Mountain Buggy Nano Review by Best Buggy
The Mountain Buggy Nano is an incredibly small folding, ultra lightweight, stylish pushchair. The folded size is the Nano’s biggest selling point. The Nano has a carrying strap, so that the pushchair can easily be flung over a shoulder. Mountain Buggy advertise that the Nano can fit into an overhead locker in the cabin of an aeroplane; but we wish to challenge this claim later.
We were honestly surprised by the Mountain Buggy Nano. We had not heard great reports about the Nano from a trade show; but the Nano which arrived at Best Buggy HQ really was quite impressive. The fold size was tiny – which is what we expected. However the quality and fabrics were much better than expected. The overall look and feel of the Nano is good. The Nano was easy to fling open. It has a good sized basket, good harness, extendable hood and even an in built car seat adaptor.
However, we then spotted the first major flaw: There is a huge piece of mesh at the rear of the seat, behind the child’s head, which has no cover over it. We even phoned Mountain Buggy to check that we were not missing a vital part. But no, the Mountain Buggy Nano has got open mesh behind the child’s head. Apparently according to Mountain Buggy’s advertising, this is for ventilation (as if the completely open front of the pushchair was not enough?!) Whilst we appreciate the Nano is being sold all around the world, here in the UK we have a lot of bitter winter winds, or hot sun in summer. A child here, or even in warmer climes, needs protection from the elements, especially around their head and even more so when reclined. This is a big negative.
The Mountain Buggy Nano seat itself is very good. It is a good sized, generous seat with a long leg length and a decent footrest. The seat is not the tallest we have seen, but this is a compromise which can be forgiven, in order to have the tiny fold size. Our 3 and a half year old can just about reach the footrest. However we were so encouraged by the seat size, that our 5 year old decided to hop in. She is tall for her age (approx 113cms tall) and yet she looks very comfortable in the seat. Her leg room is good, and there is plenty of room under the hood. Look how comfy she looks in the side view photos! The Mountain Buggy Nano is certified for use with a child up to 20kgs which is a generous weight for any pushchair, let alone one so small. At the other end of the scale, the seat is certified for use from 6 months old and boasts a decent recline, and a lift up calf rest to support tiny or sleeping legs.
The recline is lowered using a smart toggle at the rear of the seat with a release button on it. We like the protective fabric head piece at the top of the seat for a reclined child. This does get a way a little when the seat is upright, but it is easy enough to tuck the extra fabric behind the seat, as the photos show. Our 3 and a half year old was really too tall to recline, without the top bulging, but for occasional naps, it would be fine.
It was very easy to change the harness height by simply pushing the harness through the holes and back again. The harness itself is very easy to adjust. To be honest, we have had a number of Mountain Buggies here at BBHQ and this harness is probably the best one we have seen. There are good harness and crotch pads. The buckle is the standard Mountain Buggy one. It is robust and our 5 year old could not undo it. However we dislike that it takes 2 hands to release a child (the buttons at the side, as well as the red buttons, need depressing to release), especially on a pushchair which is likely to be used on public transport, where you need to get the child out quickly, and you may well have hands already full of bags.
Hood, Storm Cover and Sun Mesh
The Mountain Buggy Nano has a good sized hood for a small pushchair. There is also a flick out mesh visor at the front. However, as discussed above, there is a mesh panel at the rear of the seat, which offers no protection for a sleeping child, and also will impact on a seated child. It is clear from our photos, on a sunny day in early March, that sun was clearly coming through the mesh straight onto the face of our child!
Mountain Buggy do sell a separate sun canopy, however this does not appear to cover the rear of the pushchair at all! Only the front. It does appear that the Storm cover, may barely (if that) cover a reclined child. Certainly, we would suggest you check the fit of both accessories before purchasing them.
Handlebar, Handling and Wheels
The other big issue for us, was the very low, foam covered, handlebar – just 96cms high. Clearly, if you are of short stature, then a low handlebar may be a big advantage. However, the low handle has another side effect, which is that the Nano is very heavy to push. In fact, at first, I was so unsure about why the Nano was so heavy, that I purposely sought out different surfaces, and also asked for other opinions. However, the Nano should really have been a light stroller, but it is not. We guess that the low handle height impacts on the push. Yes, admittedly we have an older child on board, but he is still a long way off the 20kgs maximum for this pushchair. Getting up kerbs was fine, but I would not agree with Mountain Buggy’s claim of ‘oustanding kerb pop’. There are certainly easier buggies to push and tip up kerbs.
I am 5ft 6ins and in the name of testing, I persisted with pushing the Nano to make sure I knew how it handled. However my back was hurting so much from pushing such a heavy to push buggy, with such a low handle, that I was forced to stop using the Nano after a week.
The handlebar also creates another issue. The hood is so tall, that it protrudes well above the handlebar. Thus, I have lost count of the amount of times when I went to grab the handlebar, but instead I found my hands clutching the rim of the hood instead. My fears were that we would have ended up breaking the hood at some point.
The hood is extremely annoying when folded back, because when holding the handlebar, the fabric and hood rods rest on the backs of your hands. The hood was rubbing my hands so badly that I wanted to rip it off. Sadly, the hood appears to be fixed or to be honest, it absolutely WOULD have been removed! It drove me mad! Unfortunately for me, my little one, did not want the hood up, which would have resolved the issues, but he kept flinging it back each time I tried to open the hood.
We can’t logically see a reason why the handlebar could not be raised by up to 20cms and the handle would still fit within the folded size. There seems no reason to have the handle so low, unless it causes a safety concern.
The wheels meanwhile were a good size for a small pushchair – they are 6 inch EVA wheels. The pushchair felt sturdy and stable. The front wheels can swivel or be locked. The rear wheels can be popped off easily by pressing a button on each wheel.
Basket and Brake
The Nano has a decent sized basket for a small pushchair. It is only really accessible from the front, however this is easy enough to do, and it does mean that nothing falls out of the back or the sides as you walk along. My reasonable sized handbag is in the rear of the basket, in the photos, along with the pink cool bag. There is a useful ledge at the front of the basket, which means items can be wedged in. There was room for some smaller items e.g. cups or coats to be fitted in too.
The footbrake brake on the Nano is excellent. It is clearly colour coded – red for on and and blue for off. The brake is easy to apply and release.
The Mountain Buggy Nano has an innovative car seat option. First of all, all the accessories for the travel system option are kept on the pushchair which is a fantastic idea. There is a securing strap which is attached at each side underneath the seat. Under the base of the seat is an elasticated pouch which contains two elasticated cords with a red ball on. We think we would have preferred the pouch to have been secured, but the elasticated opening makes access easy. The Nano can take a Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix or Pebble, or a Cybex Aton 1 infant carrier.
Our suggestion is that you get set up the Nano before lifting the car seat onto the pushchair. The calf rest needs lifting up. The securing strap needs threading between the chassis on both sides. This takes a minute or so to do. The elasticated cords need to be ready to go. Lift the child’s infant carrier onto the seat, and very carefully thread the strap through the seat belt holders on each side. We say carefully, because we needed to turn the pushchair around, to reach the other side strap, and we were worried about the seat falling. It is quite tricky to see both sides from any given angle. Once the strap is closed and tightened, the elasticated cords need attaching. These are easy to hook over a protruding rivet under the front edge of the seat, feed through the seat handle (the handle needs to be up), and attach back onto the rivet underneath. This needs doing on the other side, which involves turning the pushchair around again. In an ideal world, the most secure way to balance your baby to attach the seat, would be with one person on either side, with one holding the car seat handle.
Although this is a very clever system, and it is so handy to have; it is also faffy, and we would have preferred some good old fashioned car seat adaptors to simply clunk the seat on top. We did have concerns about the security of the car seat as we tried to secure all three straps. Once the car seat was fully secured, it did feel very firm, and we had no issues with using the Nano with the car seat.
We had an issue when we tried to remove the car seat, because the elasticated cords got trapped down the edge of the car seat handle plastic. (See photo above) We had to pull quite hard to remove the cord, which may ultimately cause wear.
It is worth noting that the Nano should only be used as a travel system until the baby reaches 9kgs – which is usually about 9-12 months old – which is less than the amount of time an infant seat will typically be used for.
We would use the Nano as an occasional travel system option, ideally with 2 people to help fit the car seat. However, if you plan to use the car seat a lot for a newborn, then we strongly suggest you look at other travel systems, or the 0+ Babyzen YoYo as an alternative small stroller suitable from birth.
The Mountain Buggy Nano has an amazing fold. It folds into a small briefcase sized package which is light and easy to lift and carry. There is an easy to carry handle which is great. There is also a carrying strap which makes the Nano easy to sling over a shoulder. The Nano comes with a cover to protect the pushchair when travelling or storing.
To fold the Nano, the handlebar and hood first need to be folded down. This is done by depressing two buttons, one on each side near the base of the hood. The handle lowers down behind the seat. The next part of the fold is incredibly clever. We LOVE it! Using your thumb and forefinger in a pincer movement, squeeze the sides of the hood in towards the upright chassis – almost like using tweezers. This squeeze movement releases the second hand of the fold action, and the pushchair folds forwards to closed. There is a fold lock which secures the lower half of the chassis. The upper hood half needs manually securing, using the velcro wrist strap around the carrying handle, otherwise it flaps open whilst carrying.
Unfolding is simple. Release the velcro strap first which secures the hood. Then release the fold lock on the side. Flick hard, and the Nano will be pretty much upright as the wheels hit the floor. The back may just need straightening up and the chassis should lock into place.
The Nano does come with a travel bag which fits around the pushchair leaving the wheels exposed at the sides. Bear in mind that the travel bag does take a minute or so to fit. The most compact fold is achieved by removing the rear wheels. These can be stowed inside the travel bag. The seat fabrics are protected inside the fold, so for every day use, we doubt that the travel bag would be needed.
We also recommend keeping an eye on the shoulder strap. It does (at least on our Nano,) tend to dangle out of the rear of the basket, and trail along the footpath. We had to keep pushing it back in to stop it getting filthy.
Will a Mountain Buggy Nano be allowed in an overhead locker on an aeroplane flight?
We said at the start that we wished to challenge the claim by Mountain Buggy for the Nano:
“….at less than 6kg and measuring just 56 x 31 x 51cm when folded, this lightweight travel stroller meets carry on luggage restrictions for planes….”
Whilst it may be technically true that the weight (6kgs) meets carry on restrictions in New Zealand (7kgs); we wish to explore the assumption that the Nano will be allowed as ‘carry on’ / hand luggage onto any plane. We believe Mountain Buggy may be misleading consumers, (including ourselves, until we started to look into this,) by advertising the Nano as suitable for the purpose of travel as cabin hand luggage to go in an overhead locker on a plane. We have been frequent fliers with children, and we know that airlines can be extremely strict with the size of hand luggage.
Clearly, some travellers have managed to get their Nano into the cabin of a plane, and have videoed / photographed this for Mountain Buggy. However we believe that many more people will be asked to check their Nano into the hold, as the measurements for the Nano do not even come close to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines, which most airlines use. The IATA guidelines state: “Cabin baggage should have a maximum length of 56 cm (22 inches), width of 45 cm (18 inches) and depth of 25 cm (10 inches) including all handles, side pockets, wheels etc.”
We know of several people who have struggled to persuade air cabin crew, to allow their Babyzen YoYo, into an overhead locker. Yet the Babyzen YoYo (52 x 44 x 18cms folded) quite definitely DOES meet the IATA hand luggage guidance, and the fold is clearly much smaller than the Nano. It could be very embarrassing, and also frustrating for a family, if their Nano was proved at the gate to be larger than the guidelines.
We have researched a good number of leading airlines (not all listed here), and technically the Nano would not be allowed on board their planes as cabin hand luggage in an overhead locker.
Mountain Buggy’s national airline New Zealand Air’s website says:
“Customers may take one piece of cabin baggage onboard with a maximum weight of 7kg (15lbs)” and they do say “Each item should therefore not exceed total linear dimensions (length + width + height) of 118cm (46.5″) and the Nano exceeds these dimensions by 20cms (138cms total).
Here are just a few of the hand luggage (i.e. carry on) maximum size restrictions from other leading airlines:
British Airways is 56 x 45 x 25cms
Virgin Atlantic is 56 x 36 x 23cms
Easy Jet is 56 x 45 x 25cms
American Airlines is 56 x 36 x 23cms or 114cms total linear dimensions (Child carrier has to be under 56 x 35 x 23cms)
United Airlines is 56cm x 35cm x 22cm
Delta Airlines is 56 x 35 x 23 cm
Jet Blue is 45.72 cm x 38.1 cm x 20.32 cm
Virgin Australia is 48cm x 34cm x 23cm
US Airways is 36 x 23 x 56 cm
Spirit Airlines is 56 x 46 x 25 cm
Singapore Airlines: Sum of length, width and height of each piece not to exceed 115cm
Even Qantas who have flexible sizes would only allow 56 x 36 x 23cms
We have however found that Air New Zealand, are highly unusual and do have a little more freedom than most airlines with regards to taking strollers on board flights (Note: these are supplementary to ‘carry on luggage restrictions’):
“On Boeing 747, 777, 767, and 737 aircraft only, strollers with a completely collapsible frame and seating will normally fit in the overhead lockers. Other strollers do not fit, including the three-wheeled ‘jogger’ style and those which do not fold inwards when collapsed.” The website shows a photo of a cheap umbrella fold buggy as an example, which still does not clarify if the Nano would be allowed for certain.
The important point is that the Nano is being marketed world wide – not just in New Zealand – as being suitable for taking on board a plane and putting in an overhead locker.
So, from what we can conclude, if you are incredibly lucky, you may find that you can take your Mountain Buggy Nano on board your aircraft. However, do not assume that simply because Mountain Buggy show a picture of a Nano in an overhead locker of a plane, that your Nano will also be allowed on board. There is a strong possibility, that you would be asked to put your Nano into the hold of your aircraft, which I know for many will defeat the reasons they decided to buy a Nano to take on holiday, rather than a bigger stroller.
It is a little frustrating that once again, Mountain Buggy have released a product which holds such promise, but which is let down by attention to detail. The lack of a covering for the mesh at the rear of the Nano seat, is a big oversight. It is clear that even in winter, that sunlight is shining onto the face of our child, and we are not happy about the through draughts the wind will cause either.
The structure, fabrics, harness, basket and overall function of the Nano is very good. The seat size is generous, the hood is a good size.
The built in car seat fastenings are innovative and easy, however we suggest being very cautious to ensure the stability of the car seat until all the restraining straps have been secured.
The low handle will be an issue for many, as will be the hood rubbing the hand of the parent pushing the Nano.
Mountain Buggy’s over optimistic view of cabin baggage restrictions, could also potentially cause issues for Nano owners on flights which follow IATA hand luggage restrictions, and we believe that Mountain Buggy should make potential customers aware of this.
With a little more care and thought, we could easily be handing out a 5 star rating to Mountain Buggy for the Nano, because the promise of something excellent is there. However, the Nano has key issues which need addressing first, so we have given it a 4 star Best Buggy rating.
NOTE: There are more photos of the Nano in our photoset here.
Other Mountain Buggy Nano Reviews: