Carry of the Month for March: Rucksack and Ruck variations

COTM #7: Ruck, Reinforced Ruck, Ruck TUB, RRRR, Ruck TAS

We are returning to back carries this month with a bang! Ruck and it’s variations are popular carries for those newer to back carries, but they are also well loved among those with more experience.  All around, these are great back carries, and some come with a little extra support if it’s needed.

Rucksack carry and variations

The Rucksack carry is a great carry for those new to back carries with a woven because it is simple and fast (the more you do it, the faster you become). It starts with a ruck pass, which is over both legs of the child and over both shoulders of the wearer.  Bunched passes are then pulled back over one leg of the child and under the other with both passes ending in front to tie off.  The Rucksack carry is typically done with a base size wrap, or base -1.

The Ruck Tied Under Bum (or Ruck TUB) and the Ruck Tied at Shoulder (or Ruck TAS) are variations of the Rucksack carry that can be done with shorter wraps, typically sizes 2, 3, and 4 woven wraps work great for these. The Ruck TUB is essentially the Rucksack but instead of the bunched passes crossing over the child’s legs and then under to tie off in front, the bunched passes pass over the child’s legs and then tie off in a secure double knot under the child’s bum.

In Ruck TAS the carry starts somewhat off center and allows the wearer to work with only one side of the wrap instead of both.  After making the seat and tightening strand by strand, the longer tail is again bunched and then passed over both legs coming up to the front under the wearer’s arm and tying at the shoulder in a secure double knot, slip knot, or if there is enough length in the tails a few other tie off variations can be used.

As children get older and heavier reinforcing passes can add to the comfort of both child and wearer. The Reinforced Ruck may be the version for you if you feel extra support is needed, or if you just like extra support no matter what.  This version of the Rucksack does require the wearer’s base size wrap or longer.  For this carry, instead of bunched passes, we have spread passes which is where you will get the extra support.

Lastly the Reinforced Rear Rebozo Rucksack (RRRR) is another variation that can be done with a shorter wrap.  Depending on the wearer and the size of the child a size 2 woven wrap to a size 4 woven wrap can work wonderfully for this carry. Like Ruck TAS this carry starts off center and the wearer works primarily with one side of the woven wrap. RRRR (or the Pirate carry) uses a rebozo pass instead of a cross pass, the rebozo pass is spread over the beginning ruck pass and is brought under the opposite arm to tie at shoulder or in a chestbelt variation.

As with all wrap carries, importance is placed on creating a nice, deep seat for baby, with baby’s legs being in a good M position (knees above bum) and fabric supporting under the legs from knee to knee.

Younger babies should have fabric supporting them up to their necks, whereas older babies should be supported at least up to their armpits.

The hardest part about the Ruck carry and it’s variations is maintaining a good, deep seat for your child.  Sometimes the seat is popped due to over tightening the bottom rail, and other times t is popped by a quick, leg straightening child.  Either way you’ll want to make sure to keep that deep seat with knee to knee support as you finish the carry.

Some of the tie off variations you may see in the linked videos below are: Candy Cane Chest Belt (CCCB), Tibetan tie off, Knotless, and the slipknot.

Safety: Please keep in mind that if this is your first time using a woven wrap or trying this carry, you should practice over a soft surface such as a bed or couch. If you are attempting this back carry or it’s variations for the first time, you should have a spotter and/or practice over a soft surface such as a bed or a couch, or even kneeling on a carpeted floor. You can also practice with a doll or stuffed animal first until you feel comfortable.  If this is your first time using a woven wrap please begin with a front carry such as FWCC or FWCC variations, which we have covered in a previous COTM:

If you are a beginner with woven wraps, we recommend that your child be approximately 6 months old, with good neck control/head support, and able to sit before attempting ANY back carry.

Stretchy wraps (such as the Moby, Boba Wrap, DIY knit wraps, etc) are not designed for the carries described in this Carry of the Month and should NOT be used for back carries.
These video tutorials and more can also be found on our Pinterest:

Getting your child on your back (practice this over a soft surface before trying a back carry if this is your first time trying a back carry):

Rucksack with hip scoot method:

Rucksack (with Reinforced Ruck variation):

Rucksack (with tips):

Ruck TUB (RUB):

Rucksack Tied At Shoulder (Ruck TAS):

Reinforced Rucksack:

Reinforced Rear Robozo Rucksack: 

RRRR with leg pass: 

Rucksack with different finishes:

Baby on Board! Babywearing While Pregnant, part 1

Sabrina Bump

Baby on Board is a 3-part series about babywearing while pregnant. This first part will address babywearing in the first and early second trimester, up until about 15/16 weeks. It will feature yours truly, currently 17 weeks pregnant with #2, as well as several other currently and previously pregnant Tucson BWI members.

Before we begin, a caveat. I am not a medical professional and this is not to be taken as, or over, medical advice. If you have any questions regarding the safety of babywearing on your particular body while pregnant, I strongly encourage you to ask your doctor, midwife, or chiropractor. More to the point, if your care provider cautions you against babywearing (front, side, back, or all) please listen to them.

Bear in mind that babywearing while pregnant follows the same guidelines as babywearing while not pregnant: Listen to your body, respect the feedback (aches and pains), and don’t be afraid to modify for your specific needs (which may change daily).

There are a few physiological changes that pregnant women need to be aware of, as they will affect how you babywear.

  1. Relaxin – that wonderful hormone that prepares the body for labor and delivery loosens the joints and other soft tissues. May be great for getting into some yoga poses, but it also means that your soft tissue is much more prone to injury. Things that didn’t hurt before, may start to hurt now. If that is the case, it’s your body telling you “please don’t do that,” and time to take a break or try a modification. Pay extra attention to your back, hips, and knees. For moms who back wear, the motions of the hip scoot or superman toss may be too much. Consider alternative ways to getting a baby on your back.
  2. The added weight of the pregnancy – For those pregnant and wearing a toddler (or beyond), it’s important to remember that your body is carrying the 20+ lbs of the older child as well as any additional weight from the pregnancy. This can put a lot of stress on your body and you may find you need to modify carries, carriers, or duration of babywearing. Just be aware of what your body can do.

Now on to the fun stuff: Babywearing in the first and early second trimester.

This is the phase when you might be praying to the porcelain god, so exhausted you can barely peel yourself off the couch, and rocking the baby bloat instead of the bigger baby “bump”. Fellow Tucson BWI member Meg writes, “I hardly wore at all the first few weeks I was pregnant. Between feeling nauseous, exhausted and hot and clammy all the time, I could hardly stand it. I am 15 weeks now and i would say around 10 weeks-ish I was more up for wearing.”


The limits of my babywearing from week 6 to about week 10.

But once you start feeling better, or if you are one of those lucky people who doesn’t get morning sickness,  it’s also the time when babywearing is least limited, at least by the baby bump. For the most part, babywears can continue to wear carriers front, side, and back as they would were they not pregnant. (Though, my nauseous self could not fathom the thought of standing, much less babywearing.)  At this point in a pregnancy, the uterus is under or just above the pubic bone, a spot generally not impeded by babywearing. If it feels good, do it!

That being said, there are some modifications that may make things more comfortable, especially if the famed first-trimester bloat makes your midsection uncomfortable.
Hip Carries!Meg RS 1

Hip carries in a ring sling, woven wrap or pouch sling eliminate any sort of waist band on the abdomen. You may need to position your kiddo so they are off your stomach, but this is generally pretty easy to do by shifting them further to the side. Hip carries that don’t wrap around the waist, such as robozo carries, HCC and Robin’s hip carry, may be more comfortable than hip carries that also tie around the waist. (I’ll note that in my case, hip carries were the first ones I had to drop. Between the 26# toddler and the loose ligaments, it puts too much pressure on my back and hips.)
Meg (about 16 weeks) writes, “I also still comfy in a RS for quick trips. Her leg just kind goes above my bump. We haven’t been wrapping much, mostly because neither of us have the patience right now. She tolerates being up if it’s quick and I can get her comfy without a lot of fuss.”

Meg RS2

Although hidden in part by the tail, you can see that the toddler is positioned just off the baby bump.

Back Carries! Because there are several options, I’ll break this down into carrier type:

Back carries in a SSC or MT – Consider playing around with the positioning of the waist band. I find I like a higher back carry with the waist band on my natural waist. Others prefer to wear low and snug. Try each out and see what works – but keep in mind you’ll have to readjust the shoulder straps and sternum/chest clip when you reposition the waist on your body.

photo 1

13.5 weeks, you can see the waist band fastened high at my natural waist.

Back carries in a woven wrap. Here, the possibilities are endless. Short back carries or back carries w/ no waist pass are great. Some examples are: Ruck tied at Side, RRRR, Jordan’s Half Back Carry, Double Rebozo Shoulder to Shoulder. Candy cane chest belts and tying Tibetan will become your friend. (note, I found my breasts were too tender to handle some of the chest belts).

photo 2

Double Hammock with a Candy Cane chest belt: plenty of room for the bump at 16 weeks, and support for the toddler on back.


Double Rebozo Shoulder-to-Shoulder, tied under bum (14 weeks).


Meg in a wrap conversion mei tai, tied Tibetan to keep the waist band off of the bump.

On the other hand, waist and chest passes often provide much needed support for heavier toddlers. In many cases, a carry can be modified to tie above the belly. For example, Double Hammock (tied above bump or under bum), Ruck tied above the bump, Shepherd’s Carry, Christina’s Ruckless.

Sabrina DHTUB

Double Hammock, tied under bum.

Sabrina Ruck

Ruck, tied in front.

Front carries! As long as they are comfortable, front carries are fine at this phase in pregnancy. At 13 weeks I could easily wear my 26# 2 year old on the front in a Tula, and in the FWCC. At 15 weeks, I prefer to have him on my back.

Sabrina shares, “Love this one can’t see bump but was comfy for a few minutes”.

Sabrina FWCC

Half Front Wrap Cross Carry.

What are your favorite babywearing tips for the first trimester? Share them in the comments below! And stay tuned for Part 2: The second trimester.

Peace, love and babywearing,