Ergo Baby Carrier
How did I get it? I bought it from a baby shop.
Where, when and how often do I use it? Absolutely all the time when the kids were younger. Less often since the youngest turned two, but we aren’t finished with it yet.
Good Points: Rollable, packable, comfortable, versatile (back, front, hip). Pocket for quick access items like passports or bus tickets. Brings weight on to hips which your back will thank you for. Truly hands-free carrier. Simple to use. Optional extra parts (zip-on backpack, belt pouch) for more luggage (although we always just used a separate backpack). You can breastfeed your baby in it whilst standing up or walking along. It’s durable – after four and half years of hard use (at home and away) ours is starting to fray a bit around the edges, but the damage is purely cosmetic (even then, you can’t tell when it’s being worn). For this reason, it would make a good second-hand buy if you are watching the budget.
We’ve done casual day hikes with this and it’s been fine. If you’re interested in serious hiking, though, I would ask a serious hiker for their preference.
Drawbacks: Not that cheap to buy new. But worth it, by my experience.
Some people worry that it’s too hot for hot climates. I’ve never found this a problem. From the wearer’s point of view, the type of carrier makes little impact on top of the little body-temperature person you’re carrying. From the little body-temperature person’s point of view, I think I’d steer clear of the infant insert for hot places and use a cotton sling instead. But for older kids, where the carrier goes from the thighs to the mid-back but leaves the head, shoulders, arms and legs free, I don’t think it’s an issue. Take a hat or umbrella for shade, plus sun cream, though.
The carrier doesn’t allow the child to face forward when worn on the front. We didn’t find this a problem for the eldest one who was more than happy to face in. The younger one did go through a stage of wanting to sit sideways except whilst sleeping, which isn’t secure and doesn’t leave you hands-free (it takes a bit of the pressure off your arms, though). She was happy to sit on the hip (with the carrier in hip-carry mode), but that made me feel too lop-sided and it was a pain to re-jig it too often vs just kind of bodging it together.
Do I recommend it (to whom)?: Yes, a thousand times yes. I recommend it to people travelling – or staying home – with kids from about 6 months old to about 2-3 years old. (For younger babies I prefer a sling.) Check the latest options, though – they seem to invent six new baby carriers every year these days. Just make sure it brings baby’s weight down on to your hips, and that it has an easy-to-reach pocket for your keys, passports and bus tickets.
More information on their website.
See also this comparative review of the most popular baby carriers from travelling mum, Jenny. Includes notes on what to look for in a good carrier and how the most popular measure up.
Disclosure: I haven’t been paid or in any other way given an incentive to write this, I am just really happy with my carrier.