Best Bang For Your Buck Umbrella Stroller

Travel season is upon us and the idea of carrying Max around in a backpack carrier sounds exhausting!  Up till now we have used our Chicco Key Fit 30 as our stroller but we have only been traveling by car or having outings around town.  Its time to get an umbrella stroller and the big question is should we get a crappy throw away or invest in something more solid?  We want something we can easily check at the gate in the airport, push around the streets of the city, store some stuff in a compartment such as the diaper bag, be durable, easy to fold and unfold with one hand, be a place Max can take a nap if we are on the move, and be tall enough I’m not slouching to push it.  Here are the options we are looking at…

1.The First Years Jet ($50) looks like a sleek and simple enough ride that meets our demands and is in the right price range at only about $50.  If it breaks?  you only spent $50.  It comes in a range of colors and is a pretty simple little contraption.  It has a small storage area, a bonnet for the sun/rain, and is more cloth than metal so I assume it is light weight.  Not sure if the handles telescope up for a tall guy like me, but overall I think this is a viable option.

2. The Inglesia Trip ($180) is an option with a few more features such as the safety bar/snack area which is good for us since Max seems to be constantly stuffing his face with goldfish crackers.  The larger bonnet is a nice feature but this all begs the question are we getting a stroller as big as our current Chicco Key Fit 30?  Features are nice but small flexibility is best.  I am also looking at the Inglesia Swift ($135) as a smaller more affordable option as $180 is a lot for an umbrella stroller.

3. The Chicco Liteway ($140) keeps us in the Chicco brand which is nice but not necessary…though they have done a great job thus far earning our business and I have been a fan of the durability of their products.  I would put this as a top contender right now simply based on my experience with all our other Chicco products which seem to be designed with parent’s needs well in mind.  However, an above $100 price tag for an umbrella stroller is a steep request.

4. The Contours Lite ($70) is very intriguing as it seems to be a nice marriage of form and function but only having 4 wheels makes me curious how it would handle slightly off-road like in a park or on sand.  The over sized bonnet is a great attraction and I’m curious about the drink cup holder bar thingy…its either a cool feature or the first thing to break.  As well, I like that the handle is a bar instead of a handle.  This is a solid under $100 option.

5. The Maclaren Globetrotter Buggy ($160) has to be included in this mix because you can’t have a debate about strollers without a Maclaren.  The bonnet looks to be the biggest, the handles also have a bar, the mesh sides breathe well, and the Maclaren brand is known for excellence.  I would be concerned by the size of the wheels as they seem to be the smallest and like the contours Lite may not fare well when taken off the pavement.  Of course, this is an above $100 stroller asking the question; is it worth it?

6. The Jeep Wrangler Sport All Weather ($40) is the stroller I am most curious to try as it seems to have a balance of features for kids and parents.  the mesh background is a nice feature for helping keep kids from getting sweaty as they are pushed around Disneyland…but I tend to be in NYC, Chicago, etc. where I’m not sure a mesh back is what I want.  The larger wheels are a great feature for going off pavement but the bonnet seems to be too small.  At only $35-$40 it is the most affordable option and therefore very attractive while also making me wonder if it will disintegrate after one use.

Max bundled up in his Chicco Key Fit 30 Stroller

With any of these, like a car, it’s going to come down to a test drive.  My question to my readers who have kids is what have you had found that works for you?  I have had great luck shopping at Babies R Us namely because their staff has been the best at describing products, giving demonstrations, and sharing real-life stories of their own kids.  Plus (in Wichita) they have the best inventory by far!  Target has a great inventory online but when it comes to something like this I need to see it in person and play with it.  We leave for a trip on Friday so next week I will review the stroller we buy – till then we would love to get your advice.

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