a FAR cry from the 16 year old L.L. Bean pack we have used with J the past 2.5 years (though that is an unfair comparison as the technology has advanced incredibly since then,) and has a bunch of awesome features that currently make it our favorite pack for P.  Watch the blog in the coming weeks for our review of the Deuter Kid Carrier III (our favorite kid carrier for J.)

We invite you to watch this 3 minute video (and yes, we are a BIT nervous to have a video of us up for the public on this blog! ;)) and then check out the additional photos below that point out some of the features with a little more clarity.  As always, feel free to comment (or email) if you have any questions about the pack!  When it is released in January, I will update this post with links to where you can find it for yourselves.

And in case you just don’t want to watch us on video….

What we love:
– SUPER secure for the kids in the pack.  P was able to sit in there comfortably and safely at 4 months (and we are certain we could have done it a bit earlier because he had excellent head control.)  Plus, it has a “roll cage” for greater child protection (awesome for skiing!)
– Auto-deploy kickstand.
– Hydration bladder pocket.
– The waistband and chest strap are both easily adjustable.
– Quick and easy torso adjustment (comfortable for both men and women carriers + lower carry position is safer for kids.)
– Plenty of storage.
– Removable day pack.
– Removable sun/rain/branch hood.
– Adjustable seat (works great for our 5 month old infant and his toddler brother!)

What we are not as crazy about:
– We wish the sun hood allowed kids to get in and out without having to take it off completely.
– Sun hood is a bit flimsy and would not protect child from wind (which we take in to account since we have tons of wind here and will use it a bunch in winter conditions.)
– Because of the roll cage, the pack does not compress as much as the Deuter Kid Carrier III (though they both weigh 7 lb., 10 oz.)

A few more photos to show some of the features that were not super clear in the video:

Photo Labels:
1. Back of the pack
2. Child pillow rest (removable for washing)
3. Hydration system pocket (look close to see zipper), hose comes out of pocket
4. Removable Daypack
5 and 6. More Daypack pictures

Photo (set 2) Labels:
7. Adjustable waist strap
8. Knob (for lack of better word) to release waist strap and adjust it up and down
9. Torso adjustment in the highest position.
10. How sun hood attaches to carrier (poles sit in “pockets” and velcro straps hold down)
11. Snowshoeing with carrier + sun hood
12. Out hiking!

Where to find it:
The Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 is now available at for $279.95 (and they have free shipping over $50.) You can also find it at the Kelty site.

Kelty provided us with the Pathfinder 3.0 free of charge for us to do this review.  However, as always, the opinions expressed within are completely and honestly our own.  Some of these links are affiliates – see my disclosure here.


  • Anna is a proud Washingtonian living in the Cascade mountain range with her park ranger husband and their three kids. Their family is lucky enough to live in a ranger house in a state park and have lots of access to the outdoors year-round. Anna is expecting her fourth child in early March and is on a mission to find the best gear for the tiniest of explorers.

16 thoughts on “Introducing the 2012 Kelty Pathfinder 3.0”

  1. We love Kelty packs and would recommend them to everyone. We’ve used ours since our little guy was 3 months old and recently upgraded from the TC to the FC (bigger frame for bigger boy). We love the huge amount of cargo that can be accommodated in addition to our son – it allowed us to go backcountry camping. We love that we can easily change the torso adjustments on the fly so my hubby or I can switch off mid-hike. This new version looks sweet, thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the review. What is the diff between pathfinder and fc 3.0? Do you know the diff between 2012 model versus 2011? We are looking to buy one this summer.

  3. I know they updated the adjustment pin for the torso as the old one some people had issues with it slipping, me included. Also the day pack is now removable which it is not on my fc 3.0. I must say I love my fc 3.0 and when i called them about the pin slipping I just had to send pictured of the scratches on the adjustment so they could tell it was slipping and they are sending me a new pathfinder 3.0 as a replacement.

  4. Thanks for the review! We’re looking at how the Pathfinder compares with the Deuter Kid Comfort III. What do you think?

    • Loaded question there! 🙂 And you are certainly not the first to ask us it… I am going to work really hard and try to get a video or post just about that very question together this weekend. Watch the blog! 🙂

    • Haha. I was reading both your posts about the carriers and they both look great. I was curious if you guys use one more than another or if you use different ones for certain occasions/situations. We’ve got a 1 year old and are expecting our 2nd in August so we’ve been doing a lot of prep work. Looking forward to your post! Thanks!!!

  5. how old/heavy a kid would comfortably sit/travel in this backpack? We have a 21 lbs. 1 year old who loves to ride on our backs — would this last us for a while?

    • Hi Kevin,Yes, it definitely would. Our 3 year old (about 30 lb.) still fits in it, though it is getting tight when he has winter gear on. If your son is TALL, I would recommend the Deuter Kid Comfort III because it seems to do better with height for longer, but the Kelty is rated to 50 + (kid plus gear) as is the Deuter. Bottom line – it should last you a couple of years!Email me if you have any more questions! mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com.Thanks!


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