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Review: FreeRider stretchy wraps

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Review: FreeRider stretchy wraps

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When the FreeRider stretchy wraps dropped through my door, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had heard about these premium 100% Tencel stretchy wraps and absolutely jumped at the chance to try them. The material that a carrier is made out of affects the properties of the carrier. It affects texture, look, strength, stretch; how far you can pull a wrap using tension; and elasticity; how well it will pull itself back to its original shape when the tension is released. As soon as I got my hands on these wraps I found I loved them!

FreeRider stretchy wraps: a premium product

When I opened the box the first thing I noticed was the packaging. It is visibly a premium product. The packaging is beautifully designed, attractive and sturdy and made from 100% plastic free recycleable materials.

They also come with a cotton bag to keep the wrap in. So you can easily store it in your bag or pushchair when not in use. I think one of my favourite touches is the affirmation on the label. It reads “Being a good parent takes courage and today I’m feeling brave”. When negotiating life as a new parent, everything can feel like a challenge. Even, no, especially, things that were tasks that were taken for granted before. A reminder that our job is hard, but we have the strength it takes is a powerful motivating message. It felt like a personal and apt message for me; I hope it touches and empowers the parents who use it!

The wraps are available in a range of plain colours and prints through the FreeRider website. This makes them an even more attractive option as stretchy wraps have been largely available in solid colours until recently.

Environmentally friendly

We are asked a lot about the sources and sustainability of carriers. Parents are thinking more and more about the impact of their consumer choices. If you’re looking for a carrier with a conscience then the FreeRider is definitely worth a try.

The Tencel used to make the FreeRider stretchy wraps wraps comes from the Eucalyptus tree. This is a fast growing tree which grows well without need for irrigation or pesticidal treatments, making it a lower impact and sustainable resource. Cotton, on the other hand, often considered a good eco-option, is actually incredibly resource hungry and intensive to grow. However, growing the fibre is only one element of production. There is clearly some processing involved in moving from wood to fabric!

The process used to create Tencel fabric from fibres is a  ‘closed loop’ process, meaning that almost 100% of the chemicals used are recovered and recycled with minimal waste and very low emissions.  The pioneering process in which Tencel is made received the European Award for the Environment from the EU. So if you are looking for a baby carrier with sustainabilty and environmental responsibility, then it is worth checking out the FreeRider stretchy wrap range!

The feel of the fabric

Well, I have to say, this is where they got me hooked. The first wrap I took out of the packaging was the Camel wrap. This is a plain solid coloured wrap. Except it isn’t, it shimmers. To the touch it is incredibly soft and silky. I spent a good while just stroking it because it feels really lovely!

The Wild Leaf came out next and it too is softer and sleeker feeling than other stretchy wraps I have tried. I also felt how thin the fabric was. I could tell that this would be a beautifully light wrap to wear. This is a bonus as, in summer, stretchy wraps can feel overwhelming. Especially as stretchy wraps are worn in multi layered carries. However, sometime thin fabrics can be less supportive than thicker fabrics. Sleek fabrics can often feel slippy. So how would this wrap hold up to the the real test of putting a baby in it?

The stretchiness of the fabric, is more akin to a one-way stretchy than a two-way. This would usually be enough for me to dismiss it, as I have never got on with one-way stretch wraps. However, unlike one-way cotton stretch wraps, it has no bulk to the fabric. This made it easier to use than any other one-way stretch wrap I have tried. It has just enough give along the length to make putting a baby in easy. It pulls itself straight back into shape when the tension is removed scoring very well for elasticity.

Stretch and elasticity

You can judge stretch by pulling along the length of the wrap and feeling how much it stretches or expands. Elasticity is how well the fabric returns to its original shape when tension is released. A fabric that is not highly elastic will sag rather than ping back.

Carrying the baby

In the Pocket Wrap Cross Carry, (see the FreeRider instructions, and our video tutorials on our YouTube Channel Stretchy Wrap Playlist) with my baby (demo doll, on this occasion) these wraps spread beautifully over the baby, and there was plenty of stretch to get all three layers over them without any difficulty. The middlemarker makes it easy to locate the centre to start the carry. The thinness of the fabric means that there is no bulk, and it is easy to smoothly move each layer to cover the baby.

Well, it feels amazing. Incredibly supportive. It didn’t feel slippy, just soft, and the thinness in no way compromised the support it gave. It feels strong, snuggly, soft, silky and stunning, which are qualities of Tencel fabrics. I kept the doll on for an hour or so, because I was enjoying it, but also because that’s how we use these slings with real babies and it was still comfy and supportive at the end of the period, with no sign of the fabric sagging. They felt just as close and secure as the moment I put them in!

And do you know what? I have kept trying these out over the past week, because the feel of the fabric makes me feel so happy. They feel luxurious, they feel light, but not cold, I love them! I can only imagine how amazing they would feel with a newborn baby in them. If  you would like to try these wraps then we have both Camel and Wild Leaf available to hire, and they are available to buy from FreeRider for £59.99.

More about stretchy wraps

We love stretchy wraps for newborns and beyond, and you can read more about how stretchy wraps work in our article All About Stretchy Wraps, and read about the key safety points when carrying newborns in our Stretchy Wrap Safety article.

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