Full wrap conversion carrier, 100% cotton
The manufacturer states it is suitable from 5 kg to c. 2,5 years
Lenka, that is a brand of high-quality carriers from Slovakia. Mrs Lenka herself, who is responsible for the carriers, is a remarkable woman. However, I would like to talk about the carrier mainly, therefore I will just mention that besides carriers, they make wraps or barefoot shoes as well, and that her life story is simply incredible.
Lenka carriers were on my radar for quite some time, however, it was rather complicated to find my way through all the variants, therefore my choosing led to a standstill. That is why I gladly applied for testing of the latest Lenka 4Ever, which was supposed to make the job of choosing easier for wearers as indecisive as I am. Lenka 4Ever is intended for the whole baby-wearing period – unfortunately, I cannot judge the lower border, because Helenka is a rather big ˈbabyˈ now, so we usually do not adjust the carriers much.
The carrier does not have wide shoulder straps (which are – by the way – absolutely fantastic and comfortable) and also the possibility to cross the shoulder straps on your back is missing, which many wearers would certainly mind. The shoulder straps are not very stuffed – however, surprisingly, I did not mind it and my shoulders did not protest during the whole testing period.
There is a cord (made of wrap) to adjust the width of the body panel. I simply hate cords and, yes, I will mention it in each of my reviews. Nevertheless, it did not bother me much in the case of this carrier and I would probably learn to live with it.
The waistband is soft, stitched and malleable. Unfortunately, I prefer rather the older version of the waistband – this one unpleasantly pressed my loins (I placed it at the level of my waist). After an hour or so, it was really annoying.
What I did not like at all were the cords to attach the hood (made of wrap, again) – you have to make a knot on the cord to be able to hook it to the plastic clip. My husband gave up after five minutes of fruitless effort – his fingers were not suitable for this job at all. Here, I am really in favour of some other – more intelligent – solution.
To the material the carrier is made of itself – Lenkaˈs own wrap Romeo, indeed. The wrap is very smooth, literally cuddly, and it beautifully adapts. The blending of the colours and the whole combination of colours is very outstanding and I like it very much. Unfortunately, just by looking at it you can see the great tendency towards pulls, the weave is looser and composed of many thin strands – I hereby apologize to the experts, I am not able to describe it better, I hope you can see what I mean from the photos. If I ever consider buying this carrier, I will certainly choose a different wrap.
Overall, I give the carrier a positive rating, and I would recommend it in good conscience since 4 months (both Lenka and I have the same opinion that small babies do not belong to carriers, be it as perfect as it could). The carrier allows proper hip positioning, it is easy to adjust, well-sewn and of pleasing appearance. Definitely, it is one of the best full wrap conversion carriers available, according to my opinion.
A carrier without the possibility to cross the shoulder straps on your back? Oh my gosh, this will be nothing for me. But – it is LENKA after all, she simply cannot make an uncomfortable carrier … well, ok then.
4Ever? Well … Emilka is less than 11 months old, weighs a bit over 7,5 kg and overall her body size corresponds with 6-months-olds (she was not born prematurely, she is perfectly healthy and content, we do not starve her, she is just little; there is no basketball player in the family she could take after) – I cannot imagine a far smaller child in the carrier. I pulled the cords almost at their maximum (they did not bother us, we felt no pressure; I, unlike Linda, do not mind cords, especially if they are decent and made of wrap). The carrier fitted like a glove, Emilkaˈs position in it was ideal, the body panel nicely embraced her. However, I do not think there was an extra room for reduction. No, really, little babies belong to wraps.
Shoulder straps without the possibility to cross on your back … well, I will not lie to you, I was a bit reluctant – and, unfortunately, I also needed help of another person to close the chestbelt (this was the fault of my effort to move the chestbelt as low as possible and also the fact that my arms are simply short). Even though the shoulder straps are not very stuffed, I have to admit that they were ALMOST comfortable for me – I had little backache after a one-and-half-hour long walk, however, I could move freely and painlessly the second morning, which is certainly positive (after testing some other carriers, I could not say this).
Linda has some kind of special loins, or, maybe, my own loins are special – because I liked the waistband (something between soft and hard) very much. It embraced and cuddled my ˈdecorative fatty ringsˈ – for me, it is one of the best waistbands I have ever tested!
I also tried the carrier on my back – in this case, naturally and surprisingly () you cannot cross the shoulder straps, thus I had to behave like the normal, non-crossing wearers. And … wait for it … No. I am simply a weard freak, whose body hurts up to hair roots when wearing a non-crossed carrier, whereas it does not matter if I have the carrier in the front, on my back or on my left little finger (at the same time, I do not mind any wrap carry at all – can anybody explain this to me??).
Before I start the litany of choosing a suitable wrap for a wrap conversion carrier, I will mark Lenka 4Everˈs function and appearance – for non-crossing wearers, it is wonderful and super-convenient; for crossing wearers, it is more or less tolerable. From the point of view of the carried baby, there is only one concern – the lower age border of usage is unreal (unsurprisingly); a child weighing 5 kilograms would literally get lost in the carrier. As regards the appearance, even in this case Lenka confirmed that she simply cannot make an ugly carrier. The variety, gradients and continuity of colours, the sewing perfection just like haute couture – simply and purely, the woman has a lot of talent, craftsmanship and taste, whether we talk about carriers, wraps or shoes.
Well, now letˈs talk about Romeo. No, no, and no. I have never really fallen for wrap conversions, I admit that – in fact, I have bought my first wrap conversion carrier just a few days ago, and the fact that it is made of wrap was not important at all (by the way, I still carry Emilka in Manduca – happily and contentedly – you can expect a grand Manduca review soon). A carrier should not only be comfortable, but resistant as well. I take the child, buckle the carrier and go, unbuckle the carrier, put it aside – for example in the woods, on the meadow, in the fields. Sure, I understand that carriers are not primarily intended for shovelmen and tractor drivers to take them to work, but it should be a practical instrument above all! How can I talk about being practical when I am afraid to touch the carrier not to cause a pull? Romeo is seriously beautiful, the heart weave combined with colour gradients is immensely gentle, the wrap is soft and silky. BUT! One should better wrap oneself up in a protective foil before one buckles up the carrier – I have never met something that bloody prone to pulls – liitle, thin strands! Once more, a carrier should be practical and resistant. Romeo is, unfortunately, an unsuitable, impractical, capricious teenager with weave looser than hippie love. I was one of the first testers and I already had really hard time repairing several pulls. That loose weave is troublesome in a wrap itself, not to mention a wrap conversion carrier – if I ordered one by accident, I would not hesitate to return it. The saddest part about this is that Lenka is excellent at making wraps! I had the possibility to touch and tie some of them, and according to my opinion, Romeo (and his pink sister Juliet) are just an unsuccessful attempt to imitate the attributes of hand-woven wraps. I am very sorry, dear Lenka, but your Romeo failed my test completely.