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Tula is an American brand that specialises in ergonomic baby carriers. A trusted name in babywearing circles, the company’s comfortable, high-quality and beautifully-patterned carriers are favourites for parents in the know.
The Explore Baby Carrier is one of the most expensive in the Tula range, and at the higher end of the carrier market at large, but it’s impressive look, easy-to-use design and supreme comfort for both parents and babies earned it a Silver title in the 2020 MFM Awards in the Baby Carrier over £85 category.
It has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a luxe carrier – it’s suitable from birth to toddler, has three carrying options (front carry facing in, front carry facing out and a back carry), a seriously impressive range of fashion-forward patterns available and a number of other nifty additional features.
What are your first impressions of the Tula Explore Carrier?
It looks really high value – the patterned print is beautiful. It feels secure, comfortable, it’s made from 100% cotton and has a super stylish finish.
The excellent overall style and gorgeous quality of this carrier is the number one theme that runs through virtually all reviews of the Tula Explore – the MFM 2020 home testers couldn’t get enough of its thick, padded straps and soft feel, which is mirrored in countless online reviews.
What other carriers are available for a similar price?
There are a few rivals to the Tula Explore, most notably the BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One (£129.15 on Amazon) which has an inbuilt newborn support like the Tula and three carry positions, but it can only be used up to 15kg in comparison to the Tula Explore’s 20kg. It also doesn’t come with a rain or sun shield and it’s made from a polycotton blend. Users report its structured back support feels really comfortable and is great for taller parents.
The Ergobaby Omni 360 Baby Carrier (£154.90 on Amazon), is another great product giving the Tula Explore a run for its money. It has the same weight capacity as the Tula Explore, seeing you from newborn to toddler, but it has an additional carry option – the side, a useful extra. Many online reviewers comment on just how comfy and secure it is to wear with a wriggly baby.
The Mountain Buggy Juno Carrier (£77.63 on Amazon) is another strong contender. Like the Ergobaby, it has four carry positions and it lasts from newborn to 20kg. It has a wide front pocket for parents to pat baby’s back and hide cold hands and an insert for newborns. There are only three colours available to buy, unlike the Tula Explore’s 20, but each one is a muted classic.
What’s the weight limit of the Tula Explore carrier?
The carrier can be used from 3.5kg (7.7lb), right up to 20.3kg (44.75lb), which is around 4 years old. This offers great longevity and exceeds a number of other carriers on the market, including the best-selling BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One, which has a limit of 15kg, approximately 3 years old. The Ergobaby Omni 360 and the The Mountain Buggy Juno have the same age range.
The weight limit for the front carry, outward facing option of the Tula Explore is 10kg, at which point Tula recommend the back position for carrying your toddler. One MFM 2020 home tester was disappointed with this limit – with the Ergobaby Omni 360 for example, parents are able to front carry outward facing until 13.6kg.
How does The Tula Explore Carrier look on?
It looks brilliant once on. The carrier has 20 different pattern options to choose from, all as beautiful as the next, and for this alone it’s a great buy as you can really make it personal to your style and taste.
The vibrant, eye-catching prints of the Tula Explore are one of its standout features – most on the market are available in just a handful of pared-back shades, like black and grey. It may not appeal to parents who’d prefer their carrier to fade into the background though.
Is it easy to put on the Tula Explore Carrier?
I found putting on the carrier tricky – it’s secured at the back and attempting to clip it together while carrying my baby felt precarious but, like with all carriers, I imagine with practice it would get easier. My experience is backed up by two of the MFM 2020 Awards home testers, who also struggled to secure it in place without help – the back straps proved fiddly and difficult to get used to.
How big is the waistband on the carrier?
The Tula has a generous waistband, spanning from 69cm right up to 145cm. A number of online comments mention just how comfortable it is for plus-sized parents.
Is the Tula Explore Carrier classed as ‘hip-healthy’ by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute?
Yes, it is. This means that each carry position, at all stages, is designed for your baby to sit in the hip-healthy ‘M position’, which offers the correct support for developing hips and encourages good joint movement. All of the Tula Explore’s closest competitors also have the Hip Dysplasia Institute stamp of approval.
Were you and your baby comfy when wearing the carrier?
Yes, my baby seemed content on my front sat in the M position facing both outwards and inwards – he happily looked around him and slept in comfort. My husband said he found the carrier slightly uncomfortable on his hips, despite our attempts to adjust it – I didn’t have this issue as it rested around me really well. I was happy to carry my baby in it for a long time, whereas my husband started to feel uncomfortable after 30mins.
The overwhelming majority of parents who have reviewed the Tula Explore online have commented about just how comfy it is for them to wear and how snug their baby looks.
What are the adjustable straps like?
The straps and buckles are really good quality – they’re padded, soft and super comfy. Once my baby was in place and I’d adjusted the straps for a snug fit the carrier felt really secure for both of us.
Did you try the front carry position in both forward and outward facing?
Yes, we loved the fact we could use either position – outwards if our baby wanted to see the world, then we could turn him around when he became sleepy. We used both options with the head support and he seemed really comfy.
On Amazon, where the Tula Explore Carrier is rated 4.7 out of 5, many shoppers remark just how simple it is to switch between the different carry positions, with one even being able to change from outward-facing to front-facing without disturbing their sleeping baby!
Did you try the back carry position of the Tula Explore Carrier?
I love the option to back carry! We didn’t do this as our baby was a bit little but we can’t wait to try it when he’s older – it also adds to the longevity of this carrier.
Is it easy to clean?
We had a milk spill on it and it was really easy to wipe off. The material feels really durable and high quality – it’s definitely something that would last as your baby grows.
What is your favourite feature of Tula Explore Carrier?
I like that it offers both facing out and in options with great head support and that it grows with your baby right up until age 4. It is easily adjustable, so your baby has a really snug fit and even with a small baby, I would feel confident to use it.
There’s a pocket on the front for storing phone and keys, which is a really brilliant added feature.
Is the carrier good value for money?
Even though it is a little pricey, considering how long you’ll use it for, how great it looks and how comfy it is – I definitely think it’s good value for money.
Where can I buy the Tula Explore carrier?
It’s available from Baby Tula, Amazon and Natural Baby Shower.
The Tula Explore Carrier is a high quality, well-made and attractive carrier. Designed to grow with your child, the plush material is easy to clean and built to last. Most importantly, the Explore is comfy for parents and babies and while it’s not the cheapest on the market, its thoughtful design and smart extras like a built-in infant insert, side pockets and sun hood, make it a worthwhile investment.