Gear Review: Onya Outback Review

    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 Outback Review


    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!)


    Onya Outback Review


    What I 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


    Onya Outback Review



    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.

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    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.
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    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.


      1. We currently have an Ergo baby carrier but I think if we buy another carrier it will be an Onya. A lady our local baby store was wearing an Onya and I like the higher back as well as the placement of the buckles (they would be easier to do/and undo yourself vs. the Ergo).

        • Hi Rebecca – yes, we love our Onya! And the lower back is my main gripe over the Ergo….but it really and truly is personal preference. Your best bet is to try them on! 🙂

      2. Any thoughts on breathability of nexstep vs outback in hot weather? I have both carriers and trying to decide which one to return. I’m looking for a summer carrier. And outback is better for swimming bc it dries faster, correct?

        • Hi Jenny –
          In theory, I think the Outback breathes better, but quite honestly I haven’t noticed a HUGE difference….Both are better than something cotton in my opinion! Hope that helps!


      3. Goodness, I can’t decide what i should get! I am more confused than when i started researching haha! My son is 28 inches, 21 lbs, and a year old. I also have a 35 lb 2 year but she doesn’t get worn that much. I live in Alabama so summers get super hot. We aren’t a hiking family but will go outside very a little bit every day when it gets warm. I think I am leaning towards a Onya because of the airflow and it seems if something is too hard to wear or adjust I just quit using it. By the way I have never used an egonomic ssc, just a cheap no ergonomic which of course I hated. I love the cuteness of the tula but I think it is between the boba and onya. I just can’t decide! I have read everything but what are the differences between those two?

        • Hi Emilee – overwhelming, isn’t it?!?!?!
          Ok, if you aren’t doing much hiking, I would recommend the Boba 4G. It’s super easy to use, simple and has a higher back to keep taller/bigger kids from leaning out of it. The Onya breathes maybe a little better, but it also has a tiny bit more of a learning curve and I would worry that you would get frustrated. I LOVE my Boba and use that for my day to day stuff usually and the Onya for more hiking – just personal preference.

          Does that help??
          =) Amelia

      4. A higher back (he arches with his tantrums & I don’t want to have to buy another one as long as possible), breathable for hot & humid weather, easy to adjust while wearing without someone else’s help, easy to put on and take off while running errands, can wear extended periods of time without tons of pain. That’s my list lol.
        Oh and gotta have a hood and maybe a pocket! : ) Thanks so much for your help!!!

      5. Hi Mia,
        Oh no! You’re no supposed to be more confused! 🙂
        Ok, the Onya is GREAT for taller kids. And yes, would keep them more cool than the cotton of the Boba. The fabric on the Outback has been updated and is now much softer – I wouldn’t worry about that at all. However, if you are not planning on being in rain or out hiking a ton, I would recommend the Nextstep – it’s a little softer in general (on the outside) which doesn’t effect the Baby, but I like the feel better. It just doesn’t excel in the rain! 😉 Does that help?

        =) Amelia

      6. Chantelle says:

        I think you are the only review of the Onya infant insert I can find, and you are so informative. It’s great for a first time mom, especially as I live in a small town and can’t physically try out the carriers. I would like a wrap/carrier I can nurse a newborn in at about 4-6 weeks because we are planning a small vacation. I’ve been thinking of a Boba or Solly wrap for the first few months, then the Onya Nexstep after that. What is your opinion of nursing/ carrying a 4-6 week old baby in the Onya with the Infant Insert? Thank you SO much.

        • HI Chantelle – while it WORKS, the Onya isn’t my preferred carrier for newborn. I think it’s ideal for 15+ lbs. The newborn insert works and is great, but it isn’t fast to get them in and out (which is something I really appreciate.) Personally, I would steer you more towards the Boba because the infant “pillow” is super simple and nursing is easy… me if you have more questions! Hope that helps!

      7. Hi thank you I have found this site very helpfull. although I was hopeing you Could help me, I have surched website after website trying to find someone who’s used both Onya outback & Ergo Prefomance. I want to make the best choice for my family. my son is 11 months 25 lb and tall, I want somthing hes going to be comfotable in as well as us for a time. If you could provide any insight it would be greatly Appreciated.
        Thank you

        • HI Amanda,
          I have not used an Ergo Performance, but from what I can tell, the Onya outback will hold bigger kids longer! My 50 pound, 6 year old can still fit in the Onya (and I can transfer his weight to my hips, which helps a TON!)
          Hope that helps?!

      8. Great review! I came across your site looking for comparisons of the Onya carriers. I’ve been eyeballing the Outback since I had my first daughter. Even though you said this one is better for taller/older/heavier kids, I’m hoping to get one soon for my 3 month old. We do quite a bit of things outdoors: hiking, fishing, yardwork, blah blah blah so I think I would like it even though she’s still little. All I have now is a Boba wrap I let my husband talk me into trying and I hate it!

      9. Hi there! You are one of the only reviews of the insert I have found. I bought one of the outback carriers but it seems to spread my babies hips too far apart, she is 14 pounds so I didn’t want to spend the money on an insert if she will be out of it soon. Is there anything I can do besides the insert? Help

        • Kaitlyn,
          If you just roll up a small blanket under her bum just to get her higher in the carrier, it should work fine 🙂 That’s what I often do when I don’t want to deal with the insert!
          Let me know if that helps!!
          =) Amelia

      10. Have you noticed if the onya straps have some curve to them, similar to how a women’s backpack often does? We bought the Lillebaby CarryOn and I hate it. It is fine for my husband, but it kills my shoulders (in the same way that mens/generic backpacks do). I recently tried the tula toddler, and that seems to fit well, but am curious about the Onya as well. We use it primarily for hiking so that our 31 pound 3 year old can take breaks when necessary (or for when the trail is a bit treacherous).

        • Hi Jacqui – yes, they do! I think it’s more comfortable than the Tula. Just be sure to get a deep seat and the weight on your hips (like a backpack!)

          • Thank you! I ended up picking one up recently and I was able to get my daughters weight on my hips, which is GREAT! But I’m having another problem I hope you may be able to help me with. To get the weight on my hips, I need to tighten the waist belt really tight. Otherwise the padded part of the waist belt slides down and uncomfortably pokes my lower back/butt and puts more weight back on my shoulders. If I tighten the waist belt as much as I can, then I don’t have any slippage, but the ‘seatbelt’ strap part of the waist belt digs into my stomach and curves in on itself a bit. I haven’t had this problem with any other carrier, so maybe it has to do with the material (I certainly get a muffin top with all of them, but it isn’t painful).

            So, I’m wondering if you have experienced this and if you found a solution (maybe I’m doing something wrong) OR if you have tried Onya’s waist pads and do they help?

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