In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Mountain Buggy Mini Review

Easy to use and agile w/ higher price
The Mountain Buggy Mini
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Price:   $350 List | $295 at Amazon
Pros:  Fold, self-stand, storage
Cons:  Price, no accessories, heavy
Manufacturer:   Mountain Buggy
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Aug 24, 2014
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65
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weight/Folded Size - 25% 5
  • Ease Of Use - 20% 6
  • Maneuverability - 20% 7
  • Safety - 15% 7
  • Quality - 15% 9
  • Ease Of Set Up - 5% 4

The Skinny

The Mountain Buggy Mini might not have won any awards, but that doesn't mean we didn't like this functional, and versatile little stroller. It actually did fairly well in every category except for initial setup, and it ranked 4th out of the 16 strollers we tested. It came in second place for maneuverability, and first place for quality. The only category where it really didn't do well, outside of setup, was overall weight and folded size, which was more like a regular stroller than umbrella. Overall, we liked this stroller, and given its larger size, increased storage, and large wheels, we thought it might be good for double duty acting as a standard and umbrella stroller, depending on your needs and lifestyle.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Mountain Buggy Mini is the lightest weight stroller Mountain Buggy offers. It is made with ultra-lightweight material, large maneuverable wheels that include a full-swivel front wheel, puncture proof tires, and it boasts a large under carriage storage compartment. This stroller is easy to fold with one hand, is self-standing, and has a carry handle to aid in transport. The Mini has an adjustable seat back, that allows for air flow, a larger sun shade to shield baby from harsh rays, and a peek-a-boo window so you can still see what baby is up to. It comes with a comfort soft grip handle, and foot-friendly brake pedals. This stroller can be used for newborns up to 4 years old. This stroller is available online and in some stores, and appears to only come in the color red.

Performance Comparison


The 16 top lightweight umbrella strollers included in our review
The 16 top lightweight umbrella strollers included in our review

Ease of Use


The Mountain Buggy scored fairly well for ease of use with a 6 of 10. There were a few products that scored better in this metric, but with several strollers scoring lower, the Buggy was still nicely positioned in the top third of products tested. Best Value Chicco Liteway, andContours Lite both scored 7 of 10; as did the Editors' Choice winner, UPPAbaby G-Luxe. No product scored over a 7 in this metric.

Storage
The undercarriage storage on the Buggy Mini is primarily accessed from the back
The undercarriage storage on the Buggy Mini is primarily accessed from the back
The Buggy earned points for having a giant amount of storage (compared to the other products in this category), and it was easy to use. The primary storage on this product was under the seat, and could be accessed from the sides and the back with no pesky cross bars in the way to hinder use. The pocket is deep on one end and tapers up to the front, where it becomes relatively shallow and somewhat useless. We were able to fit a standard size diaper bag in the compartment with ease, and removing it was a cinch. Keep in mind that items must be removed from storage before folding the frame for transport.

Sun Shade
The Mountain Buggy Mini
The Mountain Buggy Mini reclines fairly flat
The photos above show the sunshade closed (left) and open (right); note the popped out black visor.

This product had a nice large sunshade with an easy to see through peek-a-boo window, that is made of mesh which fastens using a toggle instead of a hook and loop closure. The canopy snaps into the open position easily without lock-out arms, and it didn't get in the way when folding the entire stroller. The back of the canopy snaps to the top of the enclosure that surrounds the seat, which then acts as an extension to the canopy. This extension has a ventilation window of two layers of mesh to help keep baby cool, and improve airflow. The frame of the canopy is sturdier than most of the ones we tested, and did well under "normal" toddler use. The canopy also had a flip out sun visor, for additional sun protection.

Convenience
The seat back on the Mountain Buggy Mini reclines almost flat  perfect for napping
The seat back on the Mountain Buggy Mini reclines almost flat, perfect for napping
This product didn't offer much in the way of added convenience, and it was this metric that hurt its overall ease of use score. This stroller did not offer some of the nice additions and amenities that parents have come to expect from strollers in general, and higher priced strollers specifically. The Buggy didn't offer any accessory tray, child accessory tray or pocket, extra storage, cup holder, or leg rest on this model. Its only nod to convenience was the reclining back rest on the seat, which can help put children in a variety of positions, for riding or napping comfort. However, in this category of lightweight products, it is certainly more acceptable to forgo these additions in favor of being agile, light, easy to fold, and easy to carry; the essentials for umbrella and lightweight strollers.

Maneuverability


The key to the Mountain Buggy Mini's excellent maneuverability is the large full-swivel front wheel  and tri-wheel design
The key to the Mountain Buggy Mini's excellent maneuverability is the large full-swivel front wheel, and tri-wheel design
The buggy mini came in second place for the maneuverability category, beaten only by the innovative engineering marvel, Quinny Yezz. The Mini is a three wheel design, with a longer wheel base than the other four wheeled products we tested. It was the only 3 wheel model in this review. It takes more room to turn around than most of the other strollers we tested, but it was also easier to push and pull as well, so this wasn't a deal breaker. The full-swivel front wheel allows this model to spin and twirl with ease, in just about every direction, for every purpose.

The Buggy did well over versatile terrain, and even though this isn't necessarily a requirement of an umbrella type product, it did manage well enough over grass and rocks, that if you had to use it briefly on those kinds of surfaces, it isn't going to be a struggle for you. Even the transition from
Full-swivel  EVA and rubber front tire  helped earn the Buggy a 2nd place for maneuverability
Full-swivel, EVA and rubber front tire, helped earn the Buggy a 2nd place for maneuverability
pavement to grass was an easy one, that didn't require extra feats of super human strength, or attempts to defy physics. The larger handle bar, and rigid frame, also helped it navigate stairs and curbs easier than most of the other products we tested. Please note that experts recommend you never take a stroller up or down stairs with a baby inside; either use the elevator, or to take your baby out of the stroller and carry your baby and the stroller up or down the stairs.

The tires on the mini are a hybrid of EVA and rubber. This kind of tire proved to be not only maneuverable, but durable and maintenance free as well. The hollow inner core adds cushioning that can be felt when using the buggy loaded with weight, and we felt it added to the overall ease of pushing for this product. Some of the products we tested seemed fairly easy to move around until a child sat in them, this stroller did well empty and full.

Safety


We conducted a variety of safety tests including brake tests, harness tests, and a series of tip-over tests in forward, backwards, and sideways directions. We encourage all parents to read the safety guidelines and considerations of every product they purchase, to ensure that they are complying with the expectations, and design elements, the way the manufacturer intended.

Brakes
The Mountain Buggy Mini with brakes engaged
The Mountain Buggy has single action brakes
The photos above show the nice, large, foot-friendly brake pedals of the Buggy Mini; brakes on (left), brakes off (right).

The brakes on the Buggy were easy to set and release, even with flip-flops on. The felt like they locked firmly into place with the first attempt to set them, and they did not experience any play or wiggling out of the locked position, even when jostled. During testing it took over 8 pounds of pressure, pushing on the stroller backwards, before it started to slide, and over 6 pounds pushing forward. The backwards pressure was the second highest in our tests, once again beaten only by the Quinny Yezz.

Harness
The Mountain Buggy Mini requires two hands to open
The Mountain Buggy Mini requires two hands to open
For our tests, we gave more points for a 5 point harness over a 3. Only the Jeep Wrangler All-Weather failed to provide a 5 point harness. The harness on the Buggy Mini is a 5 point harness that we found easy to put on and take off. The easier a harness is to use, the more likely parents are to use it, and thus the safer the product is.

While the Mini harness is easy to put on and off of a child, it is not so easy to adjust for proper fit, or to depress the latch button to unbuckle it. When adjusting the harness for fit in our tests, the shoulder straps pulled through the back of the seat fairly easily using normal pressure required to adjust the
The red safety release buttons on the top of the Mini latch must be pushed simultaneously with the side buttons to open the harness
The red safety release buttons on the top of the Mini latch must be pushed simultaneously with the side buttons to open the harness
strap length. While the straps are supposed to ease through the back panel to adjust the should height, they are not supposed to spontaneously pop through when adjusting the strap length itself. The straps slipped through significantly easier than most of the other products we tested.

The latch itself is also a little difficult to work. In addition to the side release buttons, there are red safety buttons on the top of the latch that need to be depressed simultaneously with the side releases. This feature helps prevent seated children from accidentally, or intentionally, disengaging the latch, but it also proved to be almost so difficult to use properly, that we wondered if some parents would forgo using it out of sheer frustration.

Tipping

For side tipping the buggy did fairly well, it remained upright until around 20 degrees. This seemed fair enough considering that at some angle all things will eventually tip over, and strollers are no exception. All of the products were tested with 20 pounds of weight in the seat, and the seat in the most upright position. The Mini was on par with the majority of the products we tested, with only a few doing better in the side tipping test, with a 30 degree tipping point; these were Quinny Yezz and Joovy Groove Umbrella.

The Buggy Mini did well in this tipping test by requiring at least 40 pounds of weight applied to the handle bar before it tipped over backwards. The Chicco Capri C6 Lightweight required the most weight before tipping, with 75 pounds hanging, and the UPPAbaby G-Lite required the least, with only 18 pounds. Of course the best way to avoid injuries from tipping strollers, is to avoid hanging items off the handle bars, or leaving them unattended with baby inside.

Quality


The Buggy Mini had a good quality fit and finish
The Buggy Mini had a good quality fit and finish
The Buggy has a great overall quality fit and finish feel. It earned a 9 of 10 in this metric which was the high, and matched only by two other products in our tests; Quinny and Joovy Groove. The fabric on this stroller is sturdy, has a nice tight weave, and did not succumb to intentional snagging. The fit to the frame is nice, resisted sagging, and the stitching was straight, strong, and durable. The fabric wrapped around a nice sturdy frame, that is beefier and stiffer than most of the strollers we tested; and there is no wiggle room or play in any component of this stroller, which is a very good thing.

As mentioned previously this stroller has nice large wheels, the largest in our tests. They are smooth rolling, easy to turn, and make surface transitions with ease. They are puncture resistant, easy to maintain or remove if necessary, and they withstood the abuse of going up curbs and stairs, both forwards and backwards. The wheels felt like they could take a beating, and keep on rolling.

The handle bar on this stroller is one of the lower handle heights in the group, but it is still a fairly comfortable height. It sports a
The large  soft  rubber type  single handle bar design on the Mountain Buggy is comfortable to grip and push
The large, soft, rubber type, single handle bar design on the Mountain Buggy is comfortable to grip and push
long bar type handle that angles slightly at each end. The bar is covered in a nice cushioned rubber sleeve, that is both ribbed, and soft for extra hand comfort, which can be especially important when pushing heavier children, or a loaded Buggy. The handlebar is enough distance away from the rear wheels to avoid the dreaded foot/wheel bump that can happen with longer legs, shorter handle bars, or quick steps. The stroller tested well with men over 6 feet tall with long strides, and tall torsos, as well as, petite women with shorter legs and smaller frames.

Weight and Folded Size


The Mini folds in half  as opposed to collapsing like an umbrella
The Mini folds in half, as opposed to collapsing like an umbrella
Weight

This product was one of the heaviest in our tests, at 17 pounds 7 ounces. Only two other strollers came in higher, weighing in at over 18 pounds a piece, the Joovy Groove, and Maxi-Cosi Kaia. This did make the stroller somewhat of a bear to lug around relative to competing umbrella strollers, but still relatively quite light compared to full-size strollers. So while it was easy to fold and stood by itself, you probably don't want to lug it very far. The weight isn't too bad for putting into a car trunk, but it might be a bit much for carrying any significant distance, especially if your hands are full of baby and bags.

Folded Size
This product folds differently than any other one we tested, and significantly different than a traditional umbrella type. Because of this the
The Buggy is self-standing when folded  which can be very convenient
The Buggy is self-standing when folded, which can be very convenient
overall folded size is difficult to compare to the other products we tested. Its folded dimensions are 15x39.5x23, and its overall volume in cubic inches is 13628, the highest for all products in our tests.

Other things to keep in mind with this particular stroller is that because it folds forward, and somewhat flat, instead of long like traditional umbrella products, it can be easier to fit in the trunk of a car, or in a shorter space for storage. However, it will take up more room in a standard coat closet than most people will have allocated for this kind of product, because of the wide rear wheels which remain apart when folded. This means it will also take up more floor space on public transportation as well; which might make it more difficult to travel with on buses, trains, or subways.

Ease of Folding
One hand fold and self-stand takes some practice to master
One hand fold and self-stand takes some practice to master
This stroller had what the manufacturer called a one handed fold system. While one hand can probably do it, it was easier with two hands, and it will need a little practice the first few times you do it, to really figure out how to execute the moves without dropping it. However with practice, the nice push button release under the seat will seem like second nature to use and it can become one hand fold capable. Once folded, the stroller has an auto-lock feature that prevents it from unfolding, and it self-stands so you don't need to hold it.

Commuting

This stroller is not as commuter friendly as some of the other strollers we tested. It has a wider footprint than most due to the three wheel design that means it is significantly longer and somewhat wider than other products. This means that it is more difficult to use this stroller in cafes, markets, and on public transportation. Whether you choose to keep the Buggy open and leave baby inside, or fold it up and carry it, it is not the best at either.

Ease of Setup


The Buggy Mini had the worst score for ease of setup. It took almost 9 and a half minutes to put together, with only one other product earning a lower score, Peg Perego Pliko Mini. The instructions do not have any words, but rather relied on illustrations to guide the building process. This might have been okay, if the illustrations showed all the steps, or were easier to follow. The illustrations also failed to show all of the parts, which made the front wheel assembly particularly challenging. The wheel hubs included parts that were not shown in the directions, and as a result our in-house tester almost threw them away. In addition, the snaps on the canopy were hard to fasten. Having written instructions or more detailed illustrations, would greatly help this stroller.

Best Applications


While reviewed under the umbrella and lightweight category, this Mountain Buggy might just make a good dual purpose stroller by serving double duty as a primary stroller as well. With the ample storage compartment and three wheel design, it really does more than a standard umbrella stroller is supposed to, but it also offers more convenience than many of the standard strollers. So depending on how you intend to use it, it might just be the only stroller you need.

Value


This is the most expensive product we tested in this category. This meant it was not very budget conscious, and probably not the go-to stroller most parents will choose for a second stroller; the primary role for a product of this type. In order to really get your money's worth with this Buggy, you'll probably want to use it often and in most situations, forgoing a standard stroller.

Conclusion


The Mountain Buggy Mini
The Mountain Buggy Mini
This is a neat little stroller with many fine attributes. It has the biggest storage compartment of those products tested, a great full-swivel large front wheel for easy maneuvering, and a nice reclining seat that stays in the shade with the large attached canopy. Unfortunately, this Buggy is also pretty expensive for a product of this type, and it lacked some of the conveniences parents look for in a higher end product, like a cup holder and accessory tray. In the end, it appears to be a safe, high quality product, that is easy to use, and easy to fold, but it doesn't have many of the features you might want. Depending on how you choose to utilize it, the Mountain Buggy Mini might be a justifiable expense for some parents, but for those looking for a second stroller, that will be used infrequently, it might just be more than you want to spend for a Buggy with absolutely no frills.

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Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz