Some of you have inquired about the Twingo carrier after I posted MY REVIEW of the TWINGAROO TWIN BABY CARRIER, and we are here to deliver!!! While I have NOT had a chance to try this particular carrier yet, my awesome friends over at Portage+Double have not only tried it, but written an in-depth review that they are sharing with us here! I hope you enjoy and that this can answer some of your questions!
Babywearing Safety Disclaimer: Obviously, as for any soft structure carrier, carrying an infant 4 months old and younger (who do not spread his legs wide enough yet) is not recommended, unless with the use of a newborn insert or another adaptation of the same type (which is neither included, nor offered by the manufacturer). Neither the seat nor the backrest of the extension carrier are adjustable and therefore, it is possible that the backrest does not suffice to adequately maintain a toddler (18 months and older), from one knee to the other, depending on his size and shape. (Please also note that it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT NOT to BACK CARRY in an SSC until AFTER baby can sit UNASSISTED!)
The babywearing experience : Since we did not purchase or received this carrier ourselves, we did not have the box or the instructions booklet with us when we tested it. We do know though that for the moment, it is only available in English (since this review has originally been written for the French). The website of the manufacturer (also in English) offers some video tutorials that can help in installing the TwinGo and its pieces and accessories.
We must first tell you that we received NO advice whatsoever regarding the utilization or installation of the TwinGo, neither from the owner of the carrier nor from the manufacturer. We did not watch the videos available on the manufacturer website before the tests, so we were as new to this as it can be!
At first sight, the different colors makes it really easy to distinguish what goes where, which is a plus. The fabric is soft and the shoulder straps are nicely padded. The colors (orange and blue) are nice too and the carrier itself is overall of great appearance.
Once the waist bands are attached to each other and installed on us, we realized that even at their tightest, there was still space between us and the waist band (which shouldn't be there!). There was no way to adjust it tighter, therefore we tried the TwinGo with these adjustments. (Post-test note: on the manufacturer website, we learned afterward that it is possible to attach both waist band independantly, making them to overlap one on the other, in this kind of situation. We therefore assume that this would have been in the instructions booklet and that we should have been made aware of that before, so please take this into consideration).
Installing the first baby on our back, we both used a different method: one with the superman technique, and the other with the hip pass. Both methods worked just fine and baby was easy to install in the carrier. Once the arms are through the shoulder straps, we can see that the straps are really wide and that there is only a part of the surface of the shoulder straps that actually touches our shoulders. Moreover, after adjusting each shoulder strap, both of us where quite surprised to realize that even at their tightest adjustment, we could not properly adjust the shoulder straps to our body. After multiple test and adjustments, we got to the point where there was nothing more that we could do: the straps could not be tighter then this, which is somewhat disappointing since the manufacturer claims that the carrier fits people from 4'11'' to 6'5'' tall. Being 5'7'' and 5'3'', we should therefore be able to fit this carrier, according to the manufacturer, which wasn't the case here (regarding the shoulder straps).
Anyhow, we kept going, thinking that maybe by installing the second baby, the balance and distribution of the weight would help in this matter. Sadly, that wasn't the case either, so the baby on our back kept being loose and kind of far from our body, even though he was correctly seated, in terms of physiological babywearing. (Post-test note: On their website, TwinGo manufacturer mentions that it is possible to install one of the waist bands higher than the other, if needed, which would have maybe helped with this issue, though we doubt it. Still, as we did not try this installation, please take that into account).
Installing the baby in front of us was kind of complex from the get go, as we soon realized there was a LOT of straps and buckles all over us, and it easily became a little disturbing. Even though there is a Velcro system that allows you to "deal" with unused length of straps, there were still no less than 14 visible straps altogether while we tried to install the baby in the extension carrier (and this doesn't include the straps from the hoodie). Anyways, buckling the shoulder straps together with the middle strap was really easy and quick. The installation of the safety chest belt (that prevents the baby from falling from one side or the other) was also quite easy, as soon as we figured out what is was made for (we didn't have the instruction booklet, remember!).
The manufacturer chose to use different buckle sizes, to help identify what goes where, which was really helpful. However, since the highest safety buckle of the shoulder straps (which attach to the top of the extension backrest) is adjustable in both ways, but since it is installed REALLY low on the shoulder straps (considering our sizes and shapes), it was really hard to attach the buckle to the extension carrier, because said buckle was wiggling all over the place. Since it was moving all around, we had a hard time clipping it to its mate and had to use both hands to finally get there (which is hard, with a baby to hold with at least one hand!). Once the buckle is attached though, it is quite easy to adjust it properly, by pulling the strap either up or down. Important fact: Since the buckle is so low on the shoulder, it sits right next to the baby's face (or head), and since it is quite a large buckle, it was hard to avoid for the little cheeks and head there. After several minutes in the carrier, one of the babies had red marks RIGHT where the buckle was placed. We also noticed that the baby installed in the front carrier was wiggling from one side to the other, when not sleeping (when the head is not resting on our chest).
The middle strap (chest clip), the one that allows to attach the two shoulder straps together, is easy to adjust in height and therefore, is not a problem for baby's comfort, even though the buckle is not covered.
As for the ergonomic of the seating, for both babies, we have not much to say, as it is easy and comfortable, and comes around the baby's body just fine. However, the backrest is not so high and was not even reaching our 7 months old necks. The seat, on the other hand, is of great width and covers from one knee to the other. The waist band is wide and comfortable for the wearer. For one of us though, the padding under the waistband buckles was too heavy and kept hurting the hips of the wearer, where they overlap. (Julie, the owner, told us afterwards that she has to flip the padding backwards to prevent this from hurting her hips).
While walking, and after only 15 minutes or so, we started feeling tensions in our shoulders and back, probably due to the lack of adjustments from the shoulder straps, and the weight distribution that comes from it. It is not possible for us to confirm nor deny that this is actually the reason of these tensions, but Julie, the owner of the borrowed TwinGo, told us that she felt those tensions too when she started using the carrier. After using it multiple times, she said the tensions "faded away" gradually, as she got used to the carrier. Therefore, it may just be because we were not "used" to it.
We loved the hoodies, which are easy to install and to store (thanks to the snap on the waist band). Though when carrying a child on your back, and as with any other SSC, it's almost impossible to reach the straps and bring the hoodie up on the baby's head. However, once you have it in hand, it is really easy to adjust and you just have to snap it on your shoulder, with the snaps. The snaps for this being both at the same height on the shoulder straps, it's easy to access for the hoodie in the back, though it's way to low for the baby in front, as the baby ends up having a lot of the fabric directly in his face, which to us is a safety hazard. We actually had to flip it backward and to twist the straps before snapping, to avoid blocking the baby's airways.
For every buckle, there is a small safety elastic. You need to get the straps and buckles through those elastics so that, in case a buckle breaks, the elastic will temporarily prevent the child from falling.
Conclusion : In the end, the TwinGo appears to be a great choice for someone who wants to tandem babywear, though we suggest trying it out before buying, considering the adjustment problems stated previously. However, the fact that the TwinGo can be divided into two separate soft structure carriers is a plus for people who'd prefer investing only once, but who wants to wear to babies separately. On a more personal note, and at the exception that this tandem carrier divides itself into two carriers, in terms of comfort and adjustment, we definitely preferred other tandem babywearing methods to this one.
Pros Color coded parts makes it easy to know what goes where Fabric is soft and solid Design is classic, but nice The pockets are great for easy storage, and allows to store the carriers too Possibility to divide the carrier into two separate SSC
Cons Lack of adjustments at the shoulder level, due to the length of the straps (fabric) Installation is complicated by the numerous straps and buckles Some pieces of equipment pose a risk to the baby's safety (hoodie, for the baby carried in front). Tensions in the shoulders and back pain for the wearer after only couple of minutes Not available in Canada