You learn pretty quickly as a parent that there are different tools for different jobs. You’ll want both a crib and a playpen for sleeping. You may use a combination of cloth and disposable diapers. And which diaper bag to take on an outing depends on a lot of important factors! Strollers are no different. Your family will surely need a full-sized stroller with lots of storage and configuration options, but when you’re travelling, a huge stroller just doesn’t make sense. We’ll help you find the best umbrella stroller for travel. Lightweight and easily foldable, an umbrella stroller can make your life a lot easier on the road or in the air.
What is an umbrella stroller?
Based on the name, there is some confusion around this. Umbrella strollers are called that because they are lightweight and fold down compactly, much like an umbrella. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is an umbrella hood over the stroller, though many do have this feature. The most affordable umbrella strollers usually skip the hood, but can still claim the name. Other things you may sacrifice in an umbrella stroller include storage, adjustable seat backs, and sturdy construction.
Of course, you need an umbrella stroller that is safe, but in order to be lightweight, it just won’t have the same heavy-duty construction that your full-sized stroller might. These strollers are made for short jaunts, not to go jogging or hiking over rough terrain. That said, this category of stroller is advancing, and you might be surprised by what you can get in a lightweight stroller that folds, packs, and stores easily.
Features to consider in an umbrella stroller
The best umbrella stroller for your family depends on your ultimate purpose for it. If it’s just something you need to get through the airports, you may be able to go basic. But if you’re on a road trip and looking for a hybrid product that can handle a lot of different situations, you will probably want more features. Just remember that the more features, the more weight and bulk you’ll need to maneuver.
Most umbrella strollers are under 20 pounds, though to truly qualify for this category, we put that number at under 15 pounds. Some umbrella strollers weigh almost nothing at all. In terms of your comfortable weight limit, think about how often you’ll need to carry the stroller as luggage, separate from the baby.
Ease of Use
As parents, we’ve probably all had those moments, standing outside our vehicle with the children fussing inside – and we just cannot figure out how to fold down the enormous stroller that’s going to be necessary to get through a day at the zoo, mall, or amusement park. Even if you’ve done it before, it can be very complicated! The latches for folding and unfolding aren’t even close to the only latches there are, with adjustment possible to the seat back, seat height, and handle height. You can also usually lock the wheels if need be.
Umbrella strollers are meant to be very easy to fold and unfold, with just one latch. Parental reviews are crucial to determining if any given model really delivers on that promise. Fast and hassle-free should be non-negotiable features of the umbrella stroller you choose.
Bells & Whistles
Some umbrella strollers feature nothing but a sheet of vinyl material over a basic frame. They aren’t meant for newborns who lack control of their head. They don’t have an umbrella hood or attached toys, cup holders, or storage. However, if you are willing to add bulk, there are additional features to be found in one-touch folding strollers.
Some possibilities are:
- Storage under or behind the seat
- Umbrella canopy
- Seat adjustment
- Locking wheels
- Cup holder
- Double seat
- Peek-a-boo windows
We have gathered a selection of umbrella strollers to meet various vacation needs. Here is an at-a-glance look at the best travel strollers, based on user reviews.
Top Five Best Travel Humidifiers 2018—Comparison table
Summer Infant 3D Lite
13” wide x 10.25” deep x 17.5” high
50 lb. child + 10 lb. gear
Adjustable seat, cup holder, basket storage, canopy
22.8” x 16.5” x 39.8”
55 lb. child + 11 lb. gear
Adjustable seat & handles; canopy
Graco Verb Click Connect
18” x 25” x 40.5”
Adjustable seat, cup holders, basket storage, canopy; carry strap
Cosco Umbrella Stroller
40.2” x 6.7” x 6”
Kolcraft Cloud Plus
18" W x 31.25" D x 34" H
Adjustable seat, cup holders, 2 trays, basket storage, canopy
Learn more about each model with our in-depth umbrella stroller reviews to find the very best option for your family.
The Summer 3D Lite stroller is a great middle-of-the-road product that is relatively light at 13 pounds yet has a variety of extra features. A storage basket under the seat and cup holder attached to the handlebar makes it easy to carry important gear like diapers and snacks. The seat is adjustable so that it can grow with baby and has a 5-point harness similar to a car seat.
The frame is made of lightweight aluminum yet is strong enough to hold up to 50 pounds of child and 10 pounds of gear at once. The canopy is adjustable, as is the seat back. This is actually a fully reclining umbrella stroller, great for sleeping or on-the-go diaper changes. The frame also features a swiveling cup holder, which can be very convenient in tight spaces.
The front wheels are advertised as anti-shock for a smooth ride. Storage is in the form of a basket under the seat plus a seatback pocket, which users love for storing Kleenex and keys. This stroller is beefier than a basic umbrella model with larger, sturdier wheels.
And when you need to pack it up, it has an auto lock and a convenient carrying strap. Users called it easy to collapse with two maneuvers, one by hand and one by foot. At 13 pounds, it is not the lightest umbrella stroller, but it’s still easy to throw over your shoulder.
- 13 lbs.
- 13” wide x 10.25” deep x 17.5” high
- One year warranty
- Sturdy & convenient
- Easily collapsible
- Ample storage
- Doesn’t stand when folded
- Can’t be steered with one hand
- Handles might not be ideal for shorter parents
This stroller makes the list because of its unique suitability for traveling. The Pockit Lightweight folds down into a flat rectangular shape that can fit under an airplane seat or in the overhead compartment! This stroller actually holds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most compact stroller, with folded dimensions of just 11.8” x 7” x 13.8”. While it is not technically shaped like an umbrella when it’s collapsed, it functions like an umbrella stroller for your child when unfolded.
It is built with sturdy materials with a weight limit well above other umbrella strollers – 55 pounds of child plus 11 pounds of stored gear. The seat is padded nicely with a secure safety belt and adjustable comfort pads if you like them. All that for just 9.5 pounds of stroller is pretty impressive.
Overall, this stroller has a lot of features, including one-hand pushing and steering, sliding back panel with adjustable torso length, lockable front swivel wheels, overhead canopy, rear wheel parking brake, and padded handlebars.
22.8 x 16.5 x 39.8 inches
2 year warranty
- Extremely lightweight
- Fits under airplane seats or in overhead bins
- Tons of features
- Collapsing process can be tricky
- Canopy is limited; only shades when sun is directly overhead
- Small wheels struggle on uneven terrain
Here’s another lightweight umbrella stroller that is nonetheless loaded with features. It has two trays: one for parents at the back and one that snaps down across the front for the kids. All together there are three cup holders, so no one needs to go without their coffee or their juice. The stroller also features an under-seat storage compartment.
Children are secured via harness that converts between 5-point and 3-point depending on the age and needs of the child. You may also adjust the seat back as needed. The suspension is designed for a smooth ride for the kids and may be the closest thing there is to an all terrain lightweight stroller. The locking front-swivel wheels also add maneuverability and security for parents.
At almost 19 pounds, this is the heaviest umbrella stroller on our list. However, it can be collapsed one-handed and is self-standing so that you don’t have to bend all the way to the floor to pick it up. It also features a carrying strap for easy portability when your child is not riding in it. The Graco Verb Click can hold children up to 50 pounds, so it should keep on going for you long past when your child is actually willing to ride in it.
18 x 25 x 40.5 inches
One year warranty
- Feature rich
- Easily collapsible
- Ample storage
- Canopy is limited; only shades when sun is directly overhead
- Adjustable seat back doesn’t recline to flat position
- Wheels need frequent cleaning to remove grit or they make a rattling noise
This is a basic stroller with super cute styling. It is our offering for best inexpensive umbrella stroller for casual use. If you really only need your stroller to get through the airport, around rest stops, or from building to car, it could be the perfect thing. The canopy is the head of a funny, three-eyed monster with striped horns. Unless your child is nervous in general, he or she will love riding in the “mouth” of the creature.
The handles are comfort coated to make your job easier. The frame is durable and the wheels allow easy maneuvering over various terrains. There are step-on locks for safety upon stopping. But, this model only has a 3-point harness and no adjustable seat back, so it is not meant for newborns. You will also find a lack of storage, cup holders, and trays.
At just over 7 pounds, the stroller is very easy to carry and store. Initial assembly is also easy – all you need to do is attach the front wheels. The Cosco Character Umbrella Stroller is simple but effective. At this price point, you may want a few to leave with friends and family that you visit often. However, note that because it is a more basic model, the weight limit tops out at 40 pounds.
40.2 x 6.7 x 6 inches
One year warranty
- Extremely light
- Fun styling
- Folds and stores easily
- Wheels are plastic
- Handles too low for taller people
- Only has a 3-point harness ; kids may be able to tip it if they lean far forward
The Kolcraft Cloud might be the best of all worlds when it comes to umbrella strollers. Packed with features and able to carry children up to 50 pounds, it is still quite light on its own at just under 12 pounds. The 5-point harness is JPMA Certified and keeps your child secure. The seat back may be reclined, just not all the way flat.
Unlike other umbrella strollers with limited extension ability for the canopy, this one has a three-tier extended canopy that shades baby’s face no matter where the sun is coming from. There is also a peek-a-boo window in the canopy so that you can keep an eye on your precious cargo.
In terms of storage, you’ll be happy with the under seat storage basket that extends out a bit from the bottom of the seat – this makes your items much more accessible. The stroller also has dual trays. The child’s tray features a cup holder that fits juice boxes, too. The parent tray has two cup holders and an extra storage receptacle.
The all-terrain wheels and front suspension allow for a smooth ride. The Kolcraft features a simple, one-handed folding mechanism and is self-standing. This stroller is meant for children with full head and neck control who can sit up on their own.
18" W x 31.25" D x 34" H
One year warranty
- Sturdy frame and easy maneuverability
- Ample storage; 2 trays and easy-to-access basket
- Self-standing when collapsed
- Wheels must be aligned a certain way in order to fold
- Security lock for folded position can be difficult
- Can’t be rolled when folded, only carried
Every Pound Counts
When you are looking for the best travel stroller, every pound counts because the stroller is not the only thing you’ll be schlepping. With luggage, carry-on bags, diaper bags, and snacks, not to mention the children themselves, you want your travel stroller to be easy to manage whether folded or unfolded.
Aim for a stroller that you can manage to fold and pack while holding the baby and you are on the right track. It doesn’t necessarily make sense to pay for a travel stroller with a ton of features if the stroller’s frame is too lightweight to support your child for several years.
Think about where you will be pushing the stroller and how often you need to use it. The flatter the terrain you expect, the lighter a stroller you can choose and still be happy. You may also be able to get a heavier model if it has a carrying strap to assist transport when it’s not in use.
Not for Jogging
Be aware that none of the models on our list are suitable for jogging. Jogging strollers are specially designed with one wheel in front and high end shock absorbers to keep baby comfortable over a wide variety of terrains. They also usually have adjustable handlebars so that people of different heights can run comfortably. You may be able to run to catch your plane with an umbrella stroller, but not get your cardio on a regular basis. If you want to jog with a stroller, be prepared to shell out for a more expensive custom stroller.
Before You Buy
Here are a few final points to consider before committing to a new stroller.
- Unless you know the history of it, avoid buying a second-hand stroller. Strollers, much like car seats, expire after a certain number of years. Antique or retro strollers may look cool, but are not as safe as modern strollers by quite a bit. You may save money on a second-hand stroller up front, but will have no way to know how long it will last, and no warranty for support if it breaks down in the first month.
- Strollers may seem like an odd thing to counterfeit, but it happens more than you think. Buy your stroller only from authorized retailers to be sure you’re getting what you pay for.
- It may be worth it to pay a bit extra when it comes to your stroller. If a cheaper model doesn’t have the features you need, you won’t use it very often. You also pay a premium for quality, and while there is a limited amount of years that you’ll need to use the stroller, you want it to last through all of those years.
- Choose a stroller with a good warranty, or at least a robust return policy. You might not know that a stroller will work for your family until you try it out a few times. And occasionally a stroller might have a manufacturing defect right out of the box. A warranty or return policy protects you in these cases.
Maintaining Your Umbrella Stroller
There isn’t a ton of maintenance you’ll need to do on your new umbrella stroller, but there are a few things that can greatly extend its useful life. Parts like the wheels, seat, and canopy can benefit from regular attention. By keeping your stroller clean and in good working order, it is much more likely to be useful for multiple children. If you let your stroller get progressively more stained, frayed, or rickety, you’ll need to buy a new one for each child.
For safety’s sake, you should inspect the stroller visually each time you intend to put a child in it. Check out all the fittings, nuts, bolts, screws, and wheels. If your stroller is still under warranty, you can most likely receive replacement parts for anything that seems to be malfunctioning.
They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and this is true of strollers as much as anything else. Keeping those wheels lubricated will help ensure a smooth ride. Pay close attention to the wheels around the axles and bearings as well as any moving brake parts. If you don’t keep these areas lubricated, there will be increased friction and therefore wear and tear.
Beyond a regular schedule for lubrication, it’s also a good idea to add a little grease whenever the stroller has been used in or near salt water, sand, or gritty dust. Your regular schedule can correspond to how often you use the stroller.
Kids are messy, and even though you will probably be tired by the time you make it home, it’s important to clean up any spills or stains that occurred during the walk. Food and urine or feces can lead to growth of harmful bacteria that degrades the quality of the fabrics and is just generally unhealthy to be around.
Sand, dirt, and grit can compromise the use of any moving parts, including the seat back, wheels, and folding mechanism. Strollers that are allowed to sit around wet for extended periods of time are likely to develop rust on the metal components and mold on the fabrics.
Simply use mild soap and warm water with a smooth cloth for cleaning. You may let your stroller air dry but avoid direct sun, which can bleach fabrics. Unless the manufacturer says it’s okay, avoid putting removable fabrics in the dryer. They may shrink and then not fit back on the stroller.
The quality and construction of tires for strollers varies quite a bit. The more affordable, lower end models may have plain plastic wheels, while more expensive strollers have rubber tires over plastic or metal frames.
In any case, it’s important to remove dirt, sand, and grit from the wheels as soon as you get home. If your tires are rubber, keep them inflated to the manufacturer’s specification, but be careful not to overinflate them. And finally, a bit of common sense about the types of terrain you take your stroller over can greatly increase the life of those tires. Sometimes you don’t have a choice, but whenever you do, try to stick to dry, level ground.
We hope we have given you everything you need to choose the best umbrella stroller for travel to make your upcoming trip that much more pleasant. While traveling with kids can be difficult, it’s also an incredible opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime. Finding a stroller that has the best combination of features and value to meet the needs of your family takes a lot of worry out of the process. So have a great time and don’t forget to take a lot of pictures!