You don’t need balrog fluff to make a perfect wrap. There’s plenty out there for less than $125 brand-new – and preferably even less than that. It used to be you bought a Storch Leo and STFU. But now, you’ve got choices, and lots of them.Most major companies have come out with a budget line, and you can get comfort, affordability and name-brand.
Baby Doo: At $88 for a size 6, it’s hard to beat, especially since this doesn’t feel like a cheap wrap. Mildly dense (240 gsm) and a touch blankety, it wraps true to handfeel, and can be overwhelming in a multi-layer carry in the heat. Very grippy, between cushy and solid. This is a great all-around wrap.
Bara Barn: Only available in one size, Bara Barns measure around 2.75m and retail for $100. They tend to be on the thinner side, and wouldn’t be my first choice as a ruck wrap. These come in several colorways.
Baie Slings Elements Line: Budget if you’re in the UK; medium-priced (due to shipping) if you’re in the US. These are thick, soft wraps with plenty of marshmellow cush and bounce. Super-soft from the mercerized cotton, it breaks it quickly. It is pretty thick, perfect for a toddler, but may overwhelm a newborn.
Colimacon et Cie: Their organic line is floppy with a lovely in-hand drape, these have more slip than grip and break in quickly. A medium-weight wrap, it’s forgiving for beginners and easy to learn on. It’s stretchy, giving nice, tight carries, with medium bounce. The rails are hemmed in different colors (good for beginners), and you can pick one up for around $83 – less if you buy the fabric yourself and hem it. You can manage this.
Daiesu jigsaw – A solid wrap with some stretch and grip, very little slipperiness, medium-thick. Not for mamas who dislike ace-bandage stretch, this wrap from a new company out of Malaysia is available in a bunch of different colorways, and retails for $103, plus shipping.
Didymos Stripes (standard line): If you know where to look, you can pick up one of these for around $125. After some wear, they become soft and floppy, and work for toddlers in multi-layer carries. All tend to be of medium thickness, and they come in various colorways. The white/solid color ones tend to be the cheapest – and their resale value reflects that.
Didymos Nino (standard line) – These often go on sale for around $125. Like Didy stripes, these get as floppy as old jeans, but tend to run on the thinner side.Perfect for squishes, but can get diggy for bigger toddlers if you don’t wrap carefully. These tend to have a solid shoulder feel with medium stretch, and more slip than grip.
Ellaroo: Ellaroos are definitely on the thinner side of purpose-wovens, with little cush, lots of grip, and a very solid shoulder feel. They require careful wrapping to be comfortable with a larger baby. But they come in oodles of gorgeous colorways.
Hip Baby Wraps: These are super-thin, cushy wraps that feel great for their weight and their price (around $70 from amazon.com). Plenty of stretch and some bounce give a tight carry with few diggy spot for babies less than 20 lbs.
Inda Jani: These come in two versions, thick and thin. The thin ones, distinguished by their fringe, are cool and light, with a little bit of bounce and stretch. They can reliably carry a toddler in a multi-layer carry, but not for a six hour hike. The thicker-weave Inda Janis, with untapered edges, vary in feel by weave. All are on the thick side. Most have lots of stretch and bounce, with a seriously cushy shoulder feel, but might not be your first choice for a squish. These wraps come in lots of bright colorways, including stripes and diamonds, and retail for less than $125 for a size 7 (that’s the highest end). You can often pick up one for around $90.
Keppeke Cubes – This Dutch wrap is super-soft, with plenty of bounce and cush. It weighs in at a medium 240 g/m, with only medium grip and a lovely cushy shoulder feel. Nice and wide to carry your toddler, too! From $105, this comes in a variety of colorways.
Keppeke Bollekes – A more solid Keppeke that takes some breaking in, this has a less smushy shoulder feel and isn’t as newborn-friendly. It retails for around $120 or less, and comes in plenty of colorways.
Little Frog: Little Frogs vary in texture and feel, depending on the colorway and the blend. I found their all-cotton wrap diggy as a shorty, but adored their merino blend for its cushy shoulder feel and easy slip. You can buy a Little Frog for less than $100, and they come in lots of different striped colorways. Any of them would work well for a kid in a multi-layer carry, though you may need to put in some work to break it in.
Mahogany Tablecloth: The cheapest of the cheap, this old favorite needs chopped and hemmed. But you can pick one up for around fifty dollars, and that gives you a total of two long size 2s/short size 3s. Most are cushy and grippy, with a plush shoulder feel and a little bit of stretch, in a medium weight. These are great, all-around shorties and the reason I don’t own handwovens under 4 meters. My go-to ruck under bum wrap. These come in lots of jacquard weaves.
Natibaby Stripes: These can be had for 50 euros in the EU, which is an amazing deal. Plenty of stretch and some bounce, a little bit of grip. You can carry your newborn to toddlers in these – a good choice for the One Wrap.
Pollara: their thick version is thick, beastly, and unwieldy to wrap with; I found it useful only in multi-layer carries for bigger toddlers. Their regular weight wrap is supposed to be different. These range from $85 on up, with many in the $105 range.
Smittten Vena Cava: These are super-smooshy budget wrapsxdzc for only $135, and each one comes with a book which would otherwise be thrown away. It’s got medium grip with plenty of bounce from the diagonal pattern, and while it’s thick, it’s not thick enough to overwhelm a newborn. From an American company 5 Minute Recess that cares deeply about the babywearing community.
Storchenwiege Leo: These come in a number of different diamond weaves. Known to be a beast straight out of the box, they resolve themselves into old-jeans softness, and wrap with lots of bounce, stretch, and grip. A broken-in one works well for any age from newborn on up. Years ago, when you asked for one wrap from newborn to toddler, this was it. It retails for around $115.
Tekhni Arche and Aplos: these two wraps work in tandem to fit your babywearing needs. Arche, a striped 100% repreve wrap, is perfect for newbies up to about 20 lbs. It’s super cool in the summer, and has a cushy, delightful shoulder feel with plenty of slip for such a thin wrap. After 20 lbs, however, you tend to get some thread shifting. Then it’s time for Aplos, a stretchy, bouncy wrap you could use to tow a truck. It’ll never get kitten-belly soft, but it’ll haul your tractor trailer in a pinch. Both come in numerous colorways, and retail for around $100 for a size 6.
Vaquero: Vaquero has come out with several rainbow budget wraps, all of which have sold out almost immediately. Tessa’s eye for color means and her limited runs mean these are usually fairly hard to get. The ones that have come out are squishy and cushy, with plenty of stretch and bounce. Absolutely lovely – if you can get your grubby little paws on them. These cost only $113 for a size 6, so don’t let the resale prices fool you.
Wrapsody Bali Breeze: This is a great option for hot weather. A gauze wrap, it’s not my first choice for a toddler, but if you buy it when you have a newborn, by the time your baby grows up, you’ll have no problem wrapping carefully enough to keep off the diggy spots.I wouldn’t hike with a preschooler in it, but it works fine for quick ups with a big kid. Solid and grippy, this wrap keeps you cool and comes in a million gorgeous colorways. It retails for only $80.
Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid: Don’t let the stretchy part fool you. This wrap gives you an ace-bandage tight carry with plenty of bounce and some squish – and it can carry your toddler safely, on your back. It comes in a bunch of awesome colorways, and retails for only $93.
Is there a budget wrap I’ve missed? Can you get it new for less than $125? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know, or post a comment here! This list will be updated as often as needed.