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Hands-on Gear Review
Onya Baby Outback ReviewPrice: $139.00 List | $139.00 at Amazon
Pros: Durable, breathable, gender neutral
Cons: No front facing out option, insert for infants
Bottom line: Versatile, comfortable, & feature-loaded
The Onya Baby Outback earned the second of two Editors' Choice Awards for the baby carrier category, the first being the Tula Ergonomic Baby. It came out on top due to its versatility, comfort, and durability. Its gender neutral and somewhat rugged appearance makes it a favorite among dads. While we gave our Top Pick for Use With An Infant to the Baby K'tan, the Onya actually performed just as well in our tests with a small infant when using their Baby Booster Infant Insert. Read on for more on how it performed in our tests and why it was crowned with one of our highest honors.
RELATED REVIEW: The Quest for the Best Baby Carrier
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Ergobaby Four Position 360 in our comparisons. When it came to safety, we considered three major points: The ability to maintain a clear airway, the security of the carrier, and proper ergonomics. The Outback is very supportive for baby's head and neck and keeps baby in an upright position, making it easy to ensure a clear airway. The rise comes up a few inches higher than the rest of the carriers we tested and narrows at the top, which is good for keeping babies who like to lean or arch their back contained. It has a nice, wide seat which keeps baby's legs in a natural "frog" position (more on this can be found in our article, Best Practice Tips for Baby Wearing). Our small infant tester noted that the adjustable snaps in the Baby Booster felt very secure and safe when using it with her newborn.
The material of the Baby Booster is lined with super soft organic French Terry and is very lightweight and breathable, helping small infants stay cool. Like the Tula Ergonomic Baby, it wasn't difficult to get baby to fall asleep in this carrier. The reason this carrier didn't score a 9 of 10 in this category is due to the fact that it's more narrow at the top, which is not great for babies who like a little freedom of movement.
Beco Baby Gemini) when the baby is in front carry: straight back over the shoulders or criss-crossed to form an X on the back. We prefer the criss-cross which distributes the weight more evenly on the upper back, but you can also keep them parallel and use the chest buckle clipped behind your neck if that is more comfortable. The air-mesh lining not only keeps baby cool and dry, but also wicks away moisture from the wearer so we weren't a hot mess after a long walk or hike.
Ease of Use
In our Ease of Use scoring, it tied for first place with the other Editors' Choice Award Winner, Tula Ergonomic Baby. Both scored an 8 of 10. What sets the Onya apart from the rest of the carriers we tested are the extra features. They really thought of everything with this carrier. It has key rings, toy loops, pockets, and a lovely, adjustable UPF 50 microfiber sun shade/sleeping hood. The feature that was a tester favorite is the vertical zippered storage pouch which has plenty of room for keys, cell phone, and even baby snacks. However, the most unique and clever feature the Outback offers is the integrated "chair harness." It's another piece of material that simply slips out of the bottom of the carrier and can be adjusted to fit on the back of a chair (albeit, sometimes this takes a little bit of creativity), thus providing a (safe) spot for baby to sit and dine.
Ease of Cleaning
The Outback is machine washable but must be washed separately and cannot be put in the dryer. It scored a 7 of 10 in this category, losing points for the inconvenience of having to wash alone and hang to dry.
The Outback is superb for hiking or traveling through cities and airports. It performs very well in hot weather and with its comfortable, sporty look, we found Dads absolutely love it. It is best suited for use with older babies and toddlers, however, the Baby Booster Infant Insert makes it possible (and quite comfortable) to use with small infants as well.
Compared to the other carriers we reviewed, the Onya lands on the heavier end of the price scale ($139), but we consider it an excellent value and worth the cost. This carrier is made from fade-proof rip-stop nylon and is extremely durable. You can even feel good about how it's made — Onya manufactures its carriers in the Philippines using fair labor practices and workers who are at least 18 years and older.
Other Versions and Accessories
Onya Baby Cruiser and the Nexstep. The Cruiser is a lightweight soft cotton ergonomic carrier and the Nexstep is made from 100% recycled brushed polyester twill fabric, with an Air-Mesh lining.
The Onya comes with an adjustable sleeping hood and zippered storage pockets. The company also offers several accessories:
— Adrian Hogel & Juliet Spurrier, MD
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