Tula Abalone | Standard Size Canvas | Soft Structured Carrier | Review

 

This carrier is:

  • Tula brand.
  • “Standard” size (name given by the manufacturer, who make Standard and Toddler size carriers).
  • Soft structured carrier (SSC), sometimes called a buckle carrier.
  • 100% cotton.
  • Abalone is the name of the fabric print, given by the manufacturer.

Words I would use to describe this carrier:

  • structured
  • comfortable
  • sturdy
  • moldeable
  • breathable

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

Tula has been one of the most popular brands of Soft Structured Carrier for the last several years. The fit is comfortable, and the wide variety of prints means something for everyone. The design has an attractive shape and the patterns tend to be beautiful. They aren’t hot too wear, and fit a wide variety of wearers and children with ease.

ABOUT THE LINGO

Tula buckle carriers are made in a variety of fabrics. The regular line are made with cotton canvas straps, waistband, and body panel lining. The exterior of the body panel is usually soft cotton fabric in a variety of prints. Tula also makes wrap conversion carriers. The wrap conversions are the same structure and size as the regular canvas carriers, but the fabric used is a woven wrap. Tula has made “full” wrap conversions, meaning all the fabric use to make the carrier is a woven wrap;”half” wrap conversions, meaning the body panel lining is canvas, but other parts of the carrier are wrap; and “semi” wrap conversions, where only the front decorative panel is wrap fabric.

Structured carriers made from woven wraps take on characteristics of the woven wrap itself, such as texture, diagonal stretch, softness, thickness, support, breathability, etc.  They also have the style and beauty of the woven wrap.

Woven wraps have a higher price point than cotton fabric, so the price of the wrap combined with the price of the carrier, give the wrap conversions a higher price. The desirability of certain wraps (sewn into Tula carriers) will also affect the price.

EXPERIENCE

The Tula carrier is comfortable as soft structured carriers go. I have tried many other SSC brands, some which I found more comfortable than Tula, others which I found less comfortable than Tula. The fit of an SSC has been compared to the fit of a pair of jeans. Everyone has a different preference, and finding the right pair to fit you just right, may take a little time and experience. I personally use the Tula in a back carry. For a front carry, I prefer a carrier that can cross over my back, such as a mei tai or a different SSC with crossing-style straps, since I don’t like buckling a chest clip behind me, between my shoulder blades.

FABRIC

The outer layer of colorful fabric is quite soft. The canvas used in this Tula is also soft compared to most other canvas buckle carriers I’ve tried. The colors of this particular pattern are teal, aqua, cream, and a soft yellowish gold/bronze. It has a Batik look to the print. The canvas is solid black.

SIZING

The standard size Tula fits approximately 6 months to 2 years old, depending on the child’s height and weight. An infant insert may be used to use the standard size with smaller babies. The toddler size fits approximately 18 months to 3 years old, depending on the child’s height and weight.

BODY PANEL

The body panel is two layers of fabric – a soft, thin, colorful cotton on the outside, and a thick, sturdy, solid color canvas on the inside. It has squishy legs-out padding, and deep seat darts. The orange Tula square logo is present on all their buckle carriers.

15″ wide including deep seat darts

14″ tall from top of waistband to top of panel

13″ tall from top of waistband to top of shoulder strap (which is usually the maximum height that can support baby’s body)

WAISTBAND

The waistband is thickly padded with contoured padding. It has a little flexibility, but is mostly stiff. It is divided into three sections, all with the same padding. There is a large, convenient pocket on the outside of the waistband, suitable for even a large cell phone and keys. The female buckle is attached on top of the waistband, so there is only one long waist nylon strap on the opposing side. There is an elastic safety for the buckle, and elastic at the end of the nylon strap to roll it up and hold it in place.

5″ tall at center, tapers to 3″ tall at sides

27″ padded fabric section

27″ nylon webbing length

2″ nylon webbing width

26″ minimum waist length

54″ maximum waist length

POCKET

7.5″ wide

4.5″ tall

2″ deep

SHOULDER STRAPS

The shoulder straps are thickly padded, and a nice balance between firm and flexible. They are contoured in shape, which is quite comfortable in a back carry. In a front carry,  they tend to fall off my shoulders every so often, even when the chest clip is fastened as tightly as I can without help. There are PFA’s (Perfect Fit Adjusters) to tighten the shoulder straps toward the body panel, and regular strap adjustment with long nylon webbing on the end of the padded section. The shoulder straps are stitched to the body panel, and cannot be unbuckled away from the body panel. There is elastic at the end of the nylon webbing to roll and hold it in place. There are two small plastic clips to attach the hood to, if the hood would be in use. The clips are removable, but not easily, so they should not fall of. The chest clip slides up and down the nylon webbing like a channel.

24.5″ strap length with PFAs open

18″ strap length with PFAs cinched and straps cinched

23.5″ nylon webbing

1″ width of nylon webbing

18″ smallest shoulder strap length

48″ longest shoulder strap length

2.5″ to 3.5″ contoured strap width

CHEST CLIP

Nylon with small buckles.

4.5″ minimum length

17″ maximum length

HOOD

The hood is a single-layer of cotton canvas, and is removable. It attaches with two small snaps inside the body panel. The sides are cinching with a thin elastic.

9.5″ width

13″ height (fully stretched)

11 to 12″ unstretched height

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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