stroller in the park

Ultralight Strollers for Cities and Travel

A baby's first set of wheels!  The decision is a complicated one, and parents often spend hours agonizing over the fleets of strollers on the market.  When choosing a stroller, the selection should be centered around making your and your baby’s lives simpler and easier.  There are many factors to consider, outlined in the stroller buying guide, but your comfort and your baby’s needs should be prioritized.   Enter the ultralight stroller.  

Parents who have to maneuver down narrow sidewalks or into shopping aisles, constantly unloading and reloading strollers, find themselves in dire need of ultralight strollers.  This stroller category also is best for petite mothers around the world and parents who need to fly with strollers.  For day to day use in a city where transport revolves around both public and private transportation, finding an ultralight stroller is the most straightforward solution.


What Is An Ultralight Stroller

As it implies, an ultralight stroller refers to a pushchair (or pram) that is light in weight- often any stroller under the 13-18lb (6-8kg) mark. These “buggies” are perfect for use on holiday or nipping to the shops. While these strollers boast of their compactness, they are also comfortable, easy to fold, store, and steer; unlike the bulkier options, they do not break your back.

In the market for light strollers, parents focus on either umbrella strollers or ultra-lightweight strollers.  Often lighter than full-size strollers, the ultralight stroller offers more convenience and comfort than the umbrella-style stroller, which is relatively flimsy and folds up like an umbrella. Many of these strollers (ultralight) come with large canopies, under seat storage bins, adjustable leg rests, reclining back pads, and cup holders. They can be often be used as the only stroller in a household,  offering a lightweight design, compact fold, and better portability than their “heavyweight” cousins. 

Benefits of Lightweight Strollers

  • Easy to bring for travel
  • Offer travel systems for public transportation or taxi
  • Extra comfort for baby
  • Reclining positions allowing baby to nap
  • Storage for parents

Considerations for Choosing a Stroller

  • Age/Weight of baby
  • One Handed Fold vs 2 Handed
  • Seat Recline
  • Stroller size
  • Maneuverability
  • Appearance


Best Ultralight Strollers

Summer Infant 3D Convenience Stroller - The Budget Option

Mountain Buggy Nano - The Carryon And Travel System Option

Recaro EasyLife - The Value Option

Doona - The Hybrid Car Seat/Stroller Option

Babyzen Yoyo - The Carryon Option

summer infant 3d lite stroller
  • Affordable Option
  • 12 pound frame
  • 4 position recline

Price $

Heavy on features and light on price, parents who desire an affordable everyday use stroller can look no further than the Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller.  The 12 pound aluminum frame is incredibly light, even while boasting a large undercarriage storage bin, cup holder, rear storage pocket and sun canopy.  Apart from its weight, the ability to be extremely compact when folded also makes the summer infant 3D stroller more portable. A shoulder strap also enhances its portability.

 Maximum weight capacity for the child is 50lbs, and the stroller comfortable wide seating, a 5-point safety harness, and almost flat 4-position recline.  The seat recline, allowing baby and parent to have a rest, is likely the most important feature setting the stroller apart from ultralight umbrella strollers.  Officially this stroller can be used from birth, however buying a headrest may be helpful for newborns who have difficulty sitting up straight and holding their heads up.  

A few considerations to take note of - The stroller can’t stand on its own when folded, and the folding/unfolding process takes some time to get used to.  It is not a carseat adaptable.  

Even though this stroller is billed as suitable from birth to 50lbs, you probably will need some kind of infant head support.  Some parents may not be comfortable putting a newborn who can't sit up in this stroller. 

Mountain Buggy Nano - The Carryon and Travel System Option

mountain buggy nano stroller
    • Travel System ready
    • 12 pound frame
    • Meets airline carryon requirements
    • Offers softshell cocoon for newborns (sold separately)

Price $$

A perfect stroller for the adventurous, the Mountain Buggy Nano was introduced about 23 years ago. Its introduction followed the need for a perfect all-terrain pushchair by a Dad in New Zealand. This was as a result of numerous mountain trails that New Zealand parents hope to bring their kids on. Thus, Mountain Buggy has leapt into the world of travel strollers as the company now targets the urban parents.

At 22"x12"x20" (56*31*51cm) when folded , the Nano has extremely compact dimensions designed to fit within airplane carryon regulations.  Carrying the stroller on the plane minimizes the chance for potential damage to the stroller, which airlines do not take responsibility for.  There's also  the added benefit of avoiding the wait time to pickup strollers at the gate after a flight, all while holding a cranky baby.  Its 13lb weight (6kg) makes it easy to carry around, and an exposed carry handle simultaneously works as handle and a shoulder strap.  A travel bag is included.

The canopy unfortunately doesn’t offer much sun protection as it is on the smaller side. A lightweight pop-up sun visor would have been better. The large mesh window has no cover, thus exposing the baby to the sun or wind. Although it might be an ideal stroller in a hot summer day, there will be more drafts during  cold and windy periods.

The Mountain Buggy Nano is extremely adapatable, as it is newborn ready with a softshell cocoon purchased separately.  It is also carseat ready and can be turned into a travel system (car seat and stroller pair) easily.  The stroller has been designed for the "curb pop", ie popping curb hopping in cities.   The comfort of the full featured, multi-position recline,  adjustable leg rest, and easy maneuverability make this a sturdy and reliable choice for city dwellers.

Recaro EasyLife- The Value Option

Recaro Easylife stroller
  • Affordable Option
  • 12 pound frame
  • Canopy offers SPF 50 UV protection
  • One handed fold

Price $$

Recaro, a German brand, is popular for producing high quality car seats and has now come up with a practical solution for the stroller industry.  The Recaro presents a fantastic addition to the lightweight industry given its 13lb (5.9kg) weight. With a one handed easy fold, the EasyLife has won including the Gold award in the UK for the best lightweight stroller, and the bronze award for the best stroller. Unlike many of the strollers which fold like an umbrella, the lengthways folding of the Recaro makes it more compact to store and much easier to carry. 

Officially the stroller is rated as suitable for ages 6 months-50pounds, likely because the seat does not lie fully flat.  The Recaro Performance Coupe Infant Car Seat  can lock into the stroller as a travel system if transporting a newborn is required.  The stroller seat does recline at a customizable level up to an angle by adjusting straps in the back. Fabric seating provides an additional level of comfort for the child.  

Doona - Hybrid Car Seat/Stroller

Doona stroller
    • First of its kind hybrid car seat/ stroller 
    • 12 pound frame
    • One handed fold

Price $$$$

Out of the need to provide a travel solution to traveling parents, the simple parenting company aims to develop a safe, yet tactical highly-designed products to make life simpler and easier for both experienced and new parents. The Doona (shortened from a daughter’s name Danielle) was launched in 2014 and has been tipped to be the next generation car seat. It can be secured with the car seat belt or with a car seat base for easier installation.

 The Doona boasts the title of being the first hybrid stroller and car seat in the market, and its features of anti-rebound handle and an adjustable wall structure won many awards. Its integrated wheels enable the car seat to become a pushchair at a single touch of a button.

When compared to other infant car seats, the Doona is heavier as it weighs 15.4 lb(7kg). Your baby is highly secured as the Doona is sturdy and possesses double walls which allow the wheels to be easily fold into the body of the car seat.

One of the cons of the Doona is its lack of storage.  It is a great solution for smaller babies, able to accomodate babies as small as 4lbs and going up to 35 lbs.  The maximum height is 32", which limits the lifespan of this travel seat, but is a a massive relief to the city dweller who has to agonize of whether or not to carry a car seat around taxis.

Babyzen Yoyo - The Carryon Option

Babyzen yoyo stroller
  • Narrow carriage ideal for cramped city streets
  • Airplane carry-on eligible
  • Smaller storage basket

Price $$$

A premium stroller, the Babyzen Yoyo offers a one handed folding compact solution that can be seen as the luxury stroller of choice in Hong Kong.The Babyzen Yoyo is an exciting stroller given its smallest weight and design; even more compact than the  Mountain Buggy Nano. The Babyzen features a design that perfectly fits into the overhead luggage compartment. The stroller only weighs 13lbs which makes it easy to be carried over the shoulder. The frame is produced from a high-quality aluminum which is durable and light at the same time.

The yoyo has a deep recline makes it suitable for baby from 6 months and up, but can be purchased with a flat “newborn nest” (attached to the base of the stroller), usable right from the birth. The maneuverability is unique with its small “5” wheels, though it may become a bit stickier on rougher surfaces over time. Overall, the Yoyo is lighter and easy to operate, and navigation through the busy streets and narrow stores become easy.

Conclusion

Ultralight strollers offer a higher quality mix of features ultra portability for the well traveled parent.   They are also the best strollers full stop for any tiny or petite mom who has suddenly found herself overloaded with baggage ranging from diaper bags to extra baby gear.  In frenzied cities where having just one mode of transport is not an option, the ultralight stroller offers unparalleled convenience and a safe environment for your baby.