April 30, 2018

Best Water Slings for Summer

Updated July 18th, 2018


Summer babywearing can be hard work. You’re both sweating, flustered, and can’t get comfortable. Beat the heat in the shower, pool, or sea with these baby carriers you can wear in water.

Update July 2018

We found a quick and easy mesh hip carrier for a bargain price, so the Beachfront Baby has been bumped off top spot!

Say hello to The Hip Dip… (shameless plug – you can buy it right here from our new store).

 

The Hip Dip

Closeup product photo of the Hip Dip mesh baby carrier

Cost: $10
Pros:

  • So easy to get on and off
  • Folds up teeny tiny
  • Perfect for a quick one-handed shower or a dip in the pool
  • Ultra cheap

Cons:

  • Uncomfortable for a full day of carrying (seriously, stick with water activities)
  • One size. Sure, the strap is adjustable but it won’t fit everyone in the world

This is a golden find. For the price of lunch, and considering how easy it is to use, this mesh carrier just cannot be beat. We’ve bumped the Beachfront Baby off the top spot after coming across this mesh sling. The Beachfront Baby is still an amazing choice but The Hip Dip is just too easy to use (and we love a bargain).


Closeup product photo of the Hip Dip mesh baby carrier

 

Shop our store for The Hip Dip!


 

Beachfront Baby Ring Sling

Mother smiling at camera while baby sleeps on her chest in a mesh infant carrier

Cost: Around $50

Pros:

  • Cool lightweight fabric
  • Breastfeeding is relatively easy
  • Made by work-at-home moms in the United States

Cons:

  • Slippery when dry
  • More expensive than other options

Although the manufacturers say that the Beachfront Baby Ring Sling is also made for dry-wearing we found the fabric too slippery to feel truly safe.

But for water-wearing this is our pick of the bunch. It’s the right balance between quality, price, and comfort. And babywearing in the shower means we have a shot at getting clean

Read the full review


Shop Amazon for the Beachfront Baby Ring Sling 

 


Biubee Water Sling

Mother carrying toddler in a mesh ring sling baby carrier. They are in the pool.

Cost: $20

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Performs pretty well when wet
  • Same material as the Beachfront Baby
  • Long tail suitable for plus-
  • size

Cons:

  • Needs frequent tightening
  • Not great for dry wearing

Honestly, we weren’t thrilled with this sling. But we weren’t horrified either.

It did the job it promised to do, holding our test babies in the pool and the shower so we could be mostly hands-free. The fabric is ok although a bit slippery even when wet so regular tightening was required. The mesh is the same material used by our fave Beachfront Baby but the lower-quality rings  add to the Slip Factor.

Still, for twenty bucks this is a perfectly good budget option to take on vacation.

 


The Biubee is available on Amazon Prime 


 

Bitybean Ultra-Compact Baby Carrier

Cost: $70
Pros:

  • Excellent all-rounder for short carries in hot weather
  • The only non ring-sling we loved in water
  • Packs down really small
  • Dries fast

Cons:

  • No strap padding
  • The compulsory safety strap is a pain in the ass
  • The hood is an add-on purchase to an already-expensive carrier
  • Not wide enough to give a full seat to babies over 18 months so it can dig in to their little legs

One of our group has owned a Bitybean Ultra-Compact for three years (is this the longest product test you’ll ever find online?). It’s lasted through two kids so even though it feels flimsy it holds up pretty well.

Straight up, the Bitybean is no good if you’re planning on babywearing all day. The straps are too narrow and unpadded for long carries. Think of this as the emergency poncho of babywearing – it packs down to the size of a thick water bottle and is ultra-light so it can happily sit in the diaper bag for those moments when the baby refuses to be in the stroller.

In the water we loved the extra security of a ‘real’ carrier for tiny babies.

Annoyingly, the Bitybean is no longer available on any of the big-name online retailers but you can still order one from the manufacturer’s website.


Buy direct from Bitybean

 


Water Sling Tips

Wet the fabric

This one sounds pretty obvious when you think about it. But the biggest complaint about water slings is how much the fabric slips. And it’s true, a good water sling will slip like crazy when it’s dry — after all it’s made from the same meshy stuff as jogging shorts. Get the fabric wet, at least the part that goes through the rings, and the sling will hold a lot firmer.

The rings aren’t plastic

Well they are, kind of, but not normal plastic. They’re made of nylon and designed to be super-tough. Metal rings are better for dry wearing but get heavy in the water. Metal will also corrode faster than nylon, especially when exposed to chlorine. Those nylon ‘plastic’ rings look like the sling is shoddy but it’s actually designed this way.

Most water slings are a ring sling style

The only non-sling carrier we found that works well in water is the Bitybean Ultra-Compact.  Ring slings usually aren’t great for people with back problems however water slings are designed for short carries and the added buoyancy of the water or pool helps offset the unbalanced weight.

Have you tried any of these slings? Or one that we don’t know about? Let us know in the comments! 

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