• The Kensington Diary

The Bugaboo Chameleon 3 and the Baby Zen Yo-Yo: Our Buggy and Travel System Choices for Many Reasons

Updated: Mar 1, 2019


We have a separate travel system and baby buggy so you are probably wondering, why?! Choosing the right buggy(s) was one of the most difficult decisions we had to make when I was pregnant. A baby buggy is not cheap by any standard, if you want a good one that lasts. Many parents liken it to spending a small fraction of what you would on a car, plus you will be using these for a good few years so you need to make the right investment.

It’s a minefield in terms of options available and there are so many good baby buggies that will work extremely well so please note that this review is not all-inclusive.

To start with, I have a few tips for those shopping for a new buggy based on our personal experience.

Tip 1) Decide on how much you want to spend.

This is incredibly important as the price range is extremely wide so it’s easy to run away with yourself unless you set a budget.

Tip 2) List what you need from a buggy and how you will be using it.

Consider simple needs like use of a shopping basket, whether you will need it to work out/go running or how the functionality will fit your lifestyle. Look for inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest and be practical about how you will use it. Space is a commodity in London, so most families have one buggy. Do think about whether you have the space to accomodate more than one option.

Tip 3) Read buggy reviews and speak to parents for tips

Nothing better than hearing it from the horses mouth on whether it worked for them or not. We found the best reviews were from our friends and family who are parents.

Tip 4) See the buggies in the flesh and try them out!

What we found really useful was seeing and testing the buggies in the flesh. We visited the Baby Fair at Kensington Olympia where all the major and upcoming brands are on display. You have the added benefit of being to take the buggy for a test run on different types of grounds to have a feel for it. We also practically lived at John Lewis and Harrods on weekends, trying different buggies out again and again, before deciding which option worked for us. I would certainly recommend this.

Tip 5) Please test out folding and lifting the buggy.

You will become an expert at lifting the buggy if using the tube/train or a car, especially if you will be out and about with baby on your own a lot. Do make sure you are comfortable to do this without any help.

Tip 6) Make sure you are comfortable pushing the buggy.

Adjust the height of the buggy and see how it feels to bend over and check on your baby. My husband who is fairly tall found that some buggies were so low that would hurt his back if he had to push them or bend down for long periods of time.

We chose the Bugaboo Chameleon 3 and Baby Zen Yo-Yo for a number of reasons which we prioritised based on our taste and lifestyle. It was a difficult choice as there were a couple of favourites which we loved. Overall, it is also advisable to get a buggy and a separate travel system to avoid over-use, and also because they are built for different purposes so will not meet all criteria you might look for.

  • Quality and practicality: We were happy to spend a little more on a good quality item that had a long warranty and good durability

  • Ease of use at airports and on the plane: We needed a buggy and/or travel system that we could use easily on long or short haul flights as our families live abroad and we are avid travellers. We both travel a fair amount for work & privately, so knew very well that the walk from airport security to the gate with luggage and a baby in tow can be long & heavy. Hence we wanted a buggy that we could take on the plane as overhead luggage, and preferably push down the plane aisle

  • Easy to assemble and push on city streets: We needed something easy to assemble and move around in Kensington, which has smooth pavements but some cobblestoned streets. Walks in the park with baby was another consideration.

  • Light weight: My upper body strength during pregnancy was poorso we needed a pram that was easy to fold and light enough to lift into and out of our SUV

  • Aesthetics: We wanted a classic, sophisticated and beautiful buggy

  • Weather Proofing: We have all 4 seasons in the London at any time and we travel to different climates so it was important that the baby buggy was able to be weather proofed with the right accompanying accessories

Alexander looking comfortable in our Grey Baby-Zen Yo-Yo & Bugaboo Classic Chameleon 3 in Grey Melange

My review is separated into two parts, Travel System & Buggy for Local Use, with pros and cons based on our shortlist and why we went with our choices. I have to caveat that each buggy on this short list would have worked wonderfully, so it was a difficult choice to make.

BUGGY FOR LOCAL USE

BUGABOO CHAMELEON 3 CLASSIC

Bugaboo is a Dutch mobility company. This brand is popular with so many people including celebs and royalty, and is considered a premium brand, for a reason. The tyres have an easy rolling function which we could certainly feel when we pushed this buggy. It is effortless! It retails for anywhere between £995 to £1195 depending on design chosen. We chose the classic in grey melange after debate over the navy classic. This has a quilted interior, which I was sold on instantaneously!


Pros:

  • Weighs 9.6 kgs including chassis and carrycot which makes it one of the lightest choices on our shortlist!

  • Height adjustable handle bar

  • Adjustable reclining positions

  • Reversible seat

  • Multi-terrain with 2 or 4 wheel positioning

  • Easy Flat fold

  • Machine washable fabric

  • Handbrake (no shoe damage!)

  • Very stable ride

  • Very sophisticated look with the classic range

  • The standard (non-classic) option can be tailored for different looks for different genders or even season!

  • Wide range of accessories and easy to customise!

  • Two plus one year warranty (3 in total)

  • UPF 50+

Cons:

  • Shopping basket does not have easy access when the carrycot is on (easy with seat) but is large enough to hold a fair amount

  • Does not stand upright when folded

  • Most accessories are separate so please factor this in the price

  • No window or vent in canopy to see baby in buggy

Bugaboo Accessories

The accessories for the Bugaboo Chameleon classic range are absolutely beautiful which is part of what convinced us to get this pram. We got the sheepskin lining for colder weather, the matching grey melange footmuff, grey blanket and cup holder. The grey melange Bugaboo bag comes with the Bugaboo Donkey only, unfortunately.

The alternate option I mentioned above, to the Classic Chameleon 3 range is a range which is slightly less in cost and can be customised with the coloured canvas. These vary by season and sometimes for also have limited edition items for both the classic and canvas range. The chassis, faux leather handle, and wheels can also be customised according to your taste both in store and online.

SILVER CROSS WAVE

Silver Cross is an iconic British nursery brand producing really stylish and sophisticated products. This is the latest travel system from Silver Cross and just launched when we were looking for our buggy! We found it at Harrods only at that time but I believe it’s available in many stores now. We found this buggy integrated many of the best characteristics of the Bugaboo Chameleon 3 and Uppababy Vista (a highly practical buggy which was originally on our short list then didn’t make it due to it’s width, weight and aesthetics compared to the shortlisted options). It retails similar to the Bugaboo Chameleon 3, between £995 to £1295.


Pros:

  • Smooth easy to fold system

  • Easy to push around and worked well on different terrains

  • Ability to stand upright once folded

  • Full extending hood and pop out visor

  • UPF 50 vent with window to see baby

  • Comes with all accessories like the car seat adapters, rain cover, footmuff, etc

  • Luxury feel with design and fabric. I really loved the aesthetics of this pram

  • Can be used to carry two babies which is a huge plus if you planning a second child

  • Height adjustable and car seat compatible

  • Adjustable handle height

Cons:

  • On the slightly heavier side weighing around 14-14.5 kg with chassis and carrycot/seat

  • One year warranty

​It certainly was a slightly heavier and larger buggy than some of the others on the shortlist, so at the end the weight and size went against it. Although, it made it to the top 2 on my list! I loved the aesthetics and how they integrated many of the good factors of two big brands.

CYBEX PRIAM JEREMY SCOTT

Cybex is a German brand focusing on child safety, innovative design and lifestyle needs. This particular design is part of the platinum range put together in collaboration with Jeremy Scott. All I can say is this product is just beautiful! It comes in black with gold hardware and is a sight for sore eyes. It can be used from birth to 4 years. We decided against in the end as even though I loved it, my husband found it a little too bling for his taste ☺️


Pros:

  • Folded into a free standing unit

  • Reversible seat

  • Adjustable reclining positions

  • Extendable Canopy with UV 50 sun protection

  • Padded belts

  • Roomy shopping basket

  • Aesthetically beautiful

  • Two year warranty

  • UPF 50+

Cons:

  • Weighs about 12.1 kgs so heavier than the Bugaboo

  • Highest priced buggy at £1495, excluding carrycot, but it’s considered a designer piece

  • Carrycot is separate and costs £400

  • It is very beautiful but also bling, so might be more suitable for women

  • Limited matching accessories: footmuff and cup holder only

  • Suitable up to 17 kg only whereas many others were suitable up to 25 kg

STOKKE EXPLORY

Stokke is a Norwegian brand of travel systems and nursery products. Aesthetically pleasing with a sophisticated and classic design. It retails around £895.


Pros:

  • Works well with taller people. The Norwegians definitely thought about this! My husband who is 6 ft 3 loved it for this reason as he wouldn’t have to break his back to check on baby when he is in the buggy! This was also based on a motto to improve parent-child eye contact.

  • Adjustable heights and depths.

  • Loads of different colours available.

  • Reversible seat

  • Adjustable reclining positions

  • Overall weight with carrycot or seat and chassis is 12.1 kg so is heavier than the Bugaboo

  • Smooth and easy to fold

  • Hand brake (no damage to shoes!)

  • Air ventilation at base

  • Comes with many accessories like mosquito net, rain cover, seat padding

  • 3 year warranty

Cons:

  • Shopping basket is very small

  • Didn’t feel as smooth and stable to push as the Bugaboo or Silver cross for me, personally

BABY TRAVEL SYSTEM

We shortlisted two travel buggies only as only these two are approved to carry on the plane as overhead luggage. Please read these reviews with a caveat to not compare these travel systems with the buggies before as they are built for different purposes. This is part of the reason why we chose two buggies for separate uses. Travel systems traditionally have smaller wheels and lighter frames to make travelling more comfortable. But this will mean that the feel of the 'drive' and use on rough terrains or pebbled roads will also be different compared with traditional buggies.

Lastly, we didn’t want too much wear and tear on either buggy which is why we wanted to keep both the buggy and travel system separate!

BABY ZEN YO-YO

Award winning buggy designed in collaboration with Air France. This pram is the smallest there is and is compact enough to fit as overhead luggage on almost all airlines! This was by far the best travel system we found. We got our in grey to match babies nursery theme of grey and white, and also the Bugaboo!


Pros:

  • Innovative small sized one handed folding system

  • Can be carried on as overhead luggage on all major long haul airlines and most short haul airlines

  • Comes with a handy bag to carry the compact pram. Most people don’t even know it’s a pram when it’s folded!

  • Fits in most long haul flight aisles

  • Wide padded seat

  • UPF 50 sun protection

  • Only 6.2 kg in weight

  • Durable, easy to clean fabric

  • Variety of colours available

  • Car seat compatible

  • Most stylish light weight travel system

  • Large shopping basket

  • Easy reclining

  • Extremely easy to fold

  • Spacious pushchair

  • Very stable brake system and excellent on public transport

  • Clear window in hood for easy sight of baby

  • Machine washable fabrics

  • Narrower width so convenient to take down airplane aisles (44 cm)

  • Two year warranty

Cons:

  • Can end up being a little pricey compared to other travel systems. Basic seat system costs £389 and the newborn nest (0-6 months) is £300

  • Accessories are separate (similar to bugaboo) so please factor this in pricing

  • Newborn nest is lined and padded so suitable for colder climates only

  • Handle bar does not adjust for different heights but was fine even for my tall husband

  • As a wish list, I would like to put on the footmuff in a more ‘stable’ fashion. I often have to readjust this to ensure the correct positioning of the buckles.


MOUNTAIN BUGGY NANO

This is a New Zealand brand developed to be able to ride all types of terrains including mountains. Design is influenced by clean lines and functionality.


Pros:

  • Small enough when folded (only slightly larger than the Baby Zen YOYO)

  • Comes with a carry bag

  • Spacious pushchair

  • Can be taken on as overhead on most airlines

  • Accessories are priced separately but are fairly reasonable

  • Great price at £225

  • Mesh panel in hood for easy sight of baby

  • 5.9 kg in weight

Cons:

  • Not as intuitive to fold, not one handed

  • Heavy duty Velcro on strap catches onto baby clothes

  • Fabric is not as durable as the Babyzen YOYO and we saw that after a few uses, it did does look a little worse for wear compared to the Baby Zen as it was not as easy to clean

  • Approved as overhead luggage on many but technically not all airlines e.g. British Airways and Virgin (as confirmed on their airline online policy).

  • Brake sticks out a lot so did catch on stairs for instance

  • Handle bar does not adjust for different heights but was fine even for my tall husband

  • Wider width so not convenient to take down airplane aisles (54 cm)

  • One year warranty

Even though the ‘con list’ is slightly longer than the Baby Zen, the Mountain Buggy is a really affordable and great travel system! The Baby Zen won for us on the aesthetics, wider colour choice, fabric durability, ease of folding, ability to use on airplane aisles and approved use on most airlines as overhead luggage. We fly with British Airways a lot so it was the perfect choice for us!

I hope this helps you navigate your choices of travel systems and buggies! We took our time to make our decision. Please do the same. Do drop me a line if you need any further advice or information. Happy shopping! ❤️

Much Love

Shanti | The Kensington Diary

xxx

*Please note that this is an independent review and does not include a full list of features for all travel systems or buggies.

#Buggy #TravelSystem

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The Kensington Diary, South Kensington, London, W8

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