Two of the most popular brands of soft-structured carriers (SSCs) that fit larger babies and toddlers are Kinderpack and Tula. If you're in the market, you may be wondering which you should get. Here are some thoughts from our VBE April Kinney!
Wearing and the heat
A lot of people ask if the Kinderpack with the coolknit mesh panel or the Tula is better. I have both Kinderpack (KP) standard size and Tula canvas toddler size to give my experience on. While I think the KP mesh makes a small difference and it is a bit more breathable...you will still be hot. My Tula panel fabric is thinner than the fabric area of my KP, my KP panel is definitely thicker and bulkier. So Tula is thinner, KP has the panel to breathe. Kinda balances out, in my opinion. Let's face it, I'm wearing another person who radiates heat! The sweating action is going on between the 2 of us (my back and her belly or my chest and her belly) not her back and the carrier. After 2hrs of wearing on the boardwalk in 90+ sun my shirt was soaked and her front damp but her back wasn't sweaty at all. I do feel like the KP allows some air flow but it's nothing magical...the mesh is actual a pretty thick material. So choose which carrier you like, I promise it's not enough to make a difference. You can also use items like Frogg Togg cooling towels between the two of you to cut down on heat.
Standard vs Toddler vs Preschool sizing (note - only KP comes in Preschool size)
Madeline just barely begins to fit in this toddler, its right at her knee. She's approx 32", 23lb and 22m. It was harder to get her in the seat right because the panel is still pretty big and she floats around in it. She would sometimes sit on the excess fabric in the panel bc it would bunch up under her. We much rather prefer our standard size KP but it's out on loan. There's a misconception that toddler size SSC = toddler age. "Most" toddlers are perfectly fine in standard size for a while. Also, knee-to-knee does not mean once the knee past the panel you need to size up! Many carriers that are not quite knee-to-knee can still support the legs in the M position. Our standard KP panel does not extend to her knees - in fact it's about 2 or 3 fingers short of that. But her legs are still supported properly and we are both comfortable in it.
KPs' panels are a bit wider and taller. I find them more comfy too. They both have seat darts which make for deep pockets, but something about the waistband and the KP makes it so I also get a better deeper seat in that. there are things I like better about each. The Tula has more padding that goes farther down the straps, but I Iike the two way sliding on the straps on the KP. The waist band is firmer on the KP to me, I prefer the Tula waist. Overall, I personally reach for the KP more often!