Pros and Cons of an Often Overlooked Stroller Option
- What: Quinny Zapp Stroller
- Why: Super compact fold, lower starting price point
- Where: Amazon or secondhand
When we had our first child, neither of us drove anything vaguely considered a family car. Nor did we see the point in selling perfectly functional paid-off cars so we could have a car payment again. That meant that while car seats fitted into place with only minor inconvenience (and even that only once on installation), we had a regular battle getting strollers in and out of the car, especially if we actually wanted to take the whole family (two adults and one infant) anywhere by car rather than walking or public transportation.
I drove a New Beetle for years while working with kids, and loved the car and everything it could do. The one thing I rarely did for work? Take another adult along with us, which means I dumped bags and the stroller into the front passenger seat. That worked lovely until I had my own child and wanted to go on family outings. Then I needed a stroller that could fit into the trunk.
My trunk had ample space for a two-door vehicle but an odd shaped opening that prevented me from getting any umbrella stroller into it. My Bugaboo Frog LINK would fit nicely, but I had to take it apart, including the wheels, to make that happen. That wasn’t practical so I went hunting for a compact stroller.
I found the Quinny Zapp because friends had purchased it as their main stroller. Compared to the higher end options like Bugaboo, it’s much more affordable at around $200 brand new. I still didn’t want to pay full price, so I scored a secondhand version for a very reasonable $40 (and in my preferred color as well!).
The Zapp folded into a practical rectangle compared to everything else I had considered. Because it was much shorter than an umbrella stroller, but not significantly heavier, it dropped into my trunk and my husband’s convertible trunk with ease. (Full disclosure: his tiny trunk had no trouble fitting a long and narrow umbrella type stroller.)
The sunshade on the Zapp offered a peek-a-boo window in addition to good coverage. The split handle bars offered lots of places to hang bags, but that created a different problem. Because of the unique fold, the stroller had some stability issues. I could hang bags off it with a child loaded into it, but if you took your kid out first, the whole thing tipped right over. Without a kid that wasn’t the end of the world, and I continued to use the stroller, but it irritated me on a regular basis to have to unload my bags then try to finagle my toddler out of the seat with my hands full.
The entire fabric zips off for cleaning and unlike most umbrella strollers, the Zapp can take an infant car seat (though only from the partnered brands Maxi-Cosi and Prezi). Without an infant car seat, the Zapp starts at age six months.
Unfortunately, the Zapp offered only a tiny underseat storage area to offset the tipping issue. For the majority of the time I used it, I simply carried my diaper bag myself rather than attaching it to the stroller. An additional complaint some users had featured the lack of a seat recline. It had one position – upright and forward facing, which is why infants under six months couldn’t use it.
The new and improved Quinny Zapp Xtra fixed the recline issue. Not only does it have several recline settings, the seat itself can also face forwards or backwards, which is definitely an improvement.
On the plus side, once I found a better option (after we upgraded vehicles), I had no trouble reselling my Zapp for a small profit. If you’re looking for a compact stroller that can even fit into the overhead bin on most airplanes, and you don’t need serious off-road capability, I would put the Zapp Xtra on the short list of contenders.