When choosing an umbrella stroller over a regular stroller, it’s important to remember that an umbrella stroller won’t give you the same range of features that you get with a regular one. For that reason, many parents have two strollers, one for running light errands, and a fuller-featured, bulkier stroller for days out and shopping trips.
For parents who need to travel light, especially on public transport, a super-lightweight umbrella stroller is essential. In this guide, we focus on two popular brands, Mountain Buggy and Recaro.
We compare and contrast the Mountain Buggy Nano and the Recaro Easylife so that you can see just what you get for your money before you part with your hard-earned cash.
Table of Contents
- 1 Mountain Buggy: Off-road capability. Urban style.
- 2 Recaro: Safe. Simple. Convincing
- 3 Mountain Buggy Nano vs. Recaro Easylife: Features that matter
- 4 Wrapping it up
Mountain Buggy: Off-road capability. Urban style.
New Zealand manufacturer, Mountain Buggy produced the very first all-terrain stroller in 1992. The design was created by an outdoorsy parent who wanted to take his baby with him when he went exploring the mountain trails close to his home.
Since those early days, Mountain Buggy has increased its range to include a lighter weight, more urban style stroller called the Nano.
Mountain Buggy Nano
- Infant car seat ready ; no need to purchase additional adapters and now has a soft shell cocoon carrycot available (sold separately) for newborns
- New, narrower compact size at just Dimension - 12 x 22 x 20 inches (Folded) with 44 lb. weight capacity and suitable for children up to 4 years
- Easy two-step, compact fold meets regulations for airline carryon luggage
The Mountain Buggy Nano is designed to be ultra-convenient, especially if you travel by air or train.
The Nano is super-compact and collapses quickly and easily via a two-step fold. Once folded, you can take the Nano onto most airplanes as carry-on luggage, and it will fit into most overhead bins too. All it takes to open the stroller again on arrival at your destination is one simple click.
You can see a video of the Mountain Buggy Nano in action at this link.
What we like
- Easy-recline seat with ventilation panel
- Compatible with most popular car seat brands
- Car seat adapters incorporated into the seat design
- Easy two-step fold
- Locking front swivel wheels
- Extendable sun canopy
- Extra-large underseat storage basket
What we don’t like
- When the canopy is flipped back, it covers your hands when you’re pushing the stroller
Recaro: Safe. Simple. Convincing
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The German company, Recaro is best known for its century-long innovation in transport safety.
For the last 15 years, Recaro has created some top-rated and stylish infant car seats. And now the company has branched out into the stroller market with their super-stylish, lightweight Recaro Easylife umbrella stroller.
Recaro states that its goal is to produce ergonomic, comfortable, and intuitive designs that allow you to stay true to yourself while meeting your child’s needs.
The Recaro Easylife is designed to be the ideal companion to everyday family life. This colorful, fun stroller combines the flexibility of an umbrella stroller with the features and comforts of a regular stroller.
The Easylife has four sets of double wheels, full suspension, and a practical, one-hand folding mechanism. Once folded, the stroller will fit into the smallest spaces, and it’s also freestanding for easy storage. With its spacious seat, large canopy, and modern, high-quality fabrics, the Recaro Easylife certainly justifies its place in a crowded marketplace.
What we like
- Lightweight, sporty, and stylish
- Easy one-handed fold
- Compact when collapsed
- Large canopy
- Suspension system gives a smooth ride over uneven ground
What we don’t like
- Limited seat height
- No rain cover included
- Can be fiddly to unfold
Mountain Buggy Nano vs. Recaro Easylife: Features that matter
In this part of our guide, we look more closely at the features of these strollers that matter most to parents.
The Nano will comfortably take a child of up to 44 pounds in weight, which is pretty good for an umbrella stroller. The seat is 12 inches wide, allowing plenty of room for a large toddler. Also, there are eight inches between the top of the seat back, and the canopy, so tall toddlers have enough headroom.
The seat does not recline fully, so you can’t use the Nano for a newborn. However, the strap system does allow the seat to recline to a position that’s fine for a napping toddler. Unfortunately, you need two hands to push the seat back to an upright position, which can be a hassle unless you take your child out of the stroller first.
The Nano’s seat has a mesh panel behind the seat recline to allow for better ventilation. Although this is perfect if you live in a warm climate, you’ll need to wrap your child up well in cold weather. Although you have to buy it separately, the All Weather Cover Pack with a bug net and rain cover is a worthwhile investment if you intend to use the stroller during the winter and fall.
The Easylife has a comfy, forward-facing seat that matches that of the Nano in size and width. The seat has two mesh panels on either side for good ventilation, and there are soft, padded panels within the seat itself that give extra support for your child’s head and bottom.
Unlike the Nano, you might struggle to fit a tall toddler comfortably in the Easylife, and you could find that your child’s head is pushed into the canopy when you recline the seat. Like the Nano, the Easylife has a strap-operated seat recline that you can operate with one-hand. The seat recline is very flexible but, like the Nano, you can’t position the seat in a completely flat position, so it’s not suitable for a baby.
Mountain Buggy has included an adjustable footrest that gives your child extra support when you recline the seat. The Easylife has a footrest like the Nano, which offers additional leg support and comfort for your child when you recline the seat.
The Nano’s seat has a three-point safety harness that’s nicely padded and easy to adjust. The intriguingly designed buckle is easy for a parent to release but nigh-on impossible for a toddler to manage.
The Easylife has a more restrictive, five-point harness with adjustable shoulder and waist straps. The harness fastens via a clip that’s easy to do for an adult but would be tricky for a child to unfasten.
Car seat compatibility
The Nano is compatible with all the major car seat brands thanks to the strap system that they use to hold the car seat in position.
The Easylife has an infant carrier option that is compatible with Recaro’s car seats. However, you do have to buy the requisite adapters separately.
The Nano’s main selling point is its fold. When folded, the Nano measures just 22 inches x 21 inches x 11 inches, which is small enough to squeeze into airplane overhead luggage bins. The folded Nano can be carried in a custom-made stroller carry bag, via a shoulder strap, or by the handle on the stroller frame. The Nano will fit easily into any car trunk without hogging too much space.
The Easylife is very easy to fold one-handed and collapses into a compact package that will fit into your car trunk without a problem. Once folded, the stroller has an auto-lock to prevent it from coming open, and it’s self-standing for easy storage. Unfortunately, the Easylife only has one carrying option, which is the main handle.
Handling and maneuverability
The Nano is a pleasure to push, even over cobblestones or uneven sidewalks, thanks to the rear-wheel suspension and locking front swivel wheels. However, the six-inch EVA tires are designed more for strolling along city sidewalks or park terrain than for handling more challenging off-road trails. The Nano can be steered with one hand and is easily maneuverable through tight doorways and in crowded restaurants, etc.
The Easylife is comparable with the Nano in its handling capability. However, it has slightly larger wheels that cope better with rough terrain than its competitor. That said, the Easylife is not intended for use as an all-terrain stroller or a jogger, and it won’t handle rocky paths, soft sand, etc.
Both the Nano and the Easylife have a handlebar that is not adjustable, although they both comfortably accommodate parents up to six feet tall.
The Nano has a one-step, linked parking brake that’s easy to engage and is flip-flop-friendly.
The Easylife also has flip-flop-friendly brakes. The left pedal releases the brake and the right engages it. The brakes work very well and are simple to operate. But, it would be better if they were color-coded to avoid confusion.
The Nano has a decent-sized sun canopy that can be extended to provide good sun protection for your child. Unfortunately, the stroller’s design means that there’s not much space between the canopy and the handlebar. So the top of the canopy will come into contact with your knuckles when you’re pushing the stroller, which can be uncomfortable.
The Easylife’s canopy is slightly disappointing. It could provide more coverage, especially in a stroller that’s likely to be used for vacations and traveling. Also, the canopy feels a little flimsy, and it doesn’t have an extension facility like the Nano. If you want rain protection for your child, you can buy a rain cover for the stroller separately.
For an umbrella stroller that’s built for traveling light, the Nano has a very generous underseat storage basket. If you want more storage space, you can purchase stroller hooks that fix to the handlebar to hang your bags.
The storage basket on the Easylife is a good size for a stroller of this size. And it will hold around 11 pounds in weight. Even when you have the seat reclined, access to the underseat basket is easy.
The sporty Nano comes in a range of bright, modern colors, including black, blue, and ruby red. Also, you can choose a patterned print that reflects the Chinese art of paper cutting for shadow play. The prints come in black and white for the Year of the Pig, and black and dark green, representing the Year of the Dog.
The Easylife comes in a selection of cheerful, fun colors, including lime, pink, sapphire blue, sunshine yellow, graphite gray, and ruby red.
Wrapping it up
Both the Mountain Buggy Nano and the Recaro Easylife are lightweight umbrella-style strollers. They fold down into neat, compact packages, making these strollers perfect for you and your family if you like to travel light.
Of the two, the Nano is possibly more stylish and sporty. It has a bigger canopy too, and the seat is roomy with plenty of headroom for a tall toddler. Both strollers are easy to push. But, the Nano has the edge if you want to take the stroller off-road over grass and gravel. Also, the Nano has more carrying options than the Easylife. That could be a significant factor for you if you want a secondary stroller for use purely for when you travel with your child.
The Nano is the ideal stroller for you if you’re looking for a reasonably priced, easily collapsible folder that you can take anywhere. The Easylife stroller is perfect if you want a lightweight stroller that you can use for trips to the park or for running light errands locally. For days out when you need more storage space and greater comfort for your child, you may want to consider purchasing a larger, more full-featured regular or jogging stroller.