Tula Explore Review
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|Pros||Comfy for parents, variety of colors and patterns||Easy to use, comfortable to wear, cozy for baby, affordable||Budget-friendly, easy wrap, machine wash and dry||Easy to put on, super comfortable to wear, cozy for kids||Machine wash and dry, comfy for baby and parents, economical|
|Cons||Expensive, several adjustments, harder to clean, not as comfortable for baby||Hang to dry||Size specific, no adjustability||Long drying time, lots of buckles and straps, expensive||Harder to use, lots of fabric|
|Bottom Line||While comfortable for the wearer, this carrier is complicated and less comfy for baby||Easy to use, comfortable sling to wear and sit in||Inexpensive, easy to use, wrap style without the wrap hassle||Most comfortable to wear with a cozy seat and easy attachment||Budget-friendly wrap that is comfortable but harder to use|
|Rating Categories||Tula Explore||Nalakai Ring Sling||Baby K'tan Original||BabyBjorn One||Boba Wrap|
|Child Comfort (25%)|
|Parent Comfort (35%)|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Ease Of Cleaning (10%)|
|Specs||Tula Explore||Nalakai Ring Sling||Baby K'tan Original||BabyBjorn One||Boba Wrap|
|Min/Max Weight||7 - 45 lbs||8 - 35 lbs||8 - 35 lbs||8 - 33 lbs||7 - 35 lbs|
|Carry Positions||Facing In (7 - 45 lbs)
Facing Out (14 lbs/5 mo - 22 lbs/12 mo)
Back Carry (Head/Neck/Torso Control - 45 lbs)
|Facing In (8 - 35 lbs)
Hip Carry (8 - 35 lbs *BGL recommends Head/Neck/Torso Control)
|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 (0 - 36 mo./33 lbs)
Facing Out (5 - 15 mo./26 lbs)
Back Carry (12 - 36 mo./33 lbs)
|Facing In (Newborn - 35 lbs)|
|Weight||1.73 lbs||0.9 lbs||Sm: 0.89
Lg: 1.04 lbs
|2.26 lbs||1.41 lbs|
|Packable Size||Medium||Small||Small||Large||Small (5.5 yards in length)|
|Fabric||100% Cotton||58% Bamboo
|100% Cotton||Cotton, Polyester, PU Foam||95% Cotton
|Storage Options||Velcro pouch on waist belt||Pocket on the tail||Pouch on the belt.||None||Storage Pouch|
|Other Features & Notable||Adjustable Seat Width, Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Class 1||None||Azo Dye-free||Adjustable Seat Width,
Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Class 1
|Included Accessories||None||None||None||None||Storage Sack|
|Care Instructions||Machine wash cold, hang dry||Machine wash cold, hang dry||Machine wash cold, tumble dry low||Machine wash warm, hang dry||Machine wash cold, tumble dry low|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Tula company started when Ula and Mike couldn't find a great sling or carrier for their baby. Inspired by those they saw working while wearing their children in wraps, the couple created their own carrier. After realizing a market demand for baby carriers, they began making and selling them full-time.
This carrier should be comfortable for babies, given the padding, but it struggles to match the competition regarding baby comfort. The padding is nice, but the fabric isn't as soft as other Tula carriers we've tested. While it is better than average for child comfort, it could use improvement.
Depending on your baby's size, the straps and structure of the carrier can get in the way of movement and the ability to see, or it can offer unintentional places for chewing and sucking (above left). This design can be frustrating for babies and parents. Also, the strap placement and button seat width adjustment (above right) can impede natural body placement and grow uncomfortable over time as little ones are forced to put legs and arms where they may not naturally go. If you forget to make adjustments as your baby grows or their position changes, you'll have new problems, and regular reference to the manual is probably a good idea.
Parent or user comfort is the metric where Explore shines. The structure of this carrier is similar to other structured Tula carriers and has a variety of strap adjustments to help parents find the right fit. The shoulder straps, center strap, and waistband all offer adjustment points, and some offer more than one way to make changes. Most of which you can do while wearing the carrier, but you may need help depending on the position or your range of motion. The straps are well-padded, and the carrier moves enough when you walk to avoid discomfort, but it isn't as form-fitting or free moving as a sling.
Ease of Use
Right out of the box, the Explore is troubling, with more adjustments and straps than much of the competition. This carrier is definitely not intuitive if you plan to take advantage of all the bells and whistles and adjustments for comfort it offers. Putting the Explore on and getting the baby in place requires two hands and an engineering degree (just kidding about the degree). But it isn't getting the Explore on that is the real problem; it is all the adjustments for your baby's size, comfort, and position that will take time to learn and adapt. This carrier has buttons, straps, and Velcro adjustments throughout, and some you won't be able to manage without a helper.
The Explore includes a removable and detachable hood. You can use it to support an older baby's head if they fall asleep in a back carry position or to help shield sunlight. This feature may require an assistant to help set up if you have your baby in a back carry position (above left). The rear waist tightening strap could also be troubling and require assistance depending on your shape and size and how flexible your arms are (above right).
Ease of Cleaning
The Explore can be machine washed in cold water; however, it needs to hang to dry, which is troubling when a carrier has so much padding. Depending on your climate, this carrier could take longer than overnight to dry thoroughly, leaving you without a baby carrier for when you need one. The fabric does spot-clean well if messes occur while on the go with your baby, but you'll want to limit how much water you use as the padding can take extra time to dry.
Should You Buy the Tula Explore?
The Explore may have some attractive features, but overall, it didn't perform well in the competition. Its design is complicated and lacks the comfort for little passengers to compete with top-ranked baby carriers. Plus, it's expensive, which is a factor to consider. Considering that the lineup includes higher-ranking contenders that will keep more money in your pocket, we think you should pass on this option.
What Other Baby Carriers Should You Consider?
The Tula Free-to-Grow is the Explore's relative worth considering. It's easier to use and all-around more comfortable, including softer fabric. If you think a sling might be your thing, check out the Nalakai Ring Sling. It is a high-ranking sling that's easy to use, comfortable, and cheaper than the Explore.
Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.Learn More