I knew I wanted it before I was even pregnant. I saw it in an outdoor sporting goods catalog and thought it the best invention ever. Years later when I had my daughter and we started traveling with her, I was determined to buy it but couldn’t find it; it was discontinued. I was devastated and kicked myself for not buying it years before when I first came across it.
What are you talking about, Francesca? That would be the Kelty convertible backpack/stroller; it is a child-carrying backpack that doubles as a stroller. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? When we began shopping for a child-carrier backpack for our upcoming Italy trip, I said to my husband, “It’s too bad Kelty doesn’t make that backpack stroller combo thingy anymore.” Naturally, he had no idea what I was talking about, and when I further explained, he was intrigued. Then, he embarked on a mission – he was intent on finding a Kelty convertible backpack/stroller somewhere in the world that we could buy. Luckily, a family here in Chicago had just listed theirs to sell on Craigslist. We saw the listing quickly enough and we bought it without even thinking twice. We have used it a few times since and I can’t help but ask, why did Kelty ever stop making it? I can’t even count how many people stopped us at the Chicago Travel and Adventure show a couple of weeks ago, as Lucia was being carted around the exhibition hall, to ask about it. Other show-goers and even some of the travel professionals there were amazed at its design and convenience, and even more so that they’d never seen or heard of it before.
The Kelty convertible backpack/stroller truly is the ideal piece of gear for the traveling or active family. It easily converts from backpack to stroller and back again. Lucia seems to be comfortable in it; she hasn’t complained in the few times we’ve used it. The only drawback is that, for a backpack, there is not much storage space. There is a pocket below the child’s seat area that can hold a few items, but when worn as a backpack, those items go unprotected. Someone can easily walk up from behind and remove (steal) what is in that pocket, so it’s best not to put anything of value in there.
I can see the backpack/stroller really coming in handy while we’re in Italy. Mark can carry Lucia in the backpack as we traverse the uneven streets of the hill towns. We can push Lucia through the airports and still gate-check it as we would a traditional stroller. I also love that it is almost the same height as conventional high chairs, which, I’ve learned, are not always available in restaurants in Italy. We won’t have to worry about Lucia squirming or falling out of an adult chair while dining out.
So what is the point of my writing about a product that is no longer in production? Well, for one, to alert the world of its awesomeness; and, two, to beg Kelty to begin making it again. I’ll volunteer to be the official spokesperson.