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Product review: The best strollers for family trips, adventures
The Balloon offers excellent features like a reversible handle. - photo by Grant Olsen
THE GREAT OUTDOORS Family trips can require a lot of gear. If youve got young children, one of the biggest space-hoggers is the stroller.

To remedy this problem, many parents opt for an umbrella stroller. Theyre small, lightweight and easy to transport. Also, theyre among the least expensive models on the market.

But there are times when a more versatile stroller is needed. For example, umbrella strollers typically have small wheels that cant handle uneven terrain. So if youll be venturing off-road on your trip, you should consider a more robust model. Also, larger strollers offer more storage space, which comes in handy on longer outings.

This review looks at a handful of strollers that may be options for your next adventure. They represent a broad range of both price and functionality.

As a bonus, we also look at a couple baby monitors that can be useful while traveling with children.


Cosco Umbrella Stroller


PRICE: $19

This classic umbrella stroller delivers everything you need for a quick outing. At just over 8 pounds, its light enough for effortless transport and its sleek frame takes up hardly any space when its folded. And even though it is built so small, it can still accommodate children up to 40 pounds.

Of course, this stroller also has its share of limitations. If youre tall, youll have to stoop over quite a bit to reach the handles. So a full day of pushing a child around at the fair could get painful for the parent. Also, it only has a three-point harness. While thats adequate for some uses, many parents prefer the security that comes with a five-point harness.

Safety 1st Amble Quad Travel System


PRICE: $189

In some ways, the Amble Quad Travel System is a hybrid between an umbrella stroller and a larger model. It is fairly lightweight, making it easier to tote it around than a bulkier stroller. It also folds impressively flat for storage.

But unlike an umbrella stroller, the Amble Quad can accommodate a car seat. This fact alone makes it the preferred option for some parents. The ease of transferring your child from the car to the stroller, while still in their seat, is certainly nice. It takes on added significance when your child is sleeping.

This stroller can hold up to 50 pounds, and has accessories like tandem cup holders and a small storage space for your phone and other items you what to keep up by your hands.



PRICE: $349

Nuna is a Dutch company that specializes in hyper-efficient baby gear. You wont find unnecessary accessories on the TAVO stroller, but youll get everything you need for day-to-day use and longer outings. Most importantly, their products are built tough and will last through multiple children.

The TAVO has rugged tires and they can handle moderately uneven terrain. Though not a true off-road stroller, itll give you more versatility than a lot of other models. It also has a substantial storage basket, making it a great companion for longer trips. Best of all, it folds up easily and can be pulled trolley-style rather than carried.

When it comes to the comfort of your child, the TAVO is one of the best on this list. It has a huge sunshade, adjustable leg support and a removable infant insert. And unlike most strollers on the market, the seat reclines all the way to become a flat sleeper.

Britax Affinity


PRICE: Varies by retailer

Britax got some bad press recently with the recall of more than 71,000 infant seats. While its unfortunate that a design flaw in the seat handles posed a risk to children, its probably not indicative of bigger problems with the companys products. Britax consistently wins industry awards for the quality and safety of their products.

The Affinity can accommodate children from six months up to 55 pounds. It has a large ventilated canopy to help your child stay comfortable in the sun. The top seat is reversible, which is handy because you can position your child just the way you want.

The Affinity delivers an extremely smooth ride, courtesy of the pneumatic tires and adjustable suspension system. In fact, Britax strollers like the Affinity are some of the most stable strollers on the market.

Joovy Balloon Stroller


PRICE: $199

The Balloon is great for parents of newborns. The cushioned seat is extremely comfortable, and it reclines to a flat sleeper. This bassinet mode can accommodate children less than a month old. The stroller can be adapted as your child grows, accommodating children up to 45 pounds.

A unique feature on the Balloon is the reversible handle, allowing you to have your child face forward or backward without needing to adjust the seat. The handle flips over effortlessly and is one of the most convenient stroller features available.

Finally, the Balloon is truly a lightweight. It weighs less than 13 pounds, so it's ideal for a wide range of uses, such as city trips on public transportation when you have to lug it around more than usual.

Baby Monitors:

Motorola MBP854CONNECT Monitor


PRICE: Varies by retailer

The MBP854CONNECT offers a couple of excellent benefits for traveling families. First, it gives you audible temperature notifications. This can be useful in situations where youre staying in an unfamiliar place (like a cabin) and youre concerned about the temperature in your childs room. This nifty monitor will alert you if the temperature rises above or dips below your chosen range.

Also, its Wi-Fi compatibility allows you to keep tabs on your child when youre traveling without them. For example, parents who are business travelers can check in on their sleeping child from their phone or tablet.

With its robust features and sleek design, the MBP854CONNECT is definitely in the upper-tier of monitors.

Summer Infant Sharp Sight Monitor


PRICE: Varies by retailer

What really sets the Sharp Sight apart from other monitors is the high definition picture quality. Its got 800x480 resolution, which makes for precision viewing on the 4-inch LCD screen.

To some parents, this premium video quality could be considered extravagant and not worthy of the price. For others, however, the ability to clearly see their child makes the Sharp Sight a compelling choice. Too often, inferior video monitors leave parents starring at a blurry screen and trying to guess whats happening in their childs room.

The Sharp Sight offers a host of other standard features, such as panning and scanning, night vision, two-way intercom, temperature alerts and a low battery alert. Theres also an out-of-range alert, which is particularly relevant because the unit has a mediocre range of only 600 feet.
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