I’m going to say something that will probably shock most parents out there: I actually enjoy using my stroller. Yup, strollers get a bad rap these days; to be sure, they can be one of the biggest sources of pain for anyone traveling with little ones. Nobody gets out of your way, the stroller itself is heavy, and you’re left trying with a lump of plastic with the maneuverability of a cinder block. Good luck if you hit some even vaguely rough terrain. Even finding a decent stroller can be a challenge, with many being unreasonably expensive for what you get. Lucky for me, I have none of those problems, and I’m going to go ahead and thank what I believe is the best baby travel system with a car seat in 2017: the Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System .
As a travel blogger gone family man I needed a baby travel system with a car seat that can keep up with my mobility, is comfortable for the baby, is easy to use, set up and fold, and is not very expensive. For the past 8 months we’ve been using the Chicco Bravo Trio travel system, and have to say it has far exceeded my expectations. It’s surprisingly versatile for a stroller, and has managed to handle pretty much everything I’ve thrown at it including snow and sand. You may also notice that a travel system costs more than a regular stroller, but provides better value as you can still use the stroller once your baby outgrows the car seat.
You should also know that I did not purchase this baby travel system out of the blue. I did check many online and physically went to a Babies R Us store in San Antonio as well as others to try and test several models, and I did so on different days. Liza's initial vote was for some other competitor's model which allowed the baby to lay down completely horizontal, but I found placing the crib on the wheels tedious. I asked her to imagine she was on her own doing some groceries and needed to place the baby in and out of the crib, with and without wheels, and needed to fold the stroller with one hand. It was impossible. Come in the Bravo Trio and she did everything on first try. This test made it a winner.
So what’s so good about it? Well, let’s start from the ground up.
Stroller wheels are one of those things in life you expect to be terrible, but the Bravo Trios are great. The front wheels swivel nicely, allowing for the stroller to glide easily over rough terrain in places like parks and gardens. They have a full 360 swivel, though aren’t so loose as to be unwieldy. All four wheels have suspension, and keep the ride smooth even on light hiking trails.
There’s also a linked rear brake with decent stopping power, meaning the stroller won’t ever get out of control. They’re actually Chicco’s “one touch” brakes, which the company claims are more convenient and effective than regular breaks.
Like most strollers, the Bravo Trio’s wheels are made of plastic to cut down on weight, though these ones are surprisingly durable. While I’ve seen other stroller wheels worn to the bone in a matter of weeks, so far my Bravo Trio’s have held strong for months. I’m confident they’ll easily outlast babyhood, and while they're not as comfy for the baby as rubber wheels you'll find in jogging strollers, they are less bulky and will last longer.
The handle itself is fully adjustable, and can be easily raised or lowered, depending on your height. It’s also got a decent amount of padding, so your hands will thank you after a long day of use. Like the rest of the stroller, the handle is solidly built, and won’t bend out of shape or otherwise get wonky as you use it. The sturdiness of the handle helps keep the stroller on track, and adds to the general maneuverability.
A stroller is nothing without a comfortable seat, and the Bravo Trio excells in this department. The stroller is fully compatible with Chicco’s Keyfit 30 car seat, meaning you can seamlessly move your baby from the car to stroller. There’s a single pull harness that’s sturdy without being a strangler. A padded insert is also included to keep smaller babies snug. As your baby grows, the insert can be removed to free up more space. One minor qualm I have here is that the seat’s material beneath the insert isn’t as well padded. A little extra cushioning here would have made the seat perfect, but that’s a fairly minor complaint in the overall package. Generally speaking, the seat is comfortable, and the material is much smoother than some of the rougher stuff I’ve seen in cheaper strollers. The stitching has held up well after months of use, with no signs of serious wear or tear yet.
Another point worth mentioning is the Bravo Trio’s memory recline. Basically, the seat is designed to remember the last position it was in before folding. This means when you unpack your seat, it should automatically be ready for baby. After initial setup, you don’t need to adjust anything, which is a serious time saver. There’s also an adjustable leg rest, which is particularly useful for lanky little guys, plus a tray.
Perhaps this isn’t integral to the functionality of the stroller, but I feel it’s worth mentioning the great amount of storage space on the Bravo Trio. Beneath the seat, you’ll find a storage area around the size of a large shopping basket. It’s enough to maintain a solid arsenal of toys just an arm’s reach away – not to mention diapers, snacks and other bits and bobs. Even when the seat is fully reclined, the basket is still pretty easy to get to.
Car SeatThe car seat is comfortable for the baby, it has a shade to cover him from direct sunlight and the safety latches are easy to lock and unlock and can be adjusted as your baby grows ( I already have more than once). The car base is relatively easy to install specially if your car has the Isofix baby car sear system- in this case you simply have to lock the two belts sturdily.
Placing the car seat on the base is easy as pie; you'll know it's correctly set up when you hear a "click" . To release the car seat simply pull on the yellow latch and the seat is free to be moved.
Other Great Features
The Bravo Trio’s full list of features are too extensive to go through comprehensively here, though a few other good elements I think are worth mentioning include the stolid canopy, and the frame. While the former helps keep baby away from the fury of Mother Nature, the latter is super light. The whole frame is a light weight aluminum. Generally speaking, the stroller looks like it’s been designed with weight in mind, though it probably could be lighter. In any case here you have the full list of features provided by Chicco:
- SuperCinch® One-pull LATCH Tightener uses force-multiplying technology to achieve a tight, secure fit with a fraction of the effort
- ReclineSure® Leveling Foot adjusts to fit vehicle seat angle
- RideRight® Bubble-level Indicators show when a proper fit has been achieved
- Removable padded infant insert for babies 4-11 lbs.
- Seat interior lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam for improved impact protection
- Adjustable, multi-position canopy
- Easy removal from both stroller and base
- Smooth underside of base helps protect against damage to vehicle seats
- Easy vehicle belt routing and a built in lock-off system accommodate vehicles without LATCH
- Conforms to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
- FAA approved for use on an aircraft
Nothing is perfect, and the Keyfit 30 is no exception. Along with the minor issue with seat padding under the insert, the Keyfit 30 also has a few letdowns. For one, despite being far from the heaviest stroller on the market, the Keyfit 30 is still around 22 pounds. It could be lighter. Another issue is that it’s made in China, which might lead some people to question its quality. Personally though, I’ve found the Keyfit 30 holds up great, and don’t feel the country of manufacture is anything to be concerned about.
The Best Travel System With a Car Seat 2017?
All up, the Keyfit 30 is a solid pick for anyone looking for a stroller that’s easy to use, and comes with a great range of features. It has many advantages and only a few drawbacks, and is also in the mid price range. In my opinion with the Chicco Keyfit 30 Travel System you’ve got everything you need for looking after the little one on the go.