In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Evenflo Journey Review

Good on a budget for urban living, light but difficult to get in/out of car
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Price:   $90 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  All-inclusive, cheap, light, easy assembly, fold & unfold, plenty of storage, parent/child trays
Cons:  Difficult load/unload, poor quality, small sunshade, fixed handlebar, 3-point harness
Manufacturer:   Evenflo
By Juliet Spurrier, MD and BabyGearLab staff  ⋅  Nov 8, 2013
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The Skinny

This economical stroller is very similar to the Graco LiteRider stroller, but costs about $20 more. It's all inclusive with storage trays for both the grown-up and child. It is not suitable for a young infant unless an infant car seat is used (included in the travel system). The generous under-seat basket and folded stand-alone function are its best attributes, while its 3-point harness is its worst. (Sold as a stroller only, the Evenflo Journey 100 Covington is also sold as the Journey 300 when packaged as a travel system with the infant car seat included.)


Our Analysis and Test Results

One giant step above an umbrella stroller in its overall functionality, but just as efficient and almost as lightweight, the Evenflo Journey can carry a lot of stuff with average maneuverability. We purchased the Journey LX Travel System which includes the Journey 300 (Marianna) with the Embrace 35 Infant Seat. This review covers this solely as a stroller.
Sunshade is small and does not provide adequate coverage for low-angle sun.
Sunshade is small and does not provide adequate coverage for low-angle sun.

Ease-of-Use


In Ease-of-Use this stroller scored above average, a 6 of 10. It is cheap, light, and simple. It is worth noting, however, that the even lower cost Graco LiteRider was a bit easier to use, in our opinion.

This stroller folds very easily two-handed, but somewhat awkwardly with one-handed; the fold lock must be engaged manually and it is necessary to bend down once folded to do this. It self-stands easily when folded and can also be rolled around when folded and locked. In our opinion, it is the easiest stroller that we tested in this review to unfold. It basically pops open like its spring-loaded. However, it can tip over backwards if the lock is released and you are not holding on properly. The overall fold is large, tall, and very thick, which makes it very difficult to load into a trunk. It also has a tendency to unfold a bit during loading.

Practical

This simple yet high-functioning stroller comes equipped with many storage spaces, so it's a great stroller for shopping. The storage basket is very large with plenty of room to spare, but can only be accessed from the rear. The child tray is removable and pivots, providing another, less cumbersome way to put baby in the seat (rather than just lifting them up and over the tray), but seems a bit far from the baby. It also has a cup and snack holder, which helps to keep baby busy and satisfied while on the go. Up by the double handles is a 2-cup parent tray with a small covered compartment (to fit small items like keys, etc, yet it is too small to fit an i-Phone). The handlebar is fixed at 42". Unfortunately, we found that we kicked the rear of the stroller very frequently.

It provides a fairly comfortable ride for baby. The multi-position reclining seat provides many seated angles ranging from a min-max of 39-64 degrees. Though there is ample padding, there is not any hard backing to support baby optimally. The seat fabric is washable.

The sunshade is small without a peek-a-boo window or venting. Coverage is partial without ability to accommodate for low sun angles.

Even if this stroller isn't your first choice, it certainly could work very well to store at a family member's home, or to keep as a back-up.
The swivel lock mechanism on front wheels allows for smoother ride on long walks. In our experience  this stroller does not perform well on rough terrain.
The swivel lock mechanism on front wheels allows for smoother ride on long walks. In our experience, this stroller does not perform well on rough terrain.

Maneuverability


In Maneuverability, this stroller scored a 5 of 10. It maneuvers well enough in tight spaces and over paved roads, but definitely not a stroller you want to take with you past the pavement. It would not cross a 3" gap between pavers or roll over a 1.5" ledge and it tipped forward maneuvering over a 6" curb.

With its swiveling, double front wheels that consist of hard plastic and a basic front wheel suspension system, it's easier to push than the Chicco Cortina stroller, but can still be tough to turn with one hand. The rigid frame allows it to go up and down stairs and curbs relatively easily, much better, let's say, than the comparable Graco FastAction Fold stroller, but there's no place to comfortably place your foot to give it that extra push upwards you may need for an extra-large ledge. We would not recommend doing this on the back of the storage basket as the metal rod is fairly thin and may bend with force, as we experienced in our testing.

You can also lock the front wheels for a more comfortable strolling experience when taking longer walks on paved walkways. But, unlike other strollers' front swivel lock, which can help the stroller perform off-pavement, this stroller does not perform well over any kind of rough or bumpy terrain, or on snow or ice regardless of whether the front wheels are locked or unlocked.

Safety


We scored this stroller below average, a 4 of 10, when it comes to overall safety. The three-point (vs the more standard 5-point) harness and shaky brakes when locked made us feel less secure compared to other strollers in this review.
Black pedals on each wheel must be used to fully engage rear brakes.
Black pedals on each wheel must be used to fully engage rear brakes.
The rear wheels each have foot-activated brakes, which you can operate even in flip-flops, to keep the stroller in place when at rest, while the front swivel wheels have locks to allow for an easier time when walking longer distances. However, we felt it would be easier if the brakes worked in tandem, and had less play in them when locked.

The 3-point harness was exceptionally easy to buckle and unbuckle, but without adjustment for the crotch strap and without padding, we were not impressed with the buckling system. Especially as almost every other stroller we tested for this review came with a 5-point harness (with exception of the Graco LiteRider). We have to ask: why Evenflo decided to skimp on this critical feature?

Nonetheless, this stroller is stable from both the side and back, scoring extremely well in our sideways and backwards tip over tests.

Quality/Durability


This stroller has a lighter duty frame, so it can feel pretty wobbly and flimsy at times. The fabric is made of 100% Polyester and is very easy-to-clean as it's machine-washable.
The Evenflo is fairly bulky when folded. However it can both self-stand and be rolled around when folded.
The Evenflo is fairly bulky when folded. However it can both self-stand and be rolled around when folded.

Weight/Folded Size


As mentioned, this stroller is large when folded, but amazingly light at 18 lbs 8 oz.

It is designed to carry a child up to 40 pounds and 38". For newborns and small babies, you must use this stroller in its travel system form with its included infant car seat (which fits into the seat without a separate adapter) as the stroller itself is not made to adequately carry little ones.

Ease-of-Set-up


13:11 (min:sec) was our set-up time to assemble this stroller. We gave it an Ease-of-Set-up score of 5 of 10. The brochure is well-documented with step-by-step instructions. Unfortunately, out-of-the-box, this stroller had a chemical smell. We recommend off-gassing the stroller outdoors or in a garage prior to use.

Best Applications


If you are on a limited budget and want a stroller that's highly functional and pretty, you will not be disappointed with this purchase. It's best on smooth terrain, and works extremely well as a shopping companion for older babies and young children.

Value


This stroller is a terrific value for its under $100 price point. It gets the job done with fairly good quality for those on a tight budget. However, we'd recommend you take a close look at the Graco LiteRider too, which costs less and, in our opinion, offers an even better overall value.

Conclusion


This all-around economical stroller is a good choice for those on a tight budget, and who need a stroller that can accommodate an older baby or an older child. It's simple to use, stands on its own, can store a lot, and comes fully equipped with parent and child trays.

Other Versions and Accessories


According to the Evenflo website, the company lists the Journey 100 (Covington design) as the only stroller sold on its own and not as a travel system. However, they sell 13 different travel systems with stroller and car seat packaged together, with the Marianna and Koi blue patterns (pictured in this review) as part of the Journey LX Travel system, which includes the Journey 300 and the Embrace 35 infant car seat.
Journey 300 stroller (Koi Blue) with Embrace 35 Infant Car Seat
Journey 300 stroller (Koi Blue) with Embrace 35 Infant Car Seat


Juliet Spurrier, MD and BabyGearLab staff