As a woman commonly referred to as an outdoor junkie, I had generally assumed that motherhood would stifle my addiction to extreme sports. I couldn’t have been more wrong and fortunately companies like TogetherGear make athletic parenting a reality.
The MamaBaby Poncho ($189) is designed for use by the most active of parents out there. Specifically created for parents wearing a front-packed baby (in any number of baby-wearing methods), the extra hood and cape for baby can be detached so the poncho can also be worn by mom or dad alone.
The MamaBaby Poncho just came out in fall 2013 after mountain biking, running, hiking wonder-mom Jess Desbrow worked with a team of outdoor enthusiasts, parents, and at least one sailor to engineer it.
There are other kinds of jackets in Europe that have zip systems to make space for carrying babies, but none are designed for athletic endeavors.
I tested the poncho on a soggy, snowy day with a real, live baby. The baby can’t talk yet, but by judging its warm toes and happy disposition, it approves.
The poncho allows mom (or dad!) and baby to be bundled in winter gear and protected from wind and rain with this extra layer. The material is a robust waterproof fabric with extra reflective striping for safety. What we loved:
– There are zippered holes in the front to extend your arms through for biking comfort or general range of motion.
– The internal front pouch, made of a soft fabric, is designed to hold baby’s feet comfortably warm and under the protection of the poncho.
– It is easy to put on or off over a sleeping baby, existing outdoor gear, and almost every kind of frontal baby-carrying technology.
– It’s very easy to use all the functionalities of the poncho without an instruction manual.
– The waterproof-breathable materials are high-quality, durable, and extremely waterproof. We really tested this on a rainy hike that turned into a rock scramble/tree climb. I was sure the poncho had snagged a few times, but there were no signs of wear and tear.
Although I had a hard time finding fault with the MamaPoncho, it does have some limitations. I’d like to see a full zipping/buttoning capability down the front so one can open from the top or bottom. The poncho has no lining and is not designed to keep warm, so you and baby will need to layer beneath it in the cooler temperatures.
Overall the poncho is extremely versatile. Whether one is hiking with a baby, pushing a stroller in the rain, riding a bike, or taking a family snowshoe tour, it has the ability to be wearable and functional in all these uses and more. Its comfort, durability, and engineering make it an essential piece of equipment for any new parent.