Recently, I purchased a Patapum (touted as better than the Ergo) as a spare carrier to bring out in case Wolf got tired and wanted me to back carry him.
I currently have 3 baby carriers. The Ergo Black with Cranberry lining is an at-home carrier while the beautiful Ergo Organic Carrier Black with Embroidery from my BFF figur8 is for going out.
The Patapum was cheaper at S$145 (before any discounts) and seemed a good idea to try a different carrier (the Beco was too expensive at S$250 or S$210 cheapest I saw it and was a nightmare to put on and unsuitable for toddlers).
In retrospect it was a bad idea. Being an Ergo user for about 3 years, it is easy to compare and clearly the Ergo comes out tops. Here’s why:
Patapum – Adjust poorly and your shoulder blades will ache within minutes of carrying a toddler. Otherwise, both baby and toddler feel the same in it as the Ergo, fairly weightless.
Ergo – Good as gold, around the world. It feels soft yet stable for you and baby (and/or toddler, if x2). Although the stiff waist in the Patapum is supposed to be better support, I find the Ergo’s softer waist more comfortable with similar support.
Patapum – Particularly for toddlers and a back carry, it is imperative that it is easy to put the toddler in and remove the toddler.
Needing to insert the toddler’s legs inside 2 loops (of straps) to put him or her on the back is not easy on the fly. And it is absolutely hellish trying to remove the toddler whose 2 legs are now stuck in 2 loops.
You clearly need someone to help you carry the toddler out of the carrier or to have a platform high enough for toddler to sit, remove legs, and not trip over the straps while trying to extract self.
Circle marks the spot your toddler has to slip legs through
No strap enclosures to lift your child out of
Ergo – With the Ergo, I get Wolf to stand on a chair or I squat down, pull up the shoulder straps and clip. He’s on. To remove, I just unclip and slide him down my body slowly.
If you look at the picture of the Ergo above, it is wider, so lends more support to the curve of baby’s bottom and you can release and slide the toddler down easily if you back carry as there are no extra leg hole straps to have to lift him or her out of, like in the Patapum.
The extra support from those straps, touted by Patapum, is really replicated by Ergo’s wider body design.
Patapum – The waist straps are really difficult to adjust while carrier was being used. They are way too stiff to just slide loose with one hand (or with 2).
If I need to nurse and so, need to loosen the waist strap to lower baby down, it is impossible. I have to remove the carrier, use 2 hands to concertedly readjust the strap and then wear it again. By which time, baby would be screaming.
Ergo – All I have to do is loosen the waist strap with one hand, with baby still in the carrier, lower the waist strap so baby sits lower and nursing’s a snap.
Patapum – As the Patapum is so difficult to adjust, my husband tried carrying Wolf in it just once and gave up after 5 minutes when his shoulders ached and he couldn’t readjust it. Swore never to use it again.
I remember reading how a family bought 2 just so they wouldn’t have to readjust the carrier. Not very user-friendly at all.
Ergo – We swap it in a snap. (Sorry, pun!)
Patapum – The carrier had a strong chemical smell when I first opened it. Formaldehyde in the canvas and polyester? I don’t know. And it did not come out after the first wash but after the 3rd and about 3 days of airing.
While the materials are certified by 3 different bodies in 3 different countries, after 3 washes it looks 3 years old after only 2 weeks old and less than 10 wears.
The colour has faded a little, and worst of all, one of the snaps has rusted (click image below to see close up of rusted snap), and the 3 snap enclosures have loose thread hanging out of them.
The snaps are also distinctly misaligned (see pic below) and the workmanship not as well as the Ergo’s.
The canvas is so rough to touch and I hate the polyester feel in the waist (mothers sweat there too) and shoulders, and wonder why they used it.
Patapum snaps with threads loose after only 2 weeks!
Click image to see rusted snap up close.
Ergo – My 3 year old Ergo Black still looks good. Used but definitely still in excellent condition. It is poly + cotton but doesn’t feel hot or uncomfortable.
My Ergo Organic Black with Embroidery is still looking new after 4 months of wear, feels soft and wonderful, and I wash both Ergos weekly.
Excellent workmanship on both carriers and the soft cotton waist strap (even the instruction label inside is cotton) absorbs all my sweat when carrying Kitten.
Buy organic if you’re worried about chemicals in the material but I never had any smell issues even with the non-organic one.
In the pictures, the carriers haven’t been washed in days and this is with baby puke in them, and wear from use outdoors (excluding the Ergo Black).
3 year old Ergo Black with Cranberry Lining
4 month old Ergo Organic Carrier Black with Embroidery
2 week old black Patapum
Patapum – Wrap it up and snap, or so it seems. The snaps work so poorly that they take a while to match up and press down accurately. Still, once snapped, you can carry it on your shoulder, clip it to your pram, or hook it onto your backpack.
Ergo – With the organic Ergo, you can tie the hood straps around the waist band and clip. Same with the Ergo black. The soft material means you can stuff it in your bag. Not so, with the stiff waist strap of the Patapum.
Many look at the design and price when buying a baby carrier, but also consider your daily usage and how easy to use the carrier is. For me, having to navigate my toddler’s legs through a pair of hoops proved to be a tad too unusable in the end for my purpose. Whatever the case, always try a baby carrier before buying it, be it from a friend or store.
My main issues with the Patapum are the shoddy workmanship and the poor usability of the design, particularly since they actually designed a toddler version of their carrier, which I bought for carrying a toddler in the back. (Plus the store here that sold the Patapum does not take returns, even for this dreadful workmanship.)
The Ergo at S$160 (organic from S$210-S$230) costs only slightly more than the Patapum which retails for S$148. I’d tell you to forget the Patapum and go buy the Ergo as a main or a spare. You won’t be disappointed.
(Note: 1 USD = + – 1.5 SGD)