Soul Slings Full Buckle. Wrap Conversion, Cotton & Linen.

Soul Slings full buckle carriers have made quite a splash in the babywearing world. With affordable pricing and a massive range of funky prints and colours, they are fast becoming a recommended carrier when people ask ‘what carrier do I need’.  But, with so many fabric, print and pattern options, come the inevitable questions . . . ‘What is the difference?’ ‘Which fabric is best’, ‘Which one should I get?’

You see, before these, the full buckle carriers I had tried were made from ‘normal’ sturdy, canvas-like material, the go-to fabric for most buckle carriers. If you have worn an Ergo, Beco, Manduca, Tula, Boba etc then you know the fabric I mean. This is the typical fabric that most SSC’s are made from. But when you branch out into an full buckle carrier made from a fabric usually those reserved for less structured carrier types like a meh dai, ring sling or woven wrap, well, then you reach an entire new level of comfort.

From left to right: Soul Slings wrap conversion, Woven Cotton and Linen Full Buckle SSC.

From left to right: Soul Slings wrap conversion, Woven Cotton and Linen Full Buckle SSC.

Having been in the unique position to own and wear the wrap conversion, linen and woven cotton full buckle carriers, I thought I’d do my best to explain what the fuss is about, what the difference is bwrteen fari types, and why you should consider a full buckle carrier made from a softer fabric than what they are usually available in.

With the three Soul Full buckle carrier options, in some ways there is no difference. They are in essence the same carrier. They have the same specs, the same measurements, the same adjusters and straps and hood. They all have the same waistband length, and shoulder strap length. They all have a weight recommendation of 7kg – 18kg. They all offer a comfortable front carry and a comfortable back carry.

But, they are different. They are made from three very different fabrics, and because of this, each carrier has it’s unique quirks. So let’s start with the first one we owned.

Soul Slings Full Buckle Maze

Babywearing gets things done. Soul Slings Full Buckle – Maze.

Full Buckle Jaquard Wrap Conversion. 
“Thicker, softer and more textured than before, the new Soul jacquards comfortably support big toddlers as easily as they cushion tiny babies. The weave is tighter, making them sturdy yet surprisingly airy fabrics – cool enough even for summer babywearing. They are amazingly soft right out of the box and need no breaking in! Being 100% cotton, Maze is very easy to maintain too.”

I was lucky enough to be given this carrier to review for The Sleep Store back in October. So, if you want an in-depth review about the carrier itself, well, here you go. This was the first wrap conversion carrier I had ever owned and I loved it. The wrap conversion fabric of the Soul full buckle blew my mind. It was so soft. So cushy. It asked to be stroked.

Soul Slings Full Buckle Mazde

So soft. So snuggle. So much sleepy dust.

The weave used on the Maze range, seems to be a looser weave than that used on some of the other wrap conversion carriers, so even within the same fabric type there are variations. I can’t comment on the other wrap fabrics, only Maze, although I do own a soul snuggly in Corallium and I find that a thinner and smoother fabric. Maze is a fabric you need to be careful around velcro with as it does fluff up and I found after a few months of wear it was a little fluffy from being sucked and bitten by my toddler. This is an easy fix with suck pads!  The waistband is very soft, sometimes it would fold over as I was trying to get a good seat. AJ didn’t have this problem, maybe because of where he wears (a lot lower on his hips) compared to where I wear, higher on my waist.  I’m not sure. But this was one of the big differences I noticed when I tried the other fabric styles.

In the past, affording a wrap conversion full buckle carrier used to be out of reach for a lot of people. They were the ‘exclusive” range, twice the price of the standard carrier of that style and something many people coveted but few were able to own. Soul have smashed that out of the water, making these beautiful carries accessible to everyone, and offering an amazing array of colours and patterns. Good luck choosing just one!

Soul Slings Full Buckle Maze

Ziggy gives the Soul Full Buckle a big thumbs up.

100% Linen Full Buckle.
“Made out of 100% linen fabric, Soul linens are known for their moisture-wicking ability and are ideal carriers for hot and humid climates. Chambray linen is a strong, smooth fabric with white weft threads and coloured warp threads. Together they create soft and stylish carriers that are extraordinarily sleek and airy”.

Soul Slings Linen Full Buckle Coal on Chambray

On a warm day, stripped to his nappy and fast asleep in our Soul Slings Linen Full Buckle.

The linen carrier is so far from the wrap conversion, that you notice the difference right away. It feels sturdier, more like the carriers I was used to. It wasn’t as floppy like the wrap conversion, but it still has a lot of give. It is smoother and softer to touch than the standard canvas type carrier fabric. It felt lighter in the hand too, I think the fabric being thinner made it feel less bulky. The hood is so thin it’s see-through, making it very breathable. The linen carrier quickly became AJs favourite. He would reach for it over our other carriers when wearing Ziggy for naps as it didn’t feel as hot and sweaty an hour or two later. He liked the extra support offered by a stiffer waistband, and of course the colour palette was highly appealing.

The only other linen carrier I have has experience with are ring slings. I bought a linen ring sling brand new, and I found it so stiff and crunchy that I sold it two days later. I have since been informed that this is normal for a linen wrap or ring sling and they take a bit of time to break in, I think I was just spoilt after only wearing soft second hand ring sling. But the linen full buckle has none of that stiffness. It feels smooth and sleek, and it hugs Ziggy beautifully.

I also took this carrier to Kanga instead of the wrap conversion. Don’t get me wrong, I love the wrap conversion, and I love the way it feels, but for an hour of babywearing aerobics, I wanted as sleek and as cool a carrier as possible. The linen fits the bill.

Soul 100% linen full buckle coal on chambray

AJ and Ziggy exploring the sunflowers in our Linen Soul Full Buckle.

Woven Cotton Full Buckle.
“100% woven panel, cotton base & straps”
Our woven cotton Soul Full buckle is the latest addition to our collection. I needed something to brighten up what was fast becoming a very black stash (cheers babe) and having just gifted away my purple cotton meh dai (and missing it sorely) I figured a woven cotton full buckle would fill the hole nicely. And it has. This is my favourite full buckle. I like it most of all because it’s colourful, and colour always affects my mood. But I also find it a very comfortable carrier. It’s a very soft and floppy carrier – not as soft as the wrap conversion, but softer than our linen carrier. When you let it fall to the floor it puddles and it moulds beautifully to Ziggy as he sits in it. The waistband stiffness is equal to the linen carrier, offering a supportive carry. Some people find they get sore shoulders when babywearing – the trick is to have the waistband nice and tight, this support takes a lot of the weight from your shoulders and makes for a more comfortable wearing experience.

Soul Slings Woven Full Buckle. Peace on Blue.

Crashed out after an energetic Kangatraining Class.

The woven cotton full buckle is the cheapest of the three fabric options but that in no way suggests it is a cheap carrier. It is brilliant. And the colour options it comes in are beautiful.  I didn’t get the opportunity to Kanga in the cotton carrier as much as I did the other two as I am pregnant, and you have to stop Kanga when you fall pregnant. But I am continuing to exercise and walking the 4km around Hamilton lake when the opportunity arises, and for that walk, I grab my cotton full buckle.

Soul Slings woven cotton full buckle carrier - Peace on Blue.

Babywearing and gardening – the perfect combination. Soul Slings woven cotton – Peace on Blue.

So, which one do you get? Well if you live somewhere hot or muggy, and you wanted to wear your child for longer lengths of time, then I think the linen carrier is the one for you. If you live in a colder climate, you may enjoy the softness and snuggliness offered by the wrap conversion. If you live somewhere that fits both these descriptions, then lean towards the cotton. However, I don’t think it matters too much which carrier you decide on as they are all great. So, get one that matches your eyes, or one that matches your child hair. Get the one that is in your favourite colour. At the end of the day – get the carrier that calls to you.

***Soul Slings retailers in New Zealand are Woven, Nappy Heaven and The Sleep Store. In return for this review, we were gifted both the Linen and Woven Cotton full buckle carrier pictured.

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