Any family who enjoys travelling abroad will most likely sooner or later find themselves searching for a suitable travel stroller. As much as we all love our sturdy, comfy, suspended, multi-functional prams, most don’t make for the most practical of travel companions.
After a considerable amount of online research, we decided on the Silver Cross Zest pushchair.
Below I’ll explain why we chose this particular model for our travels and review our experience with the Silver Cross Zest stroller so far.
Criteria when choosing a travel buggy
When choosing a travel pushchair, it is worth taking a moment to think about your key criteria. What types of trips are you likely to take? What do you want to use the travel buggy for?
We had three clear must-have features in mind:
- Lightweight and easy to carry – for obvious lifting-in-and-out-of-trains-taxis-and-planes reasons.
- Sun-hood – to ensure Rosalin was suitably protected when out and about in sunny weather
- Lie-flat option – for safe use from birth and to double as sleep solution
Features of the Silver Cross Zest pushchair
The Silver Cross Zest buggy ticked all those boxes and more:
- It is super lightweight and with 5.8kg among the lightest on the market. It also comes with a carry strap to swing the pushchair over your shoulder with, leaving both hands free.
- The UPF50+ sun hood is fully extendable providing plenty of shade and protection during hot days.
- The seat reclines all the way to a full lie-flat position and therefore is suitable from birth (although it’s not recommended for newborns over long periods).
It also comes with a protective rain cover, a shopping basket and a five-point-safety harness. The pushchair is suitable up to 25kg, so should last a few years.
Performance as a travel stroller when out and about
So far we’ve used the Zest on multiple long-haul and short-haul trips, on various types of terrain, in rain and sunshine – and it’s still going! Silver Cross are well known for their expertise in building sturdy, high quality pushchairs, and this shows even in this lightweight model.
The buggy is well made and it works. Manoeuvring, even around tight corners, is easy thanks to the swivel wheels.
Comfort and practicality
The seat is wide and well padded, and Rosalin has been comfortable in it from a very young age. It comes with a 5-point-safety harness, which is a little fiddly at first, but easy to use once you get the hang of it.
The seat reclines easily, offering several levels of recline all the way to completely flat. It provides a cosy temporary bed and Rosalin sleeps well in it when we’re out and about in the evening. And in moments of need, it doubles as a changing table for a quick nappy change…
The folding mechanism is simple, a standard umbrella fold, which can be easily operated with one hand. Unfolding the pushchair is a little trickier, but I have on occasion managed it one-handed, too.
It really is lightweight and the carry strap is very handy for short distances. With just over a metre length when folded it fits into even the smallest of cars.
Travelling in rain and shine
The fully extendable sun hood made from UV absorbing material really is great. It folds down over 90 degrees and covers nearly the entire seat. On several occasions, the pushchair offered a shady place for Rosie to rest after a play in the sun. (But please remember, the hood can’t provide 100% protection from the sun, and it’s important to still regularly apply appropriate sun cream.)
The pushchair also comes with a transparent rain cover, which fits neatly over the entire buggy. It is fixed to the frame with a couple of elastic hoops, to ensure the material is fully stretched and creates a waterproof mini-tent for the child. The rain cover can be stored in the shopping basket, even when folded.
Drawbacks to consider
The pushchair has a simple parking brake on each side, which is flipped just with the tip of your shoe. The mechanism is so that both sides lock automatically when one of the breaks is applied. This however has proved somewhat temperamental and sometimes we need to unlock both sides manually.
The other drawback to highlight is the shopping basket – it is very small. It does fit a couple of items but as soon as the seat is reclined they are impossible to reach. I keep the rain cover in there and perhaps some sun cream, but very little else.
Unlike other travel buggies available these days, the Zest does not qualify as hand luggage on airplanes and usually has to travel in the hold. However, pushchairs are often part of the free luggage allowance for passengers travelling with a child.
Finally, the price tag. The Silver Cross Zest buggy retails at £150, so certainly not the cheapest but comfortably mid-range. Given its quality and established brand, I’d say it’s good value for money. But it is always worth searching for offers to save a bit of extra cash.
A practical and reliable travel companion
So far, the Silver Cross Zest has done a fantastic job and I happily recommend it to travelling families, especially for long-haul trips and holidays in the sun. Having to check it into the hold might become annoying if you frequently travel with hand luggage only, but otherwise the Silver Cross Zest is a reliable, comfortable, practical choice at a decent price. I can’t imagine travelling without it!
Still looking for a lightweight travel cot? You can read my review of the LittleLife Arc 2 travel cot here.