“Here, will you take the bump today?” That request started Ruckeli, a baby carrier designed by a Dad with Dads in mind.
As usual for reviews, the disclaimer first (well, two, this time): This is a personal opinion and observation review, based on my own experience and feedback of other tester. I am grateful for their opinions and willingness to lend me their small people. I have been using slings myself for over 7.5 years (buckle carriers for 7), have been working with parents and slings since 2008 and am a fully Certified Babywearing Consultant. People come in all shapes and sizes and there’s a reason why there’s a big selection of slings and carriers available …
My cooperative guinea pigs were demo dolls (newborn and 6 months) and babies aged 6 weeks to 26 months, both on me and on their parents, including dads.
Overall verdict: It’s light (only 650g!), it’s soft, it’s packed with ingenious features that seem a bit overwhelming at first but turn out to be really simple – and practical! Anywhere I’ve taken it people have commented on its snug fit and soft look. It is an amazing fit from newborn, even the head support, and still comfy and all the way supportive with my 2 year old. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t work for petite people as the padding on the shoulder straps is quite long. To give you a guide for the photos, I’m 1.64 m and a size 12/14 with a short torso.
I’ll spare you the list of features, you can read that here. And to make sure I don’t forget anything, I’ll work from the waist up 🙂
The waist suprised me. It’s quite flat and soft with 100% organic cotton padding. It’s straight at the top edge and slightly wavy (not curved, wavy, and really only slightly) at the bottom. It moulds into the wearer really well. The waist buckle is dual adjust, allowing the wearer to play around with positioning a little. Two unique features here already:
- Pictoral instructions for a front carry with crossed straps are on the inside of the waist! How clever is that?! No more excuses of the “I couldn’t remember how to put it on, so I had to sit on the sofa with him” kind… (pics further down)
- On the outside of the waist there’s a big elastic pocket going along the length of it, with two smaller ones either side that house the waist buckles for the shoulder straps. The entire carrier rolls up into that pocket for storage and can be used as a hip seat that way (video here). And while not in use, it’s handy for bits and bobs like phone, keys, spare nappy (even cloth!) and sneaky chocolate (ehem).
The main seat is the next never-seen-before bit. The seat panel adjusts to baby’s leg length with three buttons and button hole elastic similar to the type used in toddler trousers. edit: From Steptember 2015, the elastic has been replaced with 4 buttons and loops, making it easier to adjust for small babies. For the 6 week old, we had it at 19 cm by buttoning the inner button through the 3rd hole from the middle from the outside. The full width is 37cm lying flat (meaning: when used, the seat is wider than that). And all that without faffing about with inserts!
The seat panel can be completely removed from the carrier for washing, which is great news when there’s a poonami or you’ve missed a pee cue out of nappies. Just unbutton the panel and the buckles won’t be subjected to extra wear in the machine. Spare panels are available to buy, however only in black at the moment.
The body has soft, light quilt-like padding and is seemlessly hight adjustable, adding about 15cm from newborn to toddler setting. I love that it’s really easy to adjust while baby is in the carrier and won’t slide down with arms out babies.
The hood is sewn into the panel and has SPF 15+. There’s 3 snaps on the shoulder straps to attach the hood. When not in use, it rolls down and sticks to the main panel with velcro spots.
The shoulder straps, you guessed it, have never been seen before! They were the part I was most unsure about from the photos. I needn’t have worried though! I absolutely love how easy they make using crossed straps. You can see a front carry in this video (note: the carrier is too loose in the video, the shoulder straps should be tightened more). Slipping the straight straps on first, means baby is held safely before crossing the second set of straps. The cross on the back is lovely and low, keeping baby’s weight away from the neck and upper shoulder area. And when taking baby out of a crossed strap carry, there’s nothing trailing on the ground!
It is easy to set the shoulder straps to straight for a back carry by simply swapping where you click the buckles into place – the waist goes to the panel and panel to the waist. I was suprised how comfy I still found straight straps for a front carry with the two year old. Unless you are very experienced with back carries, and your baby too, it is advisable to follow this video to get baby on your back as their feet need to go through the 2 parts of each shoulder strap.
The chest/safety clip is attached to the shoulder straps on a cotton slider which doesn’t make for very smooth moving up and down. It’s detachable so that it doesn’t get in the way when you are crossing the straps. While it’s easy to get on and off the slider, you need to be careful where to hold the clip when pulling it up and down along the slider so as to not open them. Ruckeli are currently looking at alternative options for the slider buckles.
For more Ruckeli tips and tricks come this way.
The instruction booklet is right here.
If you’d like to purchase the Ruckeli, come along this way. You can also try the Ruckli on yourself: I always have a sample carrier in-store and at events I run or attend. You can find details for Open Days and Events on my website.