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Family Travel | Travel Gear

REVIEW: Ergobaby 360 vs. Omni 360 Baby Carrier

We put the Ergobaby 360 and Omni carriers to the ultimate test—years of use and abuse in the tropics with two boys. So which is better? And is it worth it? Here’s our review.

If you’re looking for an honest, in-depth review of the Ergobaby 360 vs Omni 360 carriers, you’ve come to the right place!

We used the Ergobaby 360 with our oldest for just over two years, before getting the newer redesigned Omni 360 shortly after the birth of our second.

Like our trusty travel crib, these carriers followed us around Southeast Asia (where we lived for four years), helped us mule our kiddos around during visits back to the U.S., and saw action in Europe and Latin America as well.

So, what have we learned from the past years and countless miles carrying our wee ones around on our fronts (and backs) in extreme heat and humidity, driving rain, freezing cold, up mountains, across megacities, down the street, and everywhere in between?

As it turns out, quite a bit!

We hope this review sheds some light on the differences between the Ergobaby 360 vs Omni 360 and ultimately helps you decide if one of these carriers is right for you and your kiddo.

So, here goes!

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Ergobaby 360 vs Omni review

A Tale of Two Carriers. LEFT: Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh (Riley @20 mos.). RIGHT: Ergobaby 360 Cool Air Mesh (Riley @3 mos.).

ErgoBaby 360 vs Omni 360 | A Traveler’s Review

Why We Chose the Ergobaby 360 & Omni 360

When we found out we were expecting our first son, we knew we’d want some sort of baby carrier, for the practical benefits they provide for an active lifestyle, but also the numerous other benefits that come from baby wearing.

And, when we found out we were moving to Southeast Asia, we knew we’d need a baby carrier that was durable, lightweight, packable, and kept baby cool and comfortable in the tropical heat.

So, we did what a lot of parents do and researched the heck out of baby carriers.

Lori and I sought the advice of friends and family with little ones and narrowed down the field to five of the big players.

We spent time in baby stores trying on the carriers for comfort and fit, then took our top choices and read every online review we could get our hands on.

It took a bit of time (this was before kids, so we had a little more of that in those days). But I’m happy to report that, in the end, all that research seemed to pay off.

We ultimately landed on the Ergobaby 360 (this was in 2016, prior to the release of the Omni).

Original Ergobaby 360 (Riley @3 mos., dropping big brother off at nursery school in Laos).

Why the Ergobaby 360?

For one, it felt the most comfortable of all the carriers we tried on.

We liked the thick padding and how it seemed to do a good job balancing the weight evenly across the entire upper body (not just on the shoulders).

Moving overseas, we liked the idea of a baby carrier that would grow with our child. The 360 offers an infant insert to carrier smaller babies, yet is designed to accommodate young toddlers as well.

We also liked the Cool Air Mesh option that is designed to offer better airflow to baby on warmer days, as well as offering better moisture management in rainy or humid conditions, keeping baby and baby’s mules (i.e. us) drier, cooler, and happier.

And lastly, the Ergobaby 360 got glowing reviews from other parents we knew and online reviews as well.

Ergobaby Omni 360 review
Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh in front-facing mode (Riley @12 mos. in Penang, Malaysia)

Why did we trade in our Ergobaby 360 for an Omni?

Well, we didn’t exactly trade it in. Our oldest son, Noe, was 27 months old when our youngest son, Riley, was born.

At that point, Noe was getting a bit big for front-carrying, but had many solid back-carrying months ahead of him. So we knew we’d be needing a second carrier.

The Ergobaby Omni had launched the previous year and we had read good things about Ergobaby’s latest redesign (more on that below).

We considered getting a toddler carrier exclusively for Noe, but liked the idea of having the option of bringing one carrier that would be versatile enough for both boys, particularly for days out when two carriers might be a bit cumbersome.

Plus, we knew that ultimately, we’d whittle our baby carrier supply down to one, and the Omni seemed better suited for that.

Why’s that? Read on for the full scoop, plus the most critical differences we found between the two when comparing the Ergobaby Omni vs the 360.

Ergobaby 360 vs Omni review

Ergobaby Omni 360 (left); and Ergobaby 360 (right).

Ergobaby 360 vs Omni Carrier

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself, what the heck is the difference between the Ergobaby 360 vs Omni baby carrier?

Side by side, you might not notice the differences between the two carriers right off the bat, as they appear quite similar on the surface.

Both offer balanced, ergonomic support across the upper body, as well as the ability to wear baby in four carry positions (front inward, front outward, back, and hip), hence the “360” moniker on both models. Both are also machine washable and come with a 10-year guarantee.

Differences you are likely to notice right away is that the Omni 360 feels a bit more ridged and muscular, and introduces a few new colors.

But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that there are quite a few improvements that Ergobaby has made to the newer Omni vs the older Ergobaby 360.

Ergobaby Omni 360 showing lumbar support waist strap (Angkor Wat, Cambodia).

New Features Introduced with the Ergobaby Omni 360

Launched in 2017, the Ergobaby Omni 360 touted a number of new features and improvements over the Ergobaby 360, which are listed here.

Do we think these changes are actual improvements or simply gimmicks? We’ll answer that in just a bit.

  • No need for Infant Insert – The Ergobaby Omni 360 adjusts to accommodate both newborn and toddler without the need for an added infant insert. The Omni can now accommodate a minimum baby weight of 7 lbs / 3.2 kg, whereas the old 360 requires the infant insert accessory from 7 lbs. to 12 lbs. (3.2 – 5.2 kg).
  • The Omni is more adjustable and customizable than the 360 for comfortably accommodating a wider range of adults and wee ones.
  • The Ergobaby Omni 360 has redesigned shoulder straps that can be buckled in the traditional “H” fashion, or cross-buckled (like an “X”) for added comfort and support;
  • The under arm strap buckles of the Omni have been redesigned in a way that makes them more accessible and easier to buckle by yourself. Ergobaby also added a new security tab to prevent the carrier from falling off while unbuckling.
  • The Omni’s waist strap is more rigid with increased lumbar support to reduce back soreness.
  • The area around baby’s upper legs is adjustable, optimizing support for baby’s growing hips, when baby is being carried on the back versus the front.
  • The Ergobaby Omni 360 adds a detachable (velcro) zip pouch on the waist strap for phone, keys, lovey, etc.

→ 2021 Update ←

⚠️ We just noticed that Amazon is offering the Ergobaby Omni 360 for $30 off!

We like ordering on Amazon for their fast shipping and easy returns, which can make all the difference if you’re on the fence between the two carriers or aren’t able to try out the carrier beforehand.

Ergobaby 360 vs Omni review

Cool Air Mesh System

Before we get to what we like and don’t like about the Ergobaby 360 vs Omni, a quick word about the Cool Air Mesh system.

Both carriers we owned had the Cool Air Mesh fabric option. If we had stayed in the Pacific Northwest, we likely wouldn’t have opted to get the regular fabric. But since we were moving to Southeast Asia, it was important to have the Cool Air Mesh feature.

What is the Cool Air Mesh feature? In a nutshell, it adds a layer of synthetic ventilated mesh fabric over the contact areas of the carrier.

It’s supposed to allow for more airflow and breathability, keeping you and baby more comfortable in warmer weather.

Ergobaby 360 vs Omni review
Napping on a hot and humid day in Southeast Asia in our Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh. The material with the thatch pattern is the cool air mesh (Riley @12 mos. in Penang, Malaysia).

Does the Cool Air Mesh do what it claims? We think so, but honestly it’s hard for us to say since we haven’t spent a lot of time using an Ergobaby 360 without this feature.

What Lori and I can say for certain is that the Cool Air Mesh fabric seems a bit rougher than the regular fabric.

And the Cool Air Mesh models can be harder to find and cost a bit more (depending on stock on hand).

So, there are definitely pros and cons to the Cool Air Mesh system.

We would recommend the Cool Air Mesh for those who live in warmer climates or plan to hike a lot in the summertime.

For everyone else, we’d recommend skipping the Cool Air Mesh system and going with the standard fabric.

Ergobaby 360 vs Omni review
Original Ergobaby 360 Cool Air Mesh (Riley @3 mos. in Laos)

Ergobaby 360 Review: What We Like (+)

The Ergobaby 360 and 360 Omni aren’t perfect, but there is a lot to like about the two carriers. Here are the aspects of each of the carriers that we’ve found to be particularly helpful over the years.

Ergonomic weight distribution

Both carriers do a fantastic job of distributing the weight among different parts of the upper body.

The wide waist strap (particularly the redesigned strap with lumbar support on the Omni 360), and cushioned shoulder straps have made carrying heavier/ older toddlers much more comfortable and less fatiguing for us.

Age / weight range

We love that we’ve been able to use these carriers with our boys from only a few months of age up to around age three.

The infant insert made this possible on the original Ergobaby 360, but the Omni takes it to another level without the need for the additional insert.

Adjustable for different lengths of torsos

Lori and I aren’t large people, and felt that the original 360 didn’t accommodate shorter torso lengths very well.

The Omni 360, on the other hand, has an adjustable body plate that can accommodate a wider range of heights and body types.

Stowable hood

The attached hood on both carriers has come in handy countless times, particularly for blocking out light and distraction during nap time, while walking in rainy or windy conditions, or if mom or dad wants to grab a snack without getting crumbs all over baby’s head.

Best of all, the hood quickly stows in its own zipper pocket when not in use.

Redesigned straps/buckles (Omni 360)

One of the gripes we had with the original 360 was that the location of the shoulder strap buckles were located too far to the rear, making putting on baby by yourself a bit more challenging than necessary.

Fortunately, Ergobaby improved the buckle design with the Omni 360, making the buckles safer, easier, and more accessible.

With the Omni, getting baby on and off by yourself is a lot safer and easier once you get the hang of it.

Detachable zipper pouch (Omni 360)

We love the stowage pouch added to the Omni (especially Lori who often doesn’t wear pants with pockets), which we use to store anything from our phone, to keys, a pacifier, snack, you name it.

Easy for breastfeeding

Lori liked the ease of being able to partially unclip the carrier to breastfeed our boys when they were younger, particularly if we found ourselves in transit somewhere (on a train, bus, boat, etc.).

Well built, rugged design & construction

We’ve put both of these carriers through the wringer, piling on a ton of abuse over the years. In that time, we’ve not had a single seam unravel, buckle break, or part of the fabric wear out.

Both of these carriers are built insanely well, with sturdy materials all around.

When it’s time for a wash, we just throw them in the washer with a bunch of clothes on cold/delicate and have always had great results.

Ergobaby 360 vs Omni review
Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh, carrying our oldest on the back (Noe @25 mos. in Laos).

Ergobaby 360 Review: What We Don’t Like (-)

There’s not a lot we don’t like about these carriers, but there is always room for improvement. These are the areas, in our minds at least, that could stand to be improved.

Cool Air Mesh System

Lori and I are on the fence regarding how we feel about this feature. It seems to do what it promises, but we do wonder if it’s worth the added cost (or trouble that we had finding Ergobaby 360s with this feature).

The material does have a fairly rough texture to it, which never seemed to bother our sons much, but did occasionally leave red hash marks (and the occasional heat rash) on our infants’ baby soft skin.

Detachable Zipper Pouch placement

The velcro zipper pouch that comes with Omni 360 can be very hard to access with older babies, as it attaches to the waist strap and ends up hanging just below baby’s behind.

It’s nice to have the additional storage for phone, chapstick, keys, etc., but takes a bit of blindfold acrobatics to access while baby’s flailing about.

Not the best for newborns

This “downside” falls more into the category of “wishful thinking” than “gripe,” but we believe it’s an important consideration when buying an Ergobaby 360 or Omni.

While both Ergobaby 360s are designed to carry babies starting at 7 lbs / 3.2 kg (original 360 with infant insert), we found that the carrier wasn’t all that useful for us until baby was around 14 lbs. (5 months old for our oldest and 3 months old for our youngest).

Up until then, we had a lot better luck carrying our newborn around in a baby wrap like a K’tan or Moby for everyday activities.

Baby wraps tend to be a lot less bulky for the littlest ones, and baby just seemed a lot more content in our K’tan in those first months. If you’re looking for a no-fuss newborn baby-wrap, we think the K’tan is the way to go!

Price

The Ergobaby 360 and Omni aren’t cheap, and this certainly factored in our initial reluctance to get our first.

But as far as quality baby gear go, they aren’t insanely expensive either. And in hindsight, we’re very happy with our investment, which served us very well until both our boys outgrew the carriers.

When we did eventually pass them off to the next person, they seemed very surprised at the excellent condition of both, given the hard use we put both carriers through.

Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh (Riley @19 mos., crossing the Mekong in Cambodia).

Which One Should You Get?

Honestly, if we were buying an Ergobaby carrier today, we’d spring for the newer Omni 360, particularly if we planned to get just one carrier for our kid from infancy to young toddlerhood.

The Omni’s out-of-the-box design for infants, and improved ergonomics for older toddlers, makes it the clear winner between the two for the long haul.

In 2021, the only reason to get the older Ergobaby 360 is if the price of the newer Omni is beyond what you are willing to pay, and/or if you only plan to use your carrier starting around four months to about 18 months.

Is the Ergobaby 360 Worth It?

We think so.

It’s certainly not an inexpensive baby carrier, but it ain’t cheap either.

With both the Ergobaby 360 and the Omni, you seem to get what you pay for – a comfortable and durable baby carrier that delivers what it claims.

We considered less expensive carriers, but found they really weren’t practical past 18 months, meaning we’d eventually want to get a toddler carrier.

We also knew there’d be a chance we’d have a second child on the way when our first was ready to graduate from the Ergobaby (or just a bit sooner, as was our case).

Would We Buy the Ergobaby 360 or Omni Again?

Absolutely!

Well, here in 2021, if we were starting over, we’d skip the original Ergobaby 360 and go straight for the Ergobaby Omni 360, for all the reasons we’ve already mentioned above (but hindsight is 2020…and the Omni didn’t exist when our first was born).

We recommend the Ergobaby Omni 360 to all our friends and family who are in the market for a baby carrier, and all of them seem like they’ve had similarly great experiences with the carrier.

In our minds, there really isn’t a better value on the market for what it is and does.

Find them all on Amazon.com:

Ergobaby 360 vs Omni review

Want more real world baby and toddler travel gear advice from two nomadic parents? Then be sure to also check out:

And that’s Our Review of the Ergobaby 360 vs Omni!

Have you used either? Do you have a preference between the two? Would you buy it again? Let us know in the comments below.

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