We’re often asked what is the best pram for travel? I usually hear there are two: the Babyzen Yo Yo and The Mountain Buggy Nano.  In my Mountain Buggy Nano review below, I’ll share the good (there’s a lot), the bad (there’s some) and the ugly (well, there’s always something!) about the pram that is often deemed one of the best prams for travel.

(Remember, for the basics about travel prams – and the things you MUST consider when deciding whether to take a pram on holidays – see our earlier post.)

Mountain Buggy Nano review

mountain buggy nano review - even the box is small!From the moment the courier delivered the Mountain Buggy Nano box, I knew things were looking good. Even the box was small! In fact, it was so small that a friend who was visiting said, “What? That’s got your new pram in it?”

Of course, size is one of the things I paid $350 AUD for this pram for – I wanted something compact, that hopefully will be allowed on carry on on a plane. (More on that later.)  And yes, Mr Funny enjoyed looking on. (He’s in good nick hey? Considering he was mine as a child!)

mountain buggy nano review - the toughest reviewer! Initially, my son appreciated the box more than the Mountain Buggy! But this image is included to give you an idea of the size of the pram in its carry bag. (I quite like the carry bag – and the fact it even has one – not all travel prams do.) It’s compact, which is important, because most parents buying the Mountain Buggy Nano – including me – are hoping to check this on as carry on luggage. Putting it together was easy, by the way – 10 minutes of sussing it out.

mountain buggy nano review - the shade coverFor any travel pram there are a couple of essentials and I wanted to make sure I cover all of them in my Mountain Buggy Nano review.

First – what’s the recline like on the Mountain Buggy Nano?

Is it enough for a child to sleep properly? I found this hard to photograph but the recline on the Mountain Buggy Nano is, for me, pretty good. Probably better than it looks in the pics above and below. It’s not as much as a ‘full sized’ stroller, but HEAPS more than a true umbrella stroller.

Having said that, I’m now using the pram for a toddler (18mths old) so I do wonder if I would have been as happy with the partial recline when he was younger. At that stage I liked a REALLY flat pram for his nice lovely long day sleeps, although maybe I was fussy about that. (When my son was younger I travelled with the City Mini, which isn’t compact in the same way as the Mountain Buggy Nano but IS super light, easy to fold and has a great recline). But my son’s sleeps are a bit shorter now – and only once a day (darn!) – so the recline on the Mountain Buggy Nano is enough to keep me happy. (PS. I was very impressed that he decided impromptu to pose for these photos – I just caught him in the right mood!)

mountain buggy nano review - the reclineHow about the shade?

For a pram that is ALMOST an umbrella stroller (it’s not quite a stroller, in terms of size, but it’s pretty close – sort of umbrella-stroller esque) I think the shade cover on the Mountain Buggy Nano is really good – so in terms of a review, I give that part of this pram a high rating. I believe the latest model (mine) has a little more shade than the earlier models. I think it’s enough of a change to make a difference.

Of course, when he’s asleep I want it to be really dark – darker than a partial shade cover like this allows – so I either add a muslin/shade cloth, or the Fly Babee shade cover on top.

What about storage? Can you carry everything in it?

You may be able to see from the photos that the storage underneath the Mountain Buggy Nano is on the small side. It’s not CRAZY small, but certainly not as generous as my City Mini.  That’s pretty typical of the more compact prams, so there’s not a lot you can do to get away from this. As most parents know, the ideal pram will still only solve about 80 per cent of your problems!

Recently, when I was out for the day at a festival near home (when I’m now using this pram as my day to day pram) I actually switched back to my City Mini mostly because it has so much more space to shove extra clothes/food/nappies etc.  But if I’m out at the shops or for the afternoon, it’s the Mountain Buggy Nano all the way, just because it’s so small in my car boot – as I mention below.

Size – how compact is the Mountain Buggy Nano?

Of course, the upside of this stroller is that it packs down SUPER small. I’m LOVING having the boot of my small, hatchback car freed up – I even put shopping in there for the first time, next to the Mountain Buggy Nano. It used to be taken up just with the City Mini.  I still haven’t abandonded the City Mini – but I keep it at home on the back deck for his day sleeps as he now has every day sleep in a pram (yes, toddler has stopped transferring to the cot – eeekkkk!).

Any problems?

The other point to mention are two things you’ll see in almost every Mountain Buggy Nano review. First, noisy wheels. (I agree, they are a bit noisy – why? Seems odd to me. It’s sort of a squeaky sound as we trundle along. I’m hoping I soon block it out.  Maybe I need to travel in noisier places!

Second – the brakes. People complain incessantly that “the brake gets turned on accidentally when going on stairs”. I have to say, I did my research on this and decided to risk it. To be honest, I also thought, “What are people on about? When do I push my pram down stairs? Don’t I lift it?” I just couldn’t really see what they were complaining about.

HA! Recently, I tried to pull the pram backwards up a set of four low steps and BAM, the brakes locked on. Of course, I knew EXACTLY what had happened – all those complaints popped instantly into my head – so I unlocked it and carried on…okay, this is annoying, and I assume an odd design flaw they can’t seem to fix.

But it’s not something I do often (mostly I’d get two people to carry the pram up steps), and it certainly doesn’t seem a problem when I’m taking the pram down a curb. So I’m not too stressed about this. It wouldn’t put me off buying this pram at all.

mountain buggy nano review - a happy customerThe verdict? Does the Mountain Buggy Nano review well?

Well, the real test of this will be when I try to carry it onboard a flight. That’s coming up in the next month or so and I’ll update this post with the results. (See below for the update!)

From all my research, it’s hit and miss whether you can take a Mountain Buggy Nano on as carry on BUT it’s one of the best chances you have of any pram being allowed to (the Nano and the Yo Yo seem to be the only ones).

For the Nano – I believe some airlines will do it, others won’t. But I THINK those who won’t let you take it onto the plane will let you check it at the gate, so you’d still have it at the airport and in transit. The key, I understand, is to arrival at the check in desk with it packed up (vs with your baby in it!), so the staff can see how small and light the whole thing is (it’s under 6KG).

I’m optimistic. ALTHOUGH I do know that the main competitor to this product – the BabyZen Yo Yo – seems to have more success being checked on as carry on.  But the price difference is significant – the Yo Yo is almost double the price of the Mountain Buggy Nano. (I paid $350 AUD ish for my Mountain Buggy.) And when I looked at both prams in a local store, I couldn’t really see a big difference. In fact, I liked the storage on the Mountain Buggy Nano better (and the price, obviously!).

So overall: I like it. No, I REALLY like it. I feel really happy with the purchase, we’re getting good sleeps, it moves well and I LOVE how it fits in my car. Plus, I ALWAYS get comments on how compact it is, and how small it folds up. So, just wish me luck with that flight!

Anything else you’d like to know in my Mountain Buggy Nano review? Let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post.

UPDATE: Taking the Nano as carry on.

Thanks to reader Kate who reminded me I hadn’t updated this post – didn’t mean to leave you all hanging!  We’ve so far taken the Nano on two flights – and I”ve had mixed success getting it onboard as carry on.  One one flight – they said yes, once I showed them it folded up etc.  But the flight attendant WAS a bit narky about it, so I did have to insist for them to do it.

On flight two – they said no to carrying it on but were happy for me to check it at the gate. (ie: At the gate they’ll put it in the hold underneath the plane.)  This isn’t AS good as it means you don’t have it in your hands on arrival (half the reason you want to carry it on is for the long walk through the terminal). I wasn’t able to talk them out of this decision – although it did mean I had the pram with me while we waited for our flight (super important in this case as that was when my son needed his sleep – which never would have happened without the pram).

So my sense is: if you’re happy for the results to be hit and miss – this is a great option. If you’re going to be heartbroken if you can’t carry it on – pay double for a YoYo zen, which seems more likely to consistently be allowed onboard.  And always, always take a baby carrier like an Ergo as backup.

 

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Aussie journalist, travel writer and founder of babieswhotravel.com Sue White has always been a traveller. When her son was born, Sue knew her travel itch would still need regular scratching. But how do you travel with a baby under one and still have a good time? Is it even possible? Where do busy new parents discover practical tips to support those first few trips? To find out, Sue and her baby son travelled both Australia and Europe doing house sits and house swaps; cat sitting and car journeys; took on 24 hours flights and short domestic jaunts; travelled with friends, solo and family members; and cycled, drove, flew and train-ed around seven countries, all before his first birthday.
Learn more about Sue.