Compact Strollers That Make Traveling a Breeze
Some fold small enough to fit into an overhead airplane bin
More families will be traveling for the holidays this year than in recent memory, according to AAA. Whether traveling by car, train, or plane, families with tots in tow will appreciate the lightweight compact strollers that Consumer Reports recently tested. Here are six models that will get you and your little one on your way.
A super-compact but full-featured stroller, the Mountain Buggy Nano folds down to the size of a small suitcase and fits in an overhead airplane bin. The stroller weighs 13 pounds and is suitable for children 6 months and older and less than 44 pounds. Included with the Nano are a belt and adapters to secure an infant car seat, so it can also be used for a newborn. Although storage in the stroller is a bit skimpy, this is a great choice for travel.
Pros. The Nano was nimble, with very good maneuverability. Features, especially folding, were not intuitive, but very easy with just a little practice. Extras include a travel bag.
Cons. The canopy can be a conundrum. When closed it can interfere with hand placement on the handlebar and gets in the way when folding the stroller. When open, the canopy obscures your view of the child passenger. The smallish basket has limited accessibility from the rear and is easier to reach from the front. The instructional videos on Mountain Buggy's website are more helpful than the owner's manual.
Another travel option is the ultralightweight (about 7.5 pounds) Maclaren Mark II, an umbrella-style stroller with carry handle and strap.
Pros. It folds compactly and is easy to carry around. Plus our testers noted that the Maclaren Mark II was surprisingly maneuverable for such a small, lightweight stroller.
Cons. The seatback does not recline, so if your child likes to lie back to nap, he’s out of luck. It’s not car-seat compatible and is not suitable for babies younger than 6 months or those who can’t sit up on their own. Testers found the handlebars a bit stiff and uncomfortable. Access to the storage basket is limited by the frame, especially from the rear.
The SnugRider Elite car-seat carrier frame accepts Graco SnugRide infant seats of either the Click Connect or Classic Connect series, which vary in weight limits from 30 to 40 pounds, or the Graco Infant SafeSeat.
Pros. It’s lightweight, compact, and easy to use. Maneuverability was very good in our tests. It’s car-seat compatible as sold, without the need for extra adapters. The large storage basket features a zippered pocket to hold small items such as your phone or keys.
Cons. Although very good overall in maneuverability, our testers noted a slight wobbly feel when pushing the SnugRider. And because it’s a car-seat carrier frame, once your child outgrows his infant car seat, he has also outgrown this stroller.
This is another compact option for travel, but at 19 pounds it’s heavier than it looks. Nuna calls its stroller the “Small Wonder” because of its many features and compact folded size. It’s suitable from “the moment your baby enters the world” through toddlerhood. Other features include a fully reclining seat, one-touch brakes, and a three-position seatback with zipper adjustments.
Pros. Our testers found the Nuna Pepp to be easy to fold and open, even though folding required two hands. It stands when folded. The fully reclining seat means the Pepp can be used from birth.
Cons. Heavier than the other three, the Nano Pepp isn’t car-seat compatible as sold. You can buy an adapter for $50 that works with Nuna and some Maxi-Cosi and Cybex infant car seats. Testers found the handle to be hard and uncomfortable when pushing. The basket is small and narrow, with limited access. The restraint system’s buckle is somewhat tricky at first.
For an older baby, age 6 months and up, you may want a lighter, umbrella style stroller. Consider the Summer Infant 3Dzyre, a CR Best Buy.
Pros. It’s lightweight and nimble, and easy to maneuver, and it has some great features. The already large canopy has a zip-out extension—one of the biggest canopies we’ve seen on an umbrella stroller—that protects your passenger from the sun and wind. The canopy also features a mesh window for ventilation that lets you peek in to make sure your little one is okay. The storage pocket has two open and one zippered compartment to hold a cell phone, keys, tissues, or other small necessities.
Cons. One drawback is that the stroller’s storage basket is just average-sized and difficult to access with the seatback reclined. It’s not at its best on bumpy terrain, and the wheels are small. It doesn’t stand on its own when folded, and the handle height is not adjustable.
The brandmate of the 3DZyre, the Summer Infant 3D Lite, is also a CR Best Buy. It's more basic—and cheaper—than the 3DZyre. The lightweight umbrella-style stroller comes with a carrying strap.
Pros. It's lightweight and compact, so it's easy to carry around. Our testers noted that the 3D Lite has very good maneuverability for such a lightweight stroller.
Cons. The seatback adjustment needs both hands. The basket is on the small side, and access to it is limited when the seat is reclined.