Review: Manduca baby carrier

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If you search online, you’ll find many discussions about ‘the best’ baby carrier. Manduca vs Ergobaby seems to be one of the biggest debates, although there are many other excellent baby carrier brands. We’ve found a baby carrier to be absolutely essential when traveling with young kids. There are even special lightweight travel baby carriers. Check out our Manduca baby carrier review below.

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After reading lots of reviews and seeing a few demonstrations I decided on the Manduca baby carrier. I bought it when our little one was just four weeks old and to be completely honest, the first 1,5 years we hardly used it. My shoulders are quite narrow and when carrying our son at my front, the shoulder traps kept sliding off. I’ve since learned that the trick is to cross the back straps to create a narrower fit, but I didn’t know this back then. Also, we lived on the ground floor, so taking the pram was always super easy.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com -blog - review manduca baby carrier - hiking is easier with a baby carrier

Carrying our little one to the top of Little Adam’s Peak near Ella, Sri Lanka. The view was amazing!

In case you’re wondering, this video demonstrates how to cross strap front carry the Manduca carrier. Wish I’d known this before!

Baby carrier: an essential travel accessory

Transporting your child is a whole different matter when you’re on the road. During our 8 months in South East Asia we’ve used our Manduca carrier practically every day. So you could say we’ve thoroughly tested it! Travel with babies and infants is so much easier if you have a baby carrier! We almost left ours at home and I can’t tell you how happy I was that we did take our Manduca.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com-blog: Manduca baby carrier review - at Prambanan Yogyakarta

Without our Manduca we never would have been able to explore Prambanan Temple near Yogyakarta with our 2-year old

The importance of an ergonomic baby carrier

Before I start with our experiences and the pros and cons of the Manduca carrier, just one more thing… Whichever baby carrier brand you buy, please make sure you get an ergonomic carrier! If you know how to tie them, wraps can also be a great choice. The best position for your baby in a carrier or wrap is the so-called ‘M’ position, with their bum lower than their knees (which should be flexed) and hips spread to 90 degrees. This minimizes the stress on your child’s lower spine and evenly distributes their weight. Ergonomic baby carriers by design also make it much easier for you to carry your baby for long periods. Your child sits close to your body and this, combined with the padded waist strap, minimizes the strain on your lower back by letting you carry the weight on your hips.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - blog: review Manduca carrier - M position

The M position – minimize the stress on your child’s lower spine with an ergonomic baby carrier. Source: manduca-blog.com

So often I see parents carrying their baby’s in a forward facing-out carriers, like the Baby Bjorn. With little legs that are dangling, back forced in an upright position and hips not supported they look so uncomfortable. And the kids are often definitely not close enough to kiss (the trick to know if your carrier is adjusted correctly). I really have to fight to keep my mouth shut.

The best baby carrier for travel

Which baby carrier you can best use for travel depends on your needs. You can buy lightweight travel baby carriers, such as the Boba Air and the BityBean. They might work if you’re only using it for short stints, such as boarding and embarking an airplane. These travel carriers are lightweight and pack small, so you can easily put them in your daypack and they can also be used for infants and toddlers. Making them as small and lightweight as possible has a downside. They offer less support for both child and wearer. If you plan on using your carrier for longer periods a proper, ergonomic carrier, such as the Manduca, Ergobaby or Tula, is a much better choice. Not only does it support your baby better, but it’s also distributes the weight more evenly making it easier to carry your child. Ergonomic baby carriers are a bit more bulky than a travel carrier, but still small and easy to pack compared to a pram or stroller. I used to just clip the carrier around my waist and let it hang down when we weren’t using it. Not the most fashionable look, but definitely practical.

Brand Boba Manduca Ergobaby Tula
Image
Type Boba Air New Style Original Urbanista
Check latest price Check latest price Check latest price Check latest price
Features Small and lightweight travel carrier

Not suitable for extended use

Made of 100% nylon (quick dry & breathing material)

Integrated newborn pouch

100% organic cotton inner layer

Can be extended to support toddler with Manduca Extend

Can be used from 7-12lbs with newborn insert (sold separately)

Easy breastfeeding & UPF 50+ tuckaway baby hood for sun & wind protection

Extra large zippered pocket

Can be used for newborns with Tula infant insert (sold separately)

100% OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified canvas

Removable hood

Weight 0.9lb (0,4kg) 1,3 lb (0,6kg) 1,9 lb (0,9kg) 1,6 lb (0,7kg)
Positions front and back font, back and hip font, back and hip front and back
Child’s weight 15 – 30lb (7 – 15kg) 7 – 44lb (3 – 20kg) 12 – 45lb (5 – 20kg) 15 – 45lb (7 – 20kg)

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - blog review manduca baby carrier - easy to take with you

Manduca when not in use. Not fashionable, but practical to just clip it on

Our experience with the Manduca baby carrier

Since we didn’t use the carrier much when our little world traveler was really young, we weren’t even sure if we were going to bring it for our big trip. We had way too much luggage and weight already! But on a whim we decided to take it anyway. Our first two months in Dahab, Egypt we didn’t use it at all as we could borrow a pram with air tires, which worked very well on the beach and sandy roads. But from the moment we arrived in Indonesia, our first destination in South East Asia, we’ve used the Manduca almost every day. I think we qualify as experts by experience!

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - blog review manduca baby carrier - on the subway in Kuala Lumpur

With our Manduca on the metro in Kuala Lumpur. Best way to keep our little one safe and out of the way.

Baby carriers: ideal for air travel

Have you ever tried boarding a plane carrying maximum sized carry-on luggage and your baby or infant at the same time? Or handling a toddler who’s just started to walk, while at the same time pushing or carrying your suitcase? With budget airlines you often have to walk a bit across the tarmac to enter the plane by a staircase, or take a bus to the airplane first. At 2 years old our son weighed a healthy 12 kgs and he was definitely getting too heavy to carry in my arms for longer periods. Carrying him on my back was a piece of cake though! I also found it quite reassuring to have him close-by and safe while in busy airports. It’s only too easy for a little one to wander off and get lost in unfamiliar places. While you can usually take your stroller all the way to the airplane, very often you have to pick it up at the baggage claim at the other end. Sometimes the airline offers complimentary strollers, but in our experience there usually aren’t any when you need them. With a baby carrier you don’t have this issue.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - blog: review manduca baby carrier - easier boarding with a baby carrier

Boarding one of our many AirAsia flights. So much easier to have your hands free!

Hiking and visiting busy places

Baby carriers are ideal in any situation where you want to keep your little one close. Even when they start to walk by themselves kids can tire easily and a baby carrier is an ideal way to carry your child for long periods of time. Crowds can be quite scary (for both kids and parents!). We visited many busy (night) markets with our little boy and never had any issues. He’d snuggle safely on my back and had fun looking around. Sometimes he’d even fall asleep. Also, if you enjoy hikes, a baby carrier is the way to go. Our little one liked to practice walking whenever he had the chance and whenever possible we’d let him walk, but very often hikes were just too long or too difficult. We visited many waterfalls and did a lot of walks that wouldn’t have been possible without the carrier.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - blog review manduca baby carrier - chinatown bangkok

Exploring crazy busy ChinaTown in Bangkok was much more relaxed with our little world traveler strapped to my back

Motorbike rides with a baby carrier

The Manduca carrier also allowed us to take our little one on the motorbike. A very practical means of transportation when you’re traveling around Asia. I’m not sure if this is what Manduca had in mind when they designed the carrier, but we loved it 🙂 We definitely would not have seen as much of the places we stayed without the bike and I definitely would not have felt safe driving around with our little one without the carrier. The locals thought it very funny that I carried our boy on my back and kept waving and taking pictures of us when we were driving around. Still it seemed a lot more safe than the way they transport their kids, the little ones standing between their parents’ legs or sitting in front of the parents on the seat holding themselves steady with their feet on the dashboard. Now that’s a sight! Our little one really enjoyed himself on the bike and would often spread his little hands Titanic-style, trying to catch the wind while sitting comfortably on my back.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - blog review manduca baby carrier - with the manduca we could easily take our 2-year old on a motor bike

One of our favorite things to do in South East Asia: riding a motor bike!

Manduca baby carrier: our verdict

From the above it’s not hard to conclude that we are very happy with our Manduca and would recommend it to all families that travel with small kids. Our baby carrier easily survived 8 months of very intense use. We’ve washed it a few times, but even with being in the sun all day every day the colors have only faded a tiny bit. The Manduca is very well made and the material is incredibly sturdy. I was a bit worried the plastic clips would be the weakest part, but they’re not showing any signs of wear. We payed €89.90 for our Manduca when our son was just born. It seemed a lot of money at the time, but considering that we’ve used our Manduca until our son was 2,5 years old it’s actually really good value for money. And it’s so sturdy that it can easily go another round.

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - blog - review manduca baby carrier - wandering around hospital cave, Cat Ba Island, Vietnam

Our little one loved being in the carrier. This is at the Hospital Cave in Vietnam. It was much safer for him this way.

At 2,5 hour little world traveler had definitely outgrown the Manduca, his legs were no longer supported properly. But by then he could easily walk longer stretches by himself. A great option however is to buy the Manduca ExTend, which will enlarge the seat from the usual 32cm till 50cm, allowing you to carry your child in the carrier even longer. We didn’t buy this, but it’s a terrific idea. We tried the Tula Toddler carrier and it was great, but this solution is much cheaper than having to buy a toddler carrier. We’d love to hear from people who’ve tried the Manduca ExTend!

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Tin Box Traveller
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Author Description

Lisa

Lisa

Lisa is an experienced online marketing professional currently working as digital nomad. She's the mother of a precious little ginger haired boy and if time permits she likes to read, write, travel the world and dive.

There are 26 comments. Add yours

  1. 29th September 2017 | Helen @talking_mums says: Reply
    Totally agree with you, we've not done travelling in the same sense as you but we do get out and about and carriers are a must if you want to be even a little more adventurous than normal. This one looks fab x #explorerkids
    • Lisa
      29th September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Yes, exactly! If you want to go a bit off the beaten path (figuratively or literally) a carrier is a must. Dragging a pram on a sandy road or carrying it up a set of stairs really spoils the fun!
  2. 27th September 2017 | Sarah Stockley says: Reply
    I loved baby carriers when mine were small. I used a Mai Tai and a Baby Bjorn - I found them really useful as I don't drive it was great to get out for walks and not need a buggy. Sarah #ExplorerKids
    • Lisa
      29th September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      I actually didn't start carrying daily until our little one was 1,5. The carrier kept sliding off my shoulders when I tried to carry in the front, never had that issue with him on my back. I wish I'd figured out sooner that you can cross the straps on the back!
  3. 27th September 2017 | Emma-EttieandMe says: Reply
    This is such a useful post! when my daughter was little I never used the pram and took her out in the carrier all the time, but once she got too big for it, I've fallen out of the habit and not invested in the next size up. Thanks to your guidance, i now know where to being looking xx
    • Lisa
      29th September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Thanks Emma! Yes, even for toddlers a carrier is great :-)
  4. 26th September 2017 | Sumra says: Reply
    Nice to know about these brands, i've never heard of them before. In the US the most popular is baby bjorn. Wonder if you guys have it there. Thanks for sharing. #explorerkids
    • Lisa
      29th September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Yes we do have Baby Bjorn here. There's been a lot of discussion whether or not the front facing Baby Bjorn is ergonomic and save for extended use. I'm not sure if there's research to prove it though. But we prefer an ergonomic carrier, such as Manduca or Ergobaby. It's more comfortable for both baby and parent. These brands are available on Amazon.com as well.
  5. 4th September 2017 | Jonny (daisythebus) says: Reply
    What a wonderful in-depth review. We have used an Ergobaby carrier for years and years, with all of our children. In fact, we still do - our youngest is tiny for his age and the Ergobaby is the first thing packed (or around our waists) when we go out for the day all together. Never been on a motorbike with it though! :D One of the things we liked most about Ergobaby was the number and availability of optional extras (such as the newborn insert that you mentioned), but it seems like Manduca have similar flexibility whilst being lighter overall. It's almost a pity to stop at four; we would have liked to try it out! ;) #FearlessFamTrav
    • Lisa
      26th September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Thanks Jonny! I have friends who have the Ergobaby and love it. I think the Ergo and the Manduca are quite comparable, apart from a few minor details. I'm really sorry our son has outgrown the carrier, it was so convenient to just carry him :-)
  6. 2nd September 2017 | Laura says: Reply
    This carrier looks ace! My toddler has grown out of my Ergo so I am on the lookout for one that fits him and this is literally perfect and looks very supportive as well! Great review Just popping over from #fearlessfamtravel Laura x
    • Lisa
      3rd September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Actually the Ergobaby has the same weight restrictions as the Manduca (up till 20kgs). But it's more than just the weight, you need to see if your child's legs are still supported enough. You could try the Manduca with the Extend for a toddler. Alternatively I can recommend the Tula Toddler carrier. We borrowed one for our trip to Vienna, Prague and Berlin last year and were very happy with it.
  7. 2nd September 2017 | Juliet says: Reply
    Your post is amazingly detailed! I love how you consider all of these different situations where the carrier came in handy. The Manduca sounds like a really solid option! Thanks for hosting the #fearlessfamtrav linky! x, Juliet
    • Lisa
      2nd September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Thanks Juliet! Love the #fearlessfamtrav linky, so very happy to co-host this month.
  8. 2nd September 2017 | Jules ( Bebevoyage.com) says: Reply
    We have an Ergobaby and love travelling with it. I am all about babywearing. '#fearlessfamtravel
    • Lisa
      2nd September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      I really regret not babywearing when our son was younger. Totally discovered it when we started traveling with him long-term though! Made life much easier.
  9. 2nd September 2017 | Catherine's Cultural Wednesdays says: Reply
    We found that once both us had a twin each in a baby carrier that then transporting the necessary changing bag was problematic but managed a few short hikes with them. #fearlessfamtrav
    • Lisa
      2nd September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      I can see how that would be a challenge! Great that you still managed a few hikes.
  10. 1st September 2017 | Baby Loves Travel says: Reply
    We use our baby carrier all the time - it is great for public transport in London. I must admit though that now my lo is getting heavier, I prefer our backpack carrier for longer hikes. #fearlessfamtrav
    • Lisa
      1st September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      We haven't done any real long hikes since we returned from Asia, but our 4-year old is getting really heavy to lift now so a backpack carrier sounds like a plan :-)
  11. 1st September 2017 | Ian says: Reply
    With twins we never could have accomplished what we have without quality baby carriers. Thanks for the review. #fearlessfamtrav
    • Lisa
      1st September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Wow, I can imagine that with 2 babies baby carriers are even more practical!
  12. 1st September 2017 | Wandermust mummy says: Reply
    I'm not a carrier person but this is a very comprehensive guide #fearlessfamtrav
    • Lisa
      1st September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Thanks! You might change your mind ;-)
  13. 1st September 2017 | TraveLynn Family says: Reply
    We loved our Maduca! I used it for both my boys from about 3 months old once they got too big for the wrap. However, our youngest is such a wriggle active bum that we haven't used it since he was about 20 months. Just wants to walk everywhere with his big bro and I was finding him too heavy to carry. But whilst we were using - BRILLIANT! #fearlessfamtrav
    • Lisa
      1st September 2017 | Lisa says: Reply
      Haha, ours was very content to sit in the Manduca up til 28 months LOL. He walked quite well, but loved being close to mummy. I didn't mind :-)

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