Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Elite Review
Compare to Similar Products
Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Elite
$298.75 at Amazon
$215.00 at Amazon
$355.00 at Amazon
$286.99 at Amazon
$179.90 at Amazon
|Pros||Comfy to wear and ride in, lots of storage, canopy and hydration pocket||Easy on the wallet, fit for narrower builds, comfy for passengers and parents||Vari-flex waistband, day pack, comfy for baby||Lightweight, folds fairly small for travel, less expensive, easy to use||Budget-friendly, good storage|
|Cons||Higher price, hard to adjust seat, may be too long for shorter torsos||Very limited storage, canopy costs extra, no dedicated spot for a hydration bladder||Expensive, harder to use||Hard to reach shoulder straps, torso length seems short||Lower quality, not very comfortable for parent or child|
|Bottom Line||Comfortable pack with lots of storage, a canopy, and easy to use features||This high-quality, less expensive pack is comfortable for babies and parents with narrower builds but the storage is limited||Expensive, high-end pack that is cozy for kids, but harder to use||A generally average pack with a better price than much of the competition||Inexpensive option with good storage, but it isn't that comfortable to wear or ride in|
|Rating Categories||Kelty Journey Perfe...||Deuter Kid Comfort...||Deuter Kid Comfort Pro||Osprey Poco LT||LuvdBaby Premium|
|Parent Comfort (30%)|
|Child Comfort (25%)|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Specs||Kelty Journey Perfe...||Deuter Kid Comfort...||Deuter Kid Comfort Pro||Osprey Poco LT||LuvdBaby Premium|
|Usage Ranges||Min-Max: 16 lbs - 40 lbs||Min-Max: When child can sit upright independently - 48 lbs||Min-Max: When child can sit upright independently - 40 lbs||Min-Max: 16 lbs - 40 lbs||Min-Max: 16 lbs - 40 lbs|
|Max Pack Load||48.5 lbs||48 lbs||48 lbs||48.5 lbs||N/A|
|Weight||7.4 lbs||6 lbs||8.5 lbs||5.3 lbs||6.4 lbs|
|BGL Folded/Flat Dimensions||16" W x 10" H x 31" L||16.5" W x 10" H x 31" L||16.4" W x 9.5" H x 34.8" L||13.5" W x 7" H x 30" L||14.7" W x 9.5" H x 28.5" L|
|Fabric||Body: Poly 420D Small Back Stafford
Interior: 75D Poly x 140D Nylon Blend
|210 denier polyamide fabric. Tear and abrasion resistant, watertight to 1500 mm||210 denier polyamide fabric with strong ripstop threads and PU coating.||210D Nylon||Waterproof 600D & 300D Ripstop Polyester|
|Hydration Bladder Compatible||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Included Accessories||Journey Sunshade||Daypack, Mirror||Sunshade||Changing Pad, Rain Cover|
|Care Instructions||Spot Clean||Hand Wash||Hand Wash||Hand Wash and Hang Dry||Spot Clean|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Dick Kelty started making backpacks in his garage in 1952. He welded the frames himself, and his wife sewed the packs to the frames. By 1963, the Kelty packs were on their way up the West Ridge on Mount Everest on the first American ascent. Kelty introduced Gore-Tex clothing and new models of daypacks in 1965, and they expanded to child carrier packs in 1992. In the late nineties, Kelty expanded their child carrier collection and started offering additional kid's gear. Kelty continues to design products built to last, so you enjoy every moment, making each journey fun and carefree.
The Elite may not be as comfortable as other top-scoring packs, but it is more comfortable than most of the competition and one to consider if comfort is your main goal.
Though it has thick padding and a stiff waistband, it struggled to keep up with some of the competition's overall comfort and adjustability.
The shoulder straps provide a stable feeling, ample padding, and structure for weight distribution. The straps are easy to adjust for length and can be done on the go. This Kelty also sports the load lifters that make carrying more comfortable. The load lifters have a fixed attachment point while the shoulder strap height itself moves up and down, which is not the best for proper function at either end of the torso range. You may want to test this feature before deciding to keep your purchase.
The chest clip helps bring the shoulder straps together for a better fit and draws the cockpit closer to the back of the wearer, making it more comfortable to carry. The clip is easy to operate one-handed, and the strap moves smoothly.
The Elite's thick and stiff waistband contributes significantly to weight distribution and overall comfort. Smaller testers felt like the waistband was somewhat droopy in the back. The Elite has torso adjustment for a customizable fit for wearers of different heights. While this works well and has a good range, it may not be the best for more petite users or parents who are significantly shorter than average.
The back of the pack is contoured and padded in strategic places for overall comfort and airflow, with a design better suited for preventing a sweaty back than those without this type of structure.
The Elite is super comfy for passengers, with one of the group's top scores for child comfort.
This pack has enough features for child comfort that most passengers should be able to rest easily while heading out for an outing.
This pack has a removable face rest/drool pad (above left) that attaches with snaps (above right) and has a slight slant for better napping. It seems to be a good angle for napping.
The harness has padded straps that have a cover to avoid direct contact with the hard plastic connectors.
The seat pad on the Kelty is well padded with a soft cover and padding that extends down the leg portion for added support. The bottom stays flat and doesn't fold under the baby's weight. The seat is easy to raise but harder to lower with a baby in the seat.
This Kelty has adjustable stirrups that can increase comfort for older children, so their legs don't have to dangle. While not all passengers will want to use them, we think it is nice to have them.
Ease of Use
The Elite is one of the easier packs to use, giving it one of the highest scores in the group.
However, none of the competition is super easy to use, which is why the higher scores feel low.
This pack has a torso adjustment strap that is easy to use on the go for most testers. The waistband straps pull forward to tighten, which requires less force than those that pull back. The shoulder straps smoothly moved when adjusted, but some testers had difficulty finding an adjustment point that felt comfortable.
The baby's seat height is adjustable with a slide mechanism located on the back of the pack behind the cockpit back (above left). The seat can be adjusted with a baby in the cockpit, but lowering it is more challenging than raising it, so you may want to do that with the backpack empty. The child harness is also easy to adjust with a single slider (above right) that operates both sides simultaneously.
The canopy for the Kelty pops out of the top canopy pocket and connects to the front of the pack with small clips. It is easy to open, close and use, though it could be taller for larger passengers.
The Kelty is relatively lightweight, with dual handles on the front and back of the pack. An empty pack can be carried using either handle or both.
Many of the adjustments are easier to do while not wearing the pack and most of the storage compartments are unreachable; something true for most of the competition as well. Taking the pack off and using the sturdy kickstand can make the features and functions more accessible and less frustrating.
The Elite offers one of the most impressive storage in the review, with some of the best pocket and organization features we've seen.
Storage size and availability can be the difference between a long adventure and a quick trip.
This Kelty has two main compartments. One pocket has internal pockets sewn into the back and includes a key clip, while the other is a single large pocket good for jackets, diapers, wipes, and larger items.
There is a wet/dirt storage pocket on the bottom of the pack with a waterproof liner (above left). The liner can be pulled out of the pocket and wiped clean. This pocket is good for wet clothes, dirty diapers, or muddy shoes. It also has side water bottle storage pockets (above right) that, while deep and useful, are not accessible by the wearer.
The waistband on the Elite has dual zippered pockets, one on each side of the band. One pocket is large enough for a few bars and keys, while the other will fit an average size smartphone (above left). The pocket on the right side of the belt has a zip-open bottom with a stretchy mesh extension (above right), so you can carry a water bottle in this pocket. Among the competition, this pack is the only one that offers a water bottle holder that the wearer of the pack can access.
This pack is hydration ready with a zippered pocket for a lumbar-style bladder. There is no hook for the bladder, but this is fairly standard for this style of hydration bag. It has a port towards the parent's right side and loops to secure the hose.
Should You Buy the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Elite?
Kelty's overall performance in the best baby backpack carrier review is hard to beat. From hiking mountains to busy city streets, this contender has the bells and whistles to handle most adventures that come its way. With a comfortable child cockpit, built-in canopy, hydration pocket, and extra storage for carrying necessities, this pack can make longer outings a reality and a happier experience for both parent and child. If you're an avid hiker or plan on frequently using a baby backpack in place of wheels, we think this option is worth considering.
What Other Baby Backpacks Should You Consider?
The Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL is a high-ranking baby backpack that's less expensive. Considering its women-specific fit, those with a narrower frame might find this option more comfortable than the Kelty. It doesn't offer ample storage, though, a potential deal-breaker for parents who rely on the storage pockets to carry baby's items, especially for longer adventures. But, the Active SL's price makes it a compelling contender, especially if you seek a more specific fit.
Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.Learn More