Kelty Journey Perfectfit Signature review: a quality child carrier at a great price

I unleash my inner mule, lugging my daughter around in Kelty’s Perfectfit Signature child carrier to see how it fares on the trails

Kelty Journey Perfectfit Signature: main image
(Image: © Alex Foxfield)

Advnture Verdict

A very well-designed and practical carrier at an unrivalled price point. It’s not quite as fully featured as some, doesn’t include a raincover and its child harness could be less fiddly, but this is a great product that can be easily adapted to the wearer. Its lightweight design also makes it a good choice for more strenuous outings.

Pros

  • +

    Lightweight compared to competition

  • +

    Great capacity

  • +

    Excellent value

  • +

    Good, clean looks

  • +

    Very comfortable

Cons

  • -

    Rain cover sold separately

  • -

    Harness fiddly when fitting to child

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Kelty Journey Perfectfit Signature: first impressions

Kelty’s Journey Perfectfit Signature is a plush looking child carrier that both costs less and weighs less than some of the direct competition. It’s also very comfortable to wear and boasts ample storage capacity, making it a great option for hilly walks. However, given that the hills can be pretty wet, you’ll want to invest in the compatible rain cover. 

‘Perfectfit’ refers to a suspension system that’s designed to quickly adjust between both parents. This means you don’t have be a Frodo, faithfully carrying your precious even when the load becomes a bit much. 

Specifications

List price: $320 (US) / £250 (UK)

Weight: 3kg / 6.6 lbs

Age range: 6 months and up

Weight limit: 22kg / 48.5lbs (child, gear and pack)

Capacity: 26L

Materials: 75D Poly x 140D Nylon Blend / Aluminum Frame

Accessories included: Sunshade

Colors: Moss Green / Insignia Blue / Dark Shadow

No, you can easily change the height of the shoulder straps, while the hip belt and chest straps are also easy to adjust on the fly, so the Samwise Gamgee in your life can help out a little too.

However, this isn’t a case of one carrier to rule them all. In fact, the Perfectfit Signature is one of three carriers available from Kelty and sits in the middle of the range. Slightly cheaper is the standard Perfectfit, which has only 17 liters of storage, less pockets and no integrated sunshade. The more expensive Perfectfit Elite has more storage options and is hydration bladder compatible.

Features

An aluminium frame – or ‘roll cage’ as Kelty call it – provides the stability, with a kickstand that clicks back into place while you carry. This, alongside a 5-point safety harness, makes it feel very safe and secure. There are four large grab handles on both the top and the sides of the carrier for lifting pack and child into place and setting them back down.

The padded seat and harness are more complicated than most, with two buckles that attach to the child’s shoulder straps from a central point. The padding splays out at the bottom, guiding the child’s legs towards the two adjustable foot stirrups. As usual, you can remove the drool pad and give it a wash once you think it’s suffered too many raspberries.

Kelty Journey Perfectfit Signature: urban ramble

In town or on the trails, the Kelty Journey Perfectfit Signature is a comfortable way to carry your little one (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

Storage wise, there’s a whopping 26 liters to play with, as much as a decent daypack. Most of this is contained in the two large main compartments, found on the back of the pack. The top compartment has internal mesh pockets with a little stretch for keeping items you might want to keep separate. Other than this, there’s just the two zippered hip belt pockets. 

For summery jaunts, there’s an integrated sunshade for keeping those harmful UV rays off your precious cargo. It’s ingeniously tucked away down the back of the pack in its own zippered pocket and springs into life when pulled out. All you have to do is clip its sides on to the pack and voila!

Kelty Journet Perfectfit Signature: back view

An aluminium frame provides the stability, with a kickstand that clicks back into place while you carry (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

On the trails

I found the Signature very comfortable to wear thanks to its combination of low weight and its wonderfully padded backsystem. It feels nice and secure with baby on board, though I did notice her movements more than with some of the heavier child carriers available. 

There’s ample storage capacity for a day out with the little one, though only the two zippered hip belt pockets can be accessed on the move. The kickstand kept everything stable whenever I loaded my daughter into the carrier. However, it’s not as easy to reach as some when it comes to pulling it back into place.

Kelty Journey Perfectfit Signature: hip belt pockets

The two zippered hip belt pockets are the only storage you can access while on the move (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

I found that loading my daughter into the Signature was more of a faff than on just about any carrier I’ve tested. As mentioned, the 5-point harness seems overly complicated to me, with sections that come up from under her, two arm sections around her sides and the two shoulder straps. It’s secured into place by clipping straps from the central section into the shoulder straps, however I had to fish these straps out from under her, often unsure if the straps were the right way around or not. Tightening the two arm sections could also be a bit fiddly once she was in. Unlike with a lot of similar models, there’s no option for side entry for older children either.

Its design is also a little top-heavy. When I was hoisting my daughter up, it felt slightly less balanced than a lot of the competition. Not to the degree that it was dangerous, but enough to be noticeable.

Kelty Journey Perfectfit Signature: chest strap

Once loaded up, it's easy to adjust the fit with the chest straps and hip belt straps (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

The integrated sunshade is very smart and is deployed in the same way as on the Osprey Poco Plus, unzipping and clipping into place in less than ten seconds. Not only does it work as a sun block but the fabric also fends off showers. However, it won’t keep the little one dry in a full-on deluge.

Alex Foxfield

Alex is a freelance adventure writer and mountain leader with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, his native English Lake District has a special place in his heart, though he is at least equally happy in North Wales, the Scottish Highlands or the European Alps. Through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors. He is currently President of the London Mountaineering Club, training to become a winter mountain leader, looking to finally finish bagging all the Wainwright fells of the Lake District and hoping to scale more Alpine 4000ers when circumstances allow. Find out more at www.alexfoxfield.com