An excellent soft structured carrier that allows you to roam wild with your little one right from the get-go. It’s ideal for nap time during the early months, allowing you to get into the outdoors while your baby catches up on sleep. It adjusts as your child grows and you’ll turn to it time and time again. A superb product.
Suitable for newborns
Excellent solution for nap time
Weighs very little
Multiple carry positions
Adjusts to your growing child
Not much storage
Not as supportive as a backpack carrier
Switching between front and back facing fiddly with one hand
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Ergobaby Omni 360 Cotton: first impressions
As with many pieces of equipment designed to make life easier when you’ve got a new bundle of joy in your life, at first glance the Omni 360 looks complicated. It might have been the worry of knowing I was about to trust it to carry my fragile little baby daughter but I was glad of the instructions when first setting it up.
However, once figured out (and it didn’t take long), the Omni is very easy to use, adjust and enjoy. It’s the ideal carrier for a young baby and you’ll find yourself taking it everywhere with you during the first months of their life. Preferable to a pushchair when you want to explore anything other than an asphalted surface and ideal for getting your steps in while baby takes a nap, it’s an invaluable piece of equipment.
RRP: $179 (US) / £164.90 (UK)
Weight: 0.85kg / 1.9 lbs
Age range: Newborn upwards
Weight limit: 20kg / 44 lbs (child’s weight)
Capacity: purse-sized pouch
Materials: 100% cotton
Accessories included: Detachable pouch
Colors: Vintage Blue, Dusty Blue, Pearl Grey, Pure Black
The carrier works by attaching around the waist, which is secured by a reassuringly large buckle and is tightened just like the hip belt of a hiking backpack. The main body of the carrier is then lifted up to the adult’s torso, with baby positioned on the soft, padded fabric seating area, with their legs dangling out either side. Shoulder straps then hold everything in place and are secured by a buckle on the back just below the neck.
Baby is then held either facing in and resting against the adult’s chest, which is the only option in the early days or when you want them to have a nap, or facing out so that they can happily take in the sights. The fact it weighs only 850 grams – much less thana a backpack carrier – and is wonderfully portable, makes it ideal for travelling to see relatives or for that first vacation. Once baby is older, you can strap them in behind you too, for an even more comfortable carry.
It’s suitable for newborns, though the manual states that the baby must weigh at least 3.2kg (7 lbs) and be 50.8cm tall (20 inches). The front-facing position is only safe once baby can support their own head, which is from around 5 months, while the back carry position is suitable from around 6 months.
An excellent feature of the Omni 360 is the way it adapts to your growing child. The size of the seat can be adjusted using Velcro tabs. For a tiny newborn, you fix the two tabs towards the middle, creating a small seat. As your child grows, you periodically move the Velcro tabs outwards, making a bigger seat. Simple but effective. There’s even a little fabric patch with instructions reminding you of how big your child should be for each level of adjustment.
The first position you’ll utilise when using the Omni 360 is having baby facing in. To do this, the seat is widened to provide the correct support for the little one by attaching the side wings to the large, dark button. There’s also a padded panel which provides neck support and this is moved into position by attaching it to the higher buttons on the shoulder straps.
When it comes to the day your little cherub is ready to face out, the seat width and the padded panel adjust to suit. The panel is flipped over, attached to the lower buttons and becomes a drool-pad. Meanwhile, the seat’s wings come inward by attaching to the lighter coloured buttons, making the seat more comfortable for baby and their dangling legs.
Hidden away in an open pocket below the padded panel is a pull-out sunshade, or ‘privacy hood’ as Ergobaby call it. It has a UPF rating of 50+ and has a couple of uses. First of all, as expected, it keeps the sun off the little one’s sensitive head and, secondly, it allows you to make everything a little darker for nap time. It has five snap-fasteners that click into the slot on the shoulder strap, enabling you to adjust the tightness. Time and time again, you will optimistically pop it into place when nap time rolls around. Sometimes, baby will drift quickly, other times you’ll need a little more patience.
As well as the obvious baby carrying functionality, the Omni 360 also features a small storage pouch with one open pocket and a zippered compartment. It’s only purse sized but it’s great for storing loose change, keys or that hat the little one keeps taking off. The pouch is removable too and is attached to the carrier by Velcro.
The whole thing is machine washable too, just remember to make sure all buckles, buttons and the Velcro pouch are fastened.
On the trails
Simplicity is the key with the Ergobaby Omni. It’s dead easy to put on and adjust to make both adult and baby happy. It’s surprisingly comfortable and I enjoyed countless park walks, strenuous hikes and shopping trips without any complaint.
Once my daughter was old enough, I was able to transition her from facing inwards for a nap to facing outwards for her own enjoyment. I soon mastered the knack of adjusting the padded support panel-cum-dribble bib and changing the straps to cater for this, all while holding baby in one arm. However, it’s not the easiest series of maneuverers, as undoing and refastening the buttons is tricky without full use of both hands. It does make me wonder if there could be an easier way.
All in all though, the carrier was an absolute blessing during my daughter’s early days, especially for nap time. We’d often set out on a long walk and eventually she’d drift off. At that point, I’d often pop the hood over her head to shield her from the sun and the wind and I’d continue onwards for another hour or so.
I even used this kind of approach to take on a few hill walks and I discovered it’s amazing what a baby will sleep through. On more than one occasion, she’d be fast asleep, tucked into my chest while I was stood on a cold, windy summit. The fact that the Omni weighs so little made it perfect for these kinds of adventures. However, as my daughter got bigger beyond around 8 months, the additional support of a backpack carrier became preferable.
The lack of storage capacity wasn’t too much of an issue, as I’d often carry a daypack on my back with its straps over the Omni’s. It perhaps wasn’t the most elegant or aesthetically pleasing solution. But, did it work? Yes.
Alex is a freelance adventure writer and mountain leader with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, his native English Lake District has a special place in his heart, though he is at least equally happy in North Wales, the Scottish Highlands or the European Alps. Through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors. He is currently President of the London Mountaineering Club, training to become a winter mountain leader, looking to finally finish bagging all the Wainwright fells of the Lake District and hoping to scale more Alpine 4000ers when circumstances allow. Find out more at www.alexfoxfield.com