Ingenuity. That’s the word that comes to mind when I use my Kokoala Coat Extension. It’s just such a smart design, and it works so flawlessly. We don’t all have the budget or the desire to purchase a specific maternity/babywearing coat. I’m not even sure they make babywearing coats for men, either. The Kokoala works with any coat with a zipper closure, it works to accommodate a baby in a carrier or a pregnant belly, and it’s totally unisex.
How does it work?
When you order your coat extension, you will be taken through a couple of questions about the zipper on your coat. I didn’t realize the world of zippers was so complex, but based on your responses to your zipper survey, you will be given a specific zipper code. Use this code to order the correct zippers for your coat! If you plan to use it in a variety of coats, no problem! Just complete the survey for each coat’s zipper.
When it arrives, the Basic Zip-in Coat Extension looks like this:
The outer is waterproof, and the inner is fleece-lined:
Notice the velcro strips along the sides of the insert. This is where you will attach your zippers. The velcro is the most super-stickiest velcro I’ve ever seen, by the way.
Those are my zippers, and all I have to do is line them up so that the extension zips perfectly into my coat. Since my coat is waist length, I fold up the extra material at the bottom (narrowest part), and it stays in place thanks to the velcro.
The zipper strip extends a bit too far at the top of the extension since my coat is short. Included with your zippers are two little strips of additional velcro, allowing you to fold down and secure the extra length of zipper if your coat requires.
Because the zippers detach, you can reverse them and use the insert upside down, turning your coat into a maternity coat! Here’s me trying the Kokoala for the first time this past spring at the Montreal Baby Expo:
Kokoala also makes a variety of accessories for use with its coat extension. The baby hood adds extra protection from the elements, and velcros easily inside the extension.
Their Babywearer Neck Gaiter solves my biggest winter-babywearing pet peeve: my cold chest. Unless you’re wearing a turtle neck (and I cannot stand wearing a turtle neck), you always end up with some exposed skin around your neck and chest. The Kokoala scarf is kind of like a dickey, and it totally solves the problem.
What I love about the Kokoala Coat Extension:
- You can wear it with any zippered coat you own.
- One insert can be used both by you and your partner, assuming you’ve only got one baby to wear.
- The same insert can be turned upside down to use over a pregnant belly.
- You can dress your child lightly (and thus, safely) in the car seat, knowing she’ll be warm inside your coat when you arrive at your destination.
- You can avoid the expense of a babywearing coat.
- Made in Quebec, Canada.
- It’s genius.
The only disadvantage that I can think of is that you cannot use it for a back carry.
Once I find a winter coat that is to my liking, I’ll be buying another set of zippers so I can zip my Kokoala in! The Basic Extension sells for $70, and the zippers range from $16-$20, depending on the kind you need.
Update (December 2015)
Visiting my parents in Vancouver over Christmas, my Kokoala was indispensable to keep Little Miss dry in rainy We(s)t Coast weather!
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