Lenny Lamb Buckle Onbu Onbuhimo Bucklebu | Zig Zag Turquoise and Pink | Review

 

This carrier is:

  • Lenny Lamb brand.
  • Buckle Onbuhimo (Onbu), a variation of an Asian style carrier, sometimes nicknamed Bucklebu.
  • Wrap conversion onbu, meaning sewn from a woven wrap.
  • Manufacturer made (the same manufacturer who weaves and sells the woven wraps, sews and sells these onbu carriers).
  • 100% cotton.
  • “Standard” size (the sizing label given by the manufacturer), currently only available in one size.
  • Zig Zag Turquoise and Pink is the name the manufacturer has given this colorway.

Words I would use to describe this carrier:

  • soft
  • breathable
  • structured
  • pretty
  • curvy

We would be thrilled if you would add YOUR OWN review of this carrier! Reader reviews located at the end of the post near the comments section.

OVERVIEW

The Lenny Lamb Buckle Onbu is a structured carrier that has similarities to a soft structured buckle carrier, but without a waistband.

A buckle onbu is small and compact. With a little practice, it can be quick to get on and off.

It is designed for wearing in a high back carry, rather than the lower back carry of most SSC carriers. The child is worn high up on the wearer’s back, enabling the child to see right over the wearer’s shoulder. Because of this, it may be better suited to children who can sit up unassisted. It is also designed for the child to ride arms-out.

Because it does not have a waistband, all the weight of the child is concentrated on the wearer’s shoulders. This makes it preferable to wear for a short duration of time. If the child is too low on the wearer’s back, this increases the shoulder strain of the wearer. Keeping the child as high as possible on the back, with the child looking over the wearer’s shoulder, will provide a more comfortable carry.

This onbu is lightweight, small, compact, and simple. It has a cinching base to adjust the width for different sizes of children.

It is called “standard” size by the manufacturer, and rated by the manufacturer for 11 to 44 lb.

FABRIC

Lenny Lamb manufactures jacquard woven wraps and several types of carriers made from their woven wraps. Compared to regular fabrics, such as cotton canvas, woven wrap fabrics tend to be softer, have comfortable diagonal stretch, and designed in pretty colors and patterns. This fabric is soft, even when brand new. It has a light texture to it, and feels mostly smooth to the touch. It is 100% cotton. The fabric is on the thick side, so I imagine in woven wrap form, it would be quite sturdy. It wasn’t so thick as to be hot to wear, especially since there is minimal fabric, and baby is on the back (baby worn on the front of the body is hotter for both wearer and baby). The fabric felt soft and comfortable on my skin.

SIZING

Due to their unique design, buckle onbus may ideally be used by children with good spine / head / neck control, sitting up unassisted, and a child who fits in the carrier properly.

As shown in the photos, the baby’s legs come out the same opening as the wearer’s arms. The baby’s arms should be out above the top of the body panel. I initially had my son in this position, but after getting him on, he tucked one elbow down into the carrier.

The manufacturer states this can fit a child 11 to 44 lb.

Full Disclosure  – Lenny Lamb has provided this carrier to us for review. It is of utmost importance to me, that my opinion and description remain unbiased. I have also reviewed other Lenny Lamb carriers, which I purchased and reviewed of my own accord, without cooperation with the manufacturer. You can view my other Lenny Lamb carrier reviews here.

EXPERIENCE

I am not an expert buckle onbu user, and my experience may reflect the learning curve I am having with this style of carrier – regardless of brand. I have used a ring-base, wrap-strap onbu before, which is incredibly different from this type of buckle onbu. Since this is my first try with a buckle onbu, some of the challenges I experienced may be due to inexperience, rather than the particular brand of onbu carrier.

Upon my use, I feel like the “sweet spot” for this onbu would be from the age when the child can sit up, until walking age. Children at this age become more mobile. Getting them up and down from a carrier quickly becomes a greater priority. A child this age is more likely to be worn for a short period of time, or want “up” then “down” then “up” again. Also, at this age, children sometime resist being worn in a carrier, because they feel restricted physically or visually. For a situation where the caregiver needs the child to be worn (like it or not!) an onbu can give the child some freedom of arm movement, and a better view over the wearer’s shoulder.

For a small infant, it is possible the child would need more spine and neck support than the carrier could provide. Although it is rated for a minimum of 11 lb, it is not a carrier I would choose for a newborn or tiny infant. A floppy newborn or infant would benefit from the support and snug fit of a carrier like a Lenny Lamb woven wrap or Lenny Lamb wrap tie mei tai.

For a heavier toddler (mine is 24 lb), the carrier is useful for shorter periods of time. With the nature of a buckle onbu placing his weight on my shoulders, I did not find it as comfortable as a carrier like the Lenny Lamb Soft Structured Carrier, which has a waistband to distribute weight to my lower body.

Although it is rated to 44 lb, it would not be my first choice for a child of that weight and size. I would want an SSC carrier such as the Lenny Lamb Toddler carrier, which has a very large body panel and is quite comfortable to wear with bigger kids.

 

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The height of the body panel from shoulder to the cinch mechanism, is 14.5″. The buckles are attached at this point, with a small flap of fabric beneath the cinch mechanism. The fabric flap should be tucked up between the wearer and child, to provide support to the baby’s bum and weight. Without that flap tucked in, the child’s weight is resting on their knees coming out the sides of the carrier.

My 18 month old wears size 18 month pants. I typically wear him in a carrier that is 16″ tall with deep seat darts. This carrier does not have seat darts. After placing him the carrier and on my back, I had to tuck the seat flap piece of fabric, up between us. This was difficult to do. It seemed the fabric was not long enough to get around his (cloth diapered) bum, and up between us.

I removed him from the carrier and tried again, this time cinching the seat width several inches smaller, before putting him in the carrier. This improved the fit on him, as it tucked the fabric up under his bum a little better.

His knees rested on the webbing buckle attached near the cinch. He didn’t seem happy about this. I tried rotating the entire carrier lower on his body, to get some fabric under his knees, rather than the buckles. I was not successful. I used the carrier several more times, and was not able to get him in a different position, so his knees were always dangling on this webbing/buckle section.

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In the action shot photos, I am wearing him lower than I would have liked. With a little more practice, I was able to get him higher on my back, but still not as high as I would have liked, for comfort and function. It was a little “fight” to get the carrier BOTH up high on my back, AND tucked low under his bum. Shifting and bouncing him higher on my back, would “pop the seat” – untuck the fabric flap from between us. Tucking the flap back in, tended to sink him down lower on my back again. There is a learning to curve to every type of carrier, an onbu included!

Some other brands of onbu which I have seen, the body panels are tall, and the buckles are attached to the base of the body panel. When the straps are cinched, the buckles pull the base of the body panel fabric up between the wearer and child, creating a deep “U” shape of fabric where the baby sits.

In this onbu, the body panel is short, and the buckles are attached to the “side” of body panel. After cinching the straps, it is necessary to shove the fabric flap up where it belongs. If the fabric flap is not tucked in snugly, the baby’s bum is not supported by fabric, instead placing the baby’s weight on his knees.

 

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BODY

The body panel  is a flat square with a contoured base and a cinch mechanism. It has squishy legs-out padding that runs almost the entire height of the body panel. It does not have seat darts. The cinching base is a fabric channel with two fabric straps running through, coming out through a seamed opening. Beneath the channel, a rounded semi-circle piece of fabric makes a little base to the body panel. The shoulder straps are attached at the top and lower sides of the body panel. On many other buckle onbus of other brands which I have seen, the shoulder straps are attached to the top and bottom of the panel. The lower attachment of this strap is placed higher than expected, and gives the carrier a unique fit.

  • 16” wide flat, uncinched
  • 10″ wide, cinched
  • 14″ tall measured from top of shoulder to top of cinch mechanism
  • 15″ tall measured from top of shoulder to bottom of cinch mechanism
  • 20” tall measured from top of shoulder to bottom of “tail”

web_20160515-DSC_3535

HOOD

The hood is attached and not removable. It is a flat hood with cinching sides and reach ties that match the fabric of the carrier. It is made of two layers of fabric, just like the body panel, with the reverse side being the contrasting fabric color.

  • 9″ tall
  • 10.5″ wide

 

web_20160515-DSC_3540

SHOULDER STRAPS

The shoulder straps can be adjusted in three different ways.

The part of the strap closest to the body panel has PFAs (perfect fit adjusters), a way to cinch straps toward the body panel. The area of the strap where the PFAs are located is completely unpadded – just two layers of fabric. This means when the PFAs are cinched, it isn’t bulky underneath the cinched area. I personally find that when I cinch PFAs on any type or kind of carrier, it puts extra strain and weight on the nylon webbing. The webbing begins to press into the padded areas, creating pressure points. This digs into my shoulders, giving me the sensation that all the baby’s weight rests on that one inch of nylon webbing. My solution – don’t tighten PFAs. Not everyone will have this challenge, but it’s also not unique to me.

The part of the webbing that attaches to the body, has dual-adjust buckles, which can expand or cinch the straps closer or further from the body panel, or closer or further from the shoulder strap.

To fit my frame, and get my son up as high as possible on my back, I cinched the two regular straps as tight as they would go, and did not tighten the PFAs.

  • 16.5” fabric section (10″ padded fabric, 6.5″ unpadded fabric for PFAs)
  • 7” nylon webbing closest to body panel
  • 21″ nylon webbing at end of fabric strap (has elastic loops to roll up)
  • 15” smallest possible strap length
  • 45” longest possible strap length

The inside of the straps is contrasting fabric. Also inside the straps is required tags with safety information. The tags are made from a plastic type material, which I found a little scratchy on my skin when I wore a tank top while wearing the carrier.

The chest clip can slide up and down for a few inches along the padded section of the shoulder strap. There is a plastic hook on the shoulder webbing, to attach the hood ties to. as tight as it can go in the below photo of me. It is not removable. There is an elastic loop at the end of the chest clip, to roll the extra webbing.

  • 5″ chest clip minimum length
  • 14″ chest clip maximum length

We would be thrilled if you would add YOUR OWN review of this carrier! Reader reviews located at the end of the post near the comments section.

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2 thoughts on “Lenny Lamb Buckle Onbu Onbuhimo Bucklebu | Zig Zag Turquoise and Pink | Review

  1. I just received my LL Onbu in Rainbow Safari. I want to love it, the colors and print are absolutely gorgeous but I am having the same problems as the writer. I can’t seem to get my 22 month old up comfortably. The buckle or strap is always against his leg and actually hurts him. The only way to solve the problem is to tuck more fabric under his bum but then the back becomes too short and the panel only comes to his mid back instead of under his arms. I am regretting this purchase and wishing I invested in a SSC instead.

    1. Hi Jessica, I’m so sorry you are struggling with this onbu. If you use Facebook, there is a group called Onbu Love. There are some people in there with the same challenge as you. There are other people who are able to make the carrier work, and may have some other tips for you. If you participate in the Facebook used baby carrier groups such as Babywearing on a Budget, or The Babywearing Swap, or the Lenny Lamb group, you may be able to offer your Onbu for trade for an SSC carrier which will work better for you. The Lenny Lamb SSC is fantastic, in comparison to the onbu which I struggled with. There are enough people interested in the Onbu right now, that you may be able to just trade it for something you can use! Good luck!

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