When my two older daughters were young, we had accumulated several types of strollers: there was a big three-wheeled jogging stroller we bought at a garage sale that really didn’t fold down at all, a Graco stroller that we could attach the carseat carrier to, and a couple of umbrella strollers. When they’re in that in-between stage where they mostly walk on their own but can’t last a whole day, it was nice to have the umbrella strollers handy–they don’t take up nearly as much space when they’re folded up and they’re sturdy enough even for bigger kids.
We used them a lot for travel, because it’s a lot easier to have a kid strapped into a stroller at the airport than trying to manage her and your luggage. Of course, an umbrella stroller can still be kind of large and unwieldy—you can usually put it in the trunk of a car, but you’ll have to gate-check it for a plane. Well, now there’s the GB Pockit, a stroller that folds down into a compact brick that’s small enough to fit in the overhead compartment: 7″ x 12″ x 14″.
The stroller looks a bit like an umbrella stroller when it’s open, but it folds differently, with the arms telescoping down and the back wheels folding in. Here’s a little video showing how it unfolds and folds:
There are two options for folding it up: if you leave the back wheels extended (I inadvertently extended one of them in the video), it’s still pretty small but adds a couple of inches, as you can see in the photo below. It does save you time, though, and if you’re not pressed for space it’s pretty convenient.
Each of the front wheels has a small latch that can lock the wheel in place or let it swivel—you’ll need to lock them down before folding so that the wheels are aligned properly.
The rear wheels have latches that will unlock the hinge so you can fold the wheel in. Only the right rear wheel has a foot brake on it.
It does take a little practice folding and unfolding it—in fact, when I first received it, the instructions were folded up inside so I had to look up how to open it up. Basically you push the handles and shake it out, but when it’s brand-new sometimes it needs a little extra help. The tricky part about folding it up is that you push the buttons and push it down—but as the front wheels don’t have brakes, sometimes you just end up pushing it away from you instead.
It is pretty impressive how small it gets, though. I’ve been storing mine in a canvas bag—although I should point out it’s a fairly large canvas bag. The GB Pockit website claims that it’s “feather-light,” but at 9.5 pounds it does get a bit uncomfortable if you have to lug it for a long time—particularly if you’re just carrying it by a handle. I think a backpack of some sort might be ideal.
The portability does come with a price—both financially and figuratively. The retail for the stroller is $249.99, which is quite a bit more than traditional umbrella strollers. It also feels a little more “wiggly” when pushing it—there’s a little more give in the frame, which can twist from side to side a little more than the solid length of bar in a traditional stroller. However, I’ve used this on a few recent trips and having a stroller that takes up less space than a carry-on bag is really nice, even for a driving trip, where an umbrella stroller makes it harder to Tetris all of our suitcases into the available trunk space.
Is the GB Pockit for you? I would say it largely depends on your budget for baby stuff and how much you travel—and, perhaps, if you’re planning to have more kids so you can amortize the cost over a couple of kids. It’s an excellent travel stroller but won’t replace the one you use for an infant.
Disclosure: I was provided with a sample unit for this review.