An Expert Guide to Travel System Strollers
Travel system strollers are a great option for anyone looking for seamless compatibility between their car seat and stroller for their little one. Learn more below!
When I began to look into our family’s first stroller, I very quickly realized there are a plethora of options available and became quickly overwhelmed. After reading a few articles and calming down (knowledge is power!), I came to the conclusion that a travel system stroller not only provided the best value for our family—typically, system stroller packages are cheaper than buying each item individually—but also the maximum convenience. Being able to strap our newborn son into the rear-facing infant car seat in the warmth and comfort of our home and click him into our stroller or car made leaving our home with our new baby a breeze.
What Is a Travel System Stroller?
Stroller travel systems are an excellent solution for anyone looking to purchase a stroller, infant car seat/carrier, and car adapter that interface with one another for a seamless experience. The stroller is typically the main component of the system, and, for me and my wife, was the main deciding factor on which brand to use (more to come on that in the next section).
Most systems include a rear-facing infant car seat, that also acts as an infant carrier, with an industry-standard five-point harness to secure your child. Some brands design their car seats to be compatible with other branded strollers (with or without adapters), while other brands remain exclusive to their own branded strollers. The rear-facing infant car seats usually have an adjustable handlebar for carrying your baby as well as a large canopy to keep your child protected from the elements both in the stroller and in the car.
To complete the convertible travel system, most come with a car seat base that is installed in your vehicle utilizing LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) or a standard seatbelt. The benefit of the base is it only needs to be installed once as opposed to installing and uninstalling the infant car seat with each use. Simply pushing a button or pulling a lever allows the infant car seat to be removed with ease from the base, which can be a lifesaver when you’re in a hurry or your hands are full. The car seat to base combination is a very handy feature that allowed me and my wife many successful transfers with our sleeping baby.
As mentioned above, typically purchasing the three items as a system is more cost-effective than buying each item separately, so keep that in mind when you begin your search for a travel system.
Types of Stroller Systems
There are several types of car seat-stroller combos to consider: lightweight, full-size, jogger, and convertible (or double tandem).
These strollers are made for people who want a lighter and more easily transportable option. The Nuna Tavo Next and the Graco NimbleLite travel systems are two great examples of this type of stroller. Both incorporate a smaller wheelbase, lighter frame, and easy folding mechanisms that make traveling with this stroller incredibly easy. Lightweight and smaller than other options, lightweight strollers are a good option for parents with smaller vehicles or those using public transportation.
One unique example of a lightweight stroller is the Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller. This stroller is actually a car seat with built-in folding wheels which makes for a great solution for people getting in and out of taxis or public transportation daily with their kids.
Full-size strollers can be viewed as the mini-van of strollers. They’re typically larger in size and heavier but include a lot more features, a bigger stroller seat, and an extra-large storage basket. The Chicco Bravo system with the Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat is a prime example of this category of stroller system.
Another good example of a full-size stroller system is the Britax B-Free stroller with the Britax B-Safe car seat. This combo features a three-wheeled design (in my experience, it’s much more maneuverable than four) with no-flat rubber tires, giving a more all-terrain approach to larger strollers.
For people who plan to run with their kids, a jogger stroller is a great choice. Even if you’re not a runner, a jogger may still be a good choice for you as the larger tires make for much less effort when pushing the stroller. Most jogger strollers come with a nice suspension system as well, making them a great choice for rougher terrain.
The BOB Revolution 3.0 is the top of the industry standard for this type of stroller system, sometimes paired with the compatible Britax B-Safe car seat. A cheaper example of a jogging stroller is the Baby Trend Expedition Travel System, providing a similar option to the BOB at a more affordable price.
One of the most recent entries to the stroller world, convertible strollers can make for a one-and-done stroller purchase. These high-tech designs utilize multiple adapters to allow for many different configurations and types of seats. The system allows for an infant car seat (sometimes bassinet), toddler seat, and even a skateboard-like attachment to be used individually or altogether.
Though more expensive and a little larger, they are typically chock-full of features and allow for your family to grow with the stroller, allowing it to be a single or double stroller. In hindsight, my wife and I wish we had gone with this type of stroller as it would have been the only one we would need. The Evenflo Pivot Xpand, UppaBaby Vista, and Baby Jogger City Select are all examples of this type of stroller system.
Which Travel System Stroller Is Right for You?
While a travel system stroller may be a good fit for you and your family, making a decision on which system to go with can be more confusing given you are choosing two items: a stroller and a car seat. With this being said, it’s important to consider which features are most important to fit your family’s lifestyle.
Like many products, travel system strollers come in a wide variety of prices, starting around $160 all the way to over $1,000. Differences in price are generally dictated by the system’s features. These features include frame material, higher quality padding and fabrics, simplicity of folding, wheel suspension systems, tire material, peek-a-boo window, and other attachments such as a bassinet, cup holder, parent console, and child tray. Typically the more features included, the higher the price of the system.
Another thing to consider when picking a travel system stroller is the size of the stroller and car seat along with the height and weight limit of the two. Most systems use an infant car seat which your child will outgrow (unlike a convertible or all-in-one seat—for more on car seats check out An Expert Guide to Car Seats). However, larger height and weight restrictions on the stroller typically allow for it to be used long into your child’s toddler years. Lastly, you want to take into account what types of terrain you’ll encounter when using the stroller. Will you be only using it on tile floors in stores or are you hoping to do more off-roading with your child on gravel or dirt paths? Plastic vs. air-filled vs. foam-filled rubber tires all make a difference depending on where you plan to take your child in the stroller.
When choosing our travel system, my wife and I considered the most important features we wanted in a stroller and landed on our pick—the Baby Jogger City Mini GT2 Stroller and City Go 2 Car Seat. We ended up with this stroller and car seat combo due to a couple of factors. The stroller has a built-in suspension system and foam-filled rubber tires, allowing for all-terrain performance without the risk of getting a flat tire. Its “crossover” size between a lightweight and full-size stroller combined with a one-handed fold allows for easy traveling (to my surprise it even fits through the x-ray machine at the airport). The combination of these factors meant this stroller system fit our lifestyles the most, making it a good fit for us. Since purchasing, we have put hundreds of miles on the stroller, and even though our son has outgrown his infant car seat, he still loves to go for a ride in the GT2.
Travel system strollers and car seats are an excellent choice if you’re looking for the best value and capability out of your stroller and infant car seat. The number of options available can be overwhelming, however, Curated is here to help with your decision. Our Baby & Toddler Experts are more than willing to help talk through different options along with the pros and cons of each to help find you the best travel system stroller system for you and your family. Reach out to one of our Baby & Toddler Experts today to get started!
This content is meant to be informative and add to your understanding of this subject, but it is not definitive nor a replacement for your own sensibility. Neither Curated nor any Curated Expert is responsible for any liability resulting from information or advice shared here. Please consult with a medical professional for any health concerns.