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Hands-on Gear Review
Onya Baby Outback ReviewPrice: $139.00 List | $139.00 at Amazon
Pros: Easy to clean and adjust for baby comfort
Cons: Harder to adjust for parents, rougher mesh fabric
Bottom line: Unfriendly fabric and difficult adjustments are disappointing
Carry Positions: Infant Booster (7 - 15 lbs) Facing In (0 - 24 mo) Back Carry (6 - 48 mo/45 lbs) Hip Carry (6 - 48 mo/45 lbs)
Weight: 1.38 lbs
Manufacturer: Onya Baby
The Onya Baby Outback is a soft structured carrier with a variety of features and functionality not commonly seen including the ability to use it to turn adult seating into a safe seat for toddlers. This carrier has multiple positions including a front, back, and hip carry for children from 7 to 45 lbs. With multiple storage pockets, slick ripstop fabric, and thick padded straps, it feels like an all-day adventure pack. However, in our tests, this pack is hard to adjust for the wearer on the go, and it has rough mesh fabric that rests directly on little one's skin. We think this fabric could cause chaffing or skin irritation. Overall, compared to the competition, it isn't as comfortable for the wearer or the passenger and for the price we think it should be.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Onya Baby, a Santa Cruz, California based company, offers various baby carriers with ten options to consider. Each carrier they make also incorporates a harness that converts adult seating into a safer place for your little ones to sit.
This chart shows the overall score for the Onya (blue) compared to the competition.
The sections below provide performance details on how the Onya compares to the other carriers we tested in this review.
The Onya earned a 5 of 10 for baby's comfort. Baby's comfort is critical if you plan to use your carrier frequently or for longer periods. This carrier has rough mesh fabric on the inside against baby's skin, and it could chafe or cause irritation for some children. The carrier and seat do not have much padding or structure, and the lack of padding for a soft structured carrier leaves little ones strangely unsupported compared to the competition.
The Onya earned a 4 of 10 for parent comfort. While this carrier doesn't feel terrible, and some testers like it, it failed to beat the overall comfort of most of the competition with average scores over 6. The straps are a little tricky to adjust and depending on your flexibility you may need help from another person. However, the straps and waistband are wide and firmly padded, some say more akin to a bay backpack. Perhaps, the harder adjustability is what results in a less than cozy fit.
Ease of Use
The Onya earned a 5 of 10 for ease of use. Often additional functionality translates to being more difficult to use. That is part of the equation with the Onya. The basic design is intuitive, and on a basic level, it is simple enough compared to some of the other soft structured carriers in this review. The shoulder straps on the Onya need tightening on each side of the buckle. It is easier to pull the straps forward, so you need to leave the straps relatively short or cinch toward the back first. Unfortunately, you need to leave the straps long to get it on, and the side that needs the most adjustment is toward the back which is the side that is hardest to adjust. This design makes it difficult to adjust the carrier on the go or with your baby in the pack.
The Onya does offer a hood (above left) for additional head support, and it tucks away when not in use. It also has a pocket on the back side of the carrier back (above right). The carrier has multiple pockets, and some of them have zippers including a larger main pocket that expands somewhat.
This carrier is the only option we tested or know of that can also be used to help your little one sit in an adult chair.
Ease of Cleaning
The Onya earned an 8 of 10 for ease of cleaning. The Onya is a machine wash and wear choice that can tumble dry, so there is less downtime waiting for a hang dry carrier. The only real downside is if you have an accident while on an adventure, it isn't as easy to spot clean or quick to dry should you need to do a quick cleanup. However, outdoorsy folks will likely be attracted to the outer fabric despite the cleaning issue.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and BabyGearLab Review Team
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