Baby Jogger City Mini Zip – 6 Month Review by Best Buggy
The Baby Jogger City Mini Zip has been here at Best Buggy HQ now for nearly six months. We are going to write this review a little differently to most because we did an initial review here which we would recommend you read before continuing with this updated review. The initial review will tall you the basic mechanics of how the Baby Jogger City Mini Zip works. Here we want to update our experiences with the Zip from the last few months.
The Baby Jogger City Mini Zip has been an extremely useful little pushchair. When we say little, we are referring to the fold, and not the open size. As our side by side photos of the Zip next to the City Mini 3 shows, the City Mini Zip is a similar size to the regular City Mini pushchairs. As the photos of the children show clearly, the hood canopy rim of the Zip is set higher than the City Mini hood rim, although when open, both hoods are a similar height. The handle is a little lower, but it still feels high. The handle height is perfect for me at 5ft 6ins. The chassis looks completely different to the City Mini, but fundamentally the City Mini Zip feels very much a Baby Jogger (unlike say the Lite or the Vue).
We have a bit of an obsession here at BBHQ over small folding pushchairs. Pushchairs which fit into small spaces, but yet are practical. We have owned a wide selection of small folding pushchairs, but there are big compromises with each for the small fold. The City Mini Zip is unique because it has a very compact fold, however there are no compromises on seat size, on child comfort, on handle height, or on storage space. There is one compromise, but we believe this can be overcome.
We are also going to start at the end of what is usually a typical Best Buggy review by discussing the fold….
The Baby Jogger City Mini Zip is ALL ABOUT THE AMAZING FOLD!!!
The fold carries most weight in this review because this is why you would choose to have a Zip, and this needs to be borne in mind in order to place the City Mini Zip in the bigger picture of pushchairs! If you don’t need the small neat fold, then you wouldn’t buy a City Mini Zip – you would buy a regular City Mini 3 or 4.
The City Mini Zip exists for the parents who need a tiny fold, or a small freestanding fold, or who travel lots and need a pushchair that you can fold one handed and then will freestand next to you on the bus or the train. The City Mini Zip fold is for those who have a lifestyle or a car which demands a tiny folding pushchair. The City Mini Zip is for the family with 5 children and very little boot space!
The Baby Jogger City Mini Zip is ALL ABOUT THE AMAZING FOLD!!!
So why is the fold so amaaaaazing?
First of all, the fold can be done one handed. In the middle of the handlebar is a round circular shape which has a hinged lid. Opening the lid reveals a button. Push the button and the handlebar releases and starts to fold inwards. Then simply grab the handle in the centre of the seat and pull very hard. Our Zip does need a really very hard yank. The Zip then folds inwards – similar to a folding chair or a travel cot until it ends up in a nice neat cuboid package – long but narrow and thin. Sometimes the Zip needs a squeeze together to get the fold lock to lock into position, but this can still be done one handed by leaning it against your shins, and pushing it shut.
The fold is almost identical to the regular City Mini fold, except it is also half the width. Unlike the City Mini, the Zip freestands when folded. (See these side by side photos.) The fold forms a chunk with nothing loose hanging out, no delicate parts which could get broken, and with the fabrics largely concealed inside the fold. These are the reasons why the Zip was our pushchair of choice for our recent flight to Lapland.
We knew we needed something robust enough to be thrown into the hold of a plane, and not get the fabric damaged or marked. We really struggled to find something which we felt confident enough to do the last of these requirements without a travel bag (we had no space to take one with us). As it turned out, the Baby Jogger City Mini Zip was the absolutely perfect companion. It handled the snow absolutely fine (on the occasions that we didn’t have sledges). It survived the flight very well. Even the kind baggage handlers worked out how to put the Zip up and down so that it was open and waiting for us on the tarmac as we came down the stairs. This in itself is worth noting, as it isn’t obvious how you open and close the Zip. Our taxi driver was relieved that we only had a small pushchair with all our bags. We were pleased that we could leave the Zip freestanding so easily when we didn’t need it. The only downside of placing the Zip down so that it freestands is that the circular joint on the handlebar does get scratched.
We found the Zip simple to carry by the pull handle when we needed to carry it folded. The Zip weighs just 7.3kgs which is light for such a sturdy pushchair.
It is possible to open the Zip one handed – there is a fold lock with a sprung bar which needs pressing open to release. Then a good shake should get the Zip up and on its wheels. The handlebar needs locking into position, and the footrest needs locking down into position too. It is important not to forget to lock the footrest!
The red safety straps should be attached at all times. We apologise because we are guilty of not using them at all time!
The Baby Jogger City Mini Zip has a large seat. It is slightly smaller than the other pushchairs in the Baby Jogger family, but it has one of the highest hood rims, and thus the seat feels larger than it probably is. Master BB is around 4 years 3 months old to 4 years 6 months old in these photos. He was 98cms tall.
The seat is very upright – we have ‘sit upright’ straps on our other Baby Jogger pushchairs, but we have felt no requirement to add them to the Zip – the seat is upright enough.
The seat is plenty wide enough, and deep enough for even a large toddler. The lift up calf rest is very useful for a child who needs to nap. This is probably an advantage over the City Mini or GT pushchairs.
The footrest is well placed to give foot support, and an older child may well rest their feet on the front edge of the chassis if required.
The seat is lightly padded, which is not luxurious, but it is sufficient. Little Miss BB has had no complaints which is a good sign.
There is a toggle recline which is easy to release. As with all the Baby Joggers, it takes two hands and an arm to push the seat back upright and to do the toggle back up tightly. There has been plenty of room for Master BB to sleep in the Zip (we took it to a wedding and he slept in it at the evening party). However, it was quite tippy with him asleep laid flat, so be aware of this if you have a bigger child sleeping in the Zip. However we appreciate that most children of Master BB’s age, will not sleep in this pushchair.
When the seat is reclined there is open mesh at the rear of the seat. This has a fabric cover over it, which is tightly velcroed down all along the edges so ensure a good fit, to keep the cold out in winter. However, there is a small flap of fabric at the top of the seat which is not secured down, and as our photoset photos show, the wind can easily blow this open and closed which is a little annoying. A couple of velcro tabs would have made this neater and stopped the flapping!
We have not tried to add a liner or a footmuff as yet, thus we do not know if any extra fabric will affect the fold or not. We suspect that anything too thick, may be an issue as we sometimes need to push the Zip together to autolock.
The hood is a huge one! It is a Lycra style hood which we do not really like, but it does still look smart. However, we can forgive the City Mini Zip for this thinner floppy hood, because it is a necessity for the amazing fold. Be aware that the fabric can be stretched and may ‘pull’ easily. The hood does still have an SPF50+ rating for those who want to travel to more sunny climes. There is no peekaboo window.
The harness is the only thing we don’t like on the Baby Jogger City Mini Zip. A harness on a pushchair is a safety feature and thus needs to fit properly. We have struggled to keep the harness on Master BB’s shoulders.
The harness is sewn onto the rear of the seat, rather than being clipped on or threaded through. There is a slight height adjustment available by simply sliding the top of the harness up and down through a loop. This is rudimentary, and the difference between the lowest and the highest setting is only a few centimetres. Given the City Mini Zip is suitable from birth, this is not sufficient to differientiate between the harness size of a newborn and a 3 year old. We strongly suggest that you look critically at the harness and consider adding on an additional harness using the D rings situated at either side of the seat, as well as the Zip harness, to keep your little one safer.
Our biggest issue though is with the harness sliding loose. This appears to be a harness strap fabric problem. It is to slippery. We did raise this problem with Baby Jogger when we first got the City Mini Zip, so we are waiting to see if this has changed at all on the UK models. We always try to ensure our children are strapped in as tightly as possible, but no matter what we did, you can see in the photos that Master BB could easily remove his arms from the harness and lean out.
The harness buckle will break into 5 pieces however, it does not simply fall apart in your hand like many ‘breakaway’ harnesses do. It would require a big tug to break the harness into 5 pieces. So whilst, we would prefer any buckle not to ‘break’ at all, this particular buckle is no problem. In fact, due to the issues we have had with the harness, being able to use it as a 3 piece harness has been a benefit. Master BB is now 4 and a half (so more sensible), and we have (against what we would prefer) used just a 3 point harness on him, simply to be able to benefit from the advantages of the small fold of the Zip.
There are protective pads on the harness. We do find that these have fallen off a few times which is a little frustrating.
We do love the Baby Jogger detail on the harness ends. These are a really smart touch!
There is a very generous basket underneath the Baby Jogger City Mini Zip. It is deceptive and surprising. The basket extends right underneath the front wheels of the Zip, and goes all the way to the rear. The seat of the Zip sits considerably higher than the City Mini, so you can gain from the height of the basket space too. Although access from the rear is restricted, there is excellent access from the front – by lifting up the calf rest and pushing the bags through – and plenty of room by stretching the elasticated sides to push larger items in. In Lapland we had several rucksacks under the seat which saved us carrying the bags all day. Superb storage space.
There is also a large mesh pocket on the rear of the seat. This is handy to put smaller or flat items in.
Wheels, Brake, Handling
The Baby Jogger City Mini Zip has four reasonably sized wheels. The front wheels are lockable, swivel wheels.
The Baby Jogger City Mini Zip is a dream to push, manoeuvre and handle. It is easy to push one handed even with a larger child on board. We have had no problems tipping it up kerbs or lowering it down kerbs. It is fabulous to push. It was no problem on the snow in Lapland even though the surface was uneven, icy, snowy and slushy in places.
There is a footbrake on our Baby Jogger City Mini Zip – our Zip came from the U.S.. We like the red step on brake for on, and the green brake for off. The UK and EU City Mini Zips will have a handbrake. The footbrake has been no trouble to use, but a handbrake is usually better.
One final point, the Baby Jogger City Mini Zip can be used as a travel system in the U.S., however, there is no sign of this being available as an option here in the UK. There are two blanking plates above the Baby Jogger logos on either side which cover where the adaptors would fit – these have been removed in some of our photos so that they did not get lost on the plane journey. Unusually for us, we have taken our photo set at the end of our testing period, and even though the Zip has been well used and travelled, it is still in really good condition.
The Baby Jogger City Mini Zip is the only truly full sized pushchair in a tiny folding package. This sets the City Mini Zip so far head and shoulders above the competition for what it does. The Baby Jogger City Mini Zip is outstanding, for what anyone would need in a small folding pushchair. This is a full sized pushchair, with a huge seat, tall handle, easy one handed fold, with a big basket, large hood and more! The only compromise really is the harness which potential buyers need to be aware of. We have had numerous small folding pushchairs, and every one has had bigger compromises – low handle, flex in the frame, small basket, difficult to steer and manoeuvre etc. We suggest strongly that if you think it necessary, that you add on your own additional harness to the D rings, or find some way to secure the harness yourself. We have already asked Baby Jogger to consider altering the harness on the Zip, and we sincerely hope this will happen, if the UK stock haven’t already been changed.
Unusally, we at Best Buggy have decided that although the harness is an issue, we have still given the Baby Jogger City Mini Zip 5 Best Buggy gold stars because quite simply there is no other travel pushchair like this. If you are looking for a full sized pushchair in a tiny package, then the Zip is the pushchair that you need. We are anticipating lots of grumbles about the harness, but overall, we think parents are going to love and appreciate the City Mini Zip for what it does, and will understand exactly why we decided to give the City Mini Zip our highest star rating award. It is well deserved for its awesome design.
Other Baby Jogger City Mini Zip Reviews: