...The Stroller That Fits In Your Purse!
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Ah, the umbrella stroller. One of the quintessential accessories of child rearing. The right one can make your #momlife a lot easier; the wrong one will leave you cursing under your breath, with a crying infant in one hand and a stroller locked in the half-folded position in the other.
Side-by-side: the GB Pockit and Summer Infant 3D Lite, letting it all hang out in the living room.
The dynamic duo folded into their smallest selves.
This week's post may seem a little off-topic compared to the last dozen or so I've put out since starting this blog. How does a stroller fit into 'home decor, organization & style with kids,' you ask? Well, at the heart of neatntiny.com is a desire to simplify life with kids. So, if I discover something that significantly improves my life, I'm going to share it here! Niche police be damned! But, if home decor's why you’ve come here, don't worry: next week's post is back on topic!
For you to fully understand just how an umbrella stroller changed my life, I should give you some background. Being a quick walker, I previously enjoyed running (sometimes literally running) errands around the city, weaving around roadblocks and slower (errr...more leisurely???) walkers. Think Gene Kelly in Singin’ In The Rain, except with pedestrian rage.
It wasn't until my son was born and I was saddled with a stroller (and all of the other paraphernalia of motherhood), that I realized how difficult to maneuver our otherwise-world-class city of Toronto could be. I was saddened by the shops and subway stations that became off-limits because they didn't have wheelchair ramps or elevators. The transition from our 'regular' stroller to our GB Pockit stroller has opened up those possibilities once more!
Our First Stroller
Before delving straight into the GB Pockit review, I'll tell you about our previous strollers, for context. (If you're just interested in the Pockit review, there’s a succinct list of pros and cons and a summary at the end. Feel free to scroll down at any point, if you get sick of the personal anecdotes and wish I would just get to the point already)!
Our first stroller was the Baby Jogger City Mini GT, an 'all-terrain' stroller that can be used from birth to 65 lbs.
We decided on it after my husband spent hours scouring the internet; his favourite pastimes include researching gadgets and bargain hunting. (Check out my Father's Day Gadget Gift Guide, which was a collaboration with him: a gift guide for dads, thought up by a dad, but approved by a mom)!
We chose the Baby Jogger City Mini GT, as it seemed to be the most well-rounded stroller in terms of maneuverability, ease of use, and cost. (It's less than half the price of the UPPAbaby Vista, one of the other, more popular, multi-purpose strollers).
It was a prudent choice. Its large, rugged tires have made easy work of Canadian winter sidewalks and it turns on a dime. It's also capable of a quick, one-handed fold down to a reasonable size.
When unfolded, though, it’s pretty clunky. It's width (24") meant that we were limited to wheelchair accessible entryways, and it was a very tight fit in shop aisles.
Umbrella Stroller: Take One
As soon as my son was big and sturdy enough for one, we searched for a daintier 'umbrella' stroller (most are suitable for kids over six months old).
We started out with the Summer Infant 3D lite.
This is a prototypical umbrella stroller at a reasonable price. It's currently the best-selling light weight stroller on Amazon.
It's much slimmer than the City Mini GT, which made getting through narrow spaces a lot easier. But, when folded, the Summer Infant 3D lite is still 41" long (this is even longer than our City Mini GT, which folds down to 33").
It doesn’t fit neatly under the table at restaurants or in the overhead compartment on the plane (like the GB Pockit does). It does, however, come with a strap, so you can fold it and toss it over your shoulder (it's only 16 lbs), when faced with a flight of stairs or a fussy baby who needs to be held.
The Summer Infant 3D Lite is a good choice for anyone looking for a well-rounded umbrella stroller that doesn't need to be ultra compact.
Umbrella Stroller: Take Two
About a year after purchasing the 3D Lite, I saw a Facebook ad for the GB Pockit Stroller, and knew this was something we just needed. (If you've read my review on the Antonia Saint NY 'heels that feel like sneakers,' you'll know I'm quite susceptible to gimmicky Facebook ads...).
In the ad, you see the stroller folding down easily to the size of a briefcase.
The GB Pockit stroller: more than meets the eye. Any 80's kids reading this? I don't know about you, but I hear that Transformers sound effect in my head when I see the transformation...
We've had the GB Pockit for about three months now, so I finally feel equipped to write a semi-comprehensive review. We've taken it on the subway, streetcar, bus, train, plane, and even a boat! (It accompanied us to Costa Rica, recently).
Here's my review of the GB Pockit Stroller:
For ages 6 months to 55 lbs
Weight: 9.5 lbs
Dimensions when open: 28" x 18" x 40"
Dimensions when folded: 12" x 7" x 14"
Storage compartment beneath the seat holds up to 11 lbs
Five-point safety harness
Foot brake on right rear wheel
For me, the most important characteristic of an umbrella stroller is portability; this was lacking in the 3D Lite.
The most remarkable thing about the GB Pockit is its compact fold. Folding down to a mere 12" x 7" x 14" and weighing just 9.5 lbs, it's earned its place in the Guinness Book as 'the world's most compact stroller.' When folded, it's small enough to fit in a large tote or shoulder bag.
To put this into perspective for my fellow bag addicts, it fits easily into a Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM or a large Longchamps Le Pliage tote (if you don't zip up the top). Personally, though, I would never carry this around in my purse (10 lbs on your shoulder does no favours for your back or your purse--and that's coming from a doctor and purse lover)!
The GB Pockit in my large Longchamps Le Pliage to give you an idea of size.
A cheap fabric tote is probably a more reasonable vessel for this stroller.
Where the Pockit's compact fold comes in handy is not so much in transit (as typically, your little one would be occupying the stroller from point A to point B), but when you arrive at your destination.
It's so convenient to be able to fold it down and tuck it under the table at a restaurant. Or, take it as a carry-on item on the plane! It can be stowed with ease, either under the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment. (I'm really sorry I didn't get any pics of this during our recent trip. Foresight goes out the window when trying to entertain a three year old on a five hour flight)!
There's nothing worse than travelling carry-on only, then having to wait at the luggage carousel solely for your stroller (on flights where gate-checked strollers are not already waiting for you as you deplane, that is).
On level ground, the Pockit does just fine. With such a slim, light stroller, you can really speed along and pass between slower walkers you'd normally be trapped behind in a larger stroller! (It's done wonders for my pedestrian rage).
It does not, however, fare well on unpaved streets. This tiny thing has tiny wheels (4.5" in diameter) which means a bumpy ride for your little one and quite the workout for you on anything other than paved streets and sidewalks.
There's the ability to lock the swivelling front wheels into place, which makes it a little easier to control on uneven surfaces.
Be sure to fasten the harness each time! We learned this lesson the hard way, when I was rushing home one day with my son. The Pockit's front wheels got caught on a raised piece of sidewalk and he was launched into the air, landing three feet in front of the stroller. Luckily, he was unscathed (physically, at least). To this day, he asks if his seat belt is on correctly before we venture out...
Ease of Use: Folding & Unfolding
The Pockit folds down easily in just two, quick steps. It is, however, a two-handed fold.
It can be folded two different ways: the first is less compact, but easier to achieve, and the second is the more compact, but involves more steps.
This is better demonstrated than explained. So, here's a YouTube video of someone demonstrating the fold: