"Ugh... That one is cute."
"That one is more expensive so it's better right?"
"I don't think I'll use a stroller that much."
But after you have your first baby you figure some things out (maybe before if you have super powers). You find the rubber bibs that you can rinse in the sink. You realize that the massive high chair you got is bulky and a pain to clean, and you buy a simple plastic one that you can strap to a chair, with a tray that can go in the dishwasher.
Simple. Clean. Minimal. Less crap in your house.
I could do multiple posts on this.
But by far the baby items I think matter the most are your car seat and stroller. Your infant car seat will be your baby's bed whenever you are out of the house for about their first year of life. It has to be safe, comfortable, light weight and easy to use. And as for the stroller- I have never been more wrong than when I made that statement above.
So baby #2 comes along and I really really want to do it right this time. I researched. I read. I went to every store and pulled down every stroller. I tried to do it the cheap way and bought a couple of inexpensive strollers that I ended up returning (the odyssey harmony and the baby trend euroride.) You really do get what you pay for in the world of strollers.
But I swear to you I've found it. The best stroller. The best car seat. The best travel system.
Here it is!! The britax b-safe car seat, the baby jogger city elite stroller and the adapter that makes them work together- everything in black (that pattern on the inside of the car seat is a removable insert). I got all of that on amazon for just under $430, normally $600. I have prime so it got here in 2 days and I didn't have to pay tax.
Car seat: here
Here's how I decided this was the perfect travel system...
I almost bought the britax b-agile travel system. Great reviews. Great look. Loved the safety ratings on the car seat. But the handle bar is covered in foam that looked a little cheap for how much $$ it was. The reviews said this was the part that was first to wear out, and sweaty hands in the summer left white chalky lines. And the wheels didn't look super durable. Plus, a lot of conveniences like a place to put your keys and phone were accessories sold separately. And I read this review and just felt unsure about its overall durability.
Then I found the chicco cortina travel system. Supposed to be the safest car seat on the market. Stroller seemed sturdy, I liked that the handle bar had rubber where you actually put your hands- foam on the rest though. Big storage basket. Seat laid completely flat. But the colors were a struggle. I really wanted all black and all they had was a black, grey, and white patch work. I almost got the solid navy but again, the wheels didn't look that durable even with all wheel suspension. And after messing with it I realized you cant reach the basket underneath when it's fully reclined, which it has to be to put the infant car seat in. Plus it's massive even when folded down.
I almost got the graco fast action fold click connect jogger system. Rubber wheels with suspension! Sure it'd be a pain to inflate them occasionally but they would last! But the seat seemed so uncovered and unprotected. It would be very hard for a child to sleep in it and wouldn't have great coverage against the elements. And when folded down it seemed huge and heavy.
This just in: 3.8 million Graco car seats recalled This doesn't include infant seats but apparently that doesn't exactly mean they are safe. Not sure what I think of this article but glad that I don't need to worry about it. Anyway...
Then I found the Bumbleride indie. It's beautiful and gave me hope for a combination of everything I wanted. But holy goodness. $500 for just the stroller was just too much for me. Plus an adapter and car seat... No.
But it lead me to the Baby Jogger City Elite... One of those "customers who viewed this also viewed" on amazon. I had tried the city select and city mini gt in a store and liked them... But each had a few details I didn't like. For a comparison of the 3 city strollers watch this.
The city Elite has literally everything I want in a stroller, and when I found a great deal on amazon I had to do it! FYI the best time to buy a stroller is January and February when they all go on sale- they roll out the new ones in March. Plus babies r us does their trade in program in February. Bring in any piece of junk baby gear item, get 25% off a stroller, crib, travel system etc!
Ok here's (finally) why this is THE best stroller of 2014 and the best overall travel system:
1. Huge canopy to protect against weather and to aid in good naps on the go.
2. Seat is fully covered in the back even when fully reclined, but you can roll up the cover to reveal mesh for breathability on hot days.
3. It nearly reclines flat.
4. See how the basket underneath is U shaped? Makes it easy to reach into even when reclined, and you can reach into the basket from the side as those have elastic.
5. One foot brake.
6. Peek-a-boo window has magnetic closures instead of Velcro- quieter and more durable! It also has a window on each side of the canopy.
7. "Never flat" foam filled rubber tires. No pumping these suckers up, but you get the all terrain durability of rubber tires! And front wheel suspension. You can lock the front wheel and lightly jog with it but true runners are going to want something more heavy duty. I just wanted it for snow, parks, a trail here and there.
8. Parents organizer built in, 3 separated pockets in cloth so it is hidden vs the plastic ones that make the stroller look more bulky. Perfect for keys and phone. Plus a mesh pocket on the back of the seat.
9. That rubber handle- no foam!! And it adjusts to multiple heights!
10. The foot rest goes up... Again aids in comfort and naps!
11. Easy, compact fold.
12. Options and accessories! Bassinet, second rider seat, jump pad! Rain cover, cup holders... Etc. You can accessorize this sucker to death if you want to. I prefer it more minimal but I do like to have options.
13. Lastly I loved the britax car seat for its safety and ease of use. This stroller only has adapters for the britax or uppababy car seats. It also has a universal adaptor but if I had to use it I think it would bug me.
Not a click it in, easy system. The strap seems frustrating and less secure. And I decided against the uppababy because I had already researched the britax and knew it had a great safety rating, plus the uppababy car seats were around $100 or so more. $430 already sounded like a lot to me. But I will tell you this:
"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price."
This is so true of an item you will use every day with your baby. Save yourself the migraine and get it right the first time! With something as durable and gender neutral as this- you'll be using it for a long time and could use it with multiple children. Hope this helps someone else!!
P.S. all of these pictures are from google images and I do not claim own them. :)