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Hands-on Gear Review

Onya Baby Outback Review

Editors' Choice Award Winner  the Onya Baby Outback.
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $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
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Onya Baby

The Skinny

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

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Score Product Price Our Take
88
$149
Editors' Choice Award
Easy to use & comfy that works for infant to toddler
83
$139
Editors' Choice Award
Versatile, comfortable, & feature-loaded
81
$160
Versatile, well made, but only works up to 33 Lbs
78
$140
Comfortable & a good value, but cumbersome
78
$140
Great carrier offering front facing out position
73
$125
Simple, easy, but waistband is lacking support
67
$50
Top Pick Award
Offers close swaddle for newborns & babies
66
$35
Best Value Award
Easy quick-tie & comfortable for both parents
65
$45
Close snuggle w/ better breathability than Moby
61
$45
Close snuggle for infants, but patience is a must
58
$40
Close snuggle for infants; difficult to learn
56
$140
Bare bones, only 2 positions; best for younger baby
56
$80
Increasingly uncomfortable >6 mos
48
$190
Not the best carrier for baby facing out
48
$18
Cheap, uncomfortable, do not recommend

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief
BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
June 21, 2015

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Sleek  cool  and packed with features  we were very impressed with the Onya Baby Outback.
Sleek, cool, and packed with features, we were very impressed with the Onya Baby Outback.
Right out of the box, we were impressed with the look and feel of the Onya Baby Outback. It looks like professional baby wearing gear, and after testing it, all of our testers agreed: you CAN judge this book by its cover. From the rip-stop, breathable nylon fabric to the large, zippered storage pouch, this carrier has it all. It's water resistant and fade resistant, and even transforms into a seat that will fit almost any chair; perfect for when you're out and about and decided to break for lunch.

Performance Comparison



Baby's Safety


The deep  wide seat on the Onya provides excellent ergonomics for baby's hips.
The deep, wide seat on the Onya provides excellent ergonomics for baby's hips.
The Outback scored a 9 of 10 for Baby's Safety, tying for first with the Tula Ergonomic Baby and the 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.

Baby's Comfort


Air mesh lining on the Onya Baby Outback
The Baby Booster infant insert for the Onya Baby Outback is made of breathable air mesh and has soft cozy material against baby's skin.
 
The Outback scored an 8 of 10 in the Baby's Comfort category. The rip-stop nylon fabric is lined with a separate layer of mesh fabric that allows for airflow and moisture wicking in hot, humid climates. Baby wearing can get hot for both the baby and the wearer, and this feature helped to regulate temperature. The extra padding in the seat and around the leg holes provides cushion and prevents chafing on baby's sensitive skin. We love the seat darts, a unique feature that adds comfort for baby's legs.

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.

Parent's Comfort


Onya Baby Outback
Onya Baby Outback
The Outback earned an 8 of 10 for Parent's Comfort. Our testers love its structured deluxe straps and waistband that provide ample support and distribute baby's weight well. The parallel stitching on the shoulder straps and waistband creates a very flexible fit. The Outback offers wearers two different strap options (similar to the 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.

The vertical zippered pocket and the air mesh lining on the Onya Baby Outback.
The vertical zippered pocket and the air mesh lining on the Onya Baby Outback.
Although the Onya is intuitive to figure out how to get on and off, the instruction manual comes in handy when converting the carrier to a chair harness. With just a few adjustments, it's fairly simple to fit either mom or dad, as well as transition for use with a small baby to a toddler. All the straps are adjustable enough to loosen the carrier and nurse baby on-the-go, and the large hood provides plenty of privacy for nursing or sleeping. The safety buckle on the waistband can easily be managed with one hand. The Onya is extremely sturdy without being too bulky so it's great for both wearing and packing away. It does require the use of an infant insert for babies from 7 to 15 pounds, which can sometimes be a hassle, but we found this insert to be quite easy to use. One drawback is that it is not possible to do a front carry facing out position with this carrier. Also, we wish the sleeping hood were detachable, but luckily, it can easily be folded up and stashed away.

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.

Best Applications


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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


Lots of dads enjoy the convenience of being hands free so they can accomplish a task while wearing their baby.
Lots of dads enjoy the convenience of being hands free so they can accomplish a task while wearing their baby.
We awarded this carrier Editors' Choice due to it's overall stellar performance. It is one of two baby carriers (the other being the Tula Ergonomic Baby) we would most recommend to a friend or family member. We were wowed by all the extra features it offers, which, combined with its gender neutral appearance, comfort, and ease of use, will not leave you disappointed.

Other Versions and Accessories


Onya Baby makes two other soft-structured carriers - the 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:
  • The Baby Booster Infant Insert is an optional accessory and is recommended in order to use the carriers from newborn up to approximately 15 lbs. It has luxurious organic French terry cotton lining with a breathable Air-Mesh exterior.
  • The Chewie Teething Pads cover both the shoulder straps and corners of the baby carrier. They are made from 100% certified organic cotton terry facing and backed with moisture resistant, stretchy Kelas so the straps stay dry and clean.
  • Onya Baby also offers a Waist Belt Extender that extends the length of the waist belt by 10 inches.


Video


Adrian Hogel & Juliet Spurrier, MD

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BabyGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 11, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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