Naked Panda Designs brings creative artistry to the wrap conversion soft structured carrier. All of the carriers are unique, each built by the user to specifications they designate. The brain child of a brilliant work at home mom, she proves that necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Combining form, function, and finesse, the custom SSCs from Naked Panda Designs range from wrap conversions to military uniform conversions complete with patch and name band placement. Also hailing from the high desert, she knows her way around ensuring air flow in a carrier.
I tested the Mesh SSC made with Natibaby’s Warrior’s Creed wrap. The use of the Warrior’s Creed wrap had special meaning to me and I was honored to test the carrier. Warrior’s Creed is a military themed woven wrap designed for The Carrying on Project. The wrap features a dominant black background with grey text listing the military branches, mottos, and core values relevant to all branches of the armed service. As the proud sister of an Air Force veteran, niece of an Army veteran, and military contractor myself, I have a strong appreciation for the core values of the United States Armed Forces. Warrior’s Creed is 70/30 cotton/linen blend making it a lightweight and airy wrap.
The carrier is sewn with a nice wide waistband, padded to half an inch thick compressed foam. The fit of the waistband was a nice wrap around the hips with the padding managing to cover the edges of my hips. I find this to be a very comfortable feature as the weight from an SSC is all in the space between the shoulder blades and the hips. The waistband features long webbing, allowing the carrier to expand up to 61 inches. The waistband can also be collapsed down to a 26 inch waist. Legs out padding is roughly one half inch thick and runs the length of the carrier along the side of the body panel.
The shoulder harness features two areas for adjustment. The usual adjustment where the shoulder straps attach to the body panel pull away from the wearer and are easy to adjust but make a difficult angle on the wrist. At the very top of the shoulder harness where the strap attaches to the top of the body panel there is another adjuster. This perfect fit adjuster is brilliant. It offers an additional 7 inch cinch for the very petite wearer as well as bringing baby up higher. This adjuster also adjusts back, away from the wearer and because of location is difficult to reach and should be adjusted prior to wearing your baby.
The body panel is tapered and starts with a nice wide seat. Even my leggy two year old toddlers had a nice ergonomic seat and were extremely comfortable in this SSC. The seat has pleats in place of the more traditional seat darts. I found that the seat pleats fanned out better and accommodated my girls’ fluffy cloth diaper bums much better than the seat darts. The pleats spread only where their weight pressed against and made it easier to wear with their knees higher than their bum.
The carrier comes with a cinchable, detachable hood. We don’t usually use the hoods on our carriers and being able to cinch it in and use it as a neck bolster for a sleeping baby headrest made the hood design invaluable. I enjoyed that the hood could be completely removed or just cinched and secured with a slip knot to keep the hood protected. Made of the same high air flow mesh, the hood would be ideal for a walk in the intense afternoon sun.
I found that this SSC was comfortable in both the back carry and front carry. The adjustable chest clip was a little difficult to reach in a front carry but held securely and the ability to adjust from both sides allowed for a more custom fit without tugging at the shoulders. The extra padding in the shoulder strap passes along the side of the breast and under the arm alleviating any discomfort or pressure applied to full milk ducts.
The carrier is compliant with the new Consumer Product and Safety Commission and ASTM compliance standard F2236, having been tested by an independent laboratory. As with any soft structured carrier, it is important to make sure your baby can sit unassisted so that they can reposition their heads and protect their airway from suffocation.
What I loved about this carrier
If you look carefully at the featured image at the very top of this post you can see the pattern and color of my shirt through the carrier. This image should explain how open, airy, and breatheable the mesh carrier can be. It is monsoon season in Arizona. This means the air is still, the humidity high, and the heat index is over 110F. We all enjoyed this carrier, even in these extreme weather conditions. There was no heat retention in the body of the carrier. The heat retention in the shoulder straps and waistband were negligible and really provided such a comfortable wearing experience. A comfortable baby meant she was worn longer in this SSC than any other we have worn. Legs out padding provided comfort for tired baby legs.
Shoulder straps did not cut across the mammaries or put pressure on any of the milk ducts under the arms. This is particularly important for wearers of any bust size. I loved the sleek design, use of Warrior’s Creed wrap, and overall comfort for both my baby and me making this carrier my absolute favorite. The cinchable hood is also mesh, keeping out the sun but allowing baby to stay cool with the breeze flowing right through the hood. I could feel the breeze through the carrier and when paired with a dri-fit tank we were ready for our afternoon walk.
After a long walk we arrived home to an out of service elevator, this only happens once a month or so but of course was not the best timed for tired babies. Naked Panda came to the rescue allowing my toddler with the tired legs to rest in comfort while little Miss Independent took on three flights of stairs with a smile. She of course got to the house and requested, “Up! Front!” and I was happy to oblige. The Naked Panda is one of those rare SSCs that is comfortable in both a front or back carry.
What I am looking forward to seeing in the next release
I would absolutely love to see a padded chest clip so that in a back carry the buckle does not press on the spine. I would also love to see a removeable padding set for the shoulder harness buckle which put pressure against the side of the breast in a front carry. I also like the ability to adjust the shoulder harness in a direction that favors the back carry, allowing the straps to be easily tightened when you have the least range of rear motion.
I very much enjoyed wearing the custom carrier from Naked Panda Designs. This carrier was the first time all three of us were comfortable outside of a woven wrap. I am very much looking forward to watching Naked Panda Designs continue to grow and take the babywearing world by storm.
Babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding twin Momma sharing my insights.