Can You Hike In It: Smitten Gertie Mesozoic

Before I review this wrap, I need to provide full disclosure. I met the owners of Smitten. They lived in the Bay Area the same time I did and I ran into at various local babywearing/mutual friend things. I am also currently a Brand Ambassador for this company. That being said, I would not be working with a company if I didn’t think the owners were good people with good business practices.

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I let Jack pick a new wrap this time, he’s been jealous that little brother has been doing all the babywearig lately. I showed him Smitten’s website and he instantly yelled, “DINOSAURS!”. I asked what color, he yelled, “BLUE!!”. Little did he know he picked the new color!

Manufacturer: Smitten With Wovens
Colorway: Gertie Mesozoic 
Color: Blue, Sky blue, ecru, and white.
Pattern Dinosaur Sketches  
Size: 7 (base +2 for me)
Materials: 100% cotton
Weave: Jacquard
Release date: October 2016

This wrap was design after Gertie the Dino, one of the first animated cartoons ever made. There a few other colors in the Gertie line, but this is the first multiple color wrap—going from blue to ecru gradient lengthwise. It’s very busy visually, but the dinosaurs are not lost in the pattern. I was really blown away by the shades of blue when I opened the package, very rich and calming. It got chucked into the wash right away so it could go on a fun adventure the next day.

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Entrance Arch

Location: Evergreen Aviation Nature Trail  
Distance:  1.1 miles
Trail Type:  Paved concrete
Weather: Raining  
Trail Conditions: Wet and muddy

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Very well maintained trail

A few weeks ago we went to Evergreen Aviation and I noticed a little trail at the rear of the parking lot. First thought was, “I should bring Jack here on a day when he’s driving me crazy.” And that what I did! He was driving me crazy all week, so I called up my friend who lived near by and set-up a playdate for all our munchkins to run around.

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The woods have nice picnic benches spread throughout

The trail is paved and well-maintained. It’s sponsored and dedicated to the Boy Scouts. It’s essentially a short figure eight loop through a small woods. Nothing fancy, but a lovely little stroll for families. Great for walking toddlers (if you don’t mind them getting a bit muddy if they step off the trail).

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It was POURING when we arrived

We did 3 laps total in a Front Wrap Cross Carry with a Twist. Smittens are wider wraps, so it was a bit harder to make a a seat and tighten with so much fabric on a smaller baby. I did the twist so I didn’t put too much pressure on Bear’s little legs by going under them.

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See how the wrap is bunched/folded under his bottom?

I ended up having to fold the wrap at the bottom a bit before I made a seat to make it fit right. As for tightening, I really had to do small strand by small strand. Half inch sections instead of inch sections to get it tightened properly. Not a big deal overall though.

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Stayed tight the whole time

During the walk, I never had to adjust the wrap once I got it tightening properly. Bear was in it for 3 straight hours and it stayed very comfortable. Smittens tend to be smushy soft and cushiony, but this one has a tiny bit of grip to hold it in place as well. Even held up when we had to chase big brother around the playground.

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Kept him happy while I taught some babywearing

The next day we took Mesozoic out again in the same carry for babywearing playdate, and it was much easier to tighten after being broken in some. I bet this wrap will be very easy to tighten despite the smushy factor once broken in fully. And, considering there was notably better after one use, I bet it will be broken-in in no time.

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He was so happy to be in “his” new wrap. Look at the wide knee-to-knee support

That night I let Jack stay up later to watch a movie when Bear went to bed. As soon as I came back into the living room to start the movie, he walked to me holding Mesozoic with one tear coming down his cheek (kid you not, he has a flare for the dramatic). He said, “This was for me. Can I have an uppy now? Please?” I felt horrible and put him immediately up on my back in a Double Hammock. Pulled his arms in and snuggled up, and fell asleep 5 minutes into the movie. I decided to keep him up while I watched more of the movie, to keep him my baby for a little bit longer.

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Secure chest pass. And who doesn’t love dino boobs?

I was very comfortable, I had him sleeping on me for an hour with no pain or pressure points. The chest pass stayed tight and the whole time.

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Smushy soft support with a giant toddler

This was wrap was amazing for a toddler! Jack is a tall kid, the width was perfect to make a deep, knee-to-knee seat with his long legs. And it was even easier to tighten than in the morning. This wrap is seriously easy to break in.

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So much wrap for a little guy

I decided to give it a try one more time with Bear before I did this review since it was more broken in. I did a new carry that required a lot of tightening, a Front Double Hammock with a Twist.

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So happy all snuggled and secure

As I started to do the carry, I ran into the problem of it being so wide that I couldn’t get a good seat on Bear again. I had to fold the wrap down under his bottom again. It definitely tightened easier, but it was just still a lot of fabric for such a little guy. I decided to tie off with a twist again, because I worried it would put too much pressure on his legs again. He was asleep in minutes and I was super comfortable. It also pleats very nicely, making the shoulder flips easy to achieve and tighten.

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The key features of this wrap are the width and subtle grip. The width makes it harder to work with on a smaller baby, but is AMAZING for toddlers. But regardless of child size, once you get the carry tightened, the wrap will stay in place. I credit this grip to the dinosaur patterns itself. Those little stitched dinos grip to each other like magic.
Can you hike in a Smitten Gertie Mesozoic? This a great carrier for a infant to toddler, especially on a cold rainy day in the Northwest! It is very soft for great overall comfort. It will stay very supportive even with a wiggly toddler. However, it is a bit wide for a newborn. You can get a good wrap job with a smaller baby if you take your time. Plus, your toddler might love being wrapped in dinosaurs!

 

Can You Hike In It? Firespiral Autumn Dendron Harvest

Falling leaves, deep brunt orange colors, and squirrels running playfully. This wrap is a lovely cool weather carrier. I was very excited to host this wrap for some Oregon Fall adventure.

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Manufacturer: FireSpiral Slings

Colorway: Autumn Dendron Harvest
Color: Orange, red, purple
Pattern: Trees, leaves, and squirrels 
Size: 6 (Base +1 for me)
Materials: 100% cotton
Weave: Jacquard
Release date: September 2015

img_8505Right away I smiled at the squirrels. I love when carriers have fun little details like this. The deep warm colors are so inviting. And it’s thick and soft like a blanket. I was excited for some newborn hiking snuggles.

img_8136Dendron Harvest went for a very fun trip to the Columbia River Gorge while my in-laws were visiting. Multnomah Falls is truly an Oregon treasure. The fourth highest falls in America, and only 30 minutes from Portland.

Location: Multnomah Falls 
Distance:  0.78 miles
Trail Type:  Paved concrete
Weather: Raining and windy  
Trail Conditions: Wet, muddy and busy 

img_8113Of course, it had to be POURING down rain when we got there. But Oregonians always do it in the rain, so just bundled up everyone and headed out anyways. The falls themselves are just a short walk from the parking lot.

img_8108Then another short but switchbacking hike takes you to the bridge at the first falls. Michael, Jack, Bear and I ran up that one while everyone else checked out the gift shop. img_8117It’s a well maintained, paved trail with some wooden bridges along the way. It is not toddler friendly, the trail has steep drop offs and is not smooth. Please take your toddlers and babies (it’s a beauty they need to see!), but keep them in carriers at all times.

img_8130 img_8126It was very crowded at the bridge, EVERYONE was posing for photos and clogging up the bridge. We quickly snapped the best one we could and ran back down.

I wore Bear in a Front Wrap Cross Carry with a Twist. He was warm and fell asleep in minutes. This wrap is seriously like snuggling in a big soft blanket.
img_8138Then we had lunch in the lodge, and of course Jack finished quickly. He begged me to go wander so I took Bear out the waiting area to nurse while Jack looked around. That went to hell quickly,so as soon as Bear finished, I had to wrap them both up to keep the place from being destroyed.

img_8143So, I did my first tandem carry with the same wrap! I put Jack on my back in a Ruck Tied Tibetan, and took the Tibetan Passes to do a Front Cross Carry with Bear. It was sooo comfortable, and I credit a lot of that to the cushion of the wrap. However, it was a bit hard to pull the Cross Passes up around Bear at first because of the thickness, but I got it done. We walked back to the parking lot with pride.

img_8789Two weeks later, we went on another awesome adventure—Halloweentown! I totally forgot last year that the movie was filmed in St. Helens, Oregon. But this year I made sure to take my family. I realized this wrap was the perfect colors for the occasion!

img_8793img_8831Bear strolled around town in a Front Wrap Cross Carry with a Twist (and I had to do my tutorial video at the plaza with all the decorations).

img_8849 Later Jack decided his legs couldn’t work anymore, so I put him up in a Front Cross Carry. The wrap was very supportive for his 27-pound butt and long legs.

img_8506The key feature of this wrap is the design. How can you not love the squirrels and falling leaves? And the deep brunt orange color just pulls it all together. It’s thick like your favorite winter blanket, but tightens easily for lots of support. It can be a bit hard to spread out when bunched or tightened though. And I would not recommend doing carries where the thick wrap goes under a newborn’s delicate legs.

img_8845 Can you hike with a FireSpiral Autumn Dendron Harvest? Yes! This a great cool weather wrap for all ages. Even when bolting up a switchbacking trail on a rainy day or containing a bouncing toddler, this a great hiking wrap.

 

Can You Hike In it? Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid Kristen

You know your favorite cotton t-shirt, all soft and comfy? The one with just enough stretch, but still keeps it’s shape. That’s what a Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid is like. I have talked about how I became a Brand Ambassador before, but realized I have never actually reviewed a Stretch-Hybrid. I take them hiking all the time and somehow never actually wrote a post! Until now.

Manufacturer: Wrapsody Baby
Colorway: Kristen
Color: Purple, blue, light blue, green, light green and white
Pattern: block horizontal sections, dandelions 
Size: 8 (6 yrds)
Materials: 100% cotton
Weave: Plain, jersey 

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My friends son, pic posted with permission. Shows how the the different colors help you learn the parts of the wrap.

This colorway is meant for teaching. The center of the wrap is block of purple, so you have a better visual of the center of the wrap (where to place baby). There are two different color tails—blue and green—so you can see which one you are working with and not get confuse as you wrap them around you. And the dandelions make it easy to distinguish the rails from one another. The wrap is named after Kristen DeRocha, the owner of HotSlings and one of the pioneers for modern babywearing in America.

Before I delve into the review, I want to say more about these wraps in general. First of all, these are hybrids, not a standard stretchy wrap. This means they are suitable for front, hip and back carries as well as single layer carries. True stretchy wraps are only suitable for three-layer front and hip carries. Stretch-Hybrids stretch in one direction, as oppose to stretchy wraps that stretch both directions (hence why you need multiple layers to give enough support).  They are tested up to 35 lbs so they can go well into toddlerhood and beyond.

Also, other than colorway, most Stretch-Hybrids are the same. Same stretchiness, same support, and same look. Once you decide you like the way it wraps, there is no need to worry the next one will feel different. This also makes it very easy to fall down the rabbit hole and buy every one you can get yours hands on, fortunately or unfortunately.

I have taken hybrids on several hikes before. They are my go-to wraps when I just grab one off the shelf and go. This wrap actually went on two very awesome hikes. The first was a the Walk With Wrapsody hike I co-hosted with fellow brand ambassador Myste (check out her blog).

13490848_1548062708553310_94824937897031869_oLocation: Hyland Forest Park
Distance:  1.34 miles
Trail Type:  Dirt and tanbark 
Weather: Sunny and warm 
Trail Conditions: Clear trail,  a few mud patches, and slightly busy

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This lovely nature park is nestle in the south of Beaverton. It features a few miles of easy trails that most walking toddlers can easily handle. There is a nature play area in the middle that I have not yet explored yet, too.

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We started off letting the big kids hike ahead of us, so I used Kristen to to wrap my belly (Full Body Support Belly Wrap). I love hybrids for belly wrapping, just enough give to get it tight but not so much that it sags over time.

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Then towards the end of the hike, Myste’s daughter decided she wanted an uppy so I handed Myste Kristen. She did a basic Ruck over the Front Wrap Cross Carry she had her youngest daughter in on the front. Tandem wearing for the win! The wrap very easily supported her toddler and she had no issues getting her up.

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Next I took the wrap on a shorter hike of sorts. We went berry picking at West Union Gardens with my mom. We ended up walking over a mile through the berry fields.IMG_5750

I love this place, nice clear bushes and they only use organic spray when they really need it. Jack started off walking so he could eat all the berries he wanted. It was fun to explain to him how to pick a good berry and watch his face when he got a sour one.

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Then he realized he could eat berries faster if he got an uppy. I did a Wiggleproof Back Carry and added a Chest Belt.

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It took a bit to get it tight enough with a wiggly toddler begging for more berries though.

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I am pretty sure everyone else in the field thought I didn’t know what I was doing, but I want to see them wrap 8 months pregnant with a rambunctious toddler!

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Jack was happy on my back eating berries (he kept sticking his hand over my shoulder when he wanted another). He stayed up for 30 minutes and I was very comfortable. No pressure on my bump at all.

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And just the other day I put Jack up in a Ruck Tied Tibetan while I was cleaning around the house and then walked him over the park after. Very comfortable the whole time.

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The key feature of the wrap is texture—that soft and stretchy jersey feel. It molds very easy to any body shape and baby size. It glides easily while wrapping without any big bulky knots. However due to the slight stretch, it can take a bit more time to get all the slack out. When I hear people complain hybrids are diggy, the first thing I look for is the hidden slack. You need to make sure your carry is tight and there are no pressure points. Once tightened properly though, oh man they are a supportive dream. Another draw back in the length. In order for the wrap to be accessible to wearers of all sizes and skill levels, they come in one standard long length (about a size 8 in woven wraps).

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This is great for when you are learning and doing multiple layer carries like a Pocket Wrap Cross Carry. Or if you are plus size, no need to struggle with a wrap that is too small. But if you are short like me, you end up with A LOT of extra tail. This isn’t totally a bad thing though, I get to do some fun finishes.

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Can you hike in a Wrapsody Baby Stretch-Hybrid? Yes! This wrap is light-weight enough to work in all weather scenarios. It fits over winter layers easily and cool enough for summer heat. It’s supportive enough for most trails types, especially with reinforcing passes on harder trails. Suitable for newborn to preschool as well. And if Kristen is not your cup of tea, try one of the many other colorways. My husband loves Nammy, while I am partial to Brishen.

 

 

Can You Hike In It? Soul Tai

I am a huge fan of wrap conversion mei teis. I really don’t know why I don’t use them more or talk about them more. Seat is already made and you get to do a lot of the fun wrap finishes. Easy to adapt from newborn to preschool as well. And they come is all the fun patterns that wraps do. What’s not to love? I was so excited to have the opportunity to Soul Sling’s linen Soul Tai. I have only touched a few Soul wraps but heard great things about them.

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Manufacturer: Soul Slings

Colorway: Cerulean on Black Chambray 
Color(s): Greyish black, dark blue 
Pattern: Solid color panel with different colored solid straps 
Size: Standard 
Materials: 100% linen chambray 
Weave: Plain 
Strap Style: Hybrid padded IMG_5409The day it arrived, I was babysitting a friend’s child so of course I had to try a tandem. I put my son on the back and my friend’s son on the front. I was worried that my back was going to kill me because I had to put the waistband higher than normal to go over my bump. But it was surprisingly very comfortable! Toddlers didn’t want to be both up for very long, but I had no issues for the 5 minutes they did. Jack felt weightless on my back.

IMG_5455A few days later I took it to the BWI of Portland monthly meeting—and I am so glad I did. Jack started his meltdown before the meeting even started. By the end of meeting Jack reached full meltdown status. And he refused to go on my back, so on the front he went. He was out within minutes. I spread the straps out over his bum for more support. I ran around teaching most of the meeting so the other VBEs let me sit down and rest while we cleaned up. I was very comfortable even sitting down. This was the moment I decided this carrier was amazing.

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The next weekend we took a one-night camping trip to my favorite State Park in Oregon, Fort Stevens. It is a form military fort used from the Civil War to World War II. It’s an amazing piece of American military history that many have no idea even exists. The park has everything you need to make a great vacation. It’s located on the beach (which has shipwreck on it too), a lake, hiking trails, bike trails, the former fort, and a cool little museum. I took my boys right to my favorite part of the park for a hike, Battery Russell.

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Location: Fort Stevens State Park, Battery Russell Trail to Ranger Station
Distance:  1.53
Trail Type:  Concrete at the Battery, sand to the Fire Control Hill, forest trail to campground, and paved to Ranger Station
Weather: Sunny and warm with a bit of a breeze
Trail Conditions: Some overgrowth at spots, a few muddy spots, and very few other hikers. 

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I want to stress that is is a former military base. It was not designed to be kid friendly. And it has been out of of commission for about 70 years. There are some pitfalls, jagged edges, and other hazards. The Park Service has done their best to close up any truly dangerous areas, but please keep a very close eye on your children. This place is amazing to explore as a family, but please keep your littles safe. Keep small babies and new walkers in a carrier. And hold hands with walking toddlers and preschoolers at all times.

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Jack had no interest in going up when we got to the battery. He was eagerly trying to break free from my hand to go explore. He kept asking what everything was and I happily told him everything I could remember. The canons, how they got the shells up from storage, the powder room…and yes the little grates on the floor for toilets (how do kids notice things like that). I loved this spot as a kid and I had to fight back tears of happiness that I got to share it with my son. Did you know this was the only place on the continental United States to be hit by enemy fire? During World War II, a Japanese sub actually shelled Battery Russell! Learn about it here.

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Then we headed up to favorite part of the Battery Russel area, Fire Control Hill.  The trail was pretty much all sand, which fascinated Jack. Took us 15 minutes to walk 500 yards, and of course he still refused an uppy.

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After we let him explore for a bit, I decided it was uppy time.

IMG_5559I did a back carry with the straps spread over his bum for support with a Knotless Sternum Strap Finish.

Check out my Tutorial video! Please turn on closed Captioning for detailed instructions.

IMG_5612Then we headed off down the trail for some adult-paced hiking. It was a lovely walk through a coastal forest…with a toddler trying to eat my hair and steal my sunglasses.

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However, the carrier was beyond comfortable. No pressure points and Jack felt weightless, even with him wiggling and kicking.

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Then I decided to try something I saw on the Soul Sling love group, Soul Family, a waistless finish. I would like to preface this was this is an advanced carry. As a babywearing educator, I really cannot recommend normally undoing any waistband while baby is the carrier. You run the risk of baby falling straight out the bottom. However, if you are an experienced wearer and know how to keep baby secure for sure, it’s a choice you can make. I decided to a Double Sternum Strap. It was sooooo comfortable on my bump. I liked the straps not spread over my breasts because they are already sore. This made the carry so cool, Jack and I hardly got sweaty even with some decent hills on the trail. Once we got to the paved path to the park, Jack wanted down. We were meeting my parents at the Ranger Station shortly and he was too excited to see them. I was sad to take him down, this carrier is so awesome.

IMG_5656The next day Michael gave the carrier a try at batteries at the Historical Area (the main part of the old fort). The batteries are spread out over a larger area and have more stairs and pitfalls, so Jack was worn most of the time.

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Michael really liked how light and airy the it was. No complaints it was hurting his back or digging into. He is a man few words, but if he doesn’t like a carrier he will tug and fussy with it. Once I tied it on him, he didn’t mess with it once. I’ll take that as an approval.

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Can you hike in a linen Soul Sling Soul Tai? Oh, yes! I really can’t recommend this carrier enough. Easy to use and does a variety of finishes to suit your needs. Lightweight but just enough shoulder padding to keep the pressure off your upper back. This is wonderful for warmer weather, but light enough to easily go over layers in the winter. The simple patterns available are very stylish and dad-friendly too.

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This carrier is so fabulous for hiking, I am giving it my second ever Favorite Hiking Carrier Badge. Great job Soul Slings!

 

 

Can You Hike In It: Tiny Tiger Everlasting Gobstopper 

You know that feeling when you finally get your hands on something you pined away for? That glorious, satisfying feeling when you touch it and everything you imagined? This was my feeling when I opened the box and pulled out this wrap. Tiny Tiger Everlasting Gobstopper came out when I started really getting into babywearing and I wanted it the minute I saw it. Sadly, at the time I couldn’t afford it and then it sold out when I could. I thought it would always just be a dream. So, you can imagine my excitement when I got the chance to have it visit!

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Manufacturer: Tiny Tiger Baby

Colorway: Everlasting Gobstopper
Color: Purple, blue, green, yellow, and red
Pattern: Small stripes
Size: 6
Materials: 100% cotton
Weave: Plain 
Release date: February 2015

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This wrap showed up back in February when I was suffering from very bad first trimeter hyperemesis, so it took it me while to get enough use out of it to review. We first took it on a stroll through our cute little downtown. Jack loved having an uppy in the bookstore to grab everything possible off the shelves.

IMG_2113I did a basic Ruck. It was easy to make a seat with a wiggly toddler. And held nicely despite his bouncing around to grab books.

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I finally–two months later–got to take it out on a trail!  We went to a great local park, Rood Bridge Park. It has wide, paved trails great for strollers or curious toddlers.  Plus some dirt trail with a tiny bit of incline in the back.

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There is a lots of shade, plus several water features like creeks and ponds. Jack loves the big open fields and the playground. I am pretty sure he is well behaved on the trail so he gets plenty of time to play after. IMG_2999

Location: Rood Bridge Park
Distance:  1.21 miles
Trail Type:  Paved concrete, gravel, and dirt 
Weather: Sunny and warm 
Trail Conditions: Clear trail, slightly busyIMG_3038

Jack was getting impatient to get to the back part of the park where the frog pond is, so I gave him an uppy to get him there faster. I did a quick (and pretty sloppy now that I see the pictures), Ruck again. IMG_2997

The grip on this handwoven is so good that the carry held well even while not properly tightened.

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After some major bridge exploring, Jack said he wanted to go to the playground. So up he went in a Secure High Back Carry. Once again, it was a bit sloppy because he was impatient, but he still very secure due to the grippiness.

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I did a ring finish instead of a knot, mainly because I was starting to get a baby bump and didn’t want the added pressure on my waist. It threaded through the ring nicely and held great.

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The key feature of the wrap is the handwoven texture. It is very grippy, no issues locking down a seat on a wiggly toddler. That being said, I prefer a little more glide on my wraps, so it was tad (a very tiny tad) too grippy for me. But overall, I was not disappointed in this wrap. The stripe pattern is very fun and looks amazing in person. It’s got that classic bandage-feel wrapping quality.  I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to play it for a few months.

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Can you hike in a Tiny Tiger Everlasting Gobstopper? Yes, this is a wrap that will not fail you (even with a wiggling toddler) on the trail. The grippiness may be a bit intimidating for new wrappers, but once you get the hang of wrapping, it should not be an issue. The all cotton blend should not get too hot or cold, so I would recommend this for all seasons.  I wish I had a squish to try a Semi-Front Wrap Cross Carry when it was here, I bet it would have held up like a champ on a good hike.

Can You Hike In It: Firespiral Anemone Twilight Tourbillion?

One night, I had a grumpy toddler who refused to go to sleep without nursing and I was too exhausted to fight him. I decided the only way to keep both of our sanity was to tear open the fluff mail that arrived earlier and take him on a walk in the cool night air. I took out the Firespiral Anemone Twilight Tourbillion and got Jack up quickly without really checking it out first.

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I started in a Back Torso Carry with a Ring Finish, so comfy and weightless when tightened properly! It threaded through the ring easily and held in place without much adjusting.IMG_3237

Then Jack complained he couldn’t tuck his arms in so I switched to Double Hammock Ruckless Ring Finish. He was out in a minute once I switched. Gotta love sleepy dust!

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As I walked back to my house, I finally had time to check out the wrap. The weave is very intricate, mesmerizing really. It’s like staring into a distant galaxy. Based on looks, I expected it to be a lot heavier. But it’s a nice medium feeling, not to thick at all.

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Manufacturer: Firespiral 
Colorway: Anemone Twilight Tourbillion
Color: Pink, purple, blue, and navy
Pattern: Circles and spirals 
Size: 6
Materials: 100% cotton
Weave: Jacquard
Release date: December 2015

I normally suck at wrap transfers, usually waking up Jack as soon as I untie. I don’t know if it was luck or how soft the weave is, but Jack stayed out for once!

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A few days later, we took it for a hike at one of our favorite parks. Tualatin Hills Nature Park is very popular, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it empty really. It’s close to Nike headquarters so it’s popular with runners. And the trails are wide and well maintained, making it great for families of all ages.

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Location: Tualatin Hills Nature Park
Distance:  1.55 miles
Trail Type:  Paved concrete
Weather: Sunny and warm 
Trail Conditions: Clear trail, slightly busyIMG_3277

We usually start at the parking lot and walk to the MAX train towards the rear of the park (Jack loves trains) and back. This park is mostly shaded with tree cover, so it’s great in all weather. My mom joined us since it was such a lovely morning. Jack was so happy to hike with grandma that it took awhile to convince him he wanted an uppy. He wanted to run over all the bridges and check every single body of water for frogs. This route is great for toddlers, so much to see and learn.IMG_3293

Just as I was about to give up hope, he asked to go on my back so he could pretend to be airplane. I did a Ruck Tied Tibetan. I was surprised how easy it was to make a nice seat with a bouncing toddler. IMG_3288Just enough grip to support his weight, but not so much I couldn’t easily thread the Tibetan Finish.  IMG_3290Everything held even when he demanded I was a jet plane and had to “run”. I didn’t actually run, more bounced quickly side to side as we walked.

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The next day there was more sleep fighting so I stuck Jack in a Coolest Hip Cross Carry and rocked him to sleep. Despite being sort of long for this carry, the wrap did great. The slip knot was easy to thread and held great with 24 pounds of toddler in it.IMG_3402

I found it very easy to spread knee-to-knee, even on a giant toddler. This carry really shows off the different colors in the pattern.

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Then we took the wrap on one last adventure before sending it on it’s way. We went to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, a wonderful Oregon tradition. Jack quickly tired his little legs out running up and down the rows and rows of tulips. I put him in a Ruck to walk him over to the food stands to get some lunch. IMG_3446

On the way I noticed several rows of tulips that matched the colors of the wrap. I had to stop for some photos, how could I not?

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The key features of this wrap are the pattern and the medium thickness. Like I said, the pattern and colors are truly stunning. There is no bad side to this wrap, the reserve pink is just as intricate as the navy side. And depending on the carry and where you tie, you can highlight different patterns, making it feel like an ever-changing carrier. And the medium weave gives it just enough grip to hold a bouncing child, but not so much that it’s hard to work with it.

Can you hike in a FireSpiral Anemone Twilight Tourbillion? Yes, this wrap great for wrappees of all ages and wrappers of any skill level. I think it would hold up just as great on a harder trail hikes as it did in a stroll around the neighborhood. That being said, the dark colors and all cotton composition can get pretty warm easily. It was only 80 degrees on our park adventure, and Jack and I both got toasty standing in the sun with him on my back. So I would not recommend this warm weather hiking.

 

 

 

Can You Hike In It: Oscha Kasumi Orabel

I was very excited to test out this Oscha prototype. It seemed like a great hiking carrier due to the wool/linen blend. I dreamt it would be soft, cushy but very supportive. I also have a love for Japanese culture, especially the art. This wrapped seemed right up my alley.

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Before I delve into the wrap or hike, I would like to address the issue of cultural appropriation. Oscha has been accused of cultural appropriation a few times, this pattern is one of them. The design is based on traditional Japanese woodblock carvings. There are several other wraps with the Kasumi pattern in other colors as well.  Some in the babywearing community felt Oscha, a Scottish-based company, had no grounds to use this pattern.

Although I have a deep love Japanese art, I am not Japanese or expert on Japanese culture. I am not going to pretend I really know much about preserving Japanese traditions. I do know that respect very important to the Japanese people, so I wanted to address this issues in my review. So I reached out to a fellow babywearer Maria Frank. She is of Japanese descent and happily embraces her heritage. I asked her how she felt about it personally. She did not feel this specific case was appropriation, and wondered if the people who were upset over this wrap were Japanese. In general, she said most Japanese feel flattered when they see Japanese influence in Western cultures.

“Traditional Japanese Art is dying. Especially wood block prints. There are not too many artists who really understand it. I honestly think that using Japanese influenced designs in good cause such as babywearing is super respectful!” -Maria

I understand that Maria does not speak for all Japanese, but I thought this was a very interesting perspective. It brings up the issues of when do we cross the line between appreciation and appropriation. In fact, this issue was a huge unit in my Media Ethics class in Journalism School. The general consensus is it usually alright take inspiration from other cultures—as long as you give credit where credit is due, consider the media you are using, and think about everyone you could offend (keeping in mind that there are some people you can never please). If you can’t do all these things, then maybe it’s best to not do it. For example, doing a secret photo essay of hidden tribe that believes cameras steal your soul and never give that tribe a dime is SO not okay. Oscha should have at least consulted a Japanese artist to design it (I have not heard this was the case) and some contribution back to Japanese Arts would have been the best course of action. Any time you borrow from another culture, you need to tread carefully. It’s wonderful to share ideas and create new customs, but it’s a whole other thing is steal something and claim it as your own. There have been far worse examples of cultural appropriation in babywearing recently though. As babywearing becomes more mainstream in North America, issues like this will continue to come up. I just hope in the future manufacturers will stay on the cultural appreciation side.

As for the actual wrap…..

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Manufacturer: Oscha Slings
Colorway: Kasumi Orabel
Color: Teal and cyan
Pattern: Waves
Size: Size 6
Materials: 45% extrafine wool,  20% organic linen, 35% organic cotton
Weave: Jacquard
Release date: N/A prototype

The colors are stunning in person. It was just as soft and buttery as I hoped when I pulled it out of the box. The day it arrived we had to pick-up my aunt from the airport, which can be overwhelming for a toddler. So, up Jack went into a Ruck. It made a nice deep seat, even with a bouncing toddler yelling “Auntie!” in my ear.

I had planned on taking the wrap for a walk through the Portland Japanese Garden (and possibly ask someone else for their opinion on the appropriation issue), but Oregon spring weather failed me. It wasn’t just a typical dreary day—it was POURING rain and only 38 degrees at 10 AM. Instead, it went on a trek to a park.

Location: 53rd Ave Community Park
Distance:  2.75 miles
Trail Type:  Paved concrete
Weather: Overcast and cold
Trail Conditions: Clear paths, busy park with lots of kids running around.

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We started out from the house in a Robin’s Hip Carry with a Ring Finish, one of my favorite carries. I really wanted to see how it wrap would thread and stay in a ring. A few other wool blends I tried took some work to a ring into place. But not this wrap, slid straight down like a dream.

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It stayed in place while I tightened the carry. It spread like butter across my shoulder and stayed comfy for a 25 minute walk around the park. Jack didn’t want to get down, even when he saw this favorite rocking pile (this kid loves to climb rocks).

IMG_2526On the way home, I did a Double Hammock with Freshwater Finish. The tails pulled through the torso pass easily and gripped nicely to keep the carry tight. Sadly no sleepy dust on the walk home, but I was so comfortable that I didn’t mind.

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Can you hike in a Oscha Kasumi Orabel? Yes, an enthusiastic yes! I was sad I needed to send this one on it’s way, I have no doubt it would be excellent on a big, long hike. The key feature this wrap is thread blend. The extrafine wool makes it supple, perfect for shoulder comfort without being itchy or thick. The linen keeps the wrap on the lighter/cooler side, perfect for a wide variety of conditions. The cotton give it the structure and support to last on long hikes. Oscha really picked the perfect blend ratio for a versatile hiking wrap for the Pacific Northwest. In fact, I am going to give this my first ever Favorite Hiking Carrier badge!

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Can You Hike In It? Kokadi Arielle Eclipse 

I’ve always been a big fan of Kokadi designs. Unique patterns, colors, and themes. My DISO was their Kurma and I cried when it arrived in the mail. That being said, they tend to be too soft for my taste. I like more grip to a wrap. I’ve also heard they are really prone to snags. So I tend to shy away from them.

However, the Arielle Eclipse is a totally different story. As soon as I pulled it out of the package, I was impressed with the thickness. Soft, but thicker than the average Kokadi. And the pattern did not disappoint. A modern scale/shell pattern. I was excited to test it out, but when it arrived I was still dealing with Hyperemesis, so it sadly sat around for awhile before I was well enough to try it.

Manufacturer: Kokadi
Colorway: Arielle Eclipse
Color: black and nude
Pattern: Shells
Size: Size 6
Materials: 68% Cotton, 32% Bamboo/Bamboo-viscose
Weave: Jacquard
Release date: November 2015

 


First I used it for a wrap nap at a Babywearing International of Portland playdate. Jack fell asleep as soon as I got the Ruck with a Ring Finish tied. Clearly someone loaded it with sleepy dust! It threaded nicely through the ring, and didn’t slid around.

 It also went to the park across the street from us one day. I can honestly say it was the easiest to tie and most supportive Robin’s Hip Carry ever. I didn’t even need to spread the shoulder out to make it more comfortable.

 Then one day I felt great and the weather was pretty nice, so we headed out for a family hike. We picked the Rock Creek Trail, easy but some interesting stuff to look at along the way.

Location: Rock Creek Trail
Distance:  4.5
Trail Type:  Paved, concrete, wood boardwalk
Weather: Overcast, light showers then sunshine
Trail Conditions: Some debris on trail from a recent storm, muddy, but overall well-kept. A bit crowded as it a popular trail.

 We started out trying to get Jack to ride his bike, but he thought the umbrella was more fun. The trails are so wide and even, it was easy for him to walk so distracted.

 There is a bird sanctuary in the middle, which Jack loved. We saw a hawk, stellar jay, and two woodpeckers.

 A quarter of the way in Jack decided he wanted an uppy. I started with Jordan’s Back Carry, but Jack some how popped one of the passes down. It wasn’t until I took a photo did I notice.

 It wasn’t uncomfortable at all, no digging or straining my back. But it bugged me to not have it right.

So I switched to a Ruck Tied Tibetan. And took a picture while we continued walking to make sure the seat was right!

 

Very comfortable still and wonderful grip. The seat held well while I was bouncing Jack to sleep on the way back.

Since he was asleep, we decided to walk to the shopping center down the road for lunch. It stayed very comfortable the whole 30 minute walk. Plus I felt so pretty, the pattern and colors are perfect for an suburban/urban setting. It was nice to feel pretty after several weeks of feeling like crap.

After lunch and a little shopping, Michael wore Jack back to the car. We started in a Ruck Tied Tibetan (Michael ties up his tails regardless of a knotless finish), but the top rail was a bit loose and I could foresee Jack popping the seat quickly.

 So we switched to a Wiggleproof Carry Tied Tibetan instead. Jack couldn’t pop it, even when he started to bounce saying daddy was a horsey.  This is when I fell in love with the grip of this wrap.

I asked Michael how he liked the wrap, he said “Fine. I like the colors a lot.” I asked if it felt comfortable, was it digging anywhere? He said nope. If he didn’t like it, he would have simply said “I don’t like it”. Seriously, man of few words.

 The key feature of this wrap is the texture. It’s soft like your standard Kokadi, but thick enough to support a giant sleeping toddler comfortably. I really credit this to the bamboo. In general bamboo is amazing in almost any wrap, but it really makes a difference with Kokadi’s design.

So, can you hike in a Kokadi Arielle Eclipse? Yes. I would really recommend this wrap for almost any hike and almost any age of child. It’s soft enough for a snuggly newborn nap, but supportive enough for a longer hike to a waterfall with a toddler.

Can You Hike In It? Pink Nova Karma Twist

I was so surprised  when I opened the package. I was super excited to try a Pink Nova so I ripped it open eagerly.  The colors really threw me for second. Bright pink and purple clovers? I flipped it over and saw the blue and white, then was even more confused! I showed my co-worker and she looked just as perplexed. I love the leaf pattern, but why the odd colors? Then I remembered the name, Karma Twist. The more I looked at the wrap, the more I got it.  It’s not your standard green four leaf clover, this is a representation of luck from a deeper source. I especially liked how it’s two-sided. Karma isn’t always straightforward, it has different faces for different meanings.

Manufacturer: Pink Nova
Colorway: Karma Twist
Color: Violet,pink,periwinkle, and white
Pattern: Clover leaves
Size: Size 6
Materials: 100% Egyptian Cotton
Weave: Jacquard
Release date: June 2015

I had such lovely plans for this wrap, but evil Hyperemesis reared its ugly head and I didn’t get to use it for several weeks. One day I felt well enough to wear Jack to the store around the corner from my mom’s house and was in love with the shoulder cush. 

I planned a lovely nature park stroll for the following week  to give Karma Twist a better test,but nope. I ended up in the ER (I never want an MRI at 2 AM again), and it took me a few days to recover. Then Michael suggested we go walk around the mall and at least get out of the house. 

Location:  Washington Square Mall
Distance:  1.35 miles
Trail Type:  Linoleum
Weather: Indoor temperature controlled, around 70*
Trail Conditions: Clean,smooth floors,not crowded

I started off wearing Jack in a Wendy’s Double Hammock Tied At Shoulder. It was a little hard to keep a good seat with a bouncing toddler. At that moment I wished for a little more grip in the wrap. Once I got him settled and the carry tied, I loved the cush on my shoulder and back again.

Half way across the mall, mama got tired. I still wasn’t 100% from my hospital trip and a 25 lbs toddler wiggling on my back wasn’t helping.

 So daddy to the rescue! Jack went up on daddy (after a small protest that he wanted on mama’s front for milkies). They were very comfy in a Reinforced Ruck Tied Tibetan. We shopped happily without Jack touching everything and running amok in the stores.

 Jack slipped down  a little bit when he started bouncing around to get down, but Michael says it was still comfortable on his back and shoulders. We let him down for lunch, but couldn’t get him back up afterward. Little man wanted to walk like a big boy.
The key features of this wrap are pattern and the cushiness. The pattern and colors are so unusual, making it truly unique. It’s so bright and inviting, it’s hard not to smile when wearing it. And the softness is amazing  While it’s not the best for locking down an active toddler, it so cushy that it didn’t dig in even when the seat started to give a little.

So, can you hike in a Pink Nova Karma Twist? I am not sure I would recommend this for a true hike. A lovely, easy walk or a neighborhood stroll, absolutely. But I think it is just too soft for any long hike with a lot of movement and bouncing.I fear there would be a lot of adjusting as you walked along (I had to stop three times to get the slack out of the Wendy’s Double Hammock). I also would suggest it for smaller babies, newborn to 9 months. Less likely for a lot of leaning and  wiggling, to keep a better seat. For toddlers, you really need multiple or reinforcing passes to keep the seat in place. Come to think of it, I bet this would be amazing for evening stroll around the block with a newborn, so soft and snuggly.

Can You Hike In It: Baby-Doo Rouge

I was so excited when this carrier arrived in Januray, but shortly  after hyperemsis hit me like the plague and I was not well enough to take it on a hike. It sadly sat on a shelf for a month. We did take it OMSI one day, but it was only a quick uppy to get him to the parking lot.
Carrier Info:

Manufacturer: Baby-Doo USA
Colorway: Rouge
Color: Red, white, and orange
Pattern: Stripes
Size: Medium, 4.4 meters, short size 5
Materials: 100% Cotton
Weave: Diamond
Release date: 2014

But one day I was well enough to take it a joint Babywearing International of Portland and Hike It Baby joint event. I helped fit people in carriers and then we go on a walk to see how they like them. We met at one of my favorite local parks, Noble Woods Park. It’s a lovely little park with both nice paved and unpaved trails. When we arrived, Jack wanted to play around with the other toddlers so I didn’t put him up right away. Then once everyone was ready to hike, I realized that someone needed to stay behind to watch the carriers. Everyone else went on the South Loop while we stayed at the picnic area.

Hike Details:

Location:  Noble Woods Park, South Loop Picnic Area
Distance: ~1 mile
Trail Type:  Paved trails, grass
Weather: 50*, cloudy
Trail Conditions: Muddy, wet but well maintained

Jack decided it was time for some milk so up he went. We strolled around the grassy area while he nursed. Rouge did very nicely in a Front Wrap Cross Carry with a toddler. I especially liked how the little bit of grip. Very helpful to keep the seat while when Jack was leaning to the side trying to get my boob out while I was tying.

I cannot find the picture when I put Jack in a RRRR for some reason (Google likes to eat my photos), but once everyone returned from the first loop I switched him to my back (for a few minutes, then he wanted down to play with his friends again).  It was pretty easy to make a good seat, but due to the slight gripiness, it was a little hard to tighten the reinforcing pass at first. This might be a little intimidating for a novice wrapper.  But it held nicely, when Jack started bouncing up and down to be let down.

IMG_1754The key feature of the wrap is texture from the weave. It’s very soft, but has a nice subtle grip. The diamond weaver also gives it such rich colors. It would be a lovely addition to any wrap collection. And it’s a very budget friendly wrap, retailing for under $100.

Can you hike in a Baby-Doo Rouge? Yes, it’s a lovely light-weight but grippy wrap, perfect for hikes and walks in warm to cool weather. I wish I could have taken it out on steeper trail, really test how the grip holds up. Just didn’t work out right now.