In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

Nalakai Ring Sling Review

Easy to use, comfortable sling to wear and sit in
nalakai ring sling baby carrier review
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $90 List
Manufacturer:   Nalakai
By Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Dec 19, 2019
87
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 16
  • Child Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Parent Comfort - 35% 9.0
  • Ease of Use - 30% 9.0
  • Ease Of Cleaning - 10% 8.0

The Skinny

The Nalakai Ring Sling is a straightforward baby carrier that works as it should without hiccups, complicated wrapping, or strap adjustments. This bamboo and linen fabric sling is simple in design. Most users can put a baby in the sling and make adjustments by themselves while toting baby around, and the soft fabric and width of the sling make for a comfortable fit for almost any body type. This sling has enough fabric to accommodate wearers of different sizes, making it an ideal design for dads and moms to share. The slight stretch to the material and softness is perfect for baby comfort, and the on-the-go adjustability means quick changes are possible to increase comfort for the wearer and the passenger. We love this sling and recommend it to family and friends looking for a simple top-ranked baby carrier for bonding or freedom of movement.
REASONS TO BUY
Easy to use
Comfortable to wear
Cozy for baby
Affordable
REASONS TO AVOID
Hang to dry
Editor's Note: We updated the Nalakai Ring Sling on October 18, 2022, to include additional sections with notes on product comparisons and recommendations on what we would buy.

Compare to Similar Products

 
nalakai ring sling baby carrier review
This Product
Nalakai Ring Sling
Awards Editors' Choice Award  Best Value Award Best Value Award  
Price $90 List
$64.95 at Amazon
$90 List$60 List
$53.96 at Amazon
$45 List
$39.99 at Amazon
$45 List
$48.38 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Easy to use, comfortable to wear, cozy for baby, affordableComfortable, easy to adjust, useful pocketBudget-friendly, easy wrap, machine wash and dryMachine wash and dry, comfy for baby and parents, economicalEasy to clean, comfy for baby and parent, economical
Cons Hang to dryHang to dry, rough fabricSize specific, no adjustabilityHarder to use, lots of fabricHard to use, lots of extra fabric in the way
Bottom Line Easy to use, comfortable sling to wear and sit inEasy to wear and adjust with comfort for baby but the fabric could be softerInexpensive, easy to use, wrap style without the wrap hassleBudget-friendly wrap that is comfortable but harder to useComfy option that is easy to clean but much harder to use
Rating Categories Nalakai Ring Sling Maya Wrap ComfortFi... Baby K'tan Original Boba Wrap Moby Wrap Classic
Child Comfort (25%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Parent Comfort (35%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Ease of Use (30%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
4.0
4.0
Ease Of Cleaning (10%)
8.0
8.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
Specs Nalakai Ring Sling Maya Wrap ComfortFi... Baby K'tan Original Boba Wrap Moby Wrap Classic
Min/Max Weight 8 - 35 lbs 8 - 35 lbs 8 - 35 lbs 7 - 35 lbs 8 - 35 lbs
Carry Positions Facing In (8 - 35 lbs)
Hip Carry (8 - 35 lbs *BGL recommends Head/Neck/Torso Control)
Facing In (0 - 3 mo)
Facing Out (3 - 6 mo)
Hip Carry (6 mo - 35 lbs)
Kangaroo Position (8 - 35 lbs)
Hug Position (8 - 35 lbs)
Adventure Position (8 - 35 lbs)
Explore Position (8 - 35 lbs)
Hip Position (8 - 35 lbs)
Facing In (Newborn - 35 lbs) Kangaroo Position (< 8 lbs)
Facing In (Newborn - 35 lbs)
Hip Carry (5 mo - 35 lbs)
Weight 0.9 lbs Sm: 0.92
Lg: 1.16 lbs
Sm: 0.89
Lg: 1.04 lbs
1.41 lbs 1.3 lbs
Packable Size Small Small Small Small (5.5 yards in length) Small (5.5 meters in length)
Fabric 58% Bamboo
42% Linen
Cotton, Polyester 100% Cotton 95% Cotton
5% Spandex
100% Cotton
Hood No No No No No
Storage Options Pocket on the tail Zippered pocket on the tail Pouch on the belt. Storage Pouch None
Other Features & Notable None Available in two different lengths, standard and long Azo Dye-free None None
Included Accessories None None None Storage Sack Stuff Sack
Care Instructions Machine wash cold, hang dry Machine wash cold, hang dry Machine wash cold, tumble dry low Machine wash cold, tumble dry low Machine wash cold, tumble dry low

Our Analysis and Test Results

Pura Vida means "pure life," and the natural lifestyle inspired the Pura Vida slings. Eventually, the family brand changed its name to Nalakai, a combination of the family's children, Nala and Kai. The simplicity of the ring sling is what makes slings better than other kinds of carriers in the mind of Nalakai, and the straightforward design and use help keep little ones close and comforted.

Performance Comparison



nalakai ring sling baby carrier review - the nalakai offers a comfortable fit for little ones with a simple...
The Nalakai offers a comfortable fit for little ones with a simple design that supports and conforms to their body and movement with little restraint.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Baby's Comfort


The ring sling design makes it one of the comfiest for babies.


The sling's material is soft and somewhat stretchy to help offer support and conformability to the child. The large swath of fabric can move and adjust to the seat size of your baby and support them from the bottom to the top despite the lack of padding and structure.

nalakai ring sling baby carrier review - pulling the nalakai extra fabric through the ring can bring your...
Pulling the Nalakai extra fabric through the ring can bring your little one closer to your face for comfortable bonding and increased closeness.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

You can pull the extra fabric through the ring to bring your baby closer to your face increasing bonding and feelings of support for little ones. As your baby grows, the hip carry gives more freedom for little legs and helps support their bottom for comfortable side carrying. We also like that you can raise the fabric to support the child's upper back and head should they fall asleep.

nalakai ring sling baby carrier review - the wide swath of fabric on the nalakai makes it comfortable for the...
The wide swath of fabric on the Nalakai makes it comfortable for the wearer, and adjustments for comfort are easy even with a child in the sling.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Parent's Comfort


This sling-style carrier has a wide strip of bamboo and linen fabric that wraps around your shoulder in a cross-body configuration that is very comfortable for the wearer.


The material is soft, conforms to your shape, and can be comfortable even without padding or structure. The ring design allows you to raise or lower little ones to change the weight distribution on your body for on-the-go comfort adjustments. Even when you pull the fabric tight, the snugness is comfortable, and the material is breathable.

nalakai ring sling baby carrier review - most users can place their child in the nalakai sling without...
Most users can place their child in the Nalakai sling without assistance.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


The Nalakai is one of the easiest options to use in the best baby carrier group, thanks to the sling's straightforward design.


The lack of straps, connectors, and adjustments makes this option one of the easiest to learn and adjust on the fly.

Spreading the fabric on the Nalakai provides a good spot for placing...
Spreading the fabric on the Nalakai provides a good spot for placing your child's bottom for initial placement into the carrier. You can make finer adjustments once your baby is in the sling.

All you need to do is pull your head and one arm through the opening, widen the sling fabric (above left) and place the child's bottom on the fabric for support (above right). Further adjustments can happen once your little one is in the seat. Most users can execute this by themselves, which is a boon over styles that are more complicated to adjust or require a helper.

nalakai ring sling baby carrier review - the nalakai has a simple pocket on the pull end of the fabric to...
The Nalakai has a simple pocket on the pull end of the fabric to keep your baby's favorite things close at hand.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Nalakai has one small-sized storage pocket on the sling's tail. It's a thoughtful addition to the sling's design that's suitable for a favorite baby teether toy, pacifiers, burp cloth, or other small items you might need close at hand. While it will hold a smartphone or keys, the open-top design could result in dropping or losing heavy items.

nalakai ring sling baby carrier review - the nalakai is machine washable but must be hung to dry, impacting...
The Nalakai is machine washable but must be hung to dry, impacting its overall ease of cleaning score.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Cleaning


The Nalakai is machine washable, but you must hang the fabric to dry.


While we wish the sling could go in the dryer, we appreciate the machine wash capability, the thinner fabric, and the lack of padding, which makes the line dry time shorter than much of the competition. Spit-up and accidental soiling are relatively easy to clean on the go and dry quickly compared to the competition.

Should You Buy the Nalakai Ring Sling?


The Nalakai is a quality sling that sets the bar high compared to the competition. It's infinitely adjustable, a bonus if you're sharing the carrier among different-sized wearers, accommodates newborns to toddlers, and is breastfeeding-friendly. Stash it in one of our favorite diaper bags or under your stroller, making it accessible when you're ready to shift into babywearing mode.

What Other Baby Carriers Should You Consider?


Many parents prefer soft structured carriers, and if you feel the same, we suggest looking into the BabyBjorn One. It offers a long lifespan, working for newborns to toddlers, and it's comfortable for most parents. However, if you're more of a wrap fan, we suggest the Baby K'tan Original. It's an affordable wrap-style carrier without the extra fabric, and it can offer a comfortable fit that's great during the newborn period.

Manufacturer Video



Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz
 
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