Image of the graco modes travel system which includes the Snugride click connect 35 infant car seat

Best Baby Travel System Stroller and Car Seat Combos of 2018 Reviewed

by Michelle Hand -

Today’s parents are out and about, and their babies are too. That’s why a baby travel system is totally essential to a parent’s ability to be busy. The best baby travel system? Depends on your needs.

Here are the best travel systems by category:

Best Regular Travel System

These are what I call a regular or traditional travel system- a car seat that clicks down into a 4-wheeled stroller.

Winner: Graco Modes Travel System

One of the moms from my son’s preschool class had the Graco Modes travel system. I would watch her with envy every day as she easily pushed her baby around the school and got in and out of the car. This travel system has everything you could want from the time baby comes home from the hospital until the time you’re pushing your preschooler around the zoo. You get a high-quality product that’s extremely versatile and comes at a good price. In my humble opinion, the Graco Modes Travel System is hard to beat.

 

The Seat: Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35

This travel system features one of my favorite affordable car seats on the market: the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 infant car seat. This car seat works for babies that are 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches tall.

The name Click Connect refers to the awesome technology that allows you to easily click this car seat into either its base or into a matching stroller, such as the stroller that comes with this travel system. It’s a one-step process to click in and out of the base and the stroller, and you get an audible and very loud click when it’s securely in place. The included base features latch straps for easy and secure installation.

Image of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat, Gotham

Most importantly, this car seat has been designed and tested to meet or exceed all of the US standards for vehicle crashes. It has especially good side impact protection because of the EPS foam that’s featured throughout the car seat.

As for comfort, it’s got a removable newborn pillow support, a 5 point safety harness that’s easily adjustable and undoable with one hand, a rotating canopy that’s very large and protects your baby, and a lightweight design. The car seat itself only weighs 7 1/2 pounds, which is wonderful for carrying around.

The Stroller: Graco Modes

The reason that it’s called the Modes travel system is because it comes with the outstanding Graco Modes stroller.

This one stroller actually functions as three different strollers: a regular baby stroller, a toddler stroller, and even an infant car seat carrier.

This stroller features 10 different ways to ride. How does it do this? Well, within the three different modes that I just mentioned, you can have the baby facing you or facing the world.

That means that as an infant car seat carrier, which is probably the first mode you’ll use, it has three different modes: the stroller frame with baby facing you or facing away, or the stroller with seat and canopy attached and car seat clicked in and facing the parent.

When baby is older, you can upgrade to just infant stroller status. You can switch the 4 position reclining seat to face the world or you. This essentially converts the seat into an infant carrier or pram for your baby.


And when baby is no longer a baby and is, in fact, a toddler, they can choose from 5 different ways to ride in the toddler stroller. Since there’s a 3 position leg rest for the toddler seat, you can have it at one of the 3 settings and face it either towards you or away from you. When it’s extended all the way down, it can only face forward, but it can fit a toddler up to 50 pounds.

Besides the amazing versatility of the stroller, you’re going to get a stroller that has fantastic suspension, a height adjustable handle for parents of all sizes, and an easily adjustable seat.

It features a one-handed fold that actually stands on its own and is easy to do. And since the stroller is only about 20 pounds, it’s easy to fold and carry. It maneuvers better, too, since it’s lighter and it has front wheels that can swivel or be locked in place.. It has a two-step (aka not linked) braking system for separate braking of the back wheels.

Many extras: It has a large canopy with a spy window, and it’s a stroller that can accept any Click Connect car seat in the future. Add in the fact that has an ample storage compartment underneath, a parent organizer tray with cup holders, a kids snack tray with cup holders, and a padded five point safety harness that can convert to a 3 point safety harness for older kids, and this stroller has everything you’re going to want at any age or stage.

Why It Won

There are many parents who think that a fancy name and a big price tag make for great baby products. Graco has been around for a long time and some people don’t consider it fancy enough, but they design some of the best travel systems on the market.

Easy assembly: This travel system is absolutely incredible. I just can’t say it enough! It’s amazingly easy to put together. You can switch from one mode to the other very easily and you don’t have to use any special adapters or tools to do so.

Maneuverability: The stroller itself is lightweight, which makes it so easy to maneuver. Those front wheels really are easy to turn, and you can lock them if you need to (e.g. if you’re just going to be going for a straight walk). The size of the wheels is good and when combined with the suspension, it means that you have a stroller that won’t make baby feel every bump in the path.

Parents will love this stroller because you can do almost everything with one hand. You can open it with one hand, maneuver it with one hand, and close it and fold it with one hand.

It has storage like you wouldn’t believe- the parent storage compartment actually holds decent size cups, and although your phone probably won’t fit, you can still put anything else up there that you might need. The storage compartment below is actually big enough to hold a decent size diaper bag plus a couple of other things. And as for the kiddos storage, they have plenty of space in their snack tray for a couple of drinks and some snacks or toys.

Big: Between my description of this product and me outright telling you I love it, there are few additional things to be aware of. The first thing is that when you have the stroller and seat completely assembled, it is a bit bulkier than some people expect. It’s going to take up a considerable amount space in your car, but that’s just going to be the case unless you have an umbrella stroller.

Squeaky: The second thing to be aware of is that this stroller is notorious for having its wheels and/or frame squeak. It’s nothing a little WD-40 or oil can’t fix.

Finally, the Click Connect system does take some getting used to. In order to get that click, you have to have the car seat perfectly aligned with the base of the stroller for it to click in or click out. This is simply a matter of practice. Once you have used the stroller and car seat or car seat and base a few times, you’ll know exactly where to put it to get it to click, trust me. It will be a fast and easy process.

 

Runner Up: Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System

Chicco makes some top quality car seats. Their safety, style, and ease of use is wonderful. But when it comes to this travel system, which I’ve had the pleasure of actually using for my nephew, I just don’t like it as much as the Graco Modes. The Chicco travel system is high quality and really is a very close runner-up, mostly because of the safety and quality aspect.

Image of the Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System, Papyrus 

The Seat: Chicco KeyFit 30

The seat included with this travel system is the Chicco KeyFit 30 car seat. This car seat is one of the safest on the market. It meets or exceeds all safety standards and also has EPS foam  and a contoured shell for outstanding protection in an accident.

Image of the Chicco Keyfit Infant Car Seat and Base with Car Seat, Papyrus

The included base has latch connectors and an easy tightening system to make sure that it’s installed properly. It does have clear belt routing and integrated lock-offs to install it easily without the base in place.

Image of the Chicco Keyfit Infant Car Seat and Base with Car Seat, Papyrus

This car seat can hold an infant from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30 inches in height. These limitations are a bit smaller than those of the Graco Click Connect 35 car seat. It has a newborn head and body support, which is actually a bit nicer than the one in the Graco car seat. It also has a nice, large canopy, and it’s easy to tighten and adjust five point safety harness. It’s also easy to clean.

This seat is also relatively narrow. If you have multiple kids and need a narrow seat there are quite a few good options.

The Stroller

They call this the Bravo Trio system because it has a trio of modes for use. The first mode, just like the Graco, is a car seat carrier. You can completely remove the seat, footrest, and canopy of the stroller to have just a frame to attach the car seat carrier. You do have to have the adapter, which is included when you purchase the travel system,  in place to be able to click the KeyFit 30 car seat into place.

Image of the Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System, Papyrus

The next mode is a travel system mode, where you can have the Bravo stroller with the adapter for the car seat. This allows the baby to either sit in the car seat or sit in the stroller, as long as you remember to bring the adapter with you.

Image of the Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System, Papyrus

The final mode is the toddler stroller, or just the regular Bravo stroller. In this mode, the stroller can hold a child up to 50 pounds, just like the Graco Modes stroller.

Besides these modes, the stroller features a lot of great attributes. It has a multi-position recliner for the back of the seat. It has an extra large canopy with a peek-a-boo window. There’s a fantastic folding system that can be done one-handed. You just grab the handle under the seat and pull it up, then the auto-swivel wheels rotate inward automatically, and the stroller folds to a small and compact standing form. It’s basically foolproof.

Image of the Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System, Papyrus

The brakes of the all-wheel suspension stroller are linked, which means that braking one wheel in the back will also brake the other wheel. I feel like this is a nicer braking system than the one on the Graco because it’s a one-step system versus a two-step system. This stroller has two front wheels that can be swiveled or locked into place as you need.

The Bravo Trio stroller does weigh just a couple more pounds than the Graco Modes stroller, weighing in at about 23 pounds. To finish out, the stroller also features a very large storage basket that’s easy to access in any mode, a small parent tray with two cup holders, and a 3-position adjustable push handle.

Graco Modes vs Chicco Bravo Trio Compared

The Chicco Bravo Trio travel system is really similar to the Graco Modes travel system. Chicco is a higher-end brand than Graco, and some may say that they make a higher quality product. However, there were just a couple of deal-breakers with the Chicco system that I felt made it slightly less convenient than the Graco Modes travel system.

The first thing about this system that is a no-go for me is the price. It’s roughly $100 more than the Graco Modes system, and it doesn’t do anything more special than the Graco modes. I also feel like it’s not that much of a higher-quality over Graco to justify an extra hundred dollars.

The next thing I don’t like about this system is that you can’t face the seat of the stroller towards you. Now, when the Chicco is an infant carrier you can face it towards you, but you can’t face it away. When using it as a travel system, you can face it towards you, but not away from you. And as for the stroller, it faces toward the world only. So you definitely get fewer ways to travel versus the Graco.

The next thing that was frustrating to me was that you need the car seat adapter to be able to use it as a travel system. Now, you could argue that the only difference between this adapter and the Graco adapter is that the Graco adapter is actually a snack tray. And you’re exactly right. That’s why I like it better. The adapter on the Graco does double duty as a snack tray. This Chicco Bravo stroller doesn’t have a snack tray at all. It has a small adapter that I feel like I would constantly be losing in the recesses of my trunk.

I do feel like the Chicco Bravo Trio travel system is maybe a bit sturdier than the Graco Modes. It seems like it’s built with heavier and perhaps higher-quality materials. But it just doesn’t have the same maneuverability, the same number of modes, and the same number of features overall as the Graco Modes.

Now, if they were the same price, I think maybe the Chicco would win, mostly because I think the KeyFit 30 car seat is better than the Graco Click Connect 35 car seat. But because of the price difference and the lack of additional features, the Graco Modes is my pick for best regular/traditional travel system.

 

Best 3 Wheel Travel System

3-wheeled strollers are designed to be lighter, smaller, and more agile than their 4-wheeled counterparts.

Winner: Britax B Agile & B Safe 35 Travel System

I will be honest with you: this travel system won because of the car seat. Britax car seats are some of the safest on the market. They are well thought-out in their design and well-made with their materials. The B Agile stroller was made with the same attention to detail and quality. I haven’t had the pleasure of using this exact system myself, but I can tell you that thousands (okay, maybe hundreds) of parents swear by this system and this company alone.  And with a 1 year warranty on the car seat and a 2 year warranty on the stroller, you can see why.

Image of the Britax 2017 B Agile & B Safe 35 Travel System, Black 

The Car Seat: Britax B Safe 35

The seat included with this travel system is the Britax B Safe 35 Infant Car Seat. This seat will hold an infant from 4 to 45 pounds and 32 inches tall or shorter. For the smaller babes, it has a lovely head and body cushion that’s removable as baby grows.

Image of the Britax 2017 B Agile & B Safe 35 Travel System, Black

But let’s talk about safety, baby. The B Safe 35 meets or exceeds all US safety standards. This car seat features Britax’s SafeCell impact protection. This little network of plastic honeycombs inside the base and the car seat itself does wonders for absorbing energy in a crash. The car seat was also designed with a steel frame to help stabilize the car seat at the connection point to the vehicle, which is where the most durability is needed. The car seat also has a wonderful contoured shell design. Not only does this make it smaller in your vehicle, but it also helps the car seat to move around less and also offers deep side impact protection.

Image of the Britax 2017 B Agile & B Safe 35 Travel System, Black

The base has SafeCell impact protection, and it also has the SafeCenter latch feature. This is a set of center pull straps that make tightening the base in the car a cinch. The latch connectors are created with an on/off button that allows you to make placing and releasing the anchors very easy as well. It also features built-in lock offs for when you want to use your car seat belt to install it.

Image of the Britax 2017 B Agile & B Safe 35 Travel System, Black

The B Safe 35 also features a quick-adjust harness. This allows you to move the safety harness and the headrest up as your child grows. You simply remove a lever and the entire headrest and shoulder strap system moves upward. There’s no need to rethread straps every time you need to make an adjustment.

Extras: In addition to the wonderful safety features, this car seat has perks like an extra large canopy, spring-assisted recline, and ergonomic handle for comfortable caring, and a extra-padded 5 point safety harness. And as an added bonus, you can use this car seat with any Britax stroller, just in case you buy an additional one or buy a different one later.

The Stroller: Britax B Agile

The B Agile is a high-quality and lightweight stroller. It’s got a lightweight aluminum frame, weighing in at only 16 pounds. That makes the stroller both easy to carry and easy to push. All-wheel suspension and a swivel front wheel give you additional ease of movement and a really tight turning radius. You can easily hit the brakes by using the linked parking brake. That will stop both rear wheels with just one push of the toe.

Image of the Britax 2017 B Agile & B Safe 35 Travel System, Black

The stroller is both fast and easy to fold. You can do it with one hand, and it folds to be very compact. It has a frame lock that’ll keep the stroller together while traveling or while in storage.

Additional features include an extra large canopy with the ventilation window/peek-a-boo window and UV 50+ sun protection, a huge under seat storage compartment and an additional zippered pocket, a reclinable seat that can even adjust to be all the way flat for an infant, and a very padded and comfortable 5-point harness.

Image of the Britax 2017 B Agile & B Safe 35 Travel System, Black

The click and go capabilities of the stroller mean that you can attach any other Britax car seat, as long as you have the adapters. It does require 2 tower adapters, which are 2 small plastic pieces, to get the car seat to click in. This personally isn’t my favorite way to click a car seat into a stroller, but it does work. Just come up with a smart system of keeping the adapters with the stroller so you don’t lose them.

Why It Won

In case you didn’t quite catch it, Britax makes safe car seats. That’s the biggest driving factor behind me choosing this as my favorite 3-wheeled travel system.

The car seat really is fantastic. I personally like the way it’s designed to be narrow and more compact, but this does have one downside. It does mean if you have a chunky little monkey for a baby, they might start to get a little bit cozy in this car seat sooner than you think. But for most kids, it will definitely get them through that first year until you want to put them in a convertible car seat.

The steel frame of the car seat does make it a bit heavy to carry around. It weighs roughly about 10 pounds without the baby in it, so as baby gets older and you have to haul the car seat to and from the house, it gets to be quite the workout. But I am willing to sacrifice a few pounds of weight for a steel-integrated frame that keeps baby safe in the car.

The stroller is wonderful too. I almost don’t have any complaints about the stroller. It maneuvers like a dream, it’s easy to fold with one hand, push with one hand, and even carry with one hand. The canopy is huge and the peekaboo window is so awesome for me to spy on my little baby. The reclining feature is great, since you can recline the seat all the way back to make it completely flat for an infant if you don’t want to haul around the car seat.

No storage: Here’s the one complaint I do have about the stroller: it doesn’t have any storage. Now, the under seat storage bin is huge, and there’s another little zipper compartment that adds a little extra storage too. But, this thing doesn’t have any storage for the parents near the handle, and it doesn’t have any snack tray or storage tray for baby. You can purchase accessories like the parent stroller organizer or an attachable snack tray separately, but when you’re already spending a hefty amount of money for a travel system, you would hope those things would be included.

So what else should you be aware of? One thing to keep in mind is the fact that Britax products do have recalls occasionally. The chest clip on the car seat in the stroller comes to mind, as it was just recently recalled. Be aware that many parents have complained that the stroller adapters and other small plastic pieces can break down over time and become frail. Some parents complain that these parts have even broken on them. So if you purchase a system, just be aware of any recalls and any issues and be in touch with the manufacturer regarding them.

Probably a big deterrent for a lot of parents is the price of this travel system. It is almost double what some of the other travel systems on the market cost. But, when you buy this car seat and stroller combo, you are paying for smart design, ease-of-use, and a durable and sturdy product that’s going to last you for many years and probably will survive a couple of kids.

Despite these few flaws, the Britax B Agile and B safe travel system is the hands-down winner. It’s the most lightweight, it has the best suspension and wheel system, and it has one of the best infant car seats on the market bar none. If the travel system has enough going for it that all of these negative features (which are features that would usually rule out buying a stroller or car seat for me) are canceled out by the fantastic-ness of this system, that should tell you a lot about how much you will love this Britax travel system!

Runner Up: Graco Aire3 Click Connect Travel System

The Graco Aire3 Click Connect travel system has a lot of fantastic features. The quality isn’t quite where the Britax system is, but it does have a lot of fun and useful features for parents. It has a lightweight design with a ton of perks. It also comes with a decent car seat. You get all of this for a really reasonable price.

The Car Seat: Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35

The car seat featured with the Aire3 travel system is the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 infant car seat. Now, we covered this earlier in the article, since it’s the same car seat that’s included with the Graco Modes travel system. But let’s just do a quick review of the features.

Image of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat, Gotham

It’s an infant car seat that fits babies from 4 to 35 pounds. It’s got Graco Click Connect technology, which allows you to easily click this car seat in and out of its base, in and out of its stroller, and in and out of any Graco stroller. It comes with the base that has latch connector straps for secure installation.

The safety of this car seat is good, since it meets or exceeds all US standards. It is said to have especially good side impact protection. The EPS foam featured in the car seat adds an additional layer of protection.

Bonuses of this car seat include a five point safety harness with one handed adjust, a large canopy, and a removable newborn support pillow. It’s got a lightweight design overall, and weighs in at just 7 1/2 pounds.

The Stroller: Graco Aire3

The Aire3 Stroller from Graco is a good lightweight stroller. It’s a bit heavier than the B Agile, weighing in at 21 pounds. The 3-wheel design makes it just as easily maneuverable and easily pushable as the B Agile. It has a built-in, all-wheel suspension for a smooth ride for baby. The front wheel can be both locked or swiveled. This allows for a smoother ride on straightaways, and a tight turning radius when needed. However, the plastic wheels don’t seem as durable as the wheels on the B Agile.

Image of the Graco Aire3 Click Connect Stroller, Fern 

It has a one-step braking system. This means that both of back brakes are linked, and braking one side will brake the other as well. However, you should be aware that these brakes break easy. That’s a big complaint with this system.

The fold on the stroller is fantastic. It has a one second, one-handed fold. All you do is pull the strap on the seat and the stroller folds into a very compact self-standing shape. Beware though, this thing is prone to tipping. It also has a folding lock so that it won’t pop open when you lift it by the handle to carry it around or get it in and out the car.

Image of the

This stroller has other great features, like a seat that can recline all the way flat and a footrest that can fold up, which creates a little infant carrier nook for your baby. Using the stroller in this mode those severely blocks the access to the bottom storage compartment, unlike the B Agile, where the storage compartment expands backward and is easy to get to no matter what.

You can also adjust the seat all the way up and extend the leg rest all the way out to accommodate a toddler up to 50 lb. The safety harness converts from a 5-point harness to a 3-point harness as baby grows.

Image of the

The stroller features an extra large canopy that has an expandable section. You just unzip one section and a little mesh panel pops out to make the canopy larger. This is a nice feature, but the mesh panel doesn’t block the sun as well as the rest of it. There’s also a peek-a-boo window in the canopy.

Image of the

This stroller features great storage. There’s a parent storage compartment, which has 2 small cup holders and a zippered storage pouch. There’s an armrest bar, which is actually the adapter that helps the car seat click in, that features a single cup holder for baby (which likes to pop off occasionally). There’s a storage basket underneath that’s designed to help hold diaper bags, but it’s actually not as big as I’d like. It’s certainly much smaller than the one on the B Agile.

Image of the

And speaking of that armrest bar/adapter, it’s a source of frustration as well. I like that it serves multiple purposes because it’s an adapter and also an armrest and cup holder for the kid. However, when the car seat clicks into this, it doesn’t want to click out. I think it has something to do with the padding and the way the car seat attaches, but it can be really difficult to unclick the car seat when you’re done strolling.

Britax B Agile & B Safe 35 vs Graco Aire3 Compared

For two travel systems that are so similar, these two are actually quite far apart in a few respects.

As for Britax, they’ve definitely focused more on safety and maneuverability and left out the smaller details. This isn’t such a bad thing. You’re going to get a car seat that’s, in my opinion, one of the safest on the market. You just can’t beat that. And the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 certainly doesn’t. It doesn’t have the same design, like the awesomely easy latch installation with on/off buttons, the impact absorbing SafeCell, and the contoured shape. While it is a sufficient car seat, it’s just not as highly rated as the Britax, and I don’t think it’s as durable or as nice.

There’s also a very large difference in price between these systems. We’re talking about $150 or more in price difference. The Britax is certainly more expensive, but this is one of those rare cases where I would advocate spending the extra dollar to get the nicer product. You’re just going to get a better-built system that’s going to last longer, even though it doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as the Graco.

The Graco stroller is a lot heavier than the Britax stroller. Now, both of these strollers are probably lighter than a lot of others on the market. But when you compare 16 pounds to 21 pounds, that’s a big difference when you’re lugging an awkwardly shaped stroller around.

One aspect Graco maybe wins is the adapter. With the Graco Travel System, you just have to have that little armrest on the stroller to be able to click the car seat in. This is smarter to me, since you’ll probably have that with you anyways to be able to provide a drink holder for your kid. With the Britax system, you have to have those two plastic tower adapters to be able to use it as a travel system. This frustrates me, because I know that those little plastic pieces are going to be prone to wander. But since that armbar makes clicking the stroller out a hassle, maybe it’s a draw in this category.

Graco certainly has more bells and whistles on their stroller, like I mentioned above. They have things like an extendable canopy, the drink holder for the kid, the parent organizer that make life a little bit easier. But since the Britax car seat has more bells and whistles and is much nicer overall, and that’s probably more important, the Britax B Agile and B Safe 35 travel system is my winner for the best 3-wheeled travel system.

 

Best Jogger Travel System

With my first kid, I didn’t know that I couldn’t use a 3-wheeled stroller to jog with. Until I tried it. I immediately realized that they make special 3-wheeled strollers designed specifically for jogging for a reason!

Winner: Baby Trend Expedition LX Travel System

My best friend received this car seat and stroller combo at the baby shower for her first baby. She is not a runner or jogger of any kind. I watched her daughter 3 days a week, so I already knew how great the car seat was. I hadn’t used the stroller much, but she would always rave about this stroller and how easy it was to use and how nice the ride was. Me, being an avid runner and outdoorswoman, decided to put it to the test one day. With her permission, I strapped my kiddo into her car seat and went for a 2 mile run that encompassed both cement and rock paths. I was not disappointed!

Image of the Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System, Phantom 

The Car Seat: Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc

The car seat included with this travel system is the Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc infant car seat. This is a top rated infant car seat that’s designed to hold a baby between 5 and 30 pounds. It will accommodate your child until they reach 30 inches. It comes with a small and soft head support for those little tiny babies.

Image of the Baby Trend EZ Flec Loc Infant Car Seat, Celery 

Made with EPS foam, it provides superior protection in a car accident. It even has extra padding that helps with side impact protection. It meets or exceeds all safety standards in the US.

It’s called EZ Flex Loc because of the latch system that it uses. The base has flexible latch hooks as opposed to rigid, one-piece latch hooks. If you look at the latch connectors, you can see that they’re hinged. This means that once they’re hooked in, you can adjust the seat to get a secure fit without having to re-attach the anchors.

Besides having the Flex Loc, the base also has a push button that allows you to adjust the height to 4 different positions for correct installation. It even has a level indicator that let you know when you have it at the proper level for installation.

This car seat has a small and lightweight design. It weighs just over 7 1/2, and the car seat is about 16 1/2 inches at its widest spot. This means that it takes up less room in your car and makes it really easy to put more than one car seat in the back of your car. This is definitely a good choice for parents that have to do two or more car seats in the back.

Image of the Baby Trend EZ Flec Loc Infant Car Seat, Celery

The way that you release this car seat from the base and stroller is unique. Usually, there’s a lever at the front of the car seat, behind where the baby’s head is, that you will pull to get the car seat to pop out. With this one, it’s down by baby’s feet. This is both good and bad. It works really well in smaller cars where you don’t have a lot of headspace for the car seat, but it does make it tricky because you have to put your hand down between the car seat and the backseat of your vehicle to get the car seat free.

The harness system of this car seat is good, but it can be frustrating. It’s a 5 point safety harness with some good qualities. You can adjust the car seats harness straps by simply turning a knob on the back of the car seat. This makes it nice because you won’t have to rethread harness straps every time your baby grows. It also has a one-handed release mechanism in the front. The biggest pain about this harness system is that you have to stack the buckles in order to buckle them in.

Finally, the car seat has the delta multi-grip carrying handle. This is a smooth carrying handle with a triangle shape. It’s designed to not irritate your arm and make it much easier on your back and arms. I personally love this type of car seat handle, because it makes holding the car seat in both your hands and on your arms a lot easier in nearly any position.

 

The Stroller: Baby Trend Expedition Jogging Stroller

The Expedition Jogging Stroller is included with this travel system. This stroller is specially designed for running or jogging on nearly any surface. It has 16 inch rear tires that are air-filled bicycle tires. It’s got a 12-inch front tire with swivel or locking capabilities. Having it locked is great for going for a run, while being able to swivel will make this stroller be able to go from the trail to the mall in a snap. And having such large, air-filled tires means that you get a smoother ride on any surface. This translates to the stroller gliding more easily during a run so that you don’t encounter as much resistance.

Image of the Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Stroller, Phantom, 50 Pounds

This stroller features 3 separate brakes. One brake is on the front wheel that allows it to lock in a straight and non-swiveling position. Both of the back wheels have their own brakes. This is somewhat inconvenient, but it is nice if you’re just going to make a quick stop, as you can just apply one of the brakes.

Image of the Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Stroller, Phantom, 50 Pounds

The stroller’s made with a lightweight steel frame. The overall weight of the stroller is about 26 pounds. Now, this is much more than a regular stroller, but you have to remember that you have much bigger tires and you need a bigger frame to support that. Still, at 26 pounds, this is one of the lighter ones on the market.

Image of the Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Stroller, Phantom, 50 Pounds

Easy folding: Folding this lightweight stroller is a breeze, as it features a trigger fold that easily folds the stroller in half in a compact unit. You just pull the two triggers on each side of the handle and the stroller will fold in half, and then it can be locked into place. It does stand on its own as long as all three wheels are touching the ground.

The stroller features a lot of great safety features. For starters, it’s got a fully adjustable 5 point safety harness for the kid. This 5 point safety harness is a bit complicated to buckle, but it’s very secure. The stroller also features a tether strap for the parent to hold onto while running. This means that you won’t have a runaway stroller going downhill. Another safety feature is the footrest reflectors. This means that if you’re going for an early-morning or late-night jog, everyone will be able to see you and your stroller.

Some comfort features included are a seat that can recline to many different positions, including flat, and an adjustable canopy with a peek-a-boo window. The handle is extra wide and ergonomically shaped. It’s covered in a soft rubbery material that provides good grip during a run while also providing comfort. These features will come in handy across the life of the stroller, which will last you until your kiddo reaches 50 pounds.

Image of the Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Stroller, Phantom, 50 Pounds

The Expedition Jogger Stroller has no shortage of storage. For starters, it has a parent tray that has two cup holders and a covered compartment. There’s also a child tray that has two cup holders. This tray also doubles as the adapter that allows the car seat to click in. There’s an extra-large storage basket underneath that fits a lot of items, including a larger diaper bag. It’s also easy to access.

Why It Won

The Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Stroller travel system won because it has the best design and collection of features of any jogging travel system on the market. I discuss this later, but just because this is the best jogger travel system, doesn’t mean the stroller is necessarily the best jogging stroller.

The ride: This stroller offers a really smooth ride. I think it’s because it has bigger wheels than a lot of the other jogging stroller travel systems on the market. With bicycle tires like these, you do have to be aware that you will have to eventually fill them with air. My suggestion to you is to just go get inner tubes and some of that tire slime and just fix up your tires from the get-go. You’ll have to do less maintenance and you’ll find that you have an even smoother ride from the beginning.

Lightweight: Another big determining factor why this was selected is because it’s lightweight. It’s about 5 pounds lighter than the other strollers I looked at across the board. This is good because when you’re running, you don’t want to be pushing a 50-pound stroller. And when you’re getting this thing in and out of your trunk, you don’t want it to be heavy. Since it’s a jogging stroller, it’s already bulky, so you don’t want to add any weight. And this stroller certainly doesn’t.

Plus, being so lightweight makes it a lot easier to open and close then other joggers. You really can open and close this stroller quickly and easily. You can’t quite do it one handed because you have to pull both triggers, but otherwise, it’s quite simple to do.

Another reason this system won is that when I was using my friend’s, I noticed that it has some amazing little features. For example, you can get the car seat canopy and the stroller canopy to truly meet up in the middle so that you can completely cover your baby. This is so awesome when your baby is a newborn. My own travel system didn’t do this, and I was always having to throw a blanket over the top to fill in the crack between the two canopies so the baby wasn’t blinded by the sun. That may seem like a small detailed to some but it’s a big deal if you use the stroller a lot outside.

The other little things like the storage compartments, the safety tether, and the light reflectors made me feel safer about my little one being in the stroller. I also felt safe about baby being in the car seat. Now, my friend always told me how much she hated the pillow that came with the car seat, since it made her preemie baby sit at a weird angle. But once she got a different pillow, she loved the car seat and her baby would sleep like a champ in it.

I do love the Flex Loc. It’s handy and it’s unique. But one thing to be aware of is the fact that sometimes the base is tough to get tight. You have to put all of your weight on the base of the seat and pull as hard as you can on the straps to get them as tight as possible. Once you do get it strapped down as tight as you can, it’s really safe and secure. Plus, the way the Flex Locs are shaped makes it really easy to actually click in and out of the anchors.

Now on to the one downright bad thing about this system. Like I’ve already mentioned, the harness system of this car seat is extremely difficult to use at times. Since you have to align the two bottom buckles on top of each other in order to click them into the bottom part of the buckle it can be really hard to do one-handed. It’s extremely hard to do if your baby is fussing and moving around. But it isn’t impossible, and it’s probably a matter of getting used to it more than anything.

I love the handle. I’m fully convinced that the delta shape is so much easier and is a great design that every car seat should have. However, for this particular car seat, it can be really tricky to move the handle up and down. When you push the two release buttons on each side of the handle to move out of the way to get baby in and out, you have to really use your muscles to push those buttons in and shove the handle back. My friend assures me that this problem disappears over time, once the buttons get broken in.

Overall, this system offers a great quality product at a really affordable price. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get a good jogging travel system. I’ve personally run with this, and I can say that it won’t disappoint you on the trail, on the street, or at the store. It maneuvers like a dream and is lightweight. The car seat is really good, too. You can easily click the car seat in and out of the base and in and out of the stroller for added versatility.

This travel system has extremely good value.  It’s got most of the same features, the same level of durability, and about the same customer satisfaction ratings as some other systems that cost literally double or triple what this costs.  So while I’m usually a pretty big proponent of spending a little extra on baby gear to get something nice, this is a case where you don’t have to spend the extra money to get something nice. For the price, this system can’t be beat.

Now, I want to throw in a quick disclaimer that this isn’t the best jogging stroller that I’ve ever used. That honor belongs to the BOB Revolution stroller that doesn’t come as a travel system. So while you are getting a good jogging stroller and a great car seat with the Expedition travel system, this probably isn’t the best jogging stroller on the market if the travel system part isn’t important. I would recommend the Expedition for someone who’s going to jog occasionally or has to go somewhere outside of their own neighborhood to jog. Because then, you really do need to have the car seat and the stroller combo.

 

Runner Up: Graco Fastaction Fold Jogger Travel System

At this point, you’re probably wondering if Graco is secretly paying me to give all their products rave reviews. While I wish they would, they aren’t. I have simply compared Graco products to other products and they hold their own. This jogging travel system is no exception. It’s gotten outstanding reviews on many websites. And while I haven’t had the pleasure of actually touching the system on my own, I’ve watched lots of videos and read thousands of reviews to get a good bearing on this travel system.

Image of the Graco Fastaction Fold Jogger Click Connect Baby Travel System, Gotham 

The Car Seat: Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 (yes, again)

The SnugRide comes with all of our Graco travel system picks. Here is a quick repeat of the specs of the  Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 infant car seat:

Image of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat, Gotham

  • Holds infants from 4 to 35 pounds, and up to 32 inches
  • Click Connect technology means you click it in and out of its base and in and out of the stroller, or any other compatible stroller
  • Weighs only 7 ½ pounds
  • Base connects to vehicle with latch connector straps for added security
  • Meets or exceeds all US car seat safety standards
  • Made with EPS foam for safety, and has particularly good side impact protection
  • 5 point safety harness with one hand adjust system
  • Large canopy to protect baby from the sun
  • Removable infant support pillow

The Stroller: Fastaction Fold Jogger

Graco calls this a crossover stroller. They claim that it “combines all the comfort and convenience features of a traditional stroller with the performance of maneuverability of an all-terrain jogger.” And that’s exactly what it does.

Image of the Graco Fastaction Fold Jogger Click Connect Baby Travel System, Gotham

It’s got a lot of the same features as the Baby Trend stroller, starting with a lightweight design. This stroller weighs in at 30 pounds. That makes it quite a few pounds heavier than the Baby Trend Expedition jogger stroller.

In addition to being somewhat lightweight, the stroller also features air-filled rubber tires for a smooth ride. The tires of the stroller are the same size as the tires on the Baby Trend stroller: 16-inch tires in the back and a 12-inch tire in the front. The bicycle-type tires provide great suspension and a smooth ride.

Image of the Graco Fastaction Fold Jogger Click Connect Baby Travel System, Gotham

The front wheel is lockable so that you can have swivel for maneuverability, or a locked wheel for stability. It also has two-step brakes. This means that you have to break each side individually, just like the Baby Trend stroller.

Image of the Graco Fastaction Fold Jogger Click Connect Baby Travel System, Gotham 

The fast action jogger has fast-action fold. It’s supposed to take one second and be done with one hand. This is entirely true. This means that you simply pull handle in the seat of the stroller and pop! The stroller folds in half instantly. It also locks while folded and is self-standing.

For your baby’s comfort, there’s a convertible 5 point safety harness to 3 point safety harness. This is nice, since baby can stay in the stroller until they reach 50 pounds. There’s also a multi-position reclining seat that can recline to be almost all the way flat. It’s got a large canopy that’s extendable and has a peek-a-boo window. It also has reflectors on the rear tires for added visibility while running in the dark.

Image of the Graco Fastaction Fold Jogger Click Connect Baby Travel System, GothamImage of the Graco Fastaction Fold Jogger Click Connect Baby Travel System, Gotham

All the extras: This stroller has more than sufficient storage. It’s got a child snack tray, that features a little snack compartment and 2 drink holders. The snack tray easily swivels out of the way so that you can get your child in and out fast, and also acts as the adapter for clicking the car seat in and out. It has a parent storage tray with 2 cup holders and a covered storage compartment. On top of the storage compartment is a smartphone holder. Depending on what phone you have you may or may not be able to get your phone to fit in this holder. Finally, there’s a storage basket underneath that’s a decent size. You can certainly fit a diaper bag and maybe a couple of other essentials in it.

Baby Trend Expedition vs Graco Fastaction Fold Joggers Compared

If you look at the strollers side by side, they look nearly the same. And they certainly have a lot of the same features.

Both of these strollers feature large bicycle tires for great suspension, a smooth ride, and easy maneuvering. Both of the front wheels can be locked for added stability while jogging. Both of the strollers have separate brakes for each tire in the back.

The strollers both have large canopies, 5-point safety harnesses (although the Graco one can convert to a 3-point harness for older babies), and some sort of reflection for safety. The Baby Trend stroller does come with a safety tether, which I didn’t see on the Graco model. The Baby Trend also has a more grippy handle, which I personally like better when jogging.

Both strollers have a child snack tray with 2 cup holders and a place to put treats. Both strollers have a parent compartment with 2 drink holders and a covered section. Both strollers also have a large storage canopy underneath for taking along everything you need. I think that Graco has slightly nicer storage items, since their lower basket is larger, and their upper compartment does feature that handy phone holder.

When it comes to folding the strollers, Graco wins by a decent margin. Their one second, one-handed Fastaction fold is fantastic. It is certainly much easier than pulling the two triggers on the Baby Trend stroller. However, both of these fold up really compactly for a jogging stroller. They both have a locking fold and they both stand on their own once locked into place.

Both of the car seats are pretty basic models. The biggest difference is probably the Flex Loc latch connectors on the base of the Baby Trend car seat. These are definitely more user-friendly and a bit nicer to have. Also, the Baby Trend car seat features that delta shaped handle which, is just a wonderful convenience feature for moms and dads.

The car seats are a lot different in their clicking and release mechanisms. Both of the car seats click into the strollers and into the bases, but how you release them is a bit different. On the Baby Trend car seat, you have to pull the lever at the feet of your baby, as opposed to the Graco car seat, where the release lever is at the head of the car seat. This is probably just a matter of which one you prefer. I think I could get used to doing either one. I know that when we’re using my husband’s smaller car, having the release lever at the foot of the car seat would probably be a little bit more user-friendly since we’re low on space.

Price is the big difference: So then if everything is so similar about these two systems, why do I pick the Baby Trend? Because it costs literally half of what the Graco system costs. As you can plainly see, there’s nothing on the Graco stroller that the Baby Trend stroller doesn’t also have. There are slight differences here and there, but there is no difference big enough for me to justify a doubling of the cost.

If I had to spend my hard-earned money on a jogging travel system, I would go with the Baby Trend. I know that I would get a nice car seat that’s safe and easy-to-use. I would also get a jogging stroller that has all of the basic features that I could want. It would have great tires, great maneuverability, fun features like storage, a canopy and extra safety features. I would be getting all of this at a fantastic value. The Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System certainly wins when compared to the Graco Fastaction Fold Jogger Travel System.

How I Picked

How would you pick a travel system? If you’re anything like me, then you’d probably spend hours and hours online pouring over reviews from a bunch of different sites to try and weed out which travel systems are the best. You probably go to your local Target or Toys R Us and test out a few travel systems in person. You’d probably ask around and talk to all of your mom friends to see what they use and what they like and don’t like about it.

Well, that’s exactly what I’ve done here. I have looked at all of the big websites, from Amazon to Target to Toys R Us and beyond. I have spent hours reading through each and every customer review to see what people have to say about these travel systems. I’ve even looked at the strollers and the car seats separately and looked at their reviews to see what people say about them on their own.

I have so been that lady in the middle of Target playing with a stroller. I have let my son push them around and even set my baby in a car seat or two. This is all done in the name of research. Because, if at all possible, the best thing to do is actually get your hands on a travel system. Looking at pictures and videos is one thing, but actually using and manhandling the stroller and car seat is another thing altogether.

I’ve talked to all my mommy friends to see what they like and don’t like about their current travel systems. The mommy friends that I’m close enough to would let me try out certain features, like folding the stroller or clicking the car seat in and out, or buckling their baby in and out. I’d ask them what they would change about the stroller and car seat, and what they love. I’d ask them if they had to do over, would they buy that system again?

Basically, as part of my review process, I’ve done everything that you would do. I’ve done all the footwork for you, so that all you have to do is sit back, read my reviews, and decide for yourself if you like these top travel systems just as much as I do.

 

What I Looked At

It’s not easy to choose a travel system. Although it seems like such a straightforward purchase, it’s actually not. There’s many parts and pieces to consider and you also have to consider how they all work together. So, here’s just a summary of what I look for when choosing the best baby travel system.

The Car Seat

I think the car seat is arguably the most important part of the travel system. It’s what you need to keep your baby safe whether or not you’ll use the stroller. So when I look for a good travel system, I look for a reliable and well-tested car seat. It has to meet or exceed all standards, and be completely safe for my child. I look for a car seat that can be installed with the base and a latch system, or without a base using the car seat belt for when I’m traveling. I also look for a car seat that has high weight and height limits, as it means my child can stay in it and stay rear-facing for longer.

The Stroller

The stroller, while probably not quite as important as the car seat, still is extremely important.

Mobility: You want a stroller that can go where you want to go. Now, this depends on what you do a lot. If you are active and you like to exercise a lot, whether that be going for walks, going for runs, or even taking your stroller on a trail, you definitely need a jogging stroller. A traditional stroller just won’t cut it for you.

However, if you don’t plan to exercise while pushing your baby, you don’t need to get a bulky jogging stroller. You could stick with the traditional stroller and be just fine.

Stroller category: And when it comes to regular strollers that aren’t created for exercise, you have a couple of options. You can go with the traditional, 4-wheeled stroller, or, you can go with the newer model 3-wheeled strollers. The biggest difference in these is going to be stability and maneuverability, as well as weight and size. Also, it usually comes down to personal preference.

Range of features: Once you get past the different types of strollers, I look for other features in my strollers as well. I look for tires that have good traction, good maneuverability, and a nice long life. Even if the tires are air-filled, I want them to be stable and not have to fix them constantly. And if they’re made from plastic, I want them to be a thick and sturdy plastic that’s not going to get tore up quickly.

Storage: I also look for a stroller that has good storage underneath the seat. Since you’re always hauling around gear with you and your kids, this is a must-have!

I look for strollers that have snack trays for both mom and child. Making sure that my kiddo can have a snack and drink when they need it and that I have a place to put my drink and keys and phone and snacks is very important to me.

The canopy: Another thing I look for in a good stroller is a really good canopy. I prefer a canopy with a peek-a-boo window, as I like to be able to keep a sneaky eye on my child. I also like a canopy that extends far out so that it shades them from rain or sun. This feature is really important when you have a newborn, and it still is important when your child gets older, because they get vocal about things like sun and rain in their face.

Braking system: The final thing that I like to consider when looking at a stroller is the braking system. Some strollers have single braking systems, while some of them have a bar braking system, while still more have a hand brake system. Again, this is probably personal preference. I personally prefer either a handbrake or a dual braking system with a bar. Single brakes are fine, and they serve their purpose, but I just feel like they’re a hassle. I personally want a braking system that’s really easy for me to use and does it require me to crack a toenail every time I want to park my stroller.

Using Them Together

Good car seat? Check. Good stroller? Check. But what about them together? Sometimes it’s really easy to get caught up in looking at the parts of a travel system, and not thinking about how well they work together.

For example, there are a lot of car seats and strollers that you can make into a travel system on the market, but they aren’t designed that way. You have to use adapters or other special tools to make it work as a travel system. When it comes down to it, that just doesn’t make it very user-friendly on a day-to-day basis. It also makes it harder on your wallet. I want a car seat that I can use as a car seat and as a piece of the travel system. I also want a stroller that I can use with or without a car seat. And I don’t want to have to remember extra parts and pieces to use either one of the parts of a travel system on its own.

I look for a travel system where the car seat easily clicks in and out of the stroller. I don’t want it to be a 10-step process. I would prefer 1 or 2 steps that can easily be done.

A Good Value

The last thing I look at when choosing the perfect travel system is a good value. Notice that I said a good value, not a good deal. There might be travel systems on the market that are really cheap, but you’re probably going to get what you pay for. You’ll probably get a system that’s not going to hold up and won’t have as many features as you want or need.

And while I don’t believe in just purchasing a cheap travel system, I also certainly don’t believe in spending oodles and oodles of money on a car seat and stroller. Especially because your baby is probably going to outgrow that car seat right around the one-year mark.

So, to me and my family, who are on a tight budget, we just can’t justify spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a car seat and stroller combo that really will only get used together for one year. Of course, you’re going to use the stroller a lot longer than one year, since most strollers will accommodate children clear up until they’re into preschool.

So like I said, that’s where you find the balance of getting a good stroller and car seat for your money. You want a car seat that is safe and effective, but not expensive. You want a stroller that has all the bells and whistles you desire, without costing a ton.

Price is certainly a factor that I’m going to look at across all of the things I review. And if an expensive item is worth its weight in gold (literally), then I’ll let you know. And if the cheap item is cheap for a reason, I’ll let you know. Otherwise, I’m going to try and find you great products with great value.

Michelle Hand
Michelle Hand is the mom of a very busy preschooler and a sweet new baby! She splits her time between writing and hanging out with her family. Her degree in Business has helped her hone her research and writing skills. She loves helping new moms find the best products. When she has some free time, she likes hiking, singing and playing piano, reading, and taking her dog for walks.
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