Soft structured or Buckle carriers - SSC
Soft Structured (SSC's) or Buckle Carriers are a very popular choose in the baby carrier range. They are also commonly referred to as 'front packs' as baby can be carried on your front. This style covers brands like Ergobaby, Boba, Beco, Manduca and Lillebaby.
These are also super quick to pop on and very supportive. While you and your baby may take a little time to get used to carrying and working out the most comfortable position for you both, front packs do not require any learning or technique in the way a woven wrap does.
This style of carrier is very popular with Dads and those who like quick on and off. They consist of a buckled, padded waistband, buckled padded shoulder straps and a back panel with a sleep hood. Dads tend to like them as they tend to be simpler to learn and visually a bit plainer.
Soft Structured Carriers can be used for front or back carrying and from newborn (though with some you’ll need a separate insert and you should only use a back carry once baby has good head control and doesn't fall asleep so easily in the carrier). Ergobaby and Manduca can be used for hip carrying too, though they are a little fiddlier to set up this way than a Ring Sling.
These carriers are fabulous for going hiking and provided fantastic support for long term wearing. They are our most recommended option for a comfortable way to carry children for longer periods of time.
Beco even does a specific toddler carrier and Lenny Lamb has a preschool carrier to keep the knee to knee support for your child which means big hikes are possible even when 3 yr olds get pooped – they’re not heavy like framed backpack so are easily carted along.
Buckle carriers can be used from newborn through to about 4 years (20kg). Check the age and weight information for each brand before making your choice.
The different brands have different fabric, may differ in the height of the back panel and the length of waist band.
Unless specified, carriers are only used with baby facing inwards towards the adult, ie front carry facing parent or back carry like a piggyback position. While some new models of front pack have an adjustable position for facing outwards with older babies, the recommended position for babies is facing towards the adult.
We have extensive Soft Structured Carrier comparison charts and details here.