I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Since becoming a dad, nothing gets me going as much as a pushchair – well, that and the missus of course. A nice shape, beautiful curves, very flexible and supports the baby. And that’s just the missus! I jest of course. Since giving birth, the missus is no where near as flexible as she was…
Anyway, I digress. We’ve been on the lookout for a new pushchair recently. Something that’s good across different terrains, something that’s compact and something that doesn’t need to be taken apart in order for it to fold. A pushchair that I’ve quietly had my eye on because it does all of these things is the Armadillo Flip from Mamas & Papas.
I was therefore giddy with glee when I was contacted by Mamas & Papas to loan one of their brand new Armadillo Flip XT Pushchair for our recent holiday to Bluestone Wales. As I understood it, the XT version of the pushchair was basically the regular Flip on steroids – think of Gareth Bale at Southampton vs Gareth Bale at Real Madrid if you’re looking for a footy reference.
With boot space at a premium for our hols, we’d contemplated not taking a pushchair at all, however having the XT for a few weeks meant that we could take all of our stuff and a buggy. Below is therefore my full review of the Armadillo Flip XT from our time with it on holiday.
The product is described as:
We know that becoming a parent is complicated enough, without worrying about changing their stroller when they outgrow it. So the revolutionary Armadillo Flip XT is the only stroller you’ll ever need, with lots of little luxuries too. The unbelievably compact Armadillo Flip XT is travel system-ready, with loads of wriggle room for the years to come.
The chunky wheels make sure baby gets a nice smooth ride and other extras like telescopic handles give you a more pleasurable experience too. But best of all the innovative patented design lets you fold it down with one hand-whichever way it’s facing-in seconds, into the most compact fold out there.
Features & Benefits for Babies:
- Perfect for posture-structured seat back that won’t sway, for extra support and comfort.
- Designed for day one-suitable from birth up to 4 years.
- Reversible seat-switch them to face you or the world.
- XXXL hood-UPF 50+ fabric for ultimate protection in every kind of weather.
- Cooling air vent-mesh design to keep things flowing when it’s hot.
- Hood lining-for extra protection from the elements.
- Full recline-for long leisurely naps.
- Adjustable leg rest-for extra comfort during sleeps.
- Adjustable seat positions-reclines simply for every kind of activity.
- Sun visor-for a little extra cover on sunny days.
- 5 point safety harness-to keep them snug and safe.
- Toy loop-to keep little ones entertained.
Features & Benefits For Parent:
- Super ultra-compact fold-to tuck away into the smallest spaces even with the seat on.
- Travel system ready- carry cot and car seat compatible, to get you anywhere.
- Footmuff-friendly fold-you don’t even need to take off the footmuff.
- Comfy cushion-well-padded for extra comfort out and about.
- Metal footplate-for better grip and a bolder look.
- Inward fold-to keep your fabric clean and dry.
- Wheel lock-swivel wheels can be locked and released for better manoeuvrability.
- Removable wheels-for squeezing into the tightest of spaces.
- Easy rider- front and rear wheel suspension for a smooth and comfy ride.
- Auto lock-chassis stays secure when folded.
- Travel friendly-easy carry handle for when you have your arms full.
- Peek-a-boo window-for quick check-ups through the hood.
- Flip flop friendly brake- for easy stop and go.
- Tether strap-for extra control and reassurance.
Out of the box, the XT took only a few seconds to assemble before it was ready to be used. My only tasks, which I was very happy with, were to clip on the four wheels and attach the breaks to the pushchair. As it was a loan and had been used previously judging by a bit of light wear and tear, I’m not quite sure if it would require any additional assembly if you were to get it brand new, however judging by the quick job it took to put the wheels on, I’m guessing that it would only take five minutes maximum.
We had a mess around with the XT to understand how it worked, then took it out with us when we took the dog on a walk around the block – obviously we put the baby into the pushchair, we didn’t just take the pushchair with us. My first impressions were that it was easy to open and close, was very solid and had a really generous sized hood, however it felt a bit awkward when trying to manoeuvre and the straps around Baby L were very loose. Still, I was pretty impressed overall and it was quite different to anything I’d tried previously.
The next task for the pushchair – and for me – was to try and get it to fit into the car with the rest of our stuff when we went on holiday to Bluestone Wales. Having become a dad and thus developed the superpower of being able to fit too much stuff into a small space, I managed to successfully get everything into the boot of our car – this included three suitcases, numerous bags, three adults, one baby, one dog and a pushchair! I initially thought that we wouldn’t be able to take a pushchair, but the XT proved me wrong – it folded up really compact, as you can see below. I took the wheels off to give us a bit more room, however this was a really simple process of pressing a button by each wheel, then pulling them away from the frame.
Over the next week whilst we were at Bluestone, we used the pushchair a number of times and got on pretty well with it, although we did have a few gripes. Starting with the positive, the XT is really robust and works well on different terrains due to the large wheels and suspension. This meant that it worked well on pavements, on the grass, on stone and in the woods – not many pushchairs can cope with different terrains, so it was great to see one that pushed well no matter what you were walking on.
We also found that the XT was good when Baby L needed a nap or to keep her out of the sun (yes, we had sun in Wales) – the pushchair comes with a huge hood which basically covers the pushchair when the seat is upright. Even when the seat is fully reclined, it still covers a big part of the pushchair which means that those annoying distractions are blocked out when you’re trying to get your sprog to sleep. There is also a nifty little window at the top which you can look through to check up on your little one’s progress.
One of the cool things – and main selling points – of the Flip and Flip XT is the way it folds. Whether it is forward-facing or parent-facing, it folds within a couple of steps without needed to take anything apart. We have another pushchair where you have to take the seat section off prior to folding and this is a bit of a ballache after a while, so it is great that there is no hassle such as this with the XT. The process of opening and folding is pretty easy – to open, you simply lift up the handlebars and unfold the seat, whereas to close you push down the seat, twist the top of the handlebars which allows the frame to be pushed down, then squeeze a handle which folds the pushchair in half.
A couple of other features I liked was the extendible handle, which could be adjusted by opening and closing a couple of clips, and meant that it was comfy to push no matter how tall you are. I also liked the tether strap on the handlebars – this allows you to put your hand through it so that you have that extra bit of reassurance should you accidentally let go of the pushchair – however it would be nice to hide it out of the way when not in use as it just dangles, e.g. through a hidden compartment on the handlebars.
As mentioned earlier, we had a couple of slight issues with the pushchair. Firstly, we found the straps to be really big around Baby L’s shoulders. She’s not the biggest of babies by any stretch of the imagination, but the shoulder straps seemed to swamp her even when on their tightest setting. This was a little concerning as it made me wonder whether she was getting enough support around her head, neck and shoulders. However, it never felt like she was going to fall out because the five-point harness seemed secure. Similarly, the open nature of the pushchair meant that she was very exposed – there was nothing to the side of her apart from empty space, which meant that blankets or toys fell out really easily.
I also personally felt that the pushchair was a bit cumbersome. It felt a bit heavy and clunky when being manoeuvred around corners or being lifted from road to pavement. I’m used to pushing down on the handlebars to lift the front wheels so that you can climb a curb, however this didn’t really work with the XT unless you held it a lot further down the handlebars.
In terms of colour, the XT we had is called teal tide – I quite liked this colour and it is pretty different to other stuff I’ve seen on the market – it has a light green hood then a darker green seat. Another four colours are available – including navy which is my favourite – if the teal isn’t for you. It’s also worth mentioning that the XT can be used from birth as a travel system with the addition of a carrycot, however obviously we haven’t tried that out. This means that it can be used from newborns to around four years of age.
The Armadillo Flip XT costs £479.00 and can be bought directly from Mamas & Papas and Amazon. I personally think this is a pretty good price for an off-road travel system which folds compact and has some of the additional features such as large hood and ability to fold from parent or forward-facing positions. If bought from birth with the carrycot (£149.00), it would cost £628.00 which is quite competitive compared to other travel systems on the market which cater for newborn onwards. Obviously, like everything though, cheaper and more expensive alternatives are available depending on your budget and requirements.
All in all, I quite like the Armadillo Flip XT, but it’s not the right stroller for us and our lifestyle. The fact that it folds all-in-one without needing to take the seat off is great, as is the ability to fold it up whether it is in parent-facing or forward-facing mode. The size of the hood is really good, the compact fold is awesome and the ability to recline the seat to almost flat is an added bonus when trying to get the sprog to nap. I also like how it provides a comfortable ride for the little one no matter what terrain you push it on, particularly when you’re going across loose stone or are in the woods. However, for us, it felt a bit too clunky to manoeuvre and felt heavier than it needed to be – perhaps the Armadillo Flip rather than the Flip XT would be better suited to us. I also wasn’t a fan of the exposed nature of the seat (I prefer it a bit more enclosed) and the shoulder straps were just too loose, even on the tightest setting.
The DADventurer Star Rating
4 out of 5 stars
N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion of the product. The Armadillo Flip XT Pushchair was loaned to me by Mamas & Papas with the purpose of writing an honest product review in exchange for the loan.