I’ve always said that whoever invented winter didn’t have babies.
Going out for walks is a daily pleasure for us; barring temperatures dropping below, say, minus-25, we go out every day regardless of the weather. We’re like the postman.
But I would get soooo frustrated that it took 20 minutes to gear up and get out the door in wintertime. Venturing out in the car in the snowy season isn’t much easier. When The K Man was really little and still in his first (portable) car seat, colder weather wasn’t the hell it became once we had to install the permanent car seat, when we could no longer do all the fussing about indoors. Gearing up the two of them? It sucks the big old suck-suck.
But I digress.
While the JJ Cole Bundleme is a great alternative to a blanket in fall and spring (and also does a great job keeping the stroller seat clean), it just isn’t warm enough for the really chilly days we get here in Ontario between December and March – sometimes April. And, as a side note to parents considering purchasing a Bundleme: be sure to purchase the “toddler” size, even if it’s for your newborn. That way, you’ll get more than just one season out of it, and if your child is smaller-than-average, you might get three.
Not only is our Bundleme not warm enough for our winter walks, it doesn’t help us get out the door any faster either. Enter the 7 a.m. Enfant Blanket 212 evolution – described by its makers as “the ultimate baby bunting.” This is no lie. This is, without a doubt, one of the best investments we’ve made between both kids. And make no mistake – it is an investment; at about $200, you want to be sure that you’ll get enough use out of the thing to bring down your price-per-use (calculated by taking the total purchase price and dividing by the number of times you use or wear an item).
And this is precisely the reason I’m reviewing a winter item on the outskirts of spring: maybe, if you’re lucky, you can find the Blanket 212 evolution on sale right now.
The number one reason we bought the 212 evolution? It replaces the snowsuit. Yes, replaces! I just throw a light hat on my little one (if it’s extra cold, otherwise the built-in hood suffices) and strap her into her stroller, engulfed in this über-blanket. This allows us to get out of the house in less than five minutes, just as we do in the summer.
- The man-made filler is as warm as down; seriously – don’t put anything heavier than a sweater on your babe if you’re using this bunting bag or he’s going to sweat his nards off
- It’s waterproof
- The whole thing can be thrown in the washing machine
- The hood is big enough that it creates a wind barrier across my baby’s face
- It has zip-on and -off extensions to make the blanket longer or shorter, depending on the infant/toddler’s height; and I should note that my very tall 3.5 year old successfully fit into the Blanket 212 evolution – with his boots peeking out the bottom – this past winter, making that four winters we’ve used this thing
- It has worked in four very different strollers (the Phil & Ted’s Sport, the UPPAbaby Vista, the Chariot Carrier Corsaire XL and the EasyWalker DUO), adapting perfectly with each
- It comes in a huge variety of colours and is a great-looking product
- The name. I don’t get it. Weird
- The little cords and zipper pullies that are located near the opening for my kid’s face often sit right in front of his eye line or, worse, sometimes annoyingly rub his wee face. As I suggested to the company myself via email a few years ago, this would be easily remedied with some cord keepers that just tuck them out of the way
- On days that are cool but not so brutal that you need to use the extraordinarily warm hood, it would be nice to be able to keep it zipped open and fold the flaps back on themselves (using something like Velcro) to keep them out of the way
- I wish the zippers were those nice, thick ones – these are skinny little things and sometimes catch the fabric
- The 7 a.m. Enfant folks seem to think this should last until a child is four years old; we came close. Perhaps the company will simply start selling extra extensions so that fans of the product can add on if need be?
- It does not work with any of our car seats
None of the gaffes are deal-breakers, though. The sheer ease-of-use and the efficiency it brings to my winter days make these small things not worth sweating.
So…where can you buy it?