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Buying an umbrella stroller/travel stroller

Last time we went o/s we took our regular stroller with us. It was a relatively lightweight one, and I had bought it specifically for a trip to Melbourne when we were staying in an upstairs apartment – so it was much smaller and lighter than our original stroller. But it wasn’t a small umbrella stroller, and we frequently had to “check” it, and so didn’t have it for moving between connecting flights.

This time we want to buy a ‘proper’ umbrella stroller. The best umbrella stroller for travelling that there is, at a reasonable price (by which I mean under A$100 at most, since we really don’t need another stroller except for travel – though maybe we can resell it on eBay afterwards?).

Chris found a Zulu Zippi upright stroller on sale at Big W, but it doesn’t say on it how heavy it is, and to be honest, it doesn’t seem that much smaller than our normal stroller. Though, I have nothing to compare it to yet. I’ve been googling ‘travel stroller reviews’ and ‘umbrella stroller reviews’ but most of the results have just linked to Amazon or other US sites, which doesn’t help me in Australia. I did find a few  (4 star) reviews of the Zulu Zippy on the Big W website, which may just have to satisfy me, but the main thing I want to know is, can we take it on planes – will they let us take it right up to the door?

Anyway, here is my research so far:

Zulu Zippy:

  • weight: approx 4.5kg with packaging (this is from weighing it ourselves) (so about 10lb or slightly less)
  • rated to carry 17K
  • folds to approx 107x15cx20cm (again, measured ourselves, still in the packaging) (actually, this is a lot smaller than our existing stroller)
  • reviews found: 3 x 4stars
  • carry/transit bag: no
  • carry strap: no
  • sun shade: yes
  • five point harness: yes
  • bag/basket: no basket underneath, small bag on the back

Chicco Ct0.6 Capri Lightweight Stroller in TangarineChicco umbrella strollers

I keep reading references to the Chicco Ct0.6  or Ct0.5 (which I’m presuming is an earlier version), but so far I haven’t seen it for sale in Australia except on eBay (and that was the 0.5). From the description of the 0.5 model, it sounds heavier than the zippy, but probably more comfortable and useable too. So the question is, what are it’s dimensions when folded? The dimensions I found listed said 39″ folded height (which is signifcantly smaller than the Zippy), but it had a similar depth and a width of 19″, which seems unlikely!

Any suggestions or reviews in the comments would be welcome!

We’ve also had recommended

The Esprit Speed Sun Stroller (currently on sale at BabiesRUs for $129.99, down from $160); and the QuickSmart EasyFold Stroller, (also on sale for $129.99, down from $199.99). They are about 8kg & 7kg respectively, but I haven’t figured out what size they go down to yet. The QuickSmart folds down quite small, but wide, with it’s own carry bag, and rain cover and I’m wondering if we could even take it on as carry on luggage (edit: answer: No). It is only rated up to 15kg, which is fine for Elli (who is maybe 9kg I think), but just means it won’t last as long, and Mikaela won’t be able to sit in it. Then again, maybe we’ll just sell it after this trip…

Edited to add: we’re leaning towards the Esprit Speed Sun Stroller now. We tried out a friend’s very basic stroller with no basket underneath or pocket at the back and a very small and flimsy shade, and it drove me mad having no where to put stuff. Being out and about with kids – especially at this time of year – I use the stroller to carry beanies, spare jackets and the nappy bag as much as to carry Eliane! And then to the advice of the flyingwithchildren site is:

“People ask me which stroller I recommend for flying. I always say to bring the stroller you need for the entire trip, not specifically for the flight. Most airlines accept any stroller than folds and I’ve seen too many tiny babies slumped in rickety umbrella strollers in airports.”

So, now I’m trying to decide if we should really bother getting a new stroller at all, or just stick with the one we’ve got. On the one hand, it’s quite a bit heavier than any of the other options we’ve looked at, and while it is an ‘umbrella stroller’, it’s quite long, and we did have some airlines refuse to let us take it to the gate last time. Also, we’re thinking we might want a stroller Eliane can sleep comfortably in, since most of the time we won’t have a car we can all fit in, so might be walking a lot. And we won’t have a nice quiet room for her to nap in either, so walking and stroller napping might be a good solution. Then again, she’s barely ever napped in a pram or stroller, and not for months and months, so who knows if that will even work? Still, she does nap in the car quite often now, so there’s a good chance I think, if we have a comfy enough stroller with a bit of a recline.

The Esprit is quite well padded, goes from upright to full reclined, which also makes it an option for nappy changes. It has a large sun shade and has good reviews.

On the other hand, we already have this stroller, so in terms of our own resources, and the earth’s, can we really justify buying another one? Yes, this one is getting old and ratty, but then, that will work in our favour when we don’t worry too much how they mishandle it on the plane! And, how much of a big deal is it if they insist on checking the stroller all the way through? Well, we’ve got the ergo baby carrier, and if there’s plenty of time and it’s not too hectic, Elli can always walk some. So maybe it’s not a big deal. No matter what stroller we take we’ll need to be prepared for that possibility and make sure any carry on stuff we have, from jackets to kids’ books, can be carried without assistance of a pram.

So the advice to take a stroller that will suit for the rest of the trip, and not just focus on airports is good.

So, points in favour of Esprit compared to our existing stroller:

  • smaller
  • lighter
  • may be more comfortable (definitely more padded and can lie back)
  • bigger sun shade
  • lots of good reviews
  • probably steers better

In favour of just taking our old one:

  • doesn’t cost us anything
  • doesn’t cost the earth anything (slightly more fuel if for the plane, but it doesn’t weigh that much more)
  • did I mention, doesn’t cost us anything?

We’re going to look at the Esprit at BabysRUs today, to make a decision before the sale ends…

Edited again with the decision: We’re sticking with the stroller we have.

We looked at the Esprit and felt that although it is slightly lighter, and significantly shorter when folded (though nothing like the Zippy Zulu) it has

a toddler in a red Esprit stroller

This is Eliane trying out the Esprit stroller. I think you can see from this photo the way she seems to be just sitting on the seat right out form the back, with virtually no side protection or support.

  • a fairly flimsy sun shade attachment  – this seemed almost universal in the umbrella strollers we looked at today, so perhaps it’s not as bad as they seemed, but with the stroller we have now the sun shade is flat, and strong enough that I can put a shopping basket on it. I also routinely drap jackets over the top. I don’t think these fancier strollers would stand up to that treatment (certainly not the shopping basket!)
  • a slightly fiddly buckle – this would certainly not be a deal breaker on it’s own, but when I tried to do up the buckle with a slightly wriggly Eliane in it, one of the shoulder strap pieces slipped off and I couldn’t easily reattach it (probably just takes practice) and then I had a hard time getting one side of the buckle to undo.
  • very shallow side supports/shade – it felt like Elli was just sitting on a seat with a back but almost no sides, when the seat was all the way upright, which at this age would be virtually all the time. Also, while the back was nicely padded (much more so than some of the other ones), the sides aren’t at all. When the seat is fully reclining the sides would support a baby who fell asleep, but with it upright or semi upright, it seemed like as soon as Eliane fell asleep her head would loll to the side and find no support at all. In fact, if anything the padded back almost seemed convex. This was the deal breaker for us. I just couldn’t imagine her sleeping, or even resting, comfortably in this stroller.

 

 

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This entry was posted on July 31, 2011 at 6:02 pm and is filed under 2011 Round the World, Personal Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

One Response to Buying an umbrella stroller/travel stroller

  1. mamasport3 on August 2, 2011 at 11:42 am

    The easiest umbrella stroller for traveling on a plane is a basic no frills variety for under $20. There are zero features, but it is extremely lightweight and can either fit in an overhead bin on a plane or be gate checked with ease. I had one that cost around $15 and it lasted through all three of my kiddos. I used it for everything!

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