Tula Lite Baby Carrier Review (A Compact Travel Carrier)

Are you looking for a baby carrier that is lightweight and easy to use? If so, the Tula Lite Baby Carrier may be perfect for you. The Tula Lite is a very unique baby carrier that folds up into itself for super easy storage and for travel. This makes it the perfect baby carrier for keeping with you ‘just in case’ you need to use a carrier. It’s so small and compact that it stores easily inside a diaper bag, stroller, and it even fits in my car’s glove box.

tula lite cross body bag

It can also be used as a cross body bag for storing your phone and essentials in, and there’s room for your belongings in the pockets even when the carrier is folded and stored. 

*If you choose to purchase a carrier by clicking an Amazon affiliate link on this website I might earn a small commission from either brand at no extra cost to you. 

How Easy Is The Tula Lite To Use?

The Tula Lite baby carrier is super easy to use. It’s just like the Tula Standard and Free to Grow, because you do up one buckle to put on the waistband and then load your baby in and do up the second clasp behind your back. Ease of use is important when you’re on the go traveling with kids and you’d like to get them in and out of a carrier quickly.

tula lite side view

Lots of soft-structured carriers function like this, with two buckles. The only problem you may come across is if you have mobility issues or tight shoulders that make it difficult to reach the clasp behind your upper back. 

tula lite back view

This carrier doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. That means there aren’t a lot of adjustments you can make, which probably leaves less room for getting confused about how to use it. 

Is The Tula Lite Good For Travel?

This is a great baby carrier for taking through airports. After I thoroughly tested it out, I lent the Tula Lite to a good friend of mine who used it with her baby while traveling. She didn’t have to take it off through the security line (every airport will have their own regulations, but it’s nice to know it won’t set off a metal detector). 

tula lite carrier in an airport in front of an airplane

After you check your luggage, you might have quite a long way to walk through security line ups, and to your gate. A baby carrier can really help you keep your baby close while you’re on the go. Many baby carriers are super bulky and difficult to store or pack on a trip. This is where the Tula Lite really shines because it’s so small and light it’s easy to pack away when it is not in use.

How Comfortable Is The Tula Lite For Babies?

My baby seems comfortable and content in the Tula Lite carrier. This carrier can be used with babies from 12 – 30 pounds. The weight restrictions are an important part of keeping your baby comfortable in this carrier. If your baby is too small, the carrier could put awkward pressure on their legs and hips, or cover too much of their head or face. If your baby is more than 30 pounds it might be time to consider something bigger. Tula also makes toddler-specific carriers for preschool age children and that have much higher weight limits.

The black mesh fabric that surrounds the padded infant leg openings, and the inside of the shoulder straps for the adult wearing it, could be improved. My only word of caution when it comes to baby’s comfort in this carrier is that I wouldn’t feel as comfortable with my baby’s skin exposed to the leg openings. The fabric is slightly more abrasive than I’m used to seeing on a baby carrier and I preferred having my baby wear pants that put a layer of fabric between his skin and the padding.

How Comfortable Is The Tula Lite For Parents?

I think this carrier shines as a super lightweight back-up carrier. For shorter baby wearing sessions, it’s a wonderful carrier. The Tula Lite doesn’t have lumbar support, which can be important for longer treks so your lower back doesn’t get sore. The nice part about a lack of lumbar support, though, is that you can get a really tight fit on your waist if you are petite or narrow waisted. 

Some carriers like the Ergobaby Omni 360 or Omni Breeze have a lot of lumbar support, but it makes them less adaptable for petite customers. The best carrier I’ve found for a narrow waist that has lumbar support is the BabyBjorn Harmony.

For plus sized parents, the waistband can expand to about 57 inches. Tula also sells a separate belt extender that will add another 10 inches to the waistband for your comfort.

As I referred to in the previous section, the mesh fabric of the Tula Lite is a bit more abrasive than I’m used to. Wearing this carrier with a T-Shirt was great, and it was totally fine with a sweater or wearing it on top of a coat. Where I had concerns was with wearing it when my shoulders were exposed.

tula lite shoulder straps

You can see in the above photo that the fabric left some little imprints on my shoulder skin from the pattern of the shoulder padding. I wouldn’t necessarily let this deter me from my decision to buy the carrier, but I would keep it in mind with my wardrobe choices if I were going to use it for longer periods of time.

Price

The Tula Lite has a very affordable price point when you compare it to other, similar quality, baby carriers. It’s around $90 USD when it’s not on sale ($125 Canadian).

Tula carriers have a reputation for being good quality and adhering to a high safety standard and although it’s inexpensive, this compact travel Tula baby carrier is no different. It is a great option to purchase as a second baby carrier to have around as back up or add to your list of baby essentials.

Tula Lite Fabric Type and Care

The Tula Lite is made from quick-drying Ripstop fabric, which makes it tougher and more durable against normal wear and tear. Woven Ripstop material is often used for outdoor apparel and sportswear, due to its durability and coolness. 

The outer fabric is 100% Nylon and the inner pouch lining and mesh are 100% Polyester. To wash the Tula Lite use mild detergent and cold water. It’s also recommended to hang dry only, which isn’t a problem since the fabric dries so quickly.

Can You Fold The Tula Lite?

YES! The Tula Lite is the most ‘foldable’ baby carrier I’ve ever owned. In order to store the carrier in the waistband pouch you can fold in the straps and roll the whole thing up.

tula lite folded

Soft structured carriers can take up quite a bit of space, especially when they have too much padding to roll up and store away; the Tula Lite doesn’t have that problem since it’s been specifically designed as a compact travel carrier.

Key Features:

Shoulder Straps

The shoulder straps of the Tula Lite are a good width for evenly distributing weight, which helps with shoulder comfort. They don’t have much padding, but the lack of padding helps them to fit inside the waistband pouch without too much bulk. The adjustable straps are easy to resize for different body types, which makes it an ideal choice if you plan on trading off with your significant other.

tula lite carrier shoulder straps

As I mentioned earlier in the article, the shoulder straps left a bit of a mesh imprint on my shoulders when they were bare, so I recommend wearing a T-shirt or sweater in order to have a layer between your shoulder skin and the carrier.

Infant Seat

The infant seat is not adjustable so it is important that your baby is the right weight and size to safely use this carrier. My baby was really comfortable in this infant seat; it’s easy to get a good ergonomic position for the child’s legs and knees to be in, and the leg holes are lightly padded to help evenly distribute weight and avoid digging into your baby’s legs. It’s a nice wide seat that allows your baby to have lots of comfortable support, as well.

tula lite compact travel carrier leg padding

Sun Hood 

The Tula Lite includes a detachable hood. One of the hood’s main purposes is actually to provide older babies with head support in case they fall asleep while their parent is wearing them on their back. It’s also useful as sun protection and good for privacy while breastfeeding in the carrier, but you’ll want to snap only one side of the hood shut so you can keep an eye on your baby’s face and ensure they get good airflow. 

Waistband

The waistband of the Tula Lite is unlike any I’ve ever seen because the entire carrier folds up to store inside it. The waist belt is essentially a storage bag built in for the baby carrier. It’s pretty nice and wide and does a good job of distributing my baby’s weight over my waist and hips. The waist belt does not have lumbar support, but you can purchase that from Tula as an extra add on if it’s important to you.

tula lite baby carrier waistband

Tula Lite Carry Positions

You can use the Tula Lite with your baby in a front carry position facing in towards you, or on your back. These are the two most commonly used baby wearing positions for most carriers because they give your baby and your body the most comfortable experience. 

If wearing your baby in a forward facing position is important to you, you can consider some of these other carriers I’ve used and reviewed: Ergobaby Omni 360, Ergobaby Omni Breeze, Tula Explore, BabyBjorn Harmony, and the BabyBjorn One

Tula Lite Weight Restrictions

The Tula Lite can accommodate babies that are 12-30 lbs (5.4 – 13.6 kilograms). It’s important to adhere to these weight restriction guidelines so your baby has optimal ergonomic positioning. If your baby is too small or too large for this ultra compact carrier it won’t be the best option to keep them comfortable and safe.

The Tula Lite is not compatible with a newborn infant insert so keep this in mind.  If you’re looking for a carrier to use with newborn babies, you might want to go with a Tula Free To Grow, which is good for babies 7-45pounds. 

Pockets

This carrier technically has two pockets. One of them is dedicated to storing the carrier when it’s not in use and is accessed on the inside of the waistband. The second pocket is a large zippered pouch on the front of the waistband where you could hold a number of items like your keys, wallet, and phone.

tula lite pocket

What Would Improve It?

The Tula Lite carrier is incredibly lightweight and the fabric is very durable and it also has a very basic design to keep things streamlined. 

The trade off for all those wonderful things is the fact that the carrier doesn’t have some of the fancy features that would allow it to be more versatile. For example, the infant seat is not adjustable and there are no ‘perfect fit adjusters’ to control the height of the panel. (The Tula Free To Grow has both of these features but is heavier and doesn’t fold into its own self contained bag.)

I’m also not in love with the fabric type for the shoulder padding and infant leg padding, which is a bit more abrasive than I’d prefer. The main fabric used throughout the carrier is nice and soft, it’s just these couple places that are not.

tula lite carrier

This also might not be your favorite baby carrier for long baby wearing treks. If I was planning on using a baby carrier for hours a day I would prefer something that has more structured support, more shoulder padding, and possibly some lumbar support. Tula sells a lumbar support add on if that’s something you’re interested in.

Recap & Final Thoughts

The Tula Lite is a baby carrier I recommend for traveling through the airport, for using when you’re out and about on quick trips, and as a back up carrier so you’re never caught without one when you need it. Its streamlined comfort and simple design are useful and innovative. It’s not a baby carrier I would use ‘all day every day’ simply because it lacks many of the (bulkier) comfort features I like for longer baby wearing sessions such as padded shoulder straps, and lumbar support. 

Some of my favorite Tula Lite Features are:

  • Ability to store it easily in a built in pouch
  • Large zippered pocket for personal items
  • Super lightweight design
  • Padded infant leg openings
  • Detachable sun hood
  • Reasonable price for a high quality product

I hope you enjoyed taking a closer look at the Tula Lite; I think it would be a great addition to your baby wearing collection as a second carrier.

For more articles on baby carriers check these out from Mama’s Buzz!

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