As you may have gathered from our babywearing guide, I’m a huge wrap fan. But I’ve also always had a soft spot for mei tais (as my first carrier was a Babyhawk mei tai) and use them regularly as well. Wrap conversion mei tais are a perfect blend of the two – as the name suggests, they are simply a mei tai constructed from wrap fabric. There are many small businesses that offer wrap conversion services. Beautiful carriers for sure but they can be tough to come by as these are very small (sometimes just one mama!) operations (for more on mei tai features and a list of brands, check out our mei tai guide).
Several wrap manufacturers have released their own wrap conversion mei tais; these are an easier way to get your WC mei tai fix without having to stalk for a custom slot. Some of these have features that make them particularly good for small babies and newborns. As the mama of a small baby…I had to try one.
The Hoppediz Hop-Tye appealed to me for two reasons: First, Hopps are known as great “workhorse” wraps – they only get better with love and abuse; those are the kind of wraps that make the best conversions in my opinion. Second, the Hopp-Tye features an adjustable width base, making it possible to put even a newborn in legs out (which is my preference over froggy legging).
There aren’t a ton of Hop-Tyes to be found on this side of the pond yet, but you can snag one through Zerberts (and Ruth is wonderful to work with). And if you want to try a Hop-Tye for yourself, use the coupon code “mamas” from now through the end of August to save 10% on your Zerberts purchase.
Now without further ado…here’s my review of the Hoppediz Hop-Tye!
- Material: My Hop-Tye is made from Hopp Miami – it’s definitely a pink wrap! Even before a wash, Miami was pretty soft and floppy. And like all Hopps, I’m sure she’ll only get softer and snuggler with use. Hopps vary in thickness; Miami feels thinner than some others I’ve tried so it doesn’t feel overwhelming in the heat. The buttons and toggles are plastic and match the wrap perfectly. Since there are only a few plastic bits for the hood and to adjust the waist, nothing but soft, snugly wrap touches baby or you.
- Shoulder Straps: The Hop-Tye has wrap style straps (no padding) – you can see how they fan at the shoulder and spread wide across the back making for a very comfortable carry . Wrap straps are great too because they can be spread over the bum for extra support (although mine are in a Lexi twist in the pictures). While they aren’t my first choice for back carries, I love wrap style straps in a front carry since they do spread over the shoulders so nicely. The straps are a generous 88 inches meaning they should be long enough for just about everyone. They were long enough for me to bring behind and then tie back in front (with more room to spare). If you are on the smaller side and found the extra length annoying, it would be simple enough to hem them shorter.
- Waist Strap: The waist strap is actually two straps, one from each side of the base of the carrier. The waist is lightly padded which I do think adds to the comfort as it doesn’t cut into your waist as a result. I did find that I had to tie in the padding a bit as I have a fairly narrow waist. It didn’t affect the fit of the carrier really though since the padding is so light. The padded portion of the waist is about 12 inches; the entire strap is 25 inches (those are measured from where they attach to the body of the carrier.
- Adjustable Body: One of the biggest selling points of this mei tai is how adjustable it is for a smaller baby. The bottom of the carrier has a draw cord that can narrow the base down enough for even a newborn to be legs out (from 16 inches down to 8 inches). The top adjusts as well. To shorten the body, you just tie higher on your waist (just as you can with any mei tai; because of the draw cord and angled waist straps, it doesn’t work well to roll the body of the Hop-Tye). The sides of the body are lightly elasticized making them better able to hug the body of a small baby and preventing gaping at the side. The body is lightly padded at the top and bottom and is just the two layers of wrap in the middle – this allows for a comfortable carry that molds well to baby’s body.
- Hood/Headrest: The Miami Hop-Tye has a cute flower applique on the underside of the hood. The hood can be rolled up and buttoned to the straps to form a headrest. When up, the hood attaches to toggled straps on the shoulders. The straps are designed so that you can attach them to the hood and then pull the hood up using the straps – very handy in a back carry.
- Comfort: I’ve been wearing the Hop-Tye quite a bit over the last week or so with Eleanor, sometimes for several hours, and have found it very comfortable. While the Hop-Tye can handle the weight of the average toddler, I think it shines as a carrier for the under 1 set. Like most mei tai wearers, I prefer shoulder padding and a more structured or padded waist for heavier/older kids. But aside from woven wraps, I don’t think any carrier truly works perfectly for both infants and toddlers. And of course, since this is a wrap conversion, it’s very snugly!
- A Few Minor Quibbles: I really didn’t find any huge negatives. I do wish the Hop-Tye label on the shoulder was more subtle and it would have been nice for the applique to have been on the other side of the hood so it could be seen when down (especially since I don’t often use hoods). I would have liked the waist to have had a shorter padded area – but for most people I don’t think that would be an issue.
- Care and Wear: Since it’s made from a Hopp, the Hop-Tye is very easy to care for and seems very durable. It can be machine washed on warm (although Hopp recommends hanging to dry). This isn’t a carrier I’d be afraid to use and abuse – spit-up, dirt, sweat…it can take it!
Final Thoughts…between the 3 wrap conversion mei tais produced by wrap companies I’ve tried, the Hop-Tye is definitely my favorite. While the others also offered adjustable bases, I found the Hop-Tye to be an overall more comfortable carrier to wear. I also think the other features – like the elasticized sides and draw string top – add to its suitability for small babies. If you are in the market for a wrap conversion mei tai for a newborn or young infant, I think the Hop-Tai is an excellent choice. Our happy pink Miami will be getting plenty of Eleanor snuggles over the next year or so for sure!