Reviewed by: Amelia
Price (MSRP): $139
Best Use: Multi-Use
Where to Buy: REI
Testing Location: Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas
Testing Environment: All conditions
Onya Baby makes two carriers that we highly recommend: The Outback and the Nextstep. The Outback is our go-to carrier for hiking, especially if the weather is less than idea. The fabric on the Outback is ideal for repelling moisture, mud and dirt. You can read our full review of the Onya NexStep here. The carriers are nearly identical except for the fabric they are made of. And yes, that fabric choice does make a big difference. Onya also makes an Organic cotton carrier, the Cruiser, that is very soft, just not as “adventure-ready” as the other two models.
This review is an update of our review from over two years ago. While the design of the Onya has not changed since then, the fabrics have. The interior mesh of the Outback is softer for Baby (it has a higher thread count, which results in a softer feeling fabric) and seems to conform to Baby’s body just a little better (which was something I didn’t like in the previous model and spoke about in our older review). The hood and seat harness are also lighter weight, which again reduces the overall bulk of the carrier.
Onya Carriers are best suited (in my opinion) for kids over 15 pounds. While you can modify them with a Baby Booster (see our review of that here at the bottom of the post) or a towel/blanket tucked under Baby, they excel for taller kids and bigger kids. My 5 year old is still comfortable (as am I) in this carrier (for shorter amounts of time, of course). While it doesn’t pack down as small as some other carriers, it’s other features make up for that lack of packability.
What makes Onya Baby Carriers unique:
– Integrated Chair Harness with safety strap
– Safety tested to 75 pounds
– Very wide range to fit almost any body. Waist belt 26-56″; Straps 17-36″
– 100% recycled brushed polyester twill fabric
– Straps that can cross in back for a front hold (meaning a more comfortable carry)
– The lower part of the strap comes up from the waistband at an angle. This means better support for heavier kids and, more importantly, no under-arm rubbing (incredibly important when you are carrying around a bigger kid!)
What we love:
– The Onya Outback is my favorite carrier for wet or muddy conditions. The fabric repels water and dirt. Highly recommended for hiking!
– Incredibly durable and comfortable, especially for bigger kids. With a weight limit of 75 pounds (!!!!), you don’t have to worry about maxing it out.
– The hood is a generous size to allow for bigger kids and attaches easily to the shoulder straps at 4 different positions via the snaps
– The included chair harness (unique to the Onya) is a great option to have especially when traveling. As long as the child is cooperative, it attaches quickly and easily to a chair. I love that they thought, too, of the included safety strap to keep the child from kicking off a table and tumbling over their chair.
– It’s super durable, and made with the highest quality of fabrics, straps and buckles
– The straps are all dual-adjustable which means you get easy front and back carries AND you can do that front carry with the straps crossed.
– The hood tucks away into it’s own pocket and is kept here by hidden magnets (instead of snaps or zippers that tend to be more bulky). You have to be sure to get it tucked in correctly and those magnets engaged to keep it there, but then it will stay.
– There are two pockets – one is smaller for keys, money, etc. and the other (which is also closer to the child’s back) is great for an extra diaper (even a cloth one) or hat. The larger pocket is accessible via either side.
– A higher back so no “lean out” issues leading to the possibility to wear kids longer
– Easy nursing while wearing because of the wide panel and adjustable straps
What I am not so crazy about:
– Because of the added feature of the seat, the carrier is a little more bulky than others. Though, quite honestly, it isn’t a deal-breaker. The NexStep and Cruiser fold up a little easier because of the nature of their softer fabrics, but all weigh about the same (2 pounds).
– It is slightly less “pliable” than the Onya NexStep’s fabric. Not a huge deal, but I do prefer the Nextstep for that reason in all conditions EXCEPT when I am dealing with less-than-ideal weather.
The Bottom Line:
The Onya Outback is an incredible carrier, especially for traveling and using for outdoor pursuits. It is made of the highest quality materials, is comfortable for most kids and wearers and has special features (like the chair harness) that set it apart. THIS is the carrier I recommend for hiking or varying weather conditions. It is also my favorite soft structured carrier for wearing taller, larger and heavier kids.
Onya Baby generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own.
© 2014, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.