It took me three long years of very mixed emotions about the Stokke Xplory to finally try one out. So you know where I’m coming from, of strollers in a similar class, I also own the Bugaboo Cameleon, Bee, Micralite Toro, Teutonia T-160, and have previously owned an UppaBaby Vista. I have a strong prejudice against strollers that can’t be pushed with one finger, I almost never use a stroller that isn’t reversible, and I thank my lucky stars my DH has put up with my stroller habit so far ;). This review is for the Stokke Xplory Basic.
So here’s what I like:
First, the obvious- seat height. It’s not just a marketing angle. Having your baby up close to you while you’re out and about is a really nice feature. I often wear my baby, as they say it helps so much with their language cognition and bonding, and this is the next best thing (IMHO, of course!). Plus, when we’re out eating, the baby can be sitting right up at the table at everyone else’s level (until, of course, they’re ready to get out and want to sit on your lap. But it’s definitely bought me several precious minutes of eating my meal with both hands free- a huge bonus if I happen to be eating a messy burger or sandwich!). The other thing that I fully expected with a seat at such a height was that this would make the stroller tippy. It’s not. It’s incredibly stable, and unlike many 3-wheelers and light-weight umbrella strollers I’ve had in the past, I have not had a single worry about that aspect.
Next - and one of my happiest surprises: the large seat. I have a tall 3 year old and a 5 month old. I bought this for the baby, not thinking it would work for the 3 year old (who loves to still ride!). I was astounded to find that she still fits comfortably in the seat of the Xplory, with her head just shy of the canopy. In our Bugaboo Cameleon, Bee, & Teutonia, her head touches the canopy and bulges it up a bit. She has to crouch a bit in the Micralite Toro.
Great push- As I mentioned earlier, I am a big push snob. The Xplory pushes like a dream! It feels different than my Bugs, which I absolutely adore. Because of that central spine, you really can feel that all of the energy you direct in pushing the chassis is really transmitted to the wheels- no lost momentum in rattling parts or anything, almost like the whole thing is one solid piece. You also can tell the stroller is heavier than the Cam or Bee, though not because it’s harder to push. It’s like driving a heavy but smooth SUV verses a race car. The Xplory also has quite large wheels & great suspension, which makes strolling along our neighborhood’s crummy sidewalks a pleasure.
Another cool feature of the Xplory is the 2 wheel mode. It’s really amazing. Makes bringing the stroller up the stairs unbelievably less cumbersome!
Finally, we get to the basket. Believe it or not, it’s actually very large- much bigger than it looks! I even managed to get a fully-loaded Nordstrom’s shopping bag in there (sideways).
I also got the footmuff, which I LOVE! Of course, along with my many strollers, come many accessories. The Stokke footmuff really is now one of my favorites. It is SO super soft and cozy! I want one for me J
As we all know, there is no one perfect stroller. So what do I find less than stellar on the Xplory? Read on…
The biggest bummer is its large fold and the fact that it’s a 2-piecer. I drive a small SUV, and it fits sideways in my trunk with room to spare, but it’s just so long! While I do take it in my car, I really prefer my Bugaboos for the car (especially the Bee). Even though the Cameleon is a 2-piecer as well, it is SO much more compact when folded than the Xplory, you barely notice it in the trunk.
Probably the feature I find most annoying is the legrest. It needs to be removed in order to put the seat on or off the stroller in parent-facing mode. (OK, I guess technically you don’t actually have to remove it- you can extend it all the way out, but then you have to “thread” the seat over the handle. It’s just not very pretty to do, and certainly a bit cumbersome. Easier to just remove it, at least for me!) AND, it is not as simple as it should be since you have to have both knobs turned to allow the footrest to come down. It can be done 1-handed (one side at a time), but it’s certainly annoying that way! It also doesn’t feel like the sturdiest of footrests. My 3 yo usually likes to climb up into the stroller herself, but I don’t let her in the Xplory as I’m afraid it can’t hold her weight and might break. Eek!
Here’s another weird thing- the harness is screwed in! This does NOT make for a quick harness height change. I guess they figure most people don’t change the harness height very often. We do, since we still have 2 riders of very different sizes.
And finally, the worst thing about the Xplory? You guessed it: the price. No brainer. It’s pricey, and all the accessories are pricey too. But you’re paying for a non-China made product (I thought they were made in Norway, but apparently it’s made in the Netherlands. Who knew Dutch labor was cheaper than Norweigan?!!)
If you’re considering the Xplory, I bet you’re also considering the Bug Cam- So, do I like it better than my Cam? Yes & No. I’m actually trying to decide which one stays and which one goes. It’s a toss-up really. The Cam was my first love, so it’s always hard to part with that. But the Xplory is so much more exotic! And you can argue that it’s “better” for the baby due to the seat height. But the Cam folds down so much smaller, and as they are both 2 piece folds, the Cam wins out on that one. And this is one stroller against which the Cam actually comes in at a cheaper price. With cheaper accessories (for the most part). Honestly, it just comes down to personal taste and style.
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About the reviewer
Jennifer Yu (JenniferYu)
I'm a workin' mama who happens to love strollers. Why?If you have to ask, I don't think you'll understand the answer! If you love 'em too, read my reviews!
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23.15 lbs. with seat, 27.34 lbs. with baby bag, Collapsed Dimensions: 16.8" H x 39.6" W x 22.8" D, Unfolded Dimensions: 33.6" - 46" H x 36.5" - 49.2" W x 22.8" D, Xplory carry cot should be used with babies from 0-6 months (max 9 kg/ 20 lbs), Xplory seat should be used with babies from birth to 3 years(max 20 kg/ 45 lbs)