This spring, we had the opportunity to test the Indian carriers Soul – we tested the adjustable carrier, the Standard size carrier and the onbuhimo and, aside from the adjustable Anoona, they received quite a nice review from us. However, a mei tai carrier was missing among the tested carriers – well, here it is! I want to thank the group Nosíme děti (i.e. We wear our babies) for the opportunity.
Some numbers to begin with – the width of the back panel is 38 cm and its height is 40 cm. I will compare it to Manduca, as I always do, because I consider it to be a never-changing etalon of a carrier with standard size in every dimension. Manduca’s back panel measures 35 x 42 cm and it is recommended for children up to approximately 1 year of age without an extender. In comparison, mei tai Soul is claimed to be fine up to 2-2,5 years. Of course, there is still the 3 cm difference in the width, however if I consider that I have to use the extender for our Manduca with Emilka who is rather small for her age, measuring about 72 cm in 15 months of age, and the extender gives the carrier about 4 more centimeters, I am not really sure about the maximum recommended age of this mei tai. Like not sure at all; I think it is not necessary to comment on the height of the back panel (while Manduca’s is 42 cm and is almost too small for Emilka) – however, not every toddler wants to have his/her arms hidden inside the carrier so I am kind of okayish with this. The miminum age of 4 months seems adequate to me.
The carrier is, like its all-buckle siblings, sewn from eco-fair-trade-hand-woven and hand-dyed fabric, the quality of sewing is good, and considering this particular carrier has been traveling around for testing for quite some time, it also looks very durable. Aesthetics-wise, it did not catch my eye at all; the brown-Bordeaux palette is the last of all the colour palettes I would personally choose. Matter of taste, OK.
The waist ˈbeltˈis padded very little and is quite narrow; but I was pleased that it is not extremely long as in case of some other mei tais, and therefore I did not need to tie it three times around my waist or to be afraid of stepping on the tips. However, it did not hold up to Emilka’s 9 kilograms – it basically cut into my hips in the first moment. My experience is that most of the waist belts that are uncomfortable for me at first kind of ˈsettleˈon my hips while wearing and become comfortable after all or at least bearable. Not this Soul, however. After the walk, I felt like being cut into half. Otherwise, I found the shoulder straps comfortable and padded just enough and I did not have the feeling of being totally tied up in the carrier as in case of Andala tai, for example. As far as the position of the wearie goes, I have to go back to the size of the back panel – I felt there was absolutely no space for Emilka to grow, however her position was fine, she was nicely embraced by the back panel with her thighs and knees well supported.
Mei tai Soul could be a really decent carrier for smaller babies in my opinion, but not really for toddlers – mainly because of the waist belt not being comfortable enough. But if you have hips of steel, why not.