As I already wrote in the Manduca First review, it is always the hardest to write a truly objective review about your own carrier which you have used so many times, you are familiar with its every thread and it is, in a certain sense, a stable member of your family already. My beloved Kavka Multi-Age Plus is the same case as Manduca.
Although I am a huge fan of the classical Kavka Multi-Age, the Plus version has been my carrier love from the first sight and first wearing – I have never dreamt of a more comfortable, more beautiful and more meticulously sewn carrier with truly toddler-worthy dimensions than Kavka Multi-Age Plus!
To be clear – it is not only a “bigger version” of the standard Multi-Age; its construction is different and more suitable for wearing heavy toddlers. The main difference is therefore not only in the size of the back panel, but also the waist belt is different. In the Plus version, its padded part is longer and wider – 11×63 cm in the standard version vs. 12×69 cm in the Plus version. Not that much of a difference, some might say – or is it? “On the paper”, it might not seem much, but while wearing I am quite sure basically everyone could tell the difference. For me, the comfort of wearing is incomparable with a big, heavy child with the the wider and longer waist belt. Speaking from experience from our regional babywearing group, a lot of wearers who did not find the standard version’s waist belt comfortable enough, were perfectly fine with the Plus version’s one. By the way, have you heard the rumor that Kavka does not suit the “not-really-thin” wearers because of the waist belt? The only thing I have to say about this, currently being a substantially overweight, 31 weeks pregnant blue whale and still wearing my 13kg daughter in absolute comfort, is that the matter of comfort is utterly individual. On the other hand, some might say that the longer waist belt padding would discriminate the very slim wearers – again, speaking from our experience, many mums as thin as a fiddle who are very happy owners of the Plus version have no problem with the waist belt being too long (and we measured it – the minimal inner circumference of the waist belt is 60 cm and measured from buckle to buckle, it is 62 cm). Anyway, it is always better to try the carrier first before buying it – just as any other carrier.
That’s about it concerning the waist belt – what about the back panel? In the Plus version, it is HUGE – the official recommendation of the manufacturer is from 86 to 116 cm. Personally, I tried the carrier with an almost-5-years-old wearie, measuring over 110 cm and the carrier still fit perfectly. As to the minimal recommended size, from our experience, it is perfectly feasible to wear even 80cm children in the Plus version (some even say 74cm, but I would be more careful about this statement – this depends on the individual proportions of the child; some children might wear size 74 in 4 months, some long after their first birthday). The back panel is also shaped a little bit differently in its lower part compared with the standard version (as you can see in the photos in which we compare the two carriers) and logically, the lower set of buckles used for wearing the smallest babies is missing in the Plus version.
The “rest” of the Plus carrier is identical as the standard version – sufficiently (“just enough”) padded, banana shaped shoulder straps with the ingenious chest buckle on the “rails”, with the possibility to wear the shoulder straps crossed, adjusting of the width of the back panel by Velcro on a strap marked with the recommended weight of the wearie (I admit that this is not the ideal choice and in my opinion recommended height would be better – but this detail is something I am more than willing to forgive to my beloved carrier), while vertically it is adjusted by straps. The hood is detachable, attached on studs, which is something I am always very happy about in any carrier. Mentioning the hood, I mustn’t forget one quite frequent misunderstanding about how to fixate it to the shoulder straps if your wearie falls asleep: on the rails, aside from the chest buckle, there is a free set of plastic loops. Of course, just trying to use them as a “hook” would not work very well; you need to pull the the elastic band loop through the plastic loop and hook it on the olivette. Then, there is no chance that the hood would not hold in its place. However, this applies only to the carriers from the older collections – the newest Kavka carriers do not have the hoods with the elastic loop-olivette system, but simple straps made of wrap – you just pull the straps through the same plastic loops as mentioned above and make a single knot – as simple as that. Moreover, the long straps will help you a lot while wearing on your back, because it is much easier to reach them without anybody’s help.
I must go back again to the “detail” which might seem as a detail only at the first sight – the chest buckle on the rails (I have already written about it in the review of the wonderful Mirkine onbuhimo, for example). If you have trouble reaching the chest buckle when wearing in front, in case of Kavka, it is possible to buckle it up high behind your neck and the pull it down lower, in the more comfortable position, by reaching the hanging straps from below, not needing anybody’s help. I do not really have any problem with this, to be honest, but I came to the realization how great this type of chest buckle is when wearing on the back – in “ordinary” carriers, the chest buckle is usually attached with a strap loop around the shoulder strap’s padding and this padding tends to deform more or less while wearing. The deformed shoulder strap padding is always very uncomfortable for me because it presses on my chest, while logically, this cannot be the case of the rail-attached chest buckle!
In the end, I must mention the design of Kavka – the patterns, colourway and the overall appearence of the carriers are in most cases quite subtle, but in any way dull. This is, in my opinion, something that the Czech and Slovak babywearing market has been waiting for a long time, speaking of the “prêt-à-porter” wrap conversion. Of course, minimalist carriers are not that rare, but let’s be honest, the basic line of Lenny Lamb or Be Lenka carriers is soooo boring and uninteresting compared to Kavka and the high-end Sakura Bloom or Artipoppe’s Zeitgeist will never become generally that much popular simple because of their prize (and of course, there are certain copycats of the same nationality as Kavka that are trying to go in the similar design direction, but well, it is obviously too “similar”, and not only in my opinion – but Kavka was first in this matter, anyway! 😉 ).
Just as I begun the review, I will finish it – Kavka Multi-Age Plus is a perfect fit for me and my daughter. I have never tried a better toddler carrier and I say it with full conscience, owning also such a carrier Ferrari as a custom made Madame GooGoo wrap conversion (it almost feels embarassing that my dear MGG costing twice as much as Kavka, has become a sort of a “back-up” carrier in the last year, as I tend to wear Kavka much more).
I will repeat myself – it is very difficult to review something really objectively in case it is your own and you love it – however, is there anything truly objective in any review of anything? Babywearing review are always more or less about subjective experience. But what I can say really objectively – although my Kavka has been worn intensively in the last year (and not only by me or very experienced babywearers), it still looks great, the colours are still vivid and not faded at all, the wrap is in perfect condition without any pulls (and moreover, it is sooo soft and pleasant to touch that my wrap-geek heart cries when thinking about the fact that there are no long Kavka woven wraps!), every stitch is in its place, the Velcro on the waist belt still works perfectly despite frequent adjusting and re-adjusting at our babywearing meet-ups and when borrowed, the buckles are as good as new. The only thing that is not in mint condition are the elastic bands that hold the rolled up ends of the straps – it is more of an aesthetic than functional issue and it is not only Kavka in which I have encountered this problem – these bands tend to get loose when used frequently, in almost any carrier. Therefore, with my clearest conscience, I can say that Kavka is a really durable carrier and for me personally, among all the toddler carriers in this price category I have tried so far, absolutely unbeatable (and when not speaking about the price, it is still my number one, beating even the great, but much more expensive Sestrice Carrier Plus and the above-mentioned Madame GooGoo).