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Kelty Junction 2.0 ReviewPrice: $190.00 List | $137.04 at Amazon - 28% off
Pros: Compact size, easy adjustments, sufficient storage
Cons: Sunshade not included, no stabilizing kickstand, no footrests
Bottom line: Inexpensive compared to the others we tested, taking up very little space, it’s great for running errands or going on a quick hike.
The Kelty Junction 2.0 is a compact, lightweight baby backpack. Designed for use around town or afternoon outings, this pack offers a decent amount of storage and comfortable padding for baby. The smallest backpack we tested, we found that the Junction 2.0 is easy to store in the car or mudroom closet. We recommend using this backpack for short periods of time, because as reviews on Amazon noted, there is no support for baby if/when baby fall asleep on your back (which ours did!), and we agree. If you have your heart set on a Kelty, check out the Kelty Journey 2.0, which landed second only to our Editors' Choice winner, Phil and Teds Escape.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Kelty, based out of Boulder, Colorado, has been manufacturing outdoor products since 1952. Their claim to fame is that they were the first company to introduce baby backpacks in 1992, and they have worked hard to maintain their reputation in the field. Today, they are one of the most recognized names on the market.
The Kelty Junction 2.0 is a well-constructed, aluminum-framed backpack, with impressive storage considering its smaller frame. It is a fully functioning backpack that can handle babies up to 30 pounds. It's foot stabilizer makes for safe loading and unloading, although our reviewers did find it a bit awkward. As with it's big brother, the Kelty Journey 2.0, the bright yellow adjustment straps help you to be sure that baby is safe and secure once inside the cockpit.
The redirected strap on the waist belt, a feature we appreciated on the larger Kelty Journey 2.0, is also present on the Junction. For additional comfort, the sternum strap was easily adjustable, and could slide up and down with ease.
For the smallest backpack in the bunch, the Junction packs quite a punch in the storage department. Reviewers on Amazon even raved about how it could double as a child carrier and a diaper bag. And even though there was no hydration reservoir, we didn't feel that one was necessary, as this backpack wouldn't be one you would take on an extended hike. Kelty was thoughtful enough, however, to add a water bottle holder on the waist belt, which we thought was perfect. Being from the same family as the Kelty Journey 2.0, we weren't surprised to learn that the Junction also had absolutely nowhere to store the sunshade (which wasn't included with the backpack, anyway). That being said, our final score for Storage was 7 of 10.
Considering padding, support, and footrests for baby, this pack earned a 5 of 10 in child comfort. Although the cockpit's padding was sufficient, there were no footrests for baby, and no side supports for baby's head. This lack of head and neck support proved to be a challenge once baby fell asleep.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at 4lbs 13oz, this backpack was the lightest of all its competitors. It earned a 7 of 10 for Ease of Use. Although the weight of the backpack itself was never an issue, we still had a harder time loading and unloading baby due to the small frame, awkward foot stabilizer, and lack of kickstand. We do understand, however, that these features are what make the pack lightweight to begin with, so it's really a give-and-take situation. Some users may prefer a smaller, more compact backpack in lieu of ease-of-use, while others prefer to sacrifice size for easy loading and unloading.
In our testing, the sunshade was particularly awkward to deal with, and impossible to store when not in use. Additionally, when attached to the backpack, it blocks quite a bit of baby's view, which some babies may not appreciate.
We did however,really like the five-point harness and feel it did a good job of keeping baby safe and secure while in use. Additionally, the cockpit provided an ergonomically-correct seat that kept baby in a comfortable position.
With it's small size and lack of 'cozy space' in baby's cockpit, this backpack is good for exactly what Kelty claims it is good for, "running around town hands-free, or hitting the trail for an afternoon hike." It's a quality backpack that can hold not only baby while doing errands, but all of baby's necessities.
At $190, this Kelty was priced middle-of-the-road when compared to other their other versions, and was the second most affordable one on our list. However, it didn't offer the same heftiness or accessories and features that other backpacks offered, which is something to keep in mind.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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