Tula Explore vs Free to Grow [2022 Review]

Are you trying to decide between Tula Explore vs Free To Grow?

Then let use help you decide which baby carrier is best for you and your baby with our Tula Free To Grow vs Explore review.

Baby Tula is one of the top brands of baby carriers, creating soft structured carriers parents love. The Explore and Free to Grow carriers are two of their most popular products. To decide between Free To Grow vs Explore you need to look at the subtle differences.

These two carriers are pretty similar, so if you’re trying to decide between the time, you have to dive deeper. After all, the same company makes both of them!

So, in this Tula Explore Vs Tula Free To Grow review you’ll learn the key features of each carrier as well as their similarities and difference between Tula Free To Grow and Explore so you can easily decide which carrier is best for you and your baby.

And if you love this comparison guide on Tula FTG vs Explore, then make sure to check out these guides on best baby carriers for bad backsTula vs Ergobaby, Lillebaby vs Tula.

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Our Top Pick
Baby Tula Explore Mesh Baby Carrier
$199.00

The Tula Explore is a 100% cotton, certified 'hip friendly' carrier designed for newborns to toddlers with a weight range of 7 to 45 pounds. No additional infant insert is required!

It comes with three carrying positions: front facing out, front facing in, and back carry.

It also has three seat widths for a better fit as your baby grows.

You'll also love the padded shoulder straps and waistbands for additional comfort while babywearing.


We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/26/2022 08:20 am GMT

Tula Explore Vs Free To Grow

Both Free To Grow and Explore are baby carriers made by Tula. Both have excellent ratings and are similar in their features, however there are some differences between Tula Explore and Free To Grow that we will discuss below.

So, let’s break down these two carriers.

All About The Tula Explore

The Tula Explore is a soft structured carrier designed for newborns to toddlers with a weight range of 7 to 45 pounds. One of the excellent features of Tula is that you don’t need an infant insert to use with your brand new baby.

The Explore offers parents three carrying positions: front facing out, front facing in, and back carry. One of the nice features of this carrier is that you can widen the seat; it has three seat widths, giving you a better fit for your baby as he grows. In addition, each position is ergonomic and gives you a comfortable carrying position for your baby.

Tula focuses on safety and comfort for both the baby and the parents. This is a certified “hip-friendly” carrier, so your baby always stays in an ergonomic position. It means your baby’s hips are never in the wrong position, which could put too much pressure on his spine and hips. Explore has leg padding as well to keep your baby comfortable while in the carrier.

The comfort of the parents matters as well. Tula used 100% cotton to create their Explore carrier, so it’s breathable and great for air circulation. They also have a variation of this carrier, the Explore Coast, with a mesh body panel for hot climates.

Tula features padded shoulder straps and waistbands. Unfortunately, you must wear them in the classic rucksack or H-style carry. Unfortunately, this carrier doesn’t allow parents to cross the straps at their back. It also doesn’t feature lumbar support.

Tula added other features parents like. For example, it comes with a padded, adjustable neck support pillow that supports sleeping and newborn babies.

Pros

  • 7 to 45lbs
  • No Infant Insert
  • Ergonomic Seat Positions
  • Three Carrying Positions
  • Three Seat Positions
  • 100% Cotton

Cons

  • Can’t Cross Straps in Back
Our Top Pick
Baby Tula Explore Mesh Baby Carrier
$199.00

The Tula Explore is a 100% cotton, certified 'hip friendly' carrier designed for newborns to toddlers with a weight range of 7 to 45 pounds. No additional infant insert is required!

It comes with three carrying positions: front facing out, front facing in, and back carry.

It also has three seat widths for a better fit as your baby grows.

You'll also love the padded shoulder straps and waistbands for additional comfort while babywearing.


We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/26/2022 08:20 am GMT

All About The Tula Free to Grow

The Tula Free to Grow has the same weight range as the Explore: 7 to 45lbs. The goal is for parents to use the Free to Grow from birth to toddlerhood without needing an infant insert. This means you get more use out of this carrier than others on the market.

The Free to Grow was one of the first carriers with an innovative, adjustable body panel. This carrier has three width and two height settings that keep your baby in a comfortable position, ideal for their size.

Tula Free to Grow allows you to carry your back in the front facing in and back carry positions to provide the most ergonomic position for your baby. 

No matter which position you use for your baby, your child is always in an ergonomic, hip-safe position. That means your baby’s hips are set wider to avoid unnecessary pressure that could cause problems.

Tula includes Dual-adjustment padded shoulder straps that give your neck and shoulder region all the comfort you need. It’s easy to adjust for multiple wearers, so if you and your partner share this carrier, adjusting to fit your body is no big deal.

Another comfort factor is that Tula uses Oeko-Tex Standard 100% cotton to create their carriers. It’s soft and feels breathable against your skin, and the cotton helps air circulate around your baby’s body. In addition, since it is cotton, this carrier is machine washable.

If you want to encourage extra ventilation, look at the Tula Free to Grow Coast Mesh. This carrier has a large mesh body panel that is great for hot climates.

Tula added other features that parents like to see. For example, each carrier has a coordinating removable hood that snaps into place. The hood provides support while sleeping, sun protection, and nursing privacy. It also has a front waist storage pocket to keep your wallet, keys, and other essential items.

Pros

  • 7 to 45 lbs
  • No Infant Insert Needed
  • Hip Friendly
  • Padded Shoulder Straps
  • 100% Cotton
  • Easy to Adjust
  • Seat Width Adjustments

Cons

  • Can’t Forward Face Out with This Carrier
  • No Body Panel Adjustments
09/25/2022 07:25 pm GMT

Similarities and Differences between Tula Free to Grow Vs Explore

Now, let’s look at the things that are similar and things that are different between the Tula Explore vs Free to Grow.

Age Range

Both the Tula Free to Grow and Tula Explore have the same weight range – 7 to 45 lbs -, and both say in their advertisements that they don’t need an infant insert. That means it’s even easier to use this carrier, which will give you more use for your money.

So, in this category, the Tula Explore and Free to Grow are the same on paper, but several reviews from parents state that newborns at the low end of the weight range don’t fit as well in the Free to Grow. So, the fit may not be the same.

Body of the Carrier

One of the places you’ll notice the most differences is when comparing the carrier’s body. The Free to Grow is made with soft cotton fabric that feels and looks like the simple structure of a single pass wrap or ring sling. The body has nothing “fancy” about it besides the adjustable seat width.

The Explore, however, has a moldable body panel with support. It adjusts to your baby’s body and supports well in all carrying positions. It feels nicer and more structured – yet more comfortable – than the Free to Grow. The padding also supports the forward-facing position.

Comfort

Comfort is always a factor to consider when selecting a carrier. Of course, the easiest way to decide if a carrier is comfortable for you is to try it on, but if you can’t try these carriers on before buying, then read the specs and reviews for each one.

Reviews for Tula Explore and Tula Free to Grow show how comfortable these carriers are. Both are made with 100% cotton, so they are lightweight and breathable, perfect for all weather conditions. So, if you like to go on hikes or live in a tropical area, the cotton helps air circulate around your baby.

Both the Explore and Tula Free to Grow come in Coast Mesh options with a large body panel created out of mesh. This helps keep your baby even cooler in hot climates.

The waistband also matters when it comes to the comfort of your carrier. The problem with Explore and Free to Grow is that they don’t have lumbar support. If you want a carrier with lumbar support built into the product, I suggest the Ergobaby Omni 360.

The straps on both carriers are well-padded but not as padded as other carriers on the market. You must wear the straps in an H-style, like a backpack with a buckle in the middle to secure the carrier. Unfortunately, neither Tula carriers allow you to cross the straps in the back like an X to distribute your toddler’s weight.

Tula added more neck support in the Explore for your baby than the Free to Grow. With the Explore, you have a padded neck support pillow that you wear in three positions. It expands with the height of the carrier. The Free to Grow, on the other hand, requires the cinch of the webbing to give support to small babies, but it’s not a pillow.

Carrying Positions

The Explore has three carrying positions, each with varying seat widths, so you end up with six carrying positions. Carry your baby in a front forward carry, front inward carry, and back carry.

On the other hand, the Free to Grow only has two positions – front facing in and back carrying. It’s not recommended to use this carrier to face forward; their hips are not in the proper position to avoid strain.

Safety of Hips

Years ago, carriers left babies’ legs to dangle in uncomfortable and dangerous positions. Nowadays, we know the stress this puts on an infant’s hip and spine, potentially leading to hip dysplasia.

Both Tula Baby carriers are certified “hip-friendly” from newborn upward. So, you know your baby is always kept in a safe, ergonomic position.

Seat Adjustment

One of the features that cause Baby Tula carriers to stand out is their adjustable seats. Both carriers have adjustable seat width settings. So, as your baby gets older, you can widen the seat to make it more comfortable for your infant while giving more support to their body.

Both the Explore and Free to Grow off three seat adjustments, so they match up here as well. However, the only main difference is that the Tula Explore also has an adjustable body panel; you can make it wider or narrower. Again, this creates the best fit for your baby.

Fit for Parents

Something you’ll like about both of these soft structured carriers is that they genuinely fit all different body types. That’s why they are regularly recommended to plus-sized moms and tall parents. In addition, they feature waistbands that expand up to 57 inches, and if you need more inches, they offer waist extenders that give you five more inches.

Yes, you can attach more than one waist extender to find the perfect fit for your body.

This also means it’s much easier for you to swap carriers between parents. It only takes a few seconds to adjust the carrier to your liking.

Breastfeeding Friendly

Both Tula Explore and Tula Free to Grow are considered breastfeeding-friendly carriers. In addition, you can adjust and lower the shoulder straps to create an easier position to nurse your baby.

Fabric Designs

Tula is known for creating some of the cutest fabrics for its carriers. Right now, the Free to Grow has more fabric choices than the Explore because the Explore is their newer design. It takes time for Tula to catch up, but we expect them to catch up over time.

Extra Features

Who doesn’t love extra features?

Both carriers have detachable privacy hoods that are ideal for breastfeeding, sleeping, or protecting your child from the sun. Some parents prefer these to be integrated; if so, you may like the Omni 360.

Both carriers also come with a storage pocket in the front of the waistband, allowing you to keep small items while carrying your baby.

So, the carriers line up in this area!

Final Thoughts On Tula Free To Grow Vs Explore

So, which one should you buy – Explore or Free to Grow?

Both carriers are fantastic safe options, keep your baby comfortable, and will last until your child is a toddler. They’re popular and are highly recommended by parents.

However, if you want to carry your child in a forward-facing out position, you will need to grab the Tula Explore. This carrier’s overall support and padding make it a preferred choice, and it also offers body panel adjustments and seat width adjustments!

No matter which one you pick, both are fantastic carriers you will love and use for years to come.

And if you’re looking for more great babywearing guides, then check out these guides on when can your baby face forward in carrierbest baby wrap for summerbest baby carriers for petite moms, and best baby carriers for plus size moms.

Our Top Pick
Baby Tula Explore Mesh Baby Carrier
$199.00

The Tula Explore is a 100% cotton, certified 'hip friendly' carrier designed for newborns to toddlers with a weight range of 7 to 45 pounds. No additional infant insert is required!

It comes with three carrying positions: front facing out, front facing in, and back carry.

It also has three seat widths for a better fit as your baby grows.

You'll also love the padded shoulder straps and waistbands for additional comfort while babywearing.


We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/26/2022 08:20 am GMT
Tula Free To Grow vs Explore