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What if you could buy baby gear the same way you’ve probably bought glasses, a mattress, razor blades, or any of the many other industries that are being disrupted by a new breed of direct to consumer companies? From the comfort of your own home, in your pajamas, from a modern-looking website, with the peace of mind that comes with a 100-day trial period and free shipping both ways?
That’s the idea behind Colugo, a new brand that (so far) offers a compact stroller & accessories, a baby carrier (our review here), and a full-size stroller (our review here).
A couple of years ago, Colugo approached us about reviewing both the stroller and the carrier. They, like us, were founded by a dad who wasn’t able to find the products he was looking for after becoming a parent. (Full disclosure, Colugo sent us the stroller and carrier for free to test out.) We liked their vibe and decided to give the gear a test. What follows is our review of the Colugo Compact Stroller. We’ve also got a review of the carrier right over here. Spoiler alert: after testing it against 5 other top-rated carriers, we’re naming it our best baby carrier of 2022.
Our 2022 Colugo Compact Stroller Review
The first thing you should know about Colugo’s stroller is that it’s a compact stroller. A compact stroller is (you guessed it) smaller than a full-sized stroller, and is likely to be lighter on features than its bigger, heavier brethren.
Compact strollers are great in a few scenarios:
- if you’re living in a city, where you’re likely to have a smaller living space where you don’t have the luxury of parking giant strollers in the garage, and you’re more likely to need to navigate Ubers, subways, and crowded sidewalks
- if you travel with your baby on airplanes
- if you’ve got a smaller car with a smaller trunk
- if you’re looking for a second stroller for travel
Compact strollers aren’t likely to be good for:
- Infants (the Colugo Compact, as an example, recommends babies be 6 months old). But, they just released “The Infant Kit” – a $95 add-on that turns the Colugo stroller into an infant-ready “bassinet” type stroller. We haven’t personally tested this accessory, but we love the idea of not having to buy a whole separate infant stroller.
- Jogging (most compact strollers lack the suspension and big wheels that make for a good jogging stroller
Alright, now that we understand a bit more about compact strollers, let’s talk about the Colugo Compact Stroller.
The first thing you’ll note about the Colugo Compact stroller is that it’s designed with urban & on-the-go parents in mind. It’s lightweight (just 16 pounds), it folds and unfolds with one hand in (according to Colugo) 2 seconds or (according to Fathercraft) in 3 seconds. Either way, it’s fast and doable while holding a baby in your other hand. Once folded, the stroller is just 17” x 24” x 10” and features a carry strap that allows you to carry it like a (somewhat bulky and hard) messenger bag. It’s designed to fit into an overhead bin on a plane and comes with a carry bag. Though we tested it in the suburbs of St. Louis, we could certainly imagine a New York mom or dad navigating subways and taxis with ease.
The next thing we noticed about the Colugo was its handling. We did some testing in a crowded Sunday morning farmer’s market and wove through the crowd with ease and a shockingly smooth ride and balanced feel.
Colugo also does a great job with its canopy — its UPF 50+ rated, easy to manipulate, and large enough to provide good coverage. You can unzip it to provide even more coverage.
The canopy also has a “peek-a-boo” cover for playing the namesake game, or just quietly gazing at your adorable little one.
The Rain cover (included with stroller)
The rain cover was included in the base stroller price (it’s often sold by other companies as a separate, and pricey, accessory) and was really easy to put on without needing the instructions. It covered the whole stroller and was pretty roomy for the kid inside.
The carry bag (included with stroller)
The carry bag, also included with the stroller, was a nice to have, not super easy to get stroller in b/c it was tight. It’s worth noting that the diaper backpack won’t fit in carry bag with the stroller.
We’ve seen other stroller models you can roll behind you like a rolling suitcase, but we don’t think that was the use-case Colugo was going for, and we’re not sure just how necessary that is–why not just put your kid in the stroller and push her?
If you’re seen any of our other stroller reviews, you might know we’re not fans of stroller companies that don’t include cupholders with the base model. I mean come on, parents need coffee 24×7. Fortunately, Colugo includes theirs with the Compact at no extra charge.
The diaper tote (sold separately)
Colugo’s diaper tote is a small, no-frills (but thoughtfully designed) tote designed to hold the essentials for your baby (diapers, wipes, a bottle, and a few other things of your choice, which gets its own insulated pocket). The tote does not include a changing pad. Shameless plug, if you’re looking for a more, we here at Fathercraft make a bigger, full-featured diaper bag.
Colugo’s diaper tote has also been designed to fit perfectly in the carrying basket of the Compact’s larger cousin, The Colugo Complete.
Out of the box, the Colugo stroller doesn’t have any zippered pockets. The On The Go Organizer is a new product (we haven’t tested it yet) that attaches to the handle of the stroller, adding 2 cupholders and 3 zippered pockets. Like other Colugo products, it’s waterproof & machine washable, which we appreciate knowing how gross anything like this can get. It also converts into a fanny pack or cross-body bag, so you can take valuables with you, and rock that oh-so-cool fanny pack look if you want.
The Cozy basically turns the stroller into a mini-sleeping bag for your kid for cold days. It’s got a polar fleece lining on the inside and is water-resistant on the outside for Sex-in-the-City-type sprays of water from taxis. And yes, it too is machine washable.
Plus, crucially, the stroller can still fold flat with it attached.
Alrighty. Let’s jump into what’s awesome, what we wish was different, and our final verdict.
Size, weight, and ease of carrying/manipulation
The Colugo, when folded, is small. It sort of accordion-collapses in thirds, into a relatively neat brick of stroller. Whether you’re carrying it over your shoulder, putting it in your trunk, or storing it in your small apartment, small is much appreciated. It’s worth noting that just because a stroller is labeled as compact, that doesn’t mean it’ll fold up super small. We’ve got a UPPAbaby compact stroller that’s folds in half, but is still a solid 45 inches tall when folded.
The size, combined with the carry strap placement and the three-second, one-handed fold makes the Colugo super easy to carry around, lift in and out of the trunk of a car, onto an airplane, or wherever your adventures take you.
Colugo has some nice animations of this folding and storage on their website here.
Maneuverability, ride, and build quality
As we mentioned above, the Colugo stroller has a surprisingly smooth ride and feels well-balanced, making one-handed turns a breeze.
This is due in part to a balanced design, and in part to the wheels, which are puncture-proof but also not the hard-plastic versions you’ll find on other compact strollers like the Colugo competitor Mountain Buggy Nano.
Finally, the Colugo looks and feels well-built. It’s got curb appeal (and with its variety of designs, you can match your style), and is solidly-built despite the lightweight design.
The buying experience & try it at home
In addition to the first strike against them–being in the middle of nowhere, big box baby stores are not the place to test strollers. To really get a feel for a stroller, you need to test it in the real world. So, we think the 100-day-at-home-trial model is perfect for strollers.
Using its direct-to-consumer, cut-out-big-box model, Colugo packs a lot of bang for your buck into the base model of the stroller. A high-quality stroller that reclines (many compact strollers do not) and the key rain-cover accessory are included in the base model. And you can add more accessories for not too much more.
Machine washable, removable inserts
As we noted above, baby gear gets gross. You will (trust us) let your kid eat in the stroller eventually. And crumbs and food packet gunk will get everywhere. So machine-washable removable inserts are a key selling point you’ll thank us for pointing out.
The wish it was different
Straps & buckling/harness system
The straps and buckling system on the Colugo Compact were one of the things to get upgraded in the second generation model. While the straps are still a bit flimsy and made of the same generic canvas-y material you’ll find you’d find on cheaper products, they do have shoulder padding, but are a bit on the harder end of things to tighten or loosen. We’re delighted that Colugo brought the magnetic buckling system from its the Colugo baby carrier to the Compact Stroller. It still takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, works well—magnets in the buckle help with final alignment and security.
In order to achieve its extremely compact fold, the seat back on the Colugo stroller can bend in half. This can (and did once during testing) result in your child pulling himself forward into an awkward position. But, this just happened once and is another common complaint of the sector of compact strollers that fold like this.
We also felt the Colugo could stand for mesh sides we’ve seen on some other compacts vs its very open design–when it’s in the upright position there’s not a lot of side wall.
A lack of built-in frills
Out of the box, the Colugo is fairly no-frills. (Again, this is true of many compact strollers.)
Final verdict: is the Colugo Compact worth it?
Overall, the Colugo Compact Stroller is our top choice in the compact stroller category. And for parents who live in small or urban spaces, we think the Colugo could easily be your one and only stroller (assuming you purchase the Infant Kit).
The combination of design, size, features, buying experience and price are unmatched. And, while there are some quirks and small annoyances (we haven’t found a stroller that doesn’t have these), we feel like these are heavily outweighed by an overall excellent product at a great price. Which is why the Colugo Compact was our pick for best compact in our best strollers of 2022 list.
Where to buy & pricing
As the ‘direct-to-consumer’ model might suggest, the Colugo stroller is available direct from the manufacturer, at hicolugo.com. As of 2022, select Colugo products are also available at some Buy Buy Baby stores.
The Compact stroller is available as a standalone item (with rain cover and carry bag included) for $295.
Optional accessories pricing:
Infant Adaptor Kit – $95
Cozy cold weather cover (sleeping bag might be a more accurate description, this thing is warm and delightfully puffy) – $95
Diaper Tote – $95
Organizer/cupholder – $45
That’s all for this review! Want to see the full list of items that made the cut for our baby essentials list that the Colugo stroller and carrier are a part of? Head on over here to see the full list.
Still got strollers on the brain? Well, then, check out all of our stroller reviews.
Editor’s note: this review was originally published as just the video in January, 2019, but was updated with a full review in February, 2019, and updated with a review of the second generation compact in January, 2022.