My family and I travel while I run my company Purveyor of Geekery
The Travel Stroller! Guys! Guys! It’s here! I’m so excited!!! Which I why I am posting this at 8am after my husband brought the box home this morning. Mark II baby! W00t! We are really in love with our Maclaren Volo, so when my husband started eyeing up the BMW Maclaren fate intervened…shining it’s glorious rays of pity on our wallet and we began seeing information on the Mark II. 2 pounds lighter and half the price, we looked everywhere for it before realizing it was yet to be released. So we pre-ordered that baby as soon as we could. Then a few weeks ago the site we pre-ordered from refunded our money and cancelled our pre-order!!!
Sadness. A dismal melancholy that permeated the very fibers of my being and rivaled the darkest periods of both S. Plath and V. Woolf combined. After that I lost track of our “Mark II” procurement project until this morning, when I opened the door to my husband’s room and there he sat, surrounded by the most glorious stroller I have ever laid eyes on…shiny, silver and new. Box guts everywhere. It looked like Christmas. I ran and got my camera. We took photos like it was a brand new baby as we put all the pieces together …and by that I mean “cut the tags off, put the rain flap on.” It comes pretty well in one piece. We put it in the living room and waited for O to wake up. Christmas II. It was a boy with a new car. He sat in it for 20 minutes, kicked the wheels and played with it for a few hours before we took it for a walk around the block. Everyone was all smiles and giggles until we had to walk past the old trust Volo in the garage. It was like an old dog meeting the new puppy. There it sat: dismal and alone in the corner. My face fell and guilt filled my heart. O ran for it and crawled into the seat, his seat…ready for his walk. He cried as we peeled him out of the well loved, faded orange push chair. He arched his back as we tried to strap him in to the new one. I resisted the urge to take the empty orange stroller with us on the walk…the old veteran shouldn’t be left alone. But eventually we made it out of the house with out her and started around the block with the new Mark II. A few differences that I noticed from the Volo:
Cons of the Maclaren Mark II Stroller
- Less underseat storage. The storage bag under the cart is a bit smaller, but it’s shorter in the front so it might not be an issue since the storage space under O’s butt was never really utilized anyway.
- No pouch for the rain cover. I don’t think any strollers include pouches for the rain covers, but the first thing I thought was that I need to find a stuff sack with a carabiner for it. Right now it’s folded neatly with a hair tie keeping it together.
- Thinner carrying strap padding. *Update 5/5/14* The little plastic strip on the carrying strap padding is not as wide as the Volo’s, which means it isn’t as comfortable (as comfortable as a piece of plastic is to begin with). *Update 9/2014* One of these works brilliantly, plus it matches my husband’s carry on and edc. Problem solved.
Maclaren Mark II Stroller Pros
- More rigid plastic. The handles feel like they will last longer than the foam handles of the Volo.
- Lighter. O was able to throw it around like a frisbee when he was playing with it: a giant, stroller shaped frisbee. **Update: 5/5/14: Took her to the beach yesterday and she was sooo much lighter when toting her around on my back it was ridiculous**
- Better Weight Distribution. Tipping the front or back of the Volo to get it over curbs was a cinch, with the Mark II it requires a bit more work. This is a good thing. Better weight distribution means I’m less likely to knock the thing over when trying to pull O in and out with a full stroller organizer hanging off the back.
- More mesh! In Florida this is a bonus. There is a nice strip of mesh that runs completely up the center of the seat so that air can circulate behind O’s back.
- Lightweight fabrics. The fabrics used in the Mark II are very thin and lightweight, but in a good way. “Thin” like “ultralight tech camping” not “thin” like “flimsy cheap Chinese product.” Not only does this result in less weight but I am guessing that it will dry faster as well if it gets wet.
- Handling. No difference between the Volo and the Mark II, both have that sexy English handling that I love so dearly.
- One handed folding! This is a change from our Volo which is and older model, the new models have one handed folding now as well but Oh. My. Gawd. Thank you!
- Tether Strap. How nice is this? Now when O wants to walk instead of sit, he can hold on to the tether as well if he is being ornery and doesn’t want to hold hands. *Update 9/14* Now that O is old enough to want to walk more, he LOVES this thing. He’ll walk beside the chair for ages just holding on to it, and watching his little paw curled around it makes my heart swoon. So grown up.
- Cable Brakes.
- Folds Tiny and a Carrying Strap. My favorite feature on the Volo and the Mark II is how small it folds. His infant travel “system” never folded smaller than the trunk of a sedan, so the ability for a stroller to fold into the size of a bundle of three or four umbrellas (because…you know: “Umbrella Stroller”) and fling it on your back has me sold. It’s perfect for the navigating quickly the horrible crowds at Disney: the baby comes up in to the arms, the stroller goes down and gets carried through the lack of space. Now you can squeeze between the people instead of getting bottle necked in by the masses.
- Height. For some reason this stroller seems taller than the Volo. My husband is on the tall side and I am on the average size, so the handles come to a much more comfortable position for both of us than the Volo.
- Folds and unfolds easier. **Update 5/5/2014** The Volo has a two part folding catch system that always seemed to catch me up trying to fold it up or down, but the Mark II’s folding catch system is so much easier to work.
So far, I’m in love. I’ll update as I try it out more. We’re a huge Maclaren family, their products and Diono make our travels easy. No, they aren’t paying me to write this. We bought our Mark II with cash money and no discount so this is an unbiased review. One off purchases of a brand are one thing, but you can tell a lot about the quality when you meet someone who keeps coming back. We own the Maclaren Volo, the Maclaren Mark II, Maclaren Universal Stroller Organizer in Black and Silver, the Maclaren Reversible Stroller Blanket in London and soon the stroller bag, seat liner and the luggage tag which should arrive in the mail any day. It’s a great brand. We had our eye on their baby bouncer when O was first born but ended up inheriting one…that he outgrew within a week anyway. And now they carry diaper bags, amazing yummy looking bags that I dare not mention exist to my husband. I do not need a new bag. I do not need a new bag. I do not need a new bag. I do not need a new bag. I do not need a new bag. I do not need a new bag. I kind of need a new bag. Maybe I need a new bag…
* Update 5/14: Greetings from England! We normally don’t fly with a stroller but decided to take the Mark II with us this time. Did you know strollers are the equivelant of a golden ticket when it comes to security check points? Instead of standing in line with the baby in the harness, we were directed to the high maintenance line (I.e. strollers, wheel chairs and walkers), it was fantastic. Once I got the hang on the folding mechanism, closing it down became almost instantaneous and since it is so light, I feel like a P90X alumni with the ease I can throw it on and off of carts, cars and conveyors.
We’ve put easily 60 miles on the stroller so far this trip between airports, trains, woods and farms. Two things I have noticed since originally writing this review: the clasp on the harness is a PITA. I know that overlapping the buckles before inserting them into the clasp mechanism is becoming standard on baby products but when you have a tired, fussy, screaming baby, you just want to get the cage shut ASAP, not fiddle around with a puzzle in the process.
Second is the color, which I knew was going to be an issue when my husband said “silver.” Instantly, visions of the constant cleaning need to keep it sparkly haunted my dreams. It pretty much came to fruition, but just the sunhood. It’s our own fault. We bought a travel bag but aren’t very prudent in using it. The dirt mainly comes from loading it in and out of the trunk when it is folded. Luckily thanks to the ripstop style fabric it doesn’t take long to clean: a bit of water on a rag and you are done.
Overall, I still wouldn’t trade it for anything else and I am still desperately in love with it. It handled the thick grass at the farm with ease and was easy to pick up and carry over the mud puddles on our hike in the woods. There is loads of space to pack in our stuff and even loaded up with shopping bags was simple to handle.
How about you? Have you recently acquired the Mark II? If so, how do you like it? Are you thinking of acquiring one?
*Update 9/14: We’ve had her for 5 months now and I wouldn’t trade the ability to fold her up and carry her or lift her places for the world. When we go out to eat she can fold up and tuck under the table in busy restaurants. My only complaints is how fast she shows wear. I can take almost everything off and wash it minus the shade…and it is DIRTY! And driving me nuts. Also the white “Maclaren” letters on the red hinges have started to chip. :/ Lesson learned: do not get the silver. I’m thinking of contacting them to see if there is anything that can be done for the chipping letters, I feel it is a quality thing.