in case you wondered what stroller shopping is like…

ok so…for some reason the stroller/car seat situation is very important to me and something I’ve thought about since we first found out about baby g. Seems a little trivial I guess but hauling this kid around safely (and conveniently…) feels like a big deal. Here’s a summary in case you’re like “stroller shopping? Is this even a thing? Why are you writing about this?“: We bought a stroller and i did a whole lot of research on it and maybe I can save someone else some time by sharing. 

After um… a LOT of research and asking around I narrowed it down to three “travel system” options- 1. Uppababy Vista 2. Uppababy Cruz and 3. Nuna Mixx. There are a ton of other options out there but these three had the best safety ratings and best reviews overall and I really just needed to narrow it down.

So when you’re looking at strollers and car seats you’re going to see SO many flipping options – joggers, umbrella strollers, travel systems, and regular strollers that are none of the above. We ended up with a travel system. Guess we’ll see how that goes but it seemed to be the most useful long term. It gives you adjustable options, able to click the car seat in and out, add a toddler seat (in the vista you can add TWO!) plus the seating flips around to forward and rear face depending on the kids deal.

Anyway- here’s the breakdown of the travel systems we considered.

  1. Uppababy Vista with Mesa car seat– we tested both the Cruz and the vista during a trip to buybuy baby. The perk of the vista is that it’s convertible into a two-kid system. Pretty cool but it’s a lot bulkier and a LOT more expensive. Oh, it also comes with this really nice click in bassinet which is completely unnecessary since the car seat essentially serves the same purpose AND the toddler seat can lay nearly flat. For the money, this system just had too many perks that we felt were nice to have but not necessary. Maybe we’ll regret bypassing the Vista if we end up with 2 kiddos but… for now, TBD.

    vista_2seats_forward
    Vista with the second rumbler seat added in
  2. Uppababy Cruz with Mesa car seat– we ended up going with the Cruz and Mesa car seat and because it is SO simple to use, the entire system can be manipulated one-handed (except folding which requires two hands) and it’s super light and compact. The car seat is really easy to get in and out from the base in the car to the stroller and the seat doesn’t require any extra adaptors (most strollers that convert will require you to have 2 adaptors at a minimum which equals more $$…!) The car seat for us was the biggest decision. We tested it in an actual car (that they had at buybuy baby) and compared it to a Graco seat which was about $40 less. I HIGHLY recommend testing in a car if you have the option to.. it really gave us some perspective. The difference was surprising. The Graco (and most car seats) use a multi-strap system to hug the base into the seat. Which takes a ton of strength, two hands, and a bunch of tries. I tried it by myself with the Graco and struggled. The Mesa is a self-clicking and tightening system that all you do is push your body weight on the base and it ratchets itself tightly. It also has an indicator that turns green when the seat is secure. I could move this base in and out easily, meaning we can save $120 on not buying an additional base for Chris’ car! Most bases are this expensive, too! Crazy. All of these things really add up when you look at other stroller systems that you would assume you’d save money on (nope!) You still need two hands to pull the seat out of the car with baby in it but you only need one to pull the seat from the stroller back into the car. So one click and you’re on your way without waking up baby.

    cruz_-_taylor_-_side
    The Cruz in Taylor (with the toddler seat in)
  3. Nuna Mixx and Nuna car seat– after testing the uppababy systems at buybuybaby  and the ease of each of the transitions, moving the car seat around, adjusting the tightness of the base, etc. I was pretty much sold (and Chris was grateful to be done shopping!!) I just really wanted to make sure we were making the right decision and had to compare the Cruz to the Mixx. I’d heard great things from our friends about the Mixx and I’ll admit it’s definitely a prettier option. The Mixx is the same exact idea as the Cruz, adaptable, foldable, lightweight and really functional. Unfortunately, our experience at Nordstrom with the Nuna was mediocre at best. We both struggled to get the car seat on and off the stroller and the latching system of the car seat was similar to the Graco (which wasn’t ideal). It just didn’t compare for us AND it was more expensive!!! Could have been that we’d been out shopping around ALL day, both of us were over it and didn’t give it a fair shot, but really the Nuna just didn’t win us over.

    nuna-mixx-stroller-slate-3
    Nuna Mixx in Slate

So anyway, we went with the Cruz and since the  new 2017 models (would you ever imagine strollers have MODELS like cars? I told Julie about this and she literally thought that was the funniest thing) are coming out at the end of February (they are prettier but almost exactly the same) the 2016 model of the Cruz is 20% off!! So, I think we got a great deal. Our second baby purchase…. check! Assembling the stroller out of the box was a piece of cake, fold it open, attach the canopy and click the wheels in. The materials feel really high-quality too, which I’m so glad about!

Never thought I’d need to know so much about car seats and strollers but I’m glad I put in a little leg work on this one and that Chris was willing to humor me throughout the day. Poor guy, I am nuts. But really just try walking into a baby super store and just look at the stroller section. It’s insane!! Way too many options to make a choice right then and there on the spot.  We’ve rolled the Cruz around the house a couple of times (hopefully the neighbors can’t see us…) and it just has me soo excited to see a little tiny baby Gwaltney in there! eeee!!

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