Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ergo vs. Boba vs. Tula carrier comparison


I used to think I knew a thing or two about baby wearing... that was, until I moved to the Bay Area!

About a month after I moved to town, I decided to go to a PAXbaby Playdate, in hopes of meeting some other like-minded moms.  It was tons of fun and I met lots of sweet babywearing mamas... and realized that I really know nothing about baby wearing!


Natibaby, KoKaDi, or Oscha wrap?

I was clueless!  (I bet there are a couple of ladies in that photo who could not only tell you the maker of each of the wraps above, they could tell you the name of the design too!!)

I had heard of Girasol woven wraps and learned a fun fact about them from someone at the playdate... Girasol makes a XELA wrap! (For any readers who don't know, Xela is my name!)

I also knew that woven wraps typically cost over $100, which seemed like a lot to me (considering I had made several wraps for as little as $5), but I learned that some hard core babywearers often pay up to $1000 for really rare wraps!

But I digress... one of the most important things I discovered at the PAXbaby Playdate was the wonderful world of Tula carriers!

Tula carriers come in some of the coolest, funkiest, and most beautiful prints I've ever seen.


They also specialize in Wrap Conversion Carriers (something I had never heard of before the PAXbaby playdate) which are made partially or entirely from a woven wrap.  Apparently the woven ones are super soft and comfy, but I don't know that I could ever bring myself to pay over $200 for ANY baby carrier!

I think the best thing about Tulas though is that they come in standard or toddler size!

A year ago, I'm not sure I would have been excited about a carrier that came in two sizes... it's kind of like the cloth diapering conundrum of whether "one-size" diapers really fit ANY size very well.  But now I'm definitely a fan of sized diapers and baby carriers!

Here's a quick comparison of the dimensions of the Ergo Original, Boba 3G, the standard and the toddler Tula carriers:


Standard Ergo
Boba 3G
Standard Tula
Toddler Tula
Back panel height
13"
16"
15.5"
18"
Seat width
14"
13" (17.5" at widest point)
14.5"
19"
Shoulder strap length/ length of padding
41"/ 21"
40" /17"
?
44"/ 17" - 20"
Waist belt length/ length of padding
25" - 43" (51" w/extender)/ 23.5"
25" - 58"/ 25" padded
?
29" - 56"/ 30"

(Please note that these are estimations.  The manufactures don't disclose most of this information, so most of the measurements were taken by me with a soft measuring tape.  Special thanks to my friend Whit for getting the measurements on the Boba, since I don't have one anymore!  And I don't have a standard Tula, so if anyone does and could send me the info I'm missing, I'd really appreciate it! :o)

The first thing you'll notice is the height difference between the three carriers.


The Tula carriers fit about 3 to 5 inches higher than the Ergo (depending on the model), and that makes a huge difference in the comfort and security of the carrier!  Emi has always been a wiggly little worm and it really put a lot of strain on my back and shoulders when she would lean away from my body.  The Tula keeps her close and comfy.





Next, you'll notice the difference in the seat width.  A nice, wide seat is important for helping to prevent "dead-leg" for the baby/toddler and also for proper weight distribution for the wearer.  Ideally, the seat of the carrier should touch from knee to knee on the baby and the baby's bottom should sit lower than the knees (making a nice "M" shape).

The seat of the Boba is the narrowest, followed closely by the Ergo.  The standard Tula is only a half inch wider than the Ergo, but the toddler Tula is 5 inches wider than the Ergo and 6 inches wider than the Boba!

A cool feature of Tula standard carriers is that they sell a "Room to Grow" extension which widens the seat base and converts the standard carrier to a toddler size.  (Don't ask me how it works though... I haven't seen one in person and there aren't a lot of details on the website.)




Another difference in the carriers is the length of the shoulder strap and the amount of padding.


Tula straps have the thickest padding, but the padding is longest on the Ergo (an inch longer than the Tula, and 4 inches longer than the Boba!).  One of the most uncomfortable things I found with the Boba was how little padding there was on the straps, and a common complaint I've heard/read is that it rubs against the back of your arms when front-carrying a child.

Notice how the padding stops mid-back on the Boba, but comes all the way down
and around with the Tula and the Ergo

Another cool feature of the Tula is that it has an adjustment where the panel meets the straps that allows you to bring your baby closer or let the baby sit back from you (which is why the "length of padding" measurement is 17" - 20".)  It's really handy when nursing in the carrier!!


I would say the only drawback to the Tula is that it might not fit well around the waist if you're super petite (smaller than probably a size 24/25.)  The smallest the waist belt goes on the Tula is 29 inches, compared to 25 inches with the Ergo or Boba, but I think the measurements are a little misleading.  I have a friend who felt the Ergo was too big for her petite frame and she loves the Tula.  Also, just to give a little perspective, I typically wear a size 26/27 jean and as you can see in the photo below, I don't wear it cinched down to its smallest size.

Personally, I like the fact that the padded area is longer on the waist belt, because I find it more supportive... and it helps to hide my love handles :o)


So right now the Tula is about the only carrier I ever use.  Occasionally I use my Maya sling carrier, if I just need to make it from the car to a store without Emi running away, and once in a blue moon I'll pull out a wrap.  But there was a time that I thought I didn't need anything other than a baby wrap!

Tula has a great philosophy that I whole-heartedly agree with:
We love babywearing and all it has to offer. It's practical for the parent, it has amazing benefits for the baby and it feels so good to have your baby snuggled in close!   
We do not support criticism and looking down at parents for the type of a wrap or carrier they chose to use. We believe that every parent tries to make the best decision for his baby. 
Over the past four and half years of wearing my girls, I've discovered there really is no "best" carrier. Certain carriers are better for certain body shapes.  Each type of carrier has it's pros and cons, and work best at different ages and stages.  I highly recommend trying out different carriers before making a purchase.

If you're lucky enough to have a chapter of Baby Wearing International in your area, the leaders are a great resource for showing you how to properly use different types of carrier and they typically have a large "library" of carriers to loan/rent out.

If not, contact PAXbaby.com.  One of their babywearing experts can give you a "personalized carrier prescription!"  Then you can rent a carrier for as little as $30, and as an added bonus, they'll give you a coupon for $10 off your next carrier purchase!

And if you happen to be in the market for an Ergo, I have a very gently used, super cute Galaxy Grey for sale.  I used it for just a few months before buying my Tula.  (I even have the original box and owner's manual!)  Update:  The Ergo has found a new home :)

Ergo Galaxy Grey Carrier - $70 plus shipping



 I'd love to hear from some readers... what's your favorite carrier and why?

40 comments:

Sarah Ragusa said...

I've been drooling over Tula's for some time now... but after this read I've gotta get me one! Yum! I've been using my RS more than my Ergo because DS will push away in the Ergo... looks like a Tula will solve that problem.

Beth-Ann said...

Great blog post!
Of all of the soft structured carriers I have tried Tula is my favorite by far! I purchased a standard when my youngest daughter was 6 months old and used that until we upgraded to a toddler Tula. The fit is perfect for us! The only downside is trying to choose the print you love the most! If only I could have a closet full of Tulas!

Nina said...

Have you ever tried a Manduca? It's what i use, and I really love it!

It has integreated infant seating, and you can make the back panel longer for a toddler.

:)

Nina, from Norway.

Cameron said...

This is a great comparison! I had an Ergo, loved it while she was little, but then when she got bigger it was more uncomfortable for me. I switched to a Boba and LOVED it. Now that she's 19 months I don't use it as much. I never knew about Tula but if I have another little I most surely will buy that one! I'm bookmarking this post and will share it with friends. :) Thanks!

trina said...

I'm a huge fan of the Beco Gemini, but I've been very curious about a Tula. They just seem to have such a rabid fanbase that they must be amazing. I'm hoping to try one at a local sling clinic to see if it works for baby and me! So excited after reading your review!

Jenny said...

The Tula looks a lot like the Kinderpack. I got a Kinderpack in the toddler size, since I could find them on the swaps. People aren't yet selling a lot of Tula's. I would say I can't live without a carrier, but which is hard. I have a size 6 wrap, and the KP, but it would be very difficult to say which one is better. Wrap for its endless possibilities, and the KP for its ease of use, which is a must with cranky toddlers. :)

Anne-girl said...

I would love to see kinderpacks included in this comparison! Your post is great! I have had the three sizes of KPs and I think they compare a lot to the TULA carrier. I'm TULA curious now, too!

Melanie said...

I love my toddler Tula! And Ula is awesome too!!

kin said...

Hi from Poland!
Really interesting comparison. With my both kids I do the same: I use wrap for younger baby (I love cuddle-feeling of wrap - i have two: Natibaby and LennyLamb), but later on I switch to ergo, because of ease of use and quick car-shop-kindergarden switches :) I use Bondolino and I love it. Tried Manduca and Marsupi before purchase, now I would have tried Tula too :)
br

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

I've heard wonderful things about Manducas, but as far as I know, they're not available in the US :( I've also heard great things about the Kinderpack... I believe they make the largest carrier on the market. Maybe I need to go to the next east bay babywearing meeting and see if I can try out a Kinderpack and/or Manduca. If anyone has dimensions they'd like to send me for those carriers, I'd be happy to add them to my spreadsheet :)

Sally Hilton said...

Baby-Carrier-Palooza!! It can make my head spin! Thanks for breaking it all down for me. I was mostly curious about the boba baby carrier vs ergo. I didn't realize there were so many out there! Thanks for this post!

El Fukuda said...

I Love You. I really want to talk to you. I am a new Momma to a 2 month old. I am 36 and I live in East Layton Utah. I Love your blog. I love your thoughts opinions and ideas.

El Fukuda said...

I had my baby naturally. I read a great book called "Painless Child birth". I also went to born free. I wish I would have known about your blog sooner.

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

Thank you El Fukuda! That's so sweet! And so wonderful that you were able to have your baby naturally. Congratulations on your new little one :)

I wish I was still in Utah! I really miss it :( If you're interested in a local babywearing group, you should check out this one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BabywearingSLC/?fref=ts

Thanks again for your sweet comments :)

El Fukuda said...

Hey. I would love to talk to you. My email address is egipt13@yahoo.com I would love to hear your thoughts on premastication and when it's time to start feeding babies solid foods.

Thorough Lad said...

These are great diapers. They stay in place, are very absorbent, and do not permit leaks. These are our favorite out of all diapers. They fit so much better and don't leak nearly as often.. haven't leaked yet actually unless you need a bigger size. Good indicator!
honest diaper reviews

Melissa McAninch said...

I love this article! You may have convinced me to get a Tula. :)

Cindy said...

Just found your blog, reading about Tums carrier. My daughter is deciding between a Tula and Gemini. Thank you for your information regarding the Tulas. May I ask if you have sold your Tula as of yet. Thank you for your time.

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

Hi Cindy! So glad you enjoyed the post. I had an Ergo for sale, but I did sell it. Good luck to you and your daughter in finding a carrier :)

vespagirl_1 said...

How would you compare the Tula to the Onya? I'm having trouble deciding between the two!

Laura Hamilton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura Hamilton said...

This is a great breakdown! Love the photos. Would you mind if I linked to this page from my Soft Structured Carrier Comparison Chart at http://www.theportablebaby.com/carrierfeatures.html?

I'd like to make an Additional Resources section and add a link to this page there. Great work!

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

Laura, that would be great and I'm honored. I actually just did a google search to answer vespagirl's question about the Onya and found your awesome comparison chart, so I was going to link her to your post :)

vespagirl_1, I wish I knew more about the Onya, but I've never had a chance to try one. Laura's post above has some great info though on the Onya and several other carriers. Good luck in deciding on a carrier :)

MyGoogPics said...

I have an ergo that I bought off of babysteals.com for $70. I would gladly sale it to someone in need for $40 (they pay shipping). I am in the Southern states. Please let me know.
This is my "anonymous" email (since I am posting on your blog), forsale.byme@yahoo.com

Curly Wurly said...

Hi there

A frantic Mummy's wave from Brunei. I found your blog whilst doing a search on a boba vs ergo review. You have a very well detailed review of the carriers and a new name I have never heard of which puts me back on a search mode for baby carriers ^_^ Tula sounds so good to have but unfortunately it is not available over here. Reading your blog I have decided to go for an Ergo as I'd like to have a comfy wear while carrying my 2 year old daughter.

Emily L said...

I've been trying to compare carriers online (no local places to try-out) and I'm loving your review! I've been torn between the Tula and the Boba. Looks like momma's getting a Tula! Or I should say, at least Tula is the first on my list to 'rent' from Jillian's Drawers to be able to test ;-)

Kaity Green said...

Are you doing this comparison with a Toddler Tula or a Standard? I currently have an ergo but its not working as great as it used to for us and I want a Tula but I don't know which size to order.

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

This comparison is with the toddler Tula. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone with a standard Tula, so I haven't been able to get the measurements on one.

amelia said...

Great comparison post! Thank you!!

Brooke Bertsch said...

We are adopting a 2.5 yr old little girl from China this summer. What size of Tula would be best? She weighs 25lbs.

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

Hi Brooke! Congratulations on your adoption! I would definitely go with a toddler size Tula for a 25 lb 2.5 yr old.

I had a friend who adopted a 2 yr old from Africa and she said wearing her frequently really helped with the bonding process and helped her little girl adjust to her new surroundings. Good luck with everything :)

Alley Miller said...

Did you breastfeed often in the Tula? My son is 4 months old! 14 lbs and exclusively breastfed. I am looking for the most practical carrier to wear for a few hours and breastfeed on demand.

Shelley❤ said...

Great blog! Thank you for sharing all this wonderful info! My son is growing very quickly he is 5months and 19lbs, we have a Ergo but it is not as comfortable as with my first son who was much smaller. Would you think that a standard or toddler tula is ideal? Thank you in advance! <3

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

Alley, yes! I breastfed my daughter all the time in the Tula and it was my favorite for that because all I had to do was loosen the strap adjustment on the front of the carrier to drop her down a bit. Much easier than having to reach back and loosen the length of the shoulder straps :)

And Shelley, I would probably recommend buying the Toddler Tula, especially if you already have an Ergo, because the standard Tula isn't much bigger than the Ergo. Depending on your baby's height, you may need to use the Ergo for another month or two... just make sure that he can comfortably bend his legs when he's sitting in it. (If the seat is hitting him mid-calf and he's doing the chinese splits in it, he's too small for it ;o)

Hope that helps!

Tabitha Willis said...

I have a 16 lb 6 month old. I'm 5'3" and 170 lb. I'm debating between an Ergo and a Tula. Is one of them more easy/simple to use? What would you recommend? I think she's too small for the toddler Tula. I currently use a size 6 woven wrap.

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

Sorry for the delayed reply Tabitha... we went camping in Yosemite! Anyway, I would say the Ergo and Tula are pretty much the same in terms of ease of use. Most babies can comfortably fit in an Ergo by 6 months old, and she could probably fit in a standard Tula. I would probably go for the Tula over the Ergo because I really like the extra-long, padded waist strap. I feel it's much more comfortable than the Ergo.

Good luck choosing a carrier! Remember you can rent carriers thru PAXbaby.com, if you don't have a local babywearing chapter that you can borrow from. Here's a link to the PAXbaby rentals: http://shop.paxbaby.com/sling-exchange/ (P.S. I don't work for them and get nothing for the referral... I just think their sling exchange is wonderful, and so is the owner!)

Grateful for Grace said...

Great post.

I'm seriously wanting a Tula. We are adopting and so all extra money goes towards that right now, but when our baby comes... I'm hoping!

The first time I saw a Tula it was on a shorter/petite woman and I immediately asked the brand since I have tried so many with little success in comfort (I am under 5'). That's when I stored away the name Tula.

Thanks again for such an informative post.

Dani Tavoi said...

I just want to say....what a WONDERFUL post. I've just had my 3rd baby, and I am new to baby wearing. I've borrowed my friend's ergo for the day.....loved it, but found it wasn't quite right for my daughter...she is 10 months and pretty tall. Have another baby wearing friend who lent me her boba (I don't know which model). The Boba hurt the back of my arms when carrying my squirmy baby. I've never used/tried a Tula, but I think that's where I need to go with my baby wearing adventure :) Thanks!!!

Unknown said...

Great review of the carriers I am interested in.
Would love your advice on helping with my decision!
I have a toddler Tula for my 2y old and love it but I am pregnant and looking for a carrier to start me with a newborn until I can use the toddler Tula again.
Which one, in your opinion (price aside) is a better carrier for this situation- the Boba 4G that comes with the infant insert or the Tula standard with the insert that I would purchase?
Thanks!

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