Best For: 16-40 pounds (child must be able to support his head)
Kelty is the progenitor of child backpack carriers, and they have remained at the cutting edge of this niche. This external frame carrier is great for backpackers, climbers, and day hikers that want plenty of storage space. Equipped with 1300 cubic inches of storage, spaced out over four zippered pockets (including a zip-off backpack), this backpack also comes with a changing pad and rain and sun shade. The waist straps and sliding torso adjusters make this pack transition smoothly (and quickly) between wearers of varying sizes, which came in handy for our family, since both my husband and I carried our little guy equally (but are NOT equally sized).
PROS: Durability. We put this backpack through weekly abuse on strenuous, overgrown climber’s trails, and never once got a hole. Great for backpacking and climbing approaches.
CONS: Large children (or children with bulky layers) can be difficult to load into the pack. The sun shade offers great protection on the top, but not so much on the side.