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It’s the same basic design as the Baby Björn Baby Carrier One, but with a few added extras. Waterproof fabric with a moisture wicking lining makes it a great option for long walks and other alfresco activities.
Unlike the Ergobaby, the Outdoors only has three carrier positions, with no hip-carry option but there’s no need to purchase a separate infant insert for this one – there’s an infant-setting that means it’s suitable from birth. The structure is more robust and weatherproof than the more snuggly Britot carrier and it’s also a little sturdier looking than the Mountain Buggy Juno. Storage is easier as it comes with a carry-bag.
When my son was born three years ago I used the classic Baby Björn carrier for outdoor excursions, and a soft, stretchy sling for around the house. Later on we bought a LittleLife back carrier. None of these suited us completely – the sling was too soft and my son never felt secure, the Björn hurt my back and I was worried about the position of his legs. The LittleLife was cumbersome and not-so-portable so didn’t get much use.
The Outdoors solves many of these problems – it gives good support, positions an infant’s legs in the right ergonomic position and it can be used as a back carrier for children up to 15kg.
Over the past few weeks, our carrier has been on a trek through the woods, a trip to the zoo, around countless shops and to several family parties, as well as being worn around the house. It definitely holds up to long-term wear – my back felt supported throughout our long zoo walk and I was even comfortable wearing it to sit down to lunch.
So what’s new?
The carrier’s lining is a 3D mesh filled with a special moisture wicking foam and I did feel the difference – the shoulder straps were a lot less sweaty than the ones on my previous carrier, although baby-wearing is always a bit hot. Baby herself seemed perfectly snug and comfy.
The water-repellent material is also an innovation and works really well – however I’m not sure how useful the waterproofing is – you’d never take your baby out in a rainstorm with its head uncovered so you’d need to have full waterproofs for your baby anyway.
Is it suitable for a newborn?
I used the carrier from about four weeks old and found baby’s head very well supported – she slept very happily there and her legs were positioned comfortably. There’s a special newborn setting underneath the carrier and two buttons that help keep her legs in place.
The main problem I found was that it was hard to shrug out of the harness quickly for breastfeeding. One online reviewer said that she was able to breastfeed her baby in the carrier but sadly I found it impossible.
How is strapping your little one in?
As with all slings and carriers, the first few times you use it are stressful, frustrating and undignified (I ended up with a small group of passers-by helping me in a play park). But practice makes perfect and once you’ve used it a few times, you become a pro. The clips, which secure your little one, are really easy to click in place and release again – just remember to undo the little leg loops if you’re carrying a newborn.
How easy is it to adjust the straps?
A tip: before you put the carrier on, loosen the back straps a little. It’s super easy to pull them tight once you’ve shrugged into it but really awkward to loosen them while you’re wearing. I found that they need to be slightly slack while I moved my baby into place, then tightened once she was in to keep her secure.
One big mark in its favour: I’m 5ft 3in and my husband is 6ft 9in which means it’s hard to find something we’re both happy and comfortable to wear, but the straps are fully adaptable to both our sizes – although the waist strap was more of a hip-strap for me and a lower-chest-strap for him.
Is it comfortable?
For me: This is the most comfy carrier I’ve used so far. Usually I get a burning pain in the small of my back about half an hour in but this left me feeling completely supported.
For baby: After some initial wriggling, my two month old settles into place and usually nods off or stares up into my eyes. It feels very secure and cosy – although it does lock the baby into quite a straight-backed position. Perfect for hiking or long shopping trips but maybe not so much for round-the-house carrying when you and baby just want to be snuggled up.
Is it easy to clean?
The carrier is machine washable at 40 degrees and dries quickly because of the specialist fabrics – I also found it more stain repellent than other carriers for the same reason so even the light blue one barely picks up dirt.
How are the different seating positions?
I was unable to test the forward facing position as my baby is too young and my three-year-old too old, but the fact there is a back carry option up to 15kg means longer use and greater value for money. Many sling-mamas prefer to back-carry rather than have their baby in the front-facing position, so this is a good option for them too.
However, it is a little awkward to get a larger child into position – you strap them in on your front then somehow swivel the straps round until the child is on your back. It was tricky to introduce it to my son who wondered what the hell I was doing but if a child has been carried this way since birth it’s probably less of an issue. So overall I’d recommend this carrier to someone with a young baby to use right through until they are too heavy for the Björn – or for you, whichever comes first!
One important note: Baby Björn has come under fire in the past for the way their original carriers force baby’s legs into a dangling position but this design solves that problem. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has tested them and given then a seal of approval as a “hip healthy baby carrier”, providing the correct support to a child’s hips in those vital early months.
Fun extra features
The handy phone pocket is a nice touch. There are also loops on the shoulder strap to attach other bits of baby kit, but for me these weren’t in the right position – I didn’t want things to clonk against me or the baby as I walked along. To be honest this doesn’t matter though – if there was room for bottles and nappies the carrier would be too huge to be easily portable.
The Outdoors comes in two colours – black and red or pale blue. I have the pale blue one and liked the fact it was bright and attractive. It looks sturdy and, well, outdoorsy of course. None of us wear carriers for fashion purposes but this one definitely is less “baby about town” and more “hiking the mountains.”
Is it compact and easy to store?
The carrier is bulkier than a sling and, with all its octopus-like straps, is impossible to fold neatly. But luckily it comes with a handy storage bag which makes it much easier to tuck in the basket of a pram or the foot well of a car – which is where mine lives. A shoulder strap might come in handy but otherwise – fab.
Made For Mums verdict
A great, practical all-round carrier which remains useful into the toddler years.
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|Model||Baby Carrier One Outdoors carrier|
|Child age (approx)||Birth to 3 years|
|Child weight||3.5kg to 15kg|
|Washing instructions||Machine washable|
|Number of carrying positions||4|
|Head hugger||Adjustable head support|