Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip Review by Best Buggy
The Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip is a really fabulous small folding pushchair with a huge seat and basket. To be perfectly honest, we could probably stop writing this review here, because the Armadillo Flip just about ticks every box for our perfect pushchair. However, it isn’t quite perfect, and we do have more to say about the Armadillo Flip, so let us continue!
Our first impressions of the Armadillo Flip were really excellent.
The Armadillo Flip arrives in a tiny box. The Armadillo Flip needs the brake bar and wheels attaching before use. However, with Mr BB impatiently waiting to leave the house, Little Miss BB and I, had the Armadillo Flip ready to go in about 2 minutes flat (Little Miss BB was popping the wheels on as I attached the brake). The fold was so intuitive that we had the Armadillo Flip folded in a second into a tiny package, without reading the instructions. We then carried the Armadillo Flip easily, one handed, out to the car. We noted that the fabrics looked great, the seat looked comfy, and everything was easy to use. It doesn’t get better than that as a first impression.
Child Comfort and Harness
The Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip seat can be placed both forward and reverse facing. The generous sized seat has three recline positions including a very upright position and a lie flat position. Thus the Armadillo Flip is suitable from birth. The recline is altered via a lever at the rear of the seat. There is also a long lift up calf rest which is well finished, with a lever which needs pulling to adjust the calf rest. It is possible to simply push the calf rest up with your hand. It is also possible to simply push a child upright, after being asleep, by pushing the back of the seat. The downside of this is that when you pull the hood up, the seat also sits upright! This is not very helpful when you have a newborn in the seat.
The harness is generous, but we like how the harness can be restricted to fit closely on a newborn baby. The waist straps start very close together behind the child (rather than starting at the sides), and then can be brought round tightly to the front. The harness can be easily altered from the front to allow room for thinner or thicker clothing. There are lovely padded shoulder harness protection pads which are fixed to the harness to maintain their position on the child’s shoulders. We love how the colour of the hood has been echoed on the harness pads.
Altering the height of seat harness take a bit of hard pushing of the clip, from the front to the rear of the seat. However, once the harness is through, the harness can be clipped into any of the 3 height sockets on the rear which gives clever, extra adjustability to the harness.
We are not fans of the buckle itself. It is the same buckle as is found now across the Mamas and Papas range, and it simply is not easy to do. There are 5 pieces to the buckle. If you are careful, then the shoulder and side buckle pieces will stay clipped together (if you aren’t careful they will break into two pieces). These 4 combined pieces then need putting together before the whole lot (a big piece) needs inserting into the buckle. This isn’t that easy if you have the harness set to be fairly snug on your child, or they have a thick winter coat on. Doing the buckle up in the dark, or if the buckle falls into 5 parts, takes the puzzle level up another notch!
Master BB looked super comfy in the seat – it was perfect for him at 98cms tall. There is a ample depth and height to the seat, with clear access to the footrest below. Master BB actually likes using the footrest on the Armadillo Flip, instead of dangling his feet! He also can cross his legs in the seat, which although a small detail, again it tells me that he is comfortable. There is no footrest when the seat is parent facing, however the calf support will easily support the legs and feet of younger babies.
We were amazed how well Master BB was supported when he was laid down. Yes, his feet hang off the end (he is after all age 4), but his ankles are supported by the curve of the calf rest.
We do think that the Armadillo Flip looks a little odd when parent facing but we can think of a couple of similar style pushchairs which also look like this. We found it was just as easy to push Master BB parent facing to forward facing.
All function buttons on the Armadillo Flip are coloured in yellow which makes spotting them easy: thus the seat recline lever is in yellow, as are the seat removal buttons and fold button. To turn the seat around, requires both hands. Simply slide the two yellow sliders on either side of the seat, backwards, whilst squeezing the button underneath at each side. The seat will lift off. It drops back on so easily once the seat has been turned around. Very simple!
There is no bumper bar which may bother some people – it is neither here nor there for us. It is easier to get a child in and out without a bumper bar.
Hood, Raincover and Basket
The Armadillo Flip hood is ABSOLUTELY ENORMOUS! It is one of the biggest hoods we have ever seen! The hood came well down past Master BB’s knees when he was sat upright. We love that there are no mesh panels in it – just a snuggly, dark, sheltered space for a child whether it is hot or cold. The hood has three main panels and an additional front flick out sun visor. There is a clear plastic peekaboo window in the middle panel which has a silent magnetic fastener. The peekaboo window has been designed so that you can peek on a sleeping baby, rather than on a child who is sat up – although you could fold the hood back by one panel in order to access the window. The Armadillo Flip comes with a raincover.
The basket on the Armadillo Flip is also very large. It is easily accessed from all sides (the front is easiest with the calf rest raised). The basket sides are elasticated, which made access easier, and also it was easy to wedge items in. We were very surprised how much we could get into the basket, and also the overall size of it. Excellent.
Wheels, Handlebar and Handling
The wheels of the Mamas and Papas Armadillo are small soft touch ones, which have a slight give in them. This gives a smooth ride. The wheels can be removed very easily for cleaning or storage. The front wheels can be swivel or locked. The Armadillo Flip is really an urban pushchair. However, we did take the Armadillo Flip out over very rough ground, up and over grassy hillocks and through mud, and it was great. So it should handle most of the places we usually take a pushchair e.g. the park, children’s farm parks, a walk on a rough path etc. We do wish that the Armadillo Flip had black wheels like the Armadillo City wheels. They look much better than the silver with the dark chassis. We do like the silver metal footplate though!
The manoeuverability is generally excellent, although the push is not as light as we would have liked it to be. However, we also have a lot of experience with different pushchairs, and this would probably be something that not many people would notice or know! Everything else about the Flip works so well, and we don’t think this should put anyone off buying. We would certainly love to keep an Armadillo Flip here at BBHQ.
The handlebar is covered in dense foam. In the centre is the fold button. The handlebar is a fixed height which will not necessarily suit everyone. However, I am 5ft 6ins tall and it is perfect for me. The Armadillo Flip XT which is coming in future will have an adjustable handlebar, as well as larger wheels.
There is also a wrist strap on the handlebar which is useful to prevent the pushchair running away from you.
The Mamas and Papas Armadillo Flip has a newborn cocoon which can be used in the seat to give extra comfort and security for a newborn baby. The Armadillo Flip also has a carrycot option. The carrycot fits easily onto the chassis and releases with a front release handle. The carrycot has hidden ventilation which is covered to keep a baby snug in winter.
The Armadillo Flip can also become a travel system with the addition of car seat adaptors. These allow a Mamas & Papas Aton, Cybex Aton Q, a Maxi Cosi Pebble or Cabriofix or a BeSafe Izi Go 0+ infant car seat to be attached to the Armadillo Flip chassis.
Fold / Unfold
The Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip is certainly easy to fold and unfold. Originally Mamas & Papas claimed that the Flip was the fastest folding pushchair, but we now see they have qualified this now by saying the Armadillo Flip is the “Fastest to fold, parent & forward facing” and have added several other claims – of the largest seat, most compact fold, one handed fold, simplest to fold. However bizarrely, Mamas & Papas have chosen the “Uppababy Cruz, Bugaboo Bee, Quinny Zapp Xtra 2″ to compare the Flip against. We would like to suggest that like for like, are probably pushchairs such as the iCandy Raspberry, Easywalker Mosey, the Stokke Scoot, the Babystyle Oyster2 and the Bugaboo Bee3. Yes, the Armadillo Flip certainly sits amongst these as being easy to fold, but there are other easy folding pushchairs on our list.
However, let us grant the Flip it’s due, without any “claims”. The Armadillo Flip is very easy to fold, however, there are a number of steps.
To fold the Armadillo Flip when forward facing, first fold the back of the seat down to meet the seat pad. Then using the yellow button on the handlebar, slide it to the right whilst rotating the central ‘barrel’ of the handlebar downwards. Then push the handlebar forwards, over the folded seat, until it almost touches the front wheels. There are green indicators at the base of the seat which will confirm the correct position has been achieved. Underneath the seat, is a handle. Grasp that and pull towards yourself. The Armadillo Flip will then smoothly fold together and autolock into a freestanding position (if the wheels lie correctly).
To fold the Armadillo Flip when the seat is parent facing, the seat needs folding in half towards you first. Again the green indicators will show when the seat is in the correct position. Then the whole of the folded seat needs flipping forwards until it nearly touches the front wheels. Then the remainder of the fold is as above i.e. bring the handlebar over, and pull the chassis locked.
To unfold the Armadillo Flip when the seat was left on forward facing, undo the fold lock. With your thumb then start to flick the handlebar upwards. Pull the handlebar fully upright until it clicks, whilst at the same time allow the wheels to slide open and lock into position. Using the yellow lever on the rear of the seat, pull the seat upright and open, ready to go.
To unfold the Armadillo Flip when the seat is rear facing, the process is almost the same, but once the handle is pulled upright, the seat unit needs the additional step of flipping back over into position to open up parent facing.
The fold is really neat and flat, and it also freestands when folded. The fold is one of the best things about the Flip. The Flip will store neatly flat or will slide into a space. Look how neat the Armadillo Flip is in the boot of our car, compared to the Cosatto Giggle and the Casual Play Kudu 4. The Flip is also easy to carry using the handle which is used when folding.
The seat can be folded off the chassis as a ‘clamshell’ and the chassis can then be folded on its own. It took us ages to work out how to fold the chassis without the seat on, but eventually we worked out that rolling the central bar allows for an easy fold. It is simple to open the frame again.
We like how there is another notch on the fold lock to allow room for a footmuff to be left on when folding. We also love the little ‘stoppers’ to protect the chassis from getting damaged when folding. Having the instructions printed on the seat is also good. All very thoughtful of Mamas & Papas. These little touches make the difference.
Before we finish, we want to add in a few lines about an incident which happened to us. We took the Armadillo Flip with us on Bonfire Night. Unfortunately, one of our sparklers broke, and the lit end flew off. Mr BB managed to deflect the end from our son who was sat in the Armadillo Flip. However, the end landed on the pushchair, thankfully right between the legs of our son. It unfortunately burnt two tiny holes in the seat liner, but thanks to the fire retardant fabrics, the whole pushchair did not burn. If we had taken one of our other pushchairs that day, we may not have been so lucky. The fire retardant fabric without a doubt, saved our son from more serious burn damage. (Some of our other pushchairs are imports which do not have fire retardant fabrics.) Poor Mr BB burnt his nail, but he’s not grumbled about it for ages now.
We LOVE the Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip. It is so easy to use – everything is intuitive and easy. The Armadillo Flip will cope with most typical situations where you would take a child. The fold is quick and very neat. We love how the Armadillo Flip will freestand when folded. The HUGE basket is brilliant for all your baby gear. The seating positions are excellent. The hood is absolutely ginormous! A raincover is included. There are carrycot and car seat options.
Our only criticisms are minor, and subjective. The Armadillo Flip is not as light as we would like to push. However, we think most people would never know that there are lighter pushchairs on the market, and will think the Armadillo Flip is great to push! The handle is fixed height – but we understand that the Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip XT will have an adjustable handle. We don’t like the new Mamas & Papas buckles, nor how moving the hood can move the seat. However, on balance these things are minor and may not be issues for other users. Hence after discussion we felt these should not influence our overall rating, when this pushchair is so good otherwise.
The Armadillo Flip really ticks all our boxes for a perfect all round pushchair at a mid range price. You get a lot for your money compared to some of the top end pushchairs, and on balance, this is one of the factors which has led to us giving the Mamas and Papas Armadillo Flip a Best Buggy 5 gold star rating. We think the Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip would be a perfect choice, as the one pushchair which would take you from birth, to the end of your pushchair using days. A really excellent, practical, pushchair.
With many thanks to Mamas and Papas for their help with this review.
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