Saturday, August 22, 2009

Product comparison: Ergo vs. Manduca

Well, we've gone and done it again, we're the first stockists of the Manduca baby carrier in North America, though sadly for our American cousins, the carrier is only available for sale within Canada. If you've never heard of the Manduca carrier, I'll start by telling you it's German, and that means it's brilliant. As my mother (German) is quick to point out, Germans do everything better, so it should be no surprise that the folks at Manduca have been able to design a soft structured carrier that will truly last from baby to toddler. Anyone who knows me knows I love the Ergo brand, we've been a faithful retailer for over five years, but the Manduca boasts a few features that makes it a swell ride.

Alrightey, let's start this product comparison by defining a soft structured carrier (SSC): an SSC is comprised of a rectangular body, two shoulder straps, and a waistbelt. Both Ergo and the Manduca are buckle SSCs, no tying is involved because the shoulder straps and waistbelts are fastened with buckles.




The term SSC used to be synonymous with the Ergo brand, however, as more and more SSC-type carriers have entered the market, the SSC has broken out as a category all its own. People like SSCs because they are easy to use, and they distribute the baby's weight better than a one-shouldered carrier, so they are great for people with back or neck problems, and they are great for longterm babywearing (if you come into our store, you'll often notice our staff members wearing their babies, since we're at the store for four hours at a time, and many of us wear our babies for the duration of their naps, you'll notice a lot of us sporting our own SSCs).


The Ergo carrier can be used in conjunction with their infant insert, a padded support that allows the parent to carry baby in a side-carry position a la traditional slings. It works, but it can be a little awkward, and in the humid Ottawa summer, that padding can be warm. The Ergo carrier can be used without the infant insert, simply fold the baby's legs underneath his bum (froggy style). This works for small babies, but as the baby grows, this position may become uncomfortable before the baby is physically able to straddle the wearer's torso (that's the point when the baby can sit in the SSC with his legs out).




The Manduca carrier features an internal seat that accommodates infants from birth until they can sit in the carrier with their legs out. This infant seat features a narrower crotch so that baby is seated with his legs out, but baby's legs still remain within the body of the carrier (not dangling out). The infant seat suspends the baby in the body of the carrier so that his weight does not rest on his legs within the carrier.

Once baby is old enough to sit in a SSC with his legs out of the carrier (around 3-4 months), both the wide body of the Ergo and the Manduca carriers keep baby in a seated position, which is ergonomically better than a carrier that features a narrow crotch. A carrier with a narrow crotch places the baby's weight on the base of their spine; a SSC distributes the baby's weight better.



Both the Ergo and the Manduca carrier enable front and back carries -- they can do hip carries, but neither carrier is ideal for that position (could be done in a pinch, but I wouldn't recommend either carrier for this purpose, Scootababy is the SSC for that job!). Neither carrier accommodates a forward-facing carry, but that's OK, we always point out to parents that when baby is facing you, he can look sideways and still see lots of the world, but he can also look up at mom or dad for reassurance, and he can turn away from stimulation. When a baby is forward-facing, you can't see his face to read his expression (ie, if Junior is getting upset), and baby cannot turn away from stimulation (not to mention well-meaning strangers who have boundary issues!). Front-facing carriers also force the baby's spine into an unnatural position, whereas the Ergo and Manduca both follow the natural curve of baby's spine.



The body of the Ergo measures 35 cm, the body of the Manduca measures 33 cm, however, the Manduca carrier features a nift zipper that lengthens the body of the carrier to a whopping 41 cm, which makes it ideal for taller babies and toddlers.


All Manduca carriers are made from an organic cotton/hemp blend, Ergo makes a regular line of carriers (cotton, low-impact dye) , and an organic cotton line. The body of the Manduca is significantly lighter than the body of the Ergo, which is more padded.


The Ergo features some bells and whistles that the Manduca carrier doesn't have, namely the pocket on the body of the carrier, however, you can purchase a pouch to afix to the Manduca for storage, and the Manduca carrier comes with a free storage tote. The Manduca has padding behind all of the buckles so that they never touch the user or the baby, though I've never had an issue with buckles or webbing irritating me or the baby when I've worn the Ergo. I will say that the padding on the Manduca is just an example of the thoughtfulness with which this carrier was crafted, if not a nod to the whole German-attention-to-detail-thing that my mother is so proud to point out whenever possible. There are some other features that point to this, such as the loops that allow you to tuck excess webbing away, and the additional buckles at the top of the carrier that allow you to snug baby *that* much closer.


One last difference between the two carriers is the fact that the Manduca allows the user to cross the shoulder straps when wearing baby on the front, allowing for a better distribution of weight across the back and shoulders.


So there you have it, my great big Manduca lovefest (what can I say, new carriers are always fun!). Yes, I still love my Ergo, but Manduca has managed to tweak the SSC to make it that much better for both babies and baby wearers alike. Pricewise, the Ergo retails for $120-$140, dependent on the model, and the Manduca retails for $160-$180 (for limited editions).

If you are local to Ottawa or Waterloo, come on in and try them both on for size, it's always nice to compare for yourself! Both carriers are also available for sale on our website.



28 comments:

  1. Christine, here, staff member at the Waterloo store. As someone who LOVES her ergo (It has seen me through two children), I tried the Manduca today with my 40-lb four year old on my back, and it felt soooo nice! I've never been this excited before about new carriers in the store. (I've been quite happy with my Maya Wrap ring sling, Didymos wrap, and ergo - we get new carriers sometimes, but none have made me so covetous!) I love the way the arm straps are adjustable in three ways, it makes a difference! The fabric feels nice, strong and solid. Everything about is of high quality, and it's an attractive SSC. The waist belt felt quite comfortable. I'm dying to try it out and to see it tried out by parents of small babies! Come on in, indeed!

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  2. Thanks for sharing! I have always been a little luke warm on my ergo because of the shoulder straps when wearing baby on front, and the fact that it seemed to take forever for my girls to 'grow into' it without needing an infant insert. If I could do it again...

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  3. Ohh, she's pretty!

    Melissa F

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  4. Just curious about whether there is a hood on the Manduca? I didn't see it mentioned and I really liked the hood on my Ergo when my daughter was younger and often fell asleep in it. If the Manduca does have a hood, did you try it and how did it compare?
    Thanks
    Kelly S

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  5. Yes Kelly, there is a hood. Sorry, I overlooked that as I never (never!) use the sleep hood on any of my carriesr, for the simple fact I found it annoyed my kids. I always found that if they woke up and felt their head restricted (by the hood), they would stay awake... you know how kids wake up/fall asleep during their naps? I had better luck with no hood.

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  6. I also noticed that the Manduca *does* have a pocket on the body of the carrier, but b/c it doesn't have a zipper, it's not as noticeable, but it's quite sizeable.

    susie ;)

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  7. How does the length of the waist strap compare? We can't get the Ergo b/c my husband is too large even with the Ergo waist extension, and we were looking at the Papadum SSC (which goes up to 55" w/o extension). I can't find info on this on the German website, and Germans can have quite a different definition of what counts as a 'large' user. Thanks!

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  8. Buckle-to-buckle, 56".

    susie ;)

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  9. Seriously I think I want one... acommodates an infant and comes in RED!

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  10. oops, I must proof read everything: accommodates

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  11. Tried the new carrier, love it. A must try!

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  12. Hi there,

    If the Ergo has more padding than the Manduca, does that mean that the Ergo is better in terms of not feeling the weight of the baby or the strain when carrying? Hope I make sense.

    Since you have been selling the Ergo for numerous years now and is a fan of the Ergo, would you trade Ergo for the Manduca personally?

    Thanks :)

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  13. Found Manduca carrier on www.babywearing.ru site. I`m happy!

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  14. How does this compare with something like the Pikkolo or Patapum?

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  15. The Manduca is fantastic! Compared to the Ergo it fits me better, I didn´t like the shoulderstraps on the Ergo when carrying the baby on my back. And that the shoulderstraps on the Manduca can be crossed when carrying the baby in front is so much better for my sore shoulders. Plus that the Manduca comes in hemp/ecological cotton without any extra cost! Here in Sweden a Manduca costs about 1000 SEK and an Ergo (ecocotton) 1700 SEK. =)

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  16. @ Repercussionist, the Patapum is a scaled-down (cheaper) version of the Ergo. The Pikkolo is similar to a Mei Tai, with buckles and a belt made of webbing (not a structured belt). The Pikkolo also allows a user to cross straps, and it allows a forward-facing carry.

    susie ;)

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  17. Hello! Have you tried the new BOBA 2G?? How does it compare to the manduca?? I have a 2 yr old, 36" inch tall toddler...do you sell to the USA yet??

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  18. I'm wondering how the Manducca compares to the new ERGO performance and with the new H2H insert. My concern with the Manducca would be that the built in insert is similar to the Bjorn in how it holds them, almost like a parachute? Like the colors!

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  19. I have an Ergo which I love, but because I'm small I find it feels a bit long (ie It sits lower on my hips, rather than further up my waist than i would ideally like). Is the Manducca any better in this respect, or would it be the same?

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  20. this is helpful because I'm searching for a new carrier for our daughter. We have an "Active" Baby Bjorn however it was a used one and starting to look a little rough. Though still safe. She's tall though 33" and only 1 yr old so I wanted something that will last us. Its nice to have option of carrying now and then as the stroller doesn't always work well in certain stores or events!
    Thanks for the insights!

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  21. Riso, it is better than the Ergo in that regard. I just got a Maduca, after a year and a half of loving my Ergo, but finding the body too short as my toddlers grew. I LOVE the Manduca! The straps allow for much more adjustability, and I can actually have the chest strap unbuckled without having the straps fall down.

    As to the newborn insert, I haven't used it, but the manual states that when using it, to make sure their knees are higher than their bum. So, it is designed to still be ergonomically correct for newborns.

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  22. More than just a way to transport baby from here to there, Baby Carriers can have surprising benefits for your infant at Babyviva.

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  23. As a plus size mom I find my ergo rides up on my waist how does the manduca do for this?

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. Are you still selling the Manduca carriers?
    I can't find it in your online shop.
    Please let me know thanks!

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  26. Does anyone know how to get a Manduca in the United States? Really wanting one but can't find the right website. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Amazon or aliexpress

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  27. Thanks for your information, it was really very helpfull..
    baby carriers for hiking

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