This post originally appeared on AdventurousParents.com
I have just spent the last year of my life using baby carriers of all kinds – everything from wraps and slings to soft carriers and framed backpacks. After much trial and error, my favorite babywearing option is a soft, yet durable carrier with thick, backpack-like straps and good support for the little one.
The Onya Baby Outback ($139 USD) is one such carrier, and in some aspects of baby wearing, takes the cake thanks to a unique feature. In the winter of 2014, my husband and I spent ten weeks in the South Pacific with our one-year-old, Maya. We brought the Onya Baby Outback with us as our only means of transporting the baby, and this gave us the chance to put it through the ultimate gear test.
What I Loved
Both my husband and I wore the Onya Baby Outback throughout the trip and, with a bit of adjusting, it fit us comfortably on the front and back.
I loved the vertical zip pocket, especially when I was wearing the carrier on the front. It was convenient to have money, phone and baby snacks accessible at all times.
The mesh lining of the carrier offers some venting. Babywearing can get hot for both the baby and the wearer, and this feature helps to regulate temperature. (An important note about this under Things to Consider.)
The Onya Baby Outback is superb for hiking and traveling through towns, airports, or wherever your journey takes you. Having a comfortable and reliable way of carrying the baby is essential to being able to get out in the great outdoors, staying active and exploring! I often saw parents struggling their way through airports with strollers or with their baby in their arms. A good baby carrier makes things so much easier.
The Onya Baby Outback offers wearers different strap options when the baby is on the front. I preferred to keep the straps straight, but you can criss-cross them if that is more comfortable. The criss-cross straps can be easier to put on when you are by yourself as the horizontal strap across the shoulders can be tricky to click on your own.
The biggest bonus for us (and that unique feature I was telling you about) is the integrated chair harness. It simply slips out of the bottom of the carrier and can be adjusted to fit on various chairs with a little bit of creativity. We used it wherever we stayed on our trip, as well as in many restaurants. It was obviously comfortable enough for Maya as she didn’t complain about being in there unless she was done with her meal. The clip to secure it onto a table leg came in very handy once Maya started experimenting with kicking away from the table.
The Onya Baby Outback is made with sturdy material without being too bulky. This is great for both wearing and packing away. From my experience, this carrier is also very durable. After ten solid weeks of use nearly every single day, whether as a carrier or high chair, the Onya is showing no signs of wear and tear, except for a bit of snagging in the interior mesh.
The material on the sleeping hood is supportive, but thin and breathable. My daughter did a lot of napping in the Onya throughout our trip, and I appreciated that I could clip up the hood without being concerned her head would get too hot.
All the straps are adjustable enough to loosen the carrier and nurse baby on-the-go.
The Chewie Teething Pads ($17 USD, available separately) were a welcome addition. Baby naturally likes to chew on the straps since they are at mouth level when she’s in the carrier. With the washable pads in place, she could chew on those instead.
I didn’t need it because my daughter was ten months old when we started using it, but Onya Baby offers a Baby Booster Infant Insert for use with newborns from 7-15 lbs.
I loved, loved, loved their Instructional Videos, especially the one for the integrated chair harness.
Things to Consider
The shoulder and waist straps keep twisting in the buckle so that the buckle faces the wrong way. It is difficult to pull them out to switch them, so you almost have to wait until they snap back on their own. You can still adjust the length of the strap when it is twisted, but it isn’t as smooth to pull on.
This carrier was much too hot to be used in a climate like French Polynesia most of the time, even with the Air Mesh Lining. There is likely nothing Onya Baby could do about this. The lining wicks moisture away from baby’s back, but with their torso against yours, it’s quite the sweat-fest in there and the baby may overheat if you’re not careful.
There is no outward-facing setting for baby. I personally appreciate this because various studies point to the adverse effects this position can have on a baby. Whatever your opinion on that is, if you’re looking for an outward-facing carrier, you won’t find it in the Onya Baby Outback.
Overall, I highly recommend the Onya Baby Outback to parents looking for a sturdy and reliable carrier for hiking, traveling or even just waltzing around town. The integrated chair harness is a must-have for parents who plan on traveling and don’t have access to a high chair.