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Comparison of The Ergo Baby Carrier to the Tough Traveler and Other Backpack/Frame Style Carriers



The most obvious difference between The Ergo Baby Carrier and the many back carriers on the market is that The Ergo Baby Carrier does not have a frame. This enables the child's body to be held close to your back, so the weight becomes essentially an extension of your body. Having the child in a framed carrier, places that extra weight inches behind you which causes more pressure on your shoulders and upper back. And speaking of weight, those framed back carriers are heavy to begin with - most are at least 3 or 4 lbs. and the Kelty Pinnacle weighs 10.5 lbs. - empty! When my daughter was about 16 lbs. and the strain on my back from the Baby Bjorn became too much, I started my search for the best back carrier. After much research, I decided on the Tough Traveler Stallion. I used it a lot at first, but as my daughter got heavier, I found that although walking on flat ground was fine, hiking uphill made my shoulders and back ache. Also, as she got older, she wanted to get out and walk on her own more. That became frustrating, because though I could do it without assistance, putting the pack on and off was a major pain. Additionally, there were times when I lugged that big thing around all day and she wouldn't even sit in it. And when I went to shows a Sea World, etc. finding a spot for the carrier was always a problem.

The Ergo Baby Carrier, on the other hand, is ideal. I was so happy when I found it. It is incredibly light (just a pound or so), I can easily put my daughter in and out of it without taking it off, and still have storage areas to boot! The Ergo has built-in storage which accommodates a couple of diapers, wipes, and a snack (in the back pocket) and a credit card, some money and a key (in the hip belt pocket). For more storage, a detachable front pouch is sold separately. If you feel you need more room, you can also wear a larger hiking waist pack which holds a water bottle/sippy cup and has plenty of room for extra diapers, snacks, and toys. The other great thing is that when your child wants to walk on his own, you can just let The Ergo Baby Carrier hang off your waist or put it on as a knapsack and it is not heavy or bulky. It also packs up small in its matching storage bag (comes free with the carrier) to fit easily in the bottom of a stroller, so if you are pushing your infant, you can strap your toddler onto your back when he gets tired of walking. Or, if you only have one child, you can take your stroller and Ergo and have options throughout your day of shopping, at the zoo, etc.

Probably one of the most frustrating things about a framed back carrier is finding a way to keep your sleeping child's head in a comfortable and stable position. Friends of mine and I have tried all sorts of tricks, from rolled up blankets to inflatable airplane neck pillows and nothing seems to work well. The Ergo Baby Carrier has an attached sleeping baby hood which is designed to support your baby's head while he is sleeping. It's easy to hook up and it really does the job. I should mention that on hot days The Ergo Baby Carrier can be a bit warmer than the framed models, because your child's body is right next to yours. On the other hand, I found my Tough Traveler left me with a wet shirt as well, at times. The good news is that on cold days, you can wear a big jacket (my stretchy zip up fleece is perfect) and put it around you and your baby for added warmth for you both! One other feature that The Ergo Baby Carrier lacks, but many framed carriers do have, is a wind/rain/sun-blocking canopy. I did like that feature on my Tough Traveler Stallion, the few times I used it in the wind and rain, but a good hat with a neck flap and brim, along with some sun screen, seems to work well for walking in the sun, which is more likely the case anyway.

Another helpful hint that I will share with you (I hope soon to have pictures of this on my instructions page) is the use of carabiner clips. They are great for hiking, shopping, anytime you use your Ergo. I clip them to the black part of the shoulder straps and they are great for clipping shopping bags, children's jackets, etc. to. They are available in any camping store - usually found with the key chains. I've even seen them at Target in the camping section. You might also look for one that holds a water bottle (it looks like this): I clip this to my shoulder strap too, and it hangs at my side. If I buy a water bottle with a spout (sport top) that squirts, then I can pass it back and my daughter can drink out of it without too much of a mess as well.

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