I have found baby wearing, and the right carrier, to be the number one most essential item for a traveling Mama! Keeping your little close and your hands-free helps on travel days, while exploring new places, and doing everything else that Tom and I love to do. Carriers have also helped me tremendously during “the witching hour,” if Bae gets fussy I can put him in the carrier and he will happily watch the world while I get things done.
There are tons of options out there, from ring slings to wraps but soft structured carriers are definitely one of the most popular. SSCs are extremely easy to use, they go on in seconds, Bae easily pops in and out, and they fit anyone with just a few pulls on the waistband and straps. The one downside of SSCs was that they needed to be used with an infant insert until your little was about 4 months old. Infant inserts take the easiest type of carrier and make it one of the most difficult. They are big (hot!) sleeping bag things you need to put your infant in before putting them into the carrier. They are hot, uncomfortable and make the whole baby bundle shifty and harder to position.
I say “was” because both Ergo and Tula recently came out with soft structured carriers that are adjustable and can be used from infancy all the way up to toddlerhood, huzzah! This means you only have to buy one carrier and infant inserts can become a thing of the past. The Ergo Adapt and the Tula Free To Grow both have an adjustable bucket seat to encourage ergonomically correct positions for baby at any age and adjustable front panels to fit baby’s trunk.
They both adjust easily at the seat, cinching or spreading to always support baby’s bottom in an ergonomic position (with legs in an “M” shape).
The Ergo has a fold down head and neck support that can be in two positions, up or down. The Tula has webbing that can be cinched or released, instead of just two positions, it can be adjusted to lie anywhere along the webbing.
The Ergo has a lumbar panel that was a lifesaver when I switched from the Boba wrap to the Ergo. I wasn’t sure if the Tula would be as comfortable since it does not have a panel, but I have worn both carriers on long hikes and they are equally comfortable across the back. The shoulder straps on the Tula are slightly more comfortable and the shoulder strap connector is much easier to click together. I often ask Tom to buckle me in when I wear the Ergo, but the Tula is easy to buckle on my own.
According to their respective websites, the Ergo weighs 1.9 lbs and the Tula weighs 1.7 lbs. I am pretty sure the Tula’s weight includes the detachable cover. We use it without the cover and it feels significantly lighter than the Ergo
The Ergo is $145 and the Tula costs $159
Bells and Whistles
The Ergo has a hood that tucks into a pocket on the front of the carrier.
The Tula’s hood is removable, which makes the whole front of the carrier very smooth. There is a pocket on the waistband of the carrier which was my number one complaint about the Ergo, I hated having to carry my wallet, keys, and phone in my pocket – especially since I basically live in pocket-less stretch pants.
All in All
They are both good carriers but I prefer the Tula for a few reasons. It is lighter, more comfortable and does not seem as hot for Bae. It has a pocket in the front for my phone and keys on walks (total lifesaver). The hood detaches and hangs free instead of needing to be bunched up in a pocket on baby’s back. The height is more adjustable and who doesn’t love a cute print?!
I originally got the Ergo because Tula didn’t have an infant insert-less option, but now that they have come out with the “Free to Grow,” our Ergo has gotten left behind and Tula has permanently joined our travels.
Tula provided me with a complimentary carrier to try out, but this review represents my unbiased opinion. Thank you Tula, I honestly love your “Free to Grow” and use it every day!