How to Pick a Travel Stroller

Maria’s Review of the Maclaren Quest.

maclaren_questWhy were you looking for a travel stroller?
When my husband accepted a four-month teaching position at a college in England, we were very excited.  This was our ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to experience life abroad and to hopefully visit other European countries while there. This, however, was not going to be an easy traveling experience. My husband and I were not traveling alone; we were traveling as a family with our two boys, Peter (age 15) and Graham (age 3).

To have a happy traveling experience as a family, it takes more planning than tossing on a couple of backpacks and heading out the door to catch the next train. We thought long and hard about what we needed to bring along on our new adventure:  clothes; books, toys, and activities for Graham; raingear; luggage; first aid kit; travel books, maps, and the list went on.  Then we realized that there was one crucial item that could make or break this trip, and it was the stroller, or as they call it in England, the push chair.

Since Graham was just over three years old and very close to 40 pounds, we needed to find a lightweight traveling stroller that could handle a pretty big kid. The strollers we currently owned were either too heavy or too flimsy to handle the demands of our travel.

As I started my stroller search, I was impressed with the amount of information I found on the Internet.  I was able to compare strollers and features, read comments from other parents, and actually view demonstrations of the strollers in action, including how they open, close, and adjust to fit different size children.  The Maclaren Quest was an expensive purchase for us, but after looking at our options, it seemed like this was our best choice.  I went ahead and made our biggie purchase through the Internet.   The Quest comes in a variety of great color options, and I had fun picking out the bright green option for us.
What are the features/qualities you like best about the Maclaren Quest?

The Maclaren Quest is amazingly well-made and well-constructed, which we really appreciated during our four months of travel in Europe.  Our stroller endured some amazing situations and tests, and I honestly didn’t believe it was going to make it back home in one piece.  It was thrown in and out of airplane and train luggage compartments over 25 times, and in and out of buses, taxis, cars, and shuttle vans multiple times a day during our 112-day excursion.  The stroller never failed to open or close with ease.

The Quest is very lightweight (about 12 lbs.), yet never felt flimsy.  We wheeled our 40-lb. son over almost every type of terrain imaginable: rocks, sand, mud, wood, cement, gravel, and stairs.  We never expected this type of move-ability from an umbrella stroller.  We were truly impressed with the swivel wheels.

My husband is 6’2” tall, so the higher handles of the Maclaren allowed him to push the stroller without bending over.  The brakes on the stroller are also a very nice option, as we did a lot of sitting and waiting during our travels.

Is there anything you would change?
There really isn’t anything I would change about the Maclaren Quest.  Any added features, heavier parts, or larger wheels would just add weight to this traveling stroller.  I was able to close the stroller with one hand and foot, and then toss and carry it over my shoulder using the carrying strap.  Most of the time, I was also carrying a suitcase, a backpack, a grocery bag, or Graham, so I definitely needed a lightweight  stroller.

It’s pretty pricey.  You can get umbrella strollers for $20.  Why pay more?
We’ve had a few less expensive umbrella strollers, and I would not recommend any of them to new parents.  You really get what you pay for, and these other strollers did not pass the test of time.   They weighed less than 12 lbs.; however, they were flimsy, hard to maneuver, and poorly constructed.  The Maclaren was an expensive purchase for our family, but we definitely feel like we made the right choice.  A stroller is something we use almost every day, and we count on it to make our lives easier.

Would you recommend the stroller to other moms?
Yes, I would recommend the Maclaren Quest to other moms.  This stroller is great for babies that are three months old all the way to 55 lbs.  The 5-point stroller harness adjusts to keep all size babies and toddlers safe and secure.  We did not purchase our Maclaren until our second son was three years old, and I wish we would have made this investment earlier.  The Maclaren is well-constructed and definitely made to endure the wear and tear of a family on the go.

Since this traveling stroller does not lie completely flat, newborns should be carried in a different type of stroller.  However, the Maclaren Quest does have a wide seat and reclines nicely.  Graham has taken many long and comfortable naps in his stroller.

Can you share a specific situation where you were happy to have your travel stroller?
I was extremely happy to have our travel stroller while in Europe.  We did a lot of traveling, which included miles of walking and sightseeing.  We almost always traveled together as a family, so we really relied on our Maclaren.  It definitely made it through each new adventure.  Sitting in his Maclaren Quest, Graham was able to be part of our travels as we hiked the countryside of England, ran to catch the trains in London, walked miles through the city streets of Rome, meandered through the tiny corridors of Venice, strolled the art museums in Paris and Florence, and spent countless hours rushing and then waiting in airports and train stations.

Even when Graham was running alongside of us, the stroller was used as our carrier on wheels.  We used the stroller’s seat, mesh basket, and storage pocket to haul our necessities and souvenirs.  At one point, we jumped off a train too quickly and realized that our stroller was still sitting on the train’s luggage compartment.  We began to panic, as the train was beginning to exit the station.  At that moment, a kind gentleman on the train found our stroller and threw it to us off the slowly moving train.  It landed on the ground, good as new.  From then on, we never forgot the stroller!

How many cities and countries did you visit on your trip?
8 Countries and over 22 cities, towns, and villages.

England: London, Grantham, Harlaxton, Denton, Coltersworth, Stamford, Durham, Nottingham, Petersborough, York, and the Lake District.

Scotland: Edinborough

Switzerland: Geneva

France: Paris and Les Gets

Italy: Venice, Florence, Rome, and the Vatican City

Poland: Krakow

Portugual: Faro and Algarve

Spain

Maria purchased the Maclaren Quest based on our recommendations on MMM!

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