When ERGObaby informed me I would be one of only 10 people to review the ERGObaby Performance before it’s official release, I was extremely honored and excited. But after I began to think about it, I wondered what they would be changing on my favorite baby/child/preschool/teen carrier? (Ok so not really a teen – but being able to carry a 40 lb. child without back strain is incredible!)
I emailed asking when the carrier would arrive and began to plan who would lend me their infant or child to test it out. Sadly, my own “baby” is now 6 years old and not so much a baby.
Yesterday when the package arrived, I lifted out the ERGObaby Performance carrier and noticed it was:
- very lightweight
- durable, quality material
- a lively spring green color
While wearing the Performance carrier, I noticed:
- the tummy/back panel of support seemed larger and more supportive than the traditional carrier support panel
- the padding on the shoulders was a lot less bulky
- the waist belt was lighter weight and reached 5″ farther than the traditional carrier. (For those of us who tend to be bigger framed, the traditional carrier could be snug.) This new belt snapped in place and adjusted to fit.
*I was initially concerned about the disappearance of the bulk padding in the shoulder straps. My concern was that the lack of padding would affect comfort when carrying a heavier child for longer periods of time. I spoke with ERGObaby about this and the increase in support pad size at the waist level reflects the research that ERGObaby has done with chiropractors on weight distribution. It is more important for the support to come from the waist area than the shoulders. That makes sense. If the waist area is supporting the weight, the shoulder straps are more for securing the child in place – and are not being pulled down to help lift and hold the child.
The outer fabric appears to wipe clean and is water-repellant for outdoor activities. You don’t have to be an athlete to appreciate the outdoor activity fabric. Outdoor activities can be a trip to the park, the grocery store parking lot in the rain, or a hike in the hills. I once saw a mother wearing her baby on the ski slope – no, she wasn’t skiing, but she was taking pictures on the bunny hill of her preschooler taking ski lessons. The ERGObaby carrier goes where the family goes and an all weather carrier makes life so much easier.
My eyes then scanned to the fantastic new pouch. (My friends call me a bag lady- I love practical and multi-pocket bags!)
This little black pouch is awesome. It has:
- an outside side zippered pocket
- 2 front mesh pockets that look like they could fit sippy cups or a water bottle comfortably. The zippers are great quality and inside I was delighted to find yet another secret zipper compartment!
- an attachable strap which turns the pouch into a bag that can be slung over the shoulder
The pouch is easily connected to or removed from the front bottom of the carrier. At first I did not like that the pouch would dangle back and forth when walking. When all of sudden I noticed someone had thought of this and added a velcro panel that secures the pouch to the front of the carrier.
I love the new look of the pouch!
OK sorry- I got so distracted by the beautiful, multi-functional pouch.
Back to the carrier…
So this carrier was created to respond to those of us who are active and on the go or just run a little hotter in temperature. My face is always red and I overheat easily. I have heard this also happens to a lot of baby-wearing dads as well as those parents who live or vacation in hot, humid climates. When it’s so hot and humid even wearing a shirt can be bothersome, the thought of wearing a baby close can be discouraging.
ERGObaby listened to the common complaint of heat issues because they really do care about our experience with their product. Inventor Karin Frost designed the carrier based on her observations as a mother. She has continued to value that feedback as parents’ lives change and become increasingly busier!
CoolMax! When you ask people like me who tend to run at higher temperatures what the words “CoolMax” mean, you may very well hear an audible sigh. Like a cool breeze, Cool Max alleviates the sweaty, yucky feel of heat and humidity. It wicks away moisture from the skin. We all know a dry heat is much more tolerable than a humid heat. The inside panels of the new ERGObaby Performance are a great combination of breathable mesh and wicking CoolMax. This not only keeps the parent feeling comfortable, it is also great for the child held close to all that body heat.
Of course, the Performance offers the same fantastic ergonomic position for both adult and child as the traditional ERGObaby carriers. Yes, this does make a difference. How would you like to be suspended from your crotch? The ERGObaby allows a child to be seated in a normal sitting position with their legs at a 90 degree angle.
The new ERGObaby Performance is streamlined and gorgeous – great for active parents (who is not active these days?). Less bulk and less moisture and heat are fantastic when wearing a child close.
Is this carrier only good for the summer months? Actually, wicking moisture away from the body helps you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer! So this multi-season carrier that lasts from 12lbs. to 40 lbs…. wait a minute….. it says 45 lbs! They increased the weight limit! So my 55lb. son is not that much over… no, this is not advised! (Do not try this at home!)
My first impression of the carrier out of the box was positive. Now it was time to test it out with infants and toddlers. I started with my friend who is a very active mom of 3 boys under the age of 6. Her youngest son is 6 months old and loves to spend time in her traditional ERGObaby carrier. She placed him in the ERGObaby Performance carrier and found his face was a bit squished by the top of the front of the carrier. Unfortunately, his height in the carrier placed him right at the rim of the ERGObaby carrier. This caused him to squirm as he tried to get away from the seam.
*I have since spoken with ERGObaby about this issue. They advise to loosen the carrier a bit to accommodate for those kids who line up directly with the rim of the carrier. This is not an issue when they are smaller or larger.
She was pleasantly surprised at how streamlined and lightweight the carrier felt compared to the bulkier traditional ERGObaby. The Performance is actually 1/3 lighter than the traditional ERGObaby carrier!
I did notice both of us had a somewhat “protective” attitude about the older version – the traditional ERGObaby carriers. We both feel ERGObaby is the best on the market and have grown quite attached to them! So this new version of the ERGObaby (Performance) was going to have to do some work to sway us from our beloved.
It was then we noticed the hood on the Performance was not as wide as the traditional. For her baby, she preferred the hood to cover completely so it was darker and there were less distractions as he fell asleep. However, I can see that in the way of older kids, it might be nice to have more airflow to keep them cool.
I left her house with mixed emotions. I then went to visit my very busy friend and her family. She is a remarkable woman! Mother to 5 sweet children under the age of 7, and 6 months pregnant with child #6, she is also a part-time Family Physician!
Of course she had used a baby carrier before, but never the ERGObaby.
We first tried it on with her toddler. Since mom was pregnant, the toddler sat in the carrier on her back. Mom was pleasantly surprised how the weight did not affect her.
The little girl was happy to sit in the carrier until her leg started to hurt. The edge of a seam was bothering her.
*I have spoken to ERGObaby about this. This did not occur with their trial runs with various children. They also said the seam is new, so most likely will soften as time goes on.
Next it was time for the little 1 year old boy to sit in the carrier. The mother wanted to try holding him in front. Her 6 month pregnant tummy was an extra little seat for him. As you can see, because he was taller than the 6 month old, the carrier height did not affect him. Both mom and child were very comfortable.
She appreciated the lightweight design with CoolMax as her scarf and pregnancy made her warmer.
The little girl wanted to sit one more time on her mommy’s back. So we put the carrier back on while she held the boy in the front and the girl in the back and the baby in her tummy! A busy mom indeed…
I demonstrated how the hood is removed from the zipper pocket and noticed that with long hair, the zipper can be an issue. Use caution when zipping or unzipping!
*I have since spoken with ERGObaby and mentioned that I preferred the traditional pocket for the hood rather than the new zipped compartment as this might mean pulled hair and a bit more work unzipping rather than simply pulling the hood out of the pocket when baby is sleeping.
It is at this point that I must write about how incredible ERGObaby has been to work with, not only over the past few years I have known them, but particularly after my review of this new carrier.
I felt comfortable voicing my concerns with them (see italics above). Why? Because I know they really do value feedback. They are parents as well and have used the carriers in their daily lives. They genuinely want their customers to be not only happy – but delighted to own an ERGObaby carrier.
The new ERGObaby Performance carrier was designed to fulfill a need for those active parents who needed a cooler, more lightweight carrier to feel more comfort when on the go or in hot temperatures.
Although I have not had the time to wear the carrier for an extended amount of time, it appears ERGObaby Performance has the breathable mesh, the CoolMax wicking, and 1/3 less bulk of the traditional to make it a cooler fit.
I think there are many active parents and grandparents who will love the new ERGObaby Performance. I also believe other parents will prefer the traditional over the Performance. But the good news is that ERGObaby will continue to offer a variety of carriers to fit a variety of families! What bothers one may be the perfect fit for another and what is delightful to me may be a burden to you. I can also see that for each person, the climate, type of lifestyle as well as color preference can all lead to different decisions. For me and my family, well… I had to try it for old times sake… (not advised for children over 45lbs.)
I enjoyed the entire experience of reviewing the ERGObaby Performance. And to be honest, one of the best things about the process was to recognize how much ERGObaby cares about baby-wearing parents. From organic material to CoolMax interiors, a variety of colors and designs… they are determined to offer a variety of carriers so parents can find a customized fit. Perhaps for a family living in hot, humid climates, the CoolMax fits the need. For my friend in mild CA, she prefers the traditional carrier. Either way, we can be grateful that Karin Frost and her team at ERGObaby value the customer experience above all. From infant baby to grandparent, feedback on all levels is taken seriously and valued.
Thank you ERGObaby for listening! The ERGObaby carriers are so great because of your efforts.
*I was provided this carrier for review purposes and was not compensated for writing this review. My opinion may be very different than yours and I ask you to consider this when purchasing any product or service I feature. We do not guarantee you will have the same experience or viewpoints.
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