If there was one big decision that gave me a lot of stress before little man arrived, it was this one – choosing the right pram/pushchair. And I know it’s something loads of parents-to-be go through because ITS A BIG DEAL RIGHT. You want to push your offspring around in the best, comfiest, most-gorgeous pram around…. but wait a second…. why are they SO FUCKING EXPENSIVE?
D made the very perceptive comment that for some of the models of prams/pushchairs on the market it would actually be cheaper to buy your newborn a second hand car and wheel them around in that. Not very practical though.
So after many many trips to test out prams and many many hours online, reading reviews and comparing prices, we decided to buy the Graco Evo XT. And after just over a year of usage I think I’m well set to write up a review, and also hand out a few pointers for those of you facing the ordeal that is pramshopping for the first time.
So what did we buy?
The Graco Evo Xt – £500ish (I can’t remember!)
We bought the Graco Evo XT, in a bundle from Mothercare that included the carry cot, the pushchair, a car seat and an adaptor so that the car seat could clip directly onto the base.
And how did we choose it? Well these were the key things I looked for…
Manoeuvrability: Wheel that bastard about.
This is my first tip for pushchair shopping. Lug those wheels off the displays and push them around the shop. Try adjusting the handles. Are they clunky? Do they feel sturdy? Can you turn them around easily?
The Graco Evo XT scores extremely highly on all these points. D is very tall at 6 ft 4″ therefore a key point for us was that we needed a pram with an adjustable handle so we were both comfortable pushing it. The handle on the Graco clicks smoothly into three different positions, perfect for us. It also has massive rubber wheels, suspension, a nice wide handle and handles all types of terrain with ease.
Whilst we live in the suburbs, regularly going into the city centre, my parents live in Yorkshire and we spend a lot of time out walking so I knew I wanted something that would handle mud and grass. Well the Graco is bloody amazing, we’ve taken it over some places that I didn’t think a pram would go and it’s handled them with ease.
Comfort: Will baby snooze away?
Another massively important point, you want your bundle of joy to be so supremely comfy that they fall asleep so you can wheel them into the hallway and enjoy a well earned brew.
My mistake on this point was focusing almost entirely on the carry cot which came with a removable mattress, a lovely snuggly lining, and a beautiful cover to protect baby from the elements. And it was awesome… until R grew out of it in less than twelve weeks!
The seat attachment I was initially less impressed with. It does have three positions, from sat straight up to fully reclined but at first the whole seat looked a little too big for him. He was crammed into the carry cot but he didn’t look particularly comfortable when sat in the seat and the foot-muff that came with it…. well it came up over his head! I had to buy another foot-muff in order to use the seat.
However, he soon grew into it, and now its absolutely perfect for our needs. We sit the seat straight up so he can look out, but if he does fall asleep the deep recline and large hood mean he is very protected and can snooze away undisturbed. WIN.
Size: Will it fit in the boot?
Whilst we don’t have a car, we knew that grandparents would want to take Rufus out and about, and also we didn’t want something that was going to take up the whole of the carriage on public transport.
Well somehow we failed on this one guys because the Graco Evo XT is HUGE. One of my friends described it as ‘industrial’, and between me and D we nickname it the ‘war rig’.
It does fold up with a super nifty click of the handle. And the chassis does actually fold up really small for its size. However the seat and bassinet have to be taken off, and they are not small guys. The chassis is also wider than the average pushchair – and yes, I do get stuck in coffee shop doors.
However, this is part of the reason why it is great, because of its size and its massive wheels it does create a supremely smooth ride for its passenger.
It’s also proved a sneaky bonus, as me and R travel to stay with my parents quite often ,we discovered that we can fit A LOT of shit in the basket. I’m talking a full holdall, and assorted other crapola you drag round when you have a baby. It’s awesome.
Gizmo’s and Gadgets: Spoiler alert, YOU NEED A CUP HOLDER.
Honestly. I don’t know why all prams don’t have one built in. The Graco doesn’t have one, and that fact nearly made me weep the first time I ventured out with R in tow for a seasonal latte and oh holy fuck I’m stuck in the coffee shop door and how do I move this with one hand without covering my baby in boiling milk HELP.
Thank god for friendly Costa staff (seriously, I love you guys).
Apart from this I will say the Graco came with everything you need. There was a soft fleecy liner for the carry cot, a footmuff that swamped R last year but that I think will be perfect for him this winter, a raincover, and a mosquito/fly net for the summer months.
Although, confession time – I have no fucking idea how to fit the raincover. It’s definitely just me, I always end up getting it the wrong way round – but its big and spacious enough that R is always securely tucked away safe and dry!
Value for Money
Overall the Graco Evo XT offers great value for money. Sure I have a couple of little niggles, but the whole set has felt reassuringly sturdy, its easy to handle, and moves smoothly.
When looking at different prams, a lot of those on the cheaper end of the scale felt just that… cheap. The handles were stiff to adjust, they felt flimsy and rattle-y and just not pleasant to move around. The Graco is a mid-range price point, but handles like a much more expensive model.
Which is a big deal, because if you are anything like me you will be out and about all the time with your pram. It will be up and down, out in all kinds of weather, loaded up with everything but the kitchen sink, so you need something that will stand the test of time.
It gets my vote, and R’s too!
* before you all go thinking I’m some kind of hotshot – obviously, I was not gifted, sponsered or in any way encouraged to write about this product. However, it was very kindly paid for by my lovely parents. Thanks guys #giftedbycolandchris