Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Keep rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin'...

Doesn't she look cozy?

I love my stroller.  I was lucky enough to get some really good advice before I bought a stroller - do your research.  My mom and sister had spent enough time and money on strollers before me to advise me to really do my research and go for a stroller that I really love that has great features instead of a cheaper one, even if it meant finding one that doesn't match my car seat.

Because I won my car seat at a prenatal fair, I had a bit of a unique starting point.  I think most people today automatically gravitate to the travel systems, where you buy a stroller and a car seat combination.  It's great because it's a bit of one stop shopping and they match and you know that they are compatible.  Because I already had my car seat, I had to make sure that my stroller would be compatible, among other criteria.

I knew I wanted something that was going to hold up to a lot of use.  I'm a big walker, it's not uncommon for me to go on 7+ km walks on a daily basis, and I knew that with a baby I would be doing that for sure.  I also needed something that would fold compactly and be light since I have such a small car.  I liked the look of strollers with bassinet options, but didn't think I would be able to afford one.

Turns out, I was wrong.

I settled on the i'coo Pacific.  It's an awesome, awesome stroller.  What really sets it apart from other mid-range priced strollers (it's similar in style to the Uppababy Vista) is that it really is an all in one.  Most strollers seem to offer a bassinet option, but the bassinet is a separate piece that has to be purchased.  The same goes with the car seat adapter, rain cover, etc, etc, etc.  With the i'coo Pacific, it's a package deal.  the seat easily converts from the bassinet to an upright seat (which can then be put in a forward or rear facing position) and it comes with both the car seat adapter and the rain cover.  For me, I would rather pay one price for everything than being nickel and dimed by every little add-on.

So far, I've been thrilled with how it has handled.  I've walked with it in the snow, slush, ice and country roads and it's handled it all great.  It's light and easy to fold and the foot muff cover has kept Vivian warm and toasty this whole long, cold winter.

I was going to do a whole photo essay or video of what the stroller does, but then I got lazy and found these great videos on YouTube that do it much better.

My favourite features?
  • Love the bassinet.  I didn't know if I would actually use it, but for the winter it was perfect.  Vivian was still so small, it was nice to be able to bundle her up and lay her down in there instead of having her in the car seat.  I find with most strollers, once you have the car seat on it, it seems like the baby is sitting up really high and they're really exposed.  With the bassinet, she was totally protected by the wind and was still able to get fresh air.
  • I really like that you can change the position of the handle on the stroller.  Sometimes I want to have my hands higher or lower, and it just takes the push of a button to switch things up.
  • I love how easily you can change it - forward or rear facing, bassinet or upright seat - it's nice to have so many options while you're out of the house, instead of having to really plan what you want to bring with you.
  • I haven't had a chance to really use the raising and lowering mechanism yet, but I'm really excited about it.  The big feature on that that sold me was that you can raise or lower it so you can use the stroller as a high chair in a restaurant.  Right now, I prefer to keep the stroller lowered with the car seat on it, and raised with the seat on it.  I find it seems really high when the car seat is on.
  • No cupholder!  Not a huge deal though, a $15 add-on cupholder from Toys R Us fixed us right up.
  • It doesn't have the option of adapting to a double stroller.  I have heard that you can use other stroller brand toddler seats with it, but haven't tried myself.  This wasn't a huge deal for me though, since we don't want to have another baby for 3-4 years anyway.
  • It is big when I fold it up, but that's because I just learned from the video that you shouldn't fold it up unless it's in a specific position.  It does fit in my trunk though, and I drive a Ford Focus ZX5, not exactly a spacious vehicle.
  • It has a little plastic clip that is supposed to hold the stroller together when it's folded.  This was broken within 3 days of having the stroller.  It's not essential at all, and every review I read said that this was the first thing to go.  A little frustrating that they didn't just make this piece out of something sturdier, but it's not a big deal.
  • I tend to keep both the car seat adapter and the main seat portion in my car at all times both for storage and just for ease.  I would hate to be out of the house without one part and not have it.  It is kind of a pain having all that in my car all the time, but what can you do?  It would be great if you didn't have to have a second piece for the car seat, but that's just the way it is.
  • I find the basket underneath to be a little smaller than I would have liked, but I get around it because my diaper bag is able to hang from the handlebars so I don't really have to keep much under there anyway.  Still, it's always nice to have more room!
They have awesome customer service too.  I was having a hard time with my stroller on the weekend, so I called the 1-800 number for some help.  A person answered right away, and I was literally on the phone with her for less than 5 minutes and we had the problem solved.  Awesome.

Basically, it's a great stroller, and a great deal.  We managed to score ours on sale for 40% off (it's a 2010 model and they were on sale to clear them out before the 2011 models came in) so with taxes it ended up coming to just under $400.  Initially I didn't want to spend that much on a stroller, but I'm so glad we did.  It really is something that I'm getting a lot of use out of, and I just don't think I would be satisfied with a lesser model of stroller.  If you're looking for a stroller that works just as well as a pricier model, with all the bells and whistles and a smaller price tag, I highly recommend the i'coo.

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