Almost Fearless

Buying Guide: The Best Travel Strollers Summer 2017



Let’s face it, traveling with small kids means traveling with gear— but that doesn’t mean you need to be lugging around a monstrosity of a stroller for a simple weekend at the beach. Key things to consider:

-Where will you be traveling? (In Europe with tight stairwells and cobblestones? At the beach near your in-laws?)
-What functions do you need? Will this double as a backpack and storage unit?
-How much outdoor vs. indoor strollering will you be doing?
-How important is weight vs. function?

At the end of the day, strollers let you see more things because tiny legs get tired long before the adults are done exploring. The style and type of stroller you get will depend more on your travel-style and budget than anything else. Luckily, we’ve got you covered in this massive round-up of the best strollers for 2017.

(Be sure to also check out our The Ultimate Baby Carrier Guide for Traveling Parents).

 

Lightest: Maclaren Mark II

Best For: Hopping on and off Public Transport, When There are no Elevators

Best For: Lightweight Portability

About: The Mark II is Maclaren’s lightest stroller and while it may not include as many features as other strollers, a lot of stroller is packed into just over seven pounds. The Mark II is suitable for children six months to 55 lbs and has a five-point harness. It offers partial sunshade coverage, a slight recline and a small but decent-sized basket for the stroller. Other travel-friendly features include a convenient shoulder strap, a buggy ID tag and an included rain cover. And while I wouldn’t call this an all-terrain stroller by any means, the wheels are high quality and include 4-wheel suspension. At $200, this is not the cheapest option, but the Mark II is built to last. And if it doesn’t? You are covered by Maclaren’s Sovereign™ Lifetime Warranty as long as you’ve registered your stroller. This covers any defect or failure you might find in the stroller under normal use during its entire lifetime.

What You’re Giving Up: A large napping recline, any bells & whistles, complete sun coverage andyour money. Yes, this is pricey for such a little, un-accessorized stroller. However, Maclaren strollers can oftentimes be found at reasonable prices on sites like Craigslist. While second owners aren’t covered by the warranty, a used Maclaren is usually better than a new but cheaper brand. Conversely, when it is time for you to part ways with your Maclaren, the resale value is decent.

All in All: While the recline is modest (not best for naps but they can happen), and the “oversized shopping basket” isn’t what I would call oversized, the weight, shoulder strap and one-hand fold make traveling with this stroller a breeze

Product Specs: Weight 7.3 pounds (not including basket, carry strap, hood. Weighs a bit closer to eight  pounds with all those included.); Folded Dimensions: 11.7″W x 10.4″H x 45.5″L; Canopy: Medium size, UPF 50+ with sun visor; Holds: six months to 55 pounds.

Price: $200.00

Alternatives: If you are looking for something more budget-friendly, the Summer Infant 3D lite at $89.99 gets high marks from fellow travelers and comes in at just under 12 lbs.

Smallest: GB Pockit

Best For: When You Need a Stroller in a Pinch, Airport Stroller

GB Pockit

About: Good Baby (GB) made headlines, and won the 2014 Guinness World Record for smallest stroller, with the Pockit. At nine  pounds and compact enough to fit into a large tote bag, it is tiny. Although it’s not so small that you’d want to cart it around all day (nine pounds is heavy after a couple hours), it is compact enough to fit under your seat and can even fit in the baskets of some bigger strollers for those days when you aren’t sure if you need a double or not. And with a weight capacity of 55 pounds., this miniscule stroller can hold both your six-month-old and your preschooler (not at the same time) if needed. While extremely small, the Pockit also has a decent basket for the size of the stroller. For whatever reason, they also did not include a carry strap, although there is a way for you to attach a luggage strap and create a sort of stroller messenger bag.

What You’re Giving Up: A lot. Not good for naps, newborns, sun, shopping, or bumps. Plus, it’s more expensive than strollers that do twice as much. Part of what you are paying for is just the cool factor. Don’t get me wrong. This stroller meets a lot of needs but if you have a constant rider, are traveling someplace sunny, and/or will be outside a lot, this is not the stroller for you. To keep it small, sacrifices must be made and for the Pockit, that means tiny wheels and a joke of a sunshade. Also, while the fold is tiny, it does require two hands and multiple steps to get it there. The current Pockit also does not recline and does not take a car seat although the upcoming Pockit plus will offer both these features.

All in All: Not a lot of stroller for a lot of money. If you give up a teeny-tiny fold for a slightly larger fold instead, there are more and better options for you. But if absolutely must take your stroller on the plane without gate checking it, this is the only one I’ve been able to do so far.

Product Specs: Weight: 9 pounds ; Folded Dimensions: 1.8″ x 7″ x 13.8″; Holds: six months-55lbs.; Canopy: 1 panel with minimal sun protection.

Price: $249.99

Alternatives: If all you are looking for is a way to glide easily through airports and train terminals, check out the Mountain Buggy bagrider ($99.99) and pull both your toddler and carry-on at the same time.

 

Most Storage Space: Summer Infant 3D Trek

Best For: A Full Day’s Outing

A post shared by Summer Infant (@summerinfant) on

About: While  many full-size strollers have decent baskets, not many travel strollers do. Until now. With a place and space for just about everything, the 3D Trek is “your fit-everything” stroller. A generous basket can fit the largest diaper back and even a decent-sized weekend bag. It includes added netting to increase capacity. Aside from an included cup holder and cell phone holder, the 3D Trek also has a side bottle holder, side bungee cords for holding things like towels, a bumper bar and kid’s snack cup, and toy loops. Additionally, the sun canopy is extremely generous, allowing you to stroll in the sunniest climates and an easy one-hand recline, plus an adjustable leg rest equals  a comfy nap place. One of the most unique features this stroller has is its ability to hang bags on the handlebars without tipping. In fact, there are hooks made just for hanging up to five pounds of treasures you find along your journey. Even when tested without a child in the seat, the stroller did not tip. Although the stroller boasts a “one-hand fold” and convenient carry strap, I found the fold to be too tedious if I was holding an infant and the strap was extremely uncomfortable. Most disappointing, however, was the push. The same frame that allows it to hold so much stuff, also makes it cumbersome and awkward to push at times. While this might be great for grocery store trips, shopping sprees, and an all-day outing, I don’t foresee this stroller doing well on bumpy hiking paths or sandy beaches.

What You’re Giving Up: An easy lift, maneuverability, an easy fold. While it’s a little stroller that can hold a lot, it’s not a light stroller. At 19 pounds, with a flimsy non-padded shoulder strap, this is not a joy to haul around. Additionally, all the bells and whistles that make this stroller so great also get in the way of its fold at times, making for a frustrating experience. While the fabrics are advertised as “premium” they do not compare with the luxury category strollers.

All in All: A practical choice for those families who consistently haul a lot of stuff or need the storage space of a full stroller with the umbrella fold of a travel stroller. However, if you will be carrying this stroller from place to place a great deal and need a quick, zippy transport system to get you from A to B, you might want to look at other options.

Product Specs: Weight: 19 pounds; Unfolded Dimensions 36″ L x 19″ W x 43″ H; Holds: six months to 50 pounds (but takes some infant car seats); Canopy: Generous coverage, three-panel with mesh peek-a-boo window.

Price: $179.99

Alternatives: If you love your stroller but hate its storage capacity, consider investing in a side bag, pannier, and/or parent console instead of another stroller. This saddlebag from Skip Hop ($25) attaches to the side of most strollers without getting the way of parents.

Best All-Terrain Travel: City Mini GT

Best For: Uneven Cobblestone Streets, Bumpy Roads

About: The City Mini GT has been a favorite all-terrain option for traveling and non-traveling parents alike. The fold really is as easy as they advertise and you can do it one handed and without having to bend over. While it technically isn’t in the “travel stroller” category, the fold is compact enough and the footprint small enough that you can take it down busy sidewalks and public transport easily. It also glides over terrain most travel strollers can’t handle as gracefully thanks to its 8.5” foam filled wheels and front-wheel suspension which give it in air-like feel without needing to pump tires or worry about flats.

What You’re Giving Up: A light stroller and storage space. Again, this technically isn’t a travel stroller but if you are looking for an all-terrain stroller that is easy to travel with, this is your best bet. If you buy the bumper bar ($29.95), you have an added handle to hold on to. While the basket on the City Mini GT is pretty small for the size of the stroller, a parent console and even a cooler bag are offered as added accessories.

All in All: This is a mighty little stroller that can handle all sorts of tough terrain while not being overly bulky. By being newborn ready and able to hold up to 65 pounds, this could be your one and only stroller.

Product Specs:  Weight: 22.49pounds ; Folded dimensions: 29.53″ x 24.21″ x 10.24″; Holds: from birth to 65 pounds; Wheels: Three 8.5” “Forever Air” (foam) filled tires and front wheel suspension; Canopy: Three-panel, generous sun protection with two plastic peek-a-boo windows.

Price: $359.99 

Best Budget Friendly: Kolcraft Cloud Plus

Best For: Budget-Conscious Travel

About: The Kolcraft Cloud Plus may not be as cool as the other strollers but it holds its own in the travel category and even offers some features lacking in its luxury counterparts. While the fold is not as small as a Maclaren or Mountain Buggy Nano, it’s simple and can be done with one hand. The tires, although not all terrain, do have front suspension and did okay on some bumpy Galway cobblestone. The push is not completely smooth (you’ll feel some vibration in your hands) but the stroller wheels won’t get stuck like strollers in a similar cost category. Kolcraft also throws in a decent canopy shade, built-in cupholders for both parent and child, and a generous basket that could fit a large diaper bag, giving parents a lot of bang for their buck.

What You’re Giving Up: Nice fabric and a super compact fold. Budget strollers tend to lack the quality fabrics, design, and push of their luxury travel counterparts. The five-point harness could be a little more durable and the canopy is decent, but the fabric thin. While the Kolcraft Cloud Plus may not have all the gadgets as their luxury neighbors, and while the push might not be the best, this is a decent travel stroller that holds up well on the journey.

All in All: You get what you pay for and more in this affordable yet durable stroller.

Product Specs: Weight: 11.8 pounds; Folded dimensions: 18″ w x 12″ d x 34″ h; Holds: six months up to 50 pounds; Wheels: Four wheel, front suspension; Canopy: Decent three panel with one peek-a-boo window.

Price: $59.99

Most Versatile: Mountain Buggy Nano (with added accessories)

Best For: Traveling With Two Kids; Traveling with a Newborn

About: Mountain Buggy tailors its strollers to the needs of traveling parents. The Nano is a perfect example. Weighing in at just 13 pounds., the Nano includes a built-in carry strap, small footprint and a super compact fold that, like the GB Qbit and Babyzen Yoyo, is apparently small enough to put in an overhead airplane bin, although I have yet to be on a flight where the flight attendants have actually let that happen. Other features include a five-point harness, adjustable leg rest, mesh back, and an incline generous enough for naps. The seat itself is suitable for six months and up but the newborn cocoon ($69.95) makes this stroller suitable for 0+. Additionally, with the purchase of the freerider ($99.99), a second child can tag along for the ride.

What You’re Giving Up: A quick fold, a good basket and not a large canopy. While the fold is certainly compact and the built-in carry strap handy, I found it to be a complicated two-hand fold that takes some getting used to. The same frame that make it compact also creates an annoying bar that gets in the way of the basket use.

All in All: A quality lightweight travel stroller that (with accessories) can take you from newborn to toddler and even be used as a double.

Product Specs: Weight: 13 pounds; Folded dimensions:20”H X 22”W X 12” D; Holds: newborn (with carry cot) six months (with seat) to 44 pounds.; Wheels: 6” EVA with slight rear wheel suspension; Canopy: Moderate sun coverage.

Price: $249.99+

Most Stylish: Bugaboo Bee5

Best For: Chic and Sophisticated Travel; Unlimited Budget

Situation: If you have money to burn and want the “it” stroller, Bugaboo is where you want to be. That being said, the Bee5, the newest version of Bugaboo’s smallest stroller has a lot to offer travelers, as long as saving money isn’t one of them. The wheels on the Bee5, while small, are meticulously designed and include a wonderful suspension. It’s also what gives it that famous Bugaboo push. While other strollers may claim to have a one-handed push, the Bee5 actually does. The latest changes in the Bee5 also mean you can change the look of your stroller any time you want. Aside from offering “limited edition” canopies, parents can change the color of their handlebars, seat, and even the wheel caps. Another feature of the Bee5 is that you can flip the seat so that the child can face front or face the parent. Because this stroller is suitable from birth, this means you can keep your eye on your little one as you travel. Accessories include car seat adaptors, bassinet (not necessary), and their comfort wheeled board, meaning you can turn this stroller into a double. While a rain cover is included, something as basic as a cup holder is not. Although not light at almost 20 pounds, the Bee5 does have an easy, clean fold and fits in the trunk of most small cars. Bugaboo also offers a three year warranty on its strollers.

What You’re Giving Up: A huge chunk of change. Aside from that, the standard bugaboo sunshade doesn’t have a peek-a-boo window, which I find annoying. At almost 20 pounds., it’s not a stroller you want to carry around all day.

All in All: This stroller has everything: the looks, the engineering and unfortunately the huge price tag to go with it.

Product Specs: Weight:19.6pounds.; Folded dimensions: 35.4 L x 18.3 W x 12.6” H; Holds: birth to 37.5lbs; Wheels: 6” rubber with foam filling; Canopy: Very Generous, complete coverage. Standard canopy has no peek-a-boo window.

Price: $749.00+

Alternative: The Babyzen Yoyo ($495.00) comes in as a  close, but more affordable, second. This trendy Parisian-designed stroller has become a big hit due to its super compact fold and agile wheels. While it does weigh less and take up less space than the Bee5, its inability to parent-face without swapping out the seat, smaller canopy and its lack of accessorizing options put it slightly behind.

All Around Favorite: Maclaren Quest

Best For: Going From Airport to Outings; Newborn to Toddler; One-and-Done Stroller About: There is a reason Maclaren is one of the most popular travel strollers. Like its lighter companion, Mark II, the Quest also includes a rain cover, buggy ID tag, carry-strap and has Maclaren’s signature all-wheel suspension. However, the Quest offers more storage space, an adjustable leg rest, a near-flat recline perfect for napping on the go and is suitable from birth with its “infant system” that provides a protective cocoon-like structure for your little one. With the Maclaren design, you can easily fold this stroller one-handed, swing it on your shoulder and be off.

Product Specs: Weight: 12.6 pounds.; Folded dimensions: 41.3“ L x 11” W x 9.4” H; Holds: from birth to 55 pounds. Wheels: flat-free EVA tires with all-wheel suspension; Canopy: Generous 3-panel water-proof hood with peek-a-boo window.

What You’re Giving Up: A one handed push. The Maclaren, like all umbrella strollers, requires two hands. But other than that, the push is smooth. The shopping basket is not extremely large, but moderate for a stroller of its size.

All in All: This is a workhorse of a stroller that is newborn ready without needing any other accessories.

Price: $300.00

Alternative: GB Qbit+(299.95) Weighing it at 16.7 pounds and without a carry strap puts the GB Qbit+ in an honorable second  place. However, like the Quest, this stroller is also suitable from birth, has an adjustable leg rest, all wheel suspension, and super easy one-hand fold. If you prefer the style of a tri-fold over an umbrella stroller and want an easier-to-access basket, this may be the one for you.

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Katie Waite

Katie Waite is a writer, teacher, wife to a wannabe sailor, and mom to two kids plus an unruly dog and sometimes foster puppies. She and her family are working their way to full-time travel. Until then, they try to find the adventure in every day life in the DC/metro area.

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