At the very beginning, I need to give some space to two different Polish babywearing brands in this article. I first saw Kavka as a wrap conversion made of a Pabelle wrap, and later also a Kenhuru conversion. I was especially intrigued by the blue Pabelle Llama wrap conversion; however, buying a carrier I did not try on blind, moreover from a foreign country – I guess my pockets are somewhat too deep for that.
Later, we met the wonderful Daria Lampart, a.k.a. “Mrs Kenhuru” at a babywearing festival during the International Babywearing Week. We love Kenhuru deeply (you can read all about my love to Kenhuru’s tsumugi here and tussah here 😉 ), we started chatting and, in the end, she kindly gifted us one of the Kenhuru/Kavka carriers for testing. Hereby we want to thank her for her unbelievable generosity and apologize that it took us over 3 months to publish a review. This was partially caused by my health issues – a few days after the IBWW, I ended up in a hospital and had surgery a few days before Christmas, after which I was not allowed to babywear for quite a long time – firstly, I could not carry my daughter at all and later only on my back – that is not really an ideal situation for a carrier-testing (and also the main reason why we did not publish a carrier review for such a long time).
Back to Kavka. It is a family company residing in Polish Lodz, the “European capital of textile industry”. The founder of Kavka is Anna Kawka, the spiritual mother of these carriers who made the first few specimen for her children and later for her friends. And the requests kept coming, so Kavka gradually became one of the most popular carrier manufacturers in Poland. They use mostly their own original cotton wraps which are, unsurprisingly, ideal for wrap conversions – durable, with high weight, yet very pleasant to touch and wonderfully pliable.
Finally, we had the chance to test two slightly different carriers – the “Kenhuru carrier” which is not a full-wrap conversion but the inner side of the back panel is made of fabric, and the “original” Kavka carrier, a full-wrap conversion, made of the Kavka wrap (except for the inner side of the waist belt – I will explain later). At the first sight, it is obvious that Kavka is a high-quality product – beginning with the above-mentioned wraps, to the firm straps that do not curl and hold tight in the buckles which look basically indestructible. There is certainly no difference between the two carriers at all.
Adjusting is similar to MoniLu UNI or the former adjustable Be Lenka carriers. The width of the back panel is regulated by a system of a “strap” on the inner side of the waist belt, on which the fabric of the back panel is folded or unfolded according to the size of the wearie. It holds in its place on a velcro which you “stick” right on the waist belt’s inner surface since it is not made of a wrap – the fabric (something like fleece with fine hair…? I do not really know much about the textile terminology) serves as the “loop” side of the velcro, while its “hook” side holds on the fabric firmly without any problems. Moreover, the risk of the wrap being damaged by the velcro while re-adjusting the carrier is eliminated here. Also on the strap, there is a “measure” which indicates how wide the back panel should be for a wearie of a certain weight. In my opinion, it would be better if it was indicated by the recommended height; however, it is still much much better than in the most of adjustable carriers in which the adjusting is always more or less only by the rule of thumb. Regarding Kavka, both the minimal and maximal width are quite admirable. Throughout the time the carrier has spent with us, we were able to try it on with many babies of different ages, sizes and weights. The smallest baby we dared to put in Kavka was only 6 weeks old – needless to say we were astounded how well it fit the tiny squish! An adjustable carrier in 6 weeks of age, consider! All thumbs up for Kavka – in my opinion one of the best-adjustable carriers on the babywearing market.
Moreover, it was the Kenhuru carrier, i.e. the one with the inner side of the back panel made of ordinary fabric, not the full-wrap conversion. One would say such a carrier would be less pliable and would not fit the tiny baby that well – but on the contrary, it did. This fact only illustrates how well the Kavka’s back panel is constructed and that when the back panel is cut right and the construction is well thought of, it does not matter what the carrier is actually made of.
There is another aspect of Kavka’s construction which allows such small babies to be worn in it comfortably. Same as Fidella, it has two pairs of buckles on the back panel to which the shoulder straps can be attached: the lower ones are placed just above the waist belt and are meant to be used for smaller wearies approximately to the size of 74, the upper pair is placed on the sides of the back panel as usual and meant for bigger children. The idle pair of buckles hinders a little bit, to be honest, but I cannot dispute their function in this particular carrier. Therefore I cannot reproach this and think of it more as an aesthetic matter (moreover, it is possible to hide the idle buckles into the back panel 😉 ).
Vertically, the back panel is adjusted by straps – nothing new, but is is foolproof and well-functional.
As far as the maximum dimension of the back panel goes, the carrier fits quite well even the almost-2-years old long-legged Helenka. The width of the back panel was perfectly from “knee to knee” while maintaining the desired “M-position” of the wearie’s legs without problems. The vertical dimension of the back panel is not the biggest among the adjustable carriers, but I have no problem with that in a 2-year-old who does not want to have arms inside the carrier anymore.
However, do not judge too quickly! One certainly cannot say that Kavka is “too small for a real fully adjustable carrier”. FYI, we measured it and we compared it – and the result? Compared with the Be Lenka 4Ever carrier – the one that is considered to be the “perfect” adjustable carrier nowadays – Kavka’s back panel is only 2 centimetres shorter (and it is also shaped in the bottom part in contrast to Lenka which also makes it look shorter) and as to the width, if widened to maximum, it is even 5 centimetres wider!
What about us and Kavka? The waist belt is hard and pleasant – just ideal for me. It holds its shape and does not bend, it is shaped and fits me perfectly in its width and length, too. Also the very slim mums will be satisfied because it can be shortened considerably (as you can see in the photos – I wear size 38). The waist belt buckle is partly hidden which is an interesting detail, but to be absolutely perfect in my eyes, it would have to be bidirectional (and therefore in the middle of the wearer’s back).
The shoulder straps are padded just enough – not too much, not too little, and it is possible to cross them – again, I am satisfied at 100 per cent. I am especially excited about the back buckle (or chest buckle? chest strap? … is there any official carrier terminology? 😀 ) which is on “rails” – the same ones we applauded to in the Sestrice Carrier or even earlier in the American Boba carrier. It can be pulled very low and therefore it makes the “non-crossed” wearing comfortable even for me, a stubborn carrier crosshead who usually cries, swears and whines after bare 30 minutes with non-crossed shoulder straps in most other carriers. The only thing I could reproach is that it is not detachable – but in this case, it is not technically possible because of the rails, therefore I can turn my blind eye on this matter. And other 10 plus points for Kavka for the detachable hood. 🙂
Wearing on the back is a problem in many carriers, but Kavka passed with flying colours again. As you can see in the pictures, Emilka is very high in the carrier and can see over my shoulder without problems. 10 points out of 10 again. 😉
My verdict – one of the best fully-adjustable carriers that are quite close to the desired ideal of all the carrier manufacturers, i.e. a carrier “from birth to the babywearing retirement”. No wonder it is one of the most popular carriers in the country of its origin!