Why I’m Still Sad It’s Gone
- What: Joovy Kooper Stroller
- Why: Tons of features, affordable price
- Where: Discontinued, so secondhand only
I loved my Joovy Kooper stroller. I first noticed it during my first pregnancy at the San Diego zoo when I stalked every stroller that looked promising to me during my hunt for the perfect set of wheels. The design of the stroller, with its wrap around fabric (similar to other brands like City Mini) on an umbrella frame, drew my attention. I researched it endlessly but couldn’t commit, having never actually driven one. Then after we upgraded our vehicle situation with our second child on the way, I took the plunge.
I scored a red Joovy Kooper secondhand and loved every second of it. The sunshade covered everything with its extra extension in the front, and locked into place easily. I never had a single complaint about the sun from my kids while using it. I adored the peek-a-boo window in the sunshade so I could see my child even with the shade fully extended.
It sported pockets on both sides of the seat for my kids to stash snacks, sippy cups, and all those random rocks and sticks they love to bring home. It had two cup holders on the fabric in the back and a zip-close pocket to boot. It reclined flat, so I could use it for naps, too. My second child once took herself to a nap in it. At around 18 months of age when traveling in another city, she climbed in, had me recline it fully, pull down the sunshade and hand her a blanket. That rocks my world, but it never happened in any other stroller (or place or circumstances come to think of it).
It folded easily, and I could do it with a baby on one hip when traveling by airplane. It had a handy shoulder strap for carrying once folded, as well as an optional lock for the folded position. I didn’t always use the lock, because it didn’t automatically click into place. But I liked the feature and could go to the extra step of locking it for things like gate checking on airplanes.
Best of all, the one-handed steering worked like a charm. I could haul it fully loaded with a kid and a stuffed storage basket and multiple bags hanging from the handles, and still have a hand to pull a rolling suitcase or hold onto another child.
I only got rid of it because my husband let my oldest child ride standing on the back of the frame (in the absence of a ride on board), and during outings with him, both my first and second child regularly climbed into the storage basket underneath to ride. Those kind of activities were not mom-approved, and sure enough, the brake line got tangled, and eventually popped when folding the stroller one day.
I lived with that, as well as the tears in the mesh of the storage basket, until I had all three kids with me at the airport one day. I parked the stroller with my youngest on board and put on the brakes, then had to go chasing after one of the other two.When I turned back around, the stroller had moved because the brakes didn’t work anymore. I decided brakes rated very high on my scale of importance with three kids in tow, and sadly said goodbye to my beloved Joovy Kooper.
I replaced it with the new Joovy lightweight umbrella stroller, which we still own. It’s our third stroller, as in it lives in my husband’s car most of the time and doesn’t get a ton of use. Umbrella strollers in general don’t handle the rough outdoor sidewalks well, and once I upgraded to a more rugged stroller with inflated wheels, I downgraded the Joovy Groove Ultralight to only occasional use.
The new Joovy definitely weighs less, but I feel like it comes at the cost of both looks and functionality. The shade doesn’t cover as much, and although it still reclines fully and has an adjustable footrest and plenty of pockets, I never warmed to it. Which is a shame, because it’s the only stroller I’ve ever purchased brand new. (Because it was a recent stroller, I couldn’t get one secondhand.) Most importantly, it does not steer well with one hand, and at this point, with three kids, I never have two hands just for stroller handles.