I received this item at no cost to facilitate my review. All opinions remain my own.
Only a few months ago, I had never heard of ByKay. Turns out, this Netherlands-based company owned by—you guessed it—Kay celebrated its tenth anniversary last year! ByKay released its Deluxe SSC (soft-structured carrier) in 2015, so it’s a new addition to their line of ring slings, wraps and mei tais. (I also recently reviewed their AQUACarrier.)
My Dark Denim Deluxe SSC is made of 52% cotton and 48% linen, making it a fairly cool option for warmer-weather wearing. It has a handful of design features that make it different from the other SSCs that I have tested:
The first thing you’ll notice is that there are a lot of buttons. The ByKay is definitely my first buckle carrier that adjusts using buttons. It’s also my first buckle carrier to offer so many adjustments, period.
The height of the carrier body can be shortened, depending on which buttonhole you use on the front flap:
Alternatively, you can add a touch more height to the carrier body by buttoning the sides of the hood to the shoulders:
And there’s one more thing you can do, thanks to buttons! You can widen the seat of the carrier by unbuttoning the wings and buttoning them to the waistband.
Are you still with me? I’m not even done describing the ways you can customize the fit of the ByKay Deluxe SSC. You can also wear the shoulder straps super wide for lots of extra support, or keep them slim by leaving the velcro wrap in place:
I admit that I was initially really overwhelmed by the sheer amount of possible adjustments for this carrier. It doesn’t compare to any other buckle carrier in my stash! Here’s our requisite “first time in our new carrier” selfie:
I got the hang of it pretty quickly, but the one bump in the road was that the waistband didn’t adjust small enough for my waist. I’m really slender to begin with (thanks to genetics), and breastfeeding makes me the incredible shrinking woman. At my true waist, I’m about 28 inches. I wear my Lenny Lamb and Tula pretty much as tight as they go, and the ByKay at its tightest is still a bit too big, and I find it slides down my torso. However, you can actually wrap the belt around and buckle it at the front to accommodate smaller waists.
It’s really, really tight when I buckle it as above. I’m probably in the phantom size zone where it’s too big buckled at the back, but too small buckled at the front. I’m trying to consume more protein, so ideally I’ll be back to a more normal, healthy weight soon and be able to buckle it the usual way.
Our first adventure in our ByKay Deluxe SSC was to Lake Minnewanka, in Banff National Park. It was an exceptionally warm day, so I was grateful to have brought our lightest carrier!
I find it very easy in this carrier to get her into position on my back. It’s also easy to tighten the straps without being a contortionist. In the picture above, I’m wearing the waistband without wrapping it around the extra time. I could feel her sliding too low on my back. In this next picture, I’ve done the extra wrap around, and you can see how much higher she is positioned. (She can see over my shoulder.)
I used the straps at their widest, and I’ve never used a carrier with the option of such wide straps. I have to say, they’re super comfy!
I wasn’t totally sure I would like a denim carrier, but I love the way it looks and love how the linen makes it so lightweight! And, just like my favourite jeans, the carrier matches everything!
You can use the ByKay Deluxe SSC with the straps crossed at the back. I find crossing the straps in my Lenny Lamb to be supremely awkward, but was surprised to find I was able to cross my ByKay straps without a mirror or a helper!
Wearing Little Miss Cub with the straps crossed at the back reminded me of wearing her in a woven wrap. While I have always been comfortable with straps uncrossed, this provides extra support for those who need it! I should also mention that, while she isn’t tall enough to use them yet, the carrier does come with foot straps that can be attached to the waistband.
My favourite things about the ByKay Deluxe SSC:
- No need to purchase a separate infant insert to use on smaller babies
- Possibility of crossing the shoulder straps at the back
- Possibility of wearing the straps skinny or wide
- Adjustable seat ensuring proper support as baby grows
- Lightweight cotton-linen blend is nice for summer
Things I like less about the ByKay Deluxe SSC:
- Overwhelming amount of possible adjustments with an instruction manual that is difficult to follow (it is currently being revised)
- I’m not crazy about the design of the nap hood
- Waistband doesn’t adjust small enough for me, and wrapping it around an extra time is a touch too tight
This carrier has introduced me to some pretty neat features that bring the idea of adjustability to a whole new level. It does leave me wondering, however, if there’s such a thing as too much adjustability. In the end, ByKay’s Classic SSC may have actually met our needs just as well!
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