No, not the 1960’s folk rock group. Mamas and Papas (M&P) is the UK-based baby product manufacturer and retailer that landed in the U.S. in 2010. In Britain, the brand is similar to Graco, selling products across several categories. Unlike U.S. competitors, Mamas and Papas not only makes baby gear but also runs their own chain of stores in Britain.
The models. The flagship model here is the oddly named Armadillo, a “big little stroller” as the company bills it. The Armadillo ($224, 20 lbs. pictured at right) features a wide seat, full recline, adjustable footrest, one hand fold, large basket and wheel suspension. Car seat adapters are available for the Chicco, Maxi Cosi and Cybex car seats.
In case you missed it, the Armadillo is clearly “inspired” by the Bugaboo Bee, down to the animal name and bright colored canopy. On the plus side, the Armadillo is less than half the Bee’s $700+ price tag.
The Armadillo has been so successful that M&P has rolled out three spin-offs: the Armadillo City, Flip and Flip XT. The Armadillo City has been discontinued, but we still see it sold online. At first blush, the City doesn’t look much different, but M&P addressed some complaints about the old model—namely, the buckle that was hard to work. The hood is detachable and the fabric doesn’t get dirty when the stroller is folded. One trade-off: the foot rest that was adjustable on the Armadillo is now non-adjustable on the Armadillo City.
As you might guess from the name, the Armadillo Flip ($400, 21.6 lbs.) has a reversible seat, upgraded padding and a huge canopy that can enclose the stroller. You can fold the stroller with the seat facing either direction.
If that weren’t enough, there is also the Armadillo Flip XT ($600, 23.4 lbs.)—an upgraded version of the Flip with height adjustable handle with faux leather trim, larger basket and wheels. The canopy is even larger than on the Flip.
Does M&P make strollers that aren’t named Armadillo? Yes, they do.
Mamas & Papas flagship stroller used to be the Urbo. Now they offer a revised version called the Urbo 2. It still has the shiny aluminum frame with reversible seat, large canopy and fully reclining seat. Infant car seat adapters are available for Graco and Maxi Cosi infant seats ($40 to $60). New on the Urbo 2 is front and rear wheel suspension, a reversible fully reclining seat and flip flop friendly brakes. The Urbo 2 ($500, 23.7 lbs.) also has an optional bassinet ($240) and an easier fold (with the seat facing forward only, however).
The spider-like Mylo2 stroller is heavy (32 lbs.) and pricey ($660), but includes a carrycot, foot muff, fully reclining seat that reverses, telescoping handle and adjustable footrest. The Mylo 2 is no longer on M&P’s web site. We’ve seen a few for sale online, but this model looks like it’s on its way out.
The Sola2 ($430, 26.1 lbs.) is Mamas and Papas’ riff on the Bugaboo Cameleon, with smaller front wheels and reversible seat. Like the Urbo, it has an optional infant car seat adapter and features adjustable handle height. The Sola has four wheel suspension, a lay flat seat and included rain cover. FYI: The Sola is Mamas and Papas best-selling model in the UK. The Sola MTX ($480) features upgraded fabrics and bigger basket/wheels.
New for 2017, Mamas and Papas has introduced the Ocarro, a full-featured 30 lb. stroller for $600. It comes with chrome accents, leatherette handles and bumper bar, lay flat seat, elliptical frame, one hand fold, height adjustable handle, reversible seat and optional bassinet. Car seat adapters are sold separately. While it has a foot brake, it isn’t pedicure friendly.
Our view. When Mamas and Papas invaded the U.S. a few years ago, they fell victim to one of the classic blunders of European stroller companies. The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia.” But only slightly less well known is this: never assume the stroller that sells well in the UK will appeal to Americans.mama
Hence, the first round of Mamas and Papas strollers brought to these shores was met with the sound of one hand clapping. They were too heavy, too expensive, had dinky storage baskets, lacked cup holders and were cumbersome to fold. They might be a hit in London, but in Houston, they bombed.
To their credit, Mamas and Papas regrouped and released the Armadillo (and later the Armadillo Flip XT). Despite being clearly derivative of other animal-named strollers, at least this stroller hits all the right notes—relatively light in weight (although at 20 lbs., they are pushing it), easy to fold and spacious in storage. Parent reviews of this family of strollers is positive.
Feedback on Mamas and Papas other models have been mixed. While fans like the overall features of the strollers, critics point out little problems are always popping up—a cup holder that doesn’t stay in place, wheels that squeak or click after a month of usage.
The fold of many models is probably the biggest criticism here—”user unfriendly” is how one parent described it. Even the Armadillo, while an improvement, is pretty stiff and difficult to close with one hand. Compared to the one-step, one-hand fold of Baby Jogger its a pain. Oh and the Armadillo stroller can’t fold when the car seat adapters are attached.
And why no car seat adapter for Graco for the Armadillo? Only the Urbo 2 and the Sola have a Graco adapter. Did they miss the millions of these infant seats being sold?
Bottom line for the strollers: it is mixed review for Mamas and Papas. Kudos to the Armadillo for hitting the mark. But a miss for the Mylo 2 and Sola 2. But we are raising the grade for this brand a half grade to reflect their continued improvement. Baby Bargains Resale Rank: Excellent. Rating: B-