UPPAbaby G-LiTE Stroller: The Lightest Ride Around

08/04/2009 at 03:30 PM ET

For years I’ve loved my umbrella stroller, but I think I’ve found one that dethrones my old standby.

UPPAbaby’s G-LiTE stroller ($130) is the lightest full-sized umbrella stroller on the US market.

It weighs in at just 8.3 pounds but it’s really packed with features like a cup holder and a washable seat pad, and it stands when it’s folded.

UPPAbaby is a unique, American company that uses planet-friendly practices like recycling cardboard, encouraging employees to telecommute and donating less-than-perfect strollers to charity. Unfortunately the strollers are manufactured in China like all the rest but that’s also why the stroller only costs $130 instead of $500. Recently I’ve noticed more and more UPPAbaby strollers carrying New York’s fashionable babies.

The G-LiTE is designed for babies over six months old because it doesn’t recline and they have to be able to sit up comfortably. It will handle a 40-pound child though, so it’s going to last a long while. My average-sized 4-year-old son, Finn is only 34 pounds.

Assembly and Fold
Assembly is very fast and easy. Just snap on the wheels and the sun shade and you’re ready to hit the road. The fold on the G-LiTE is unusual because the levers are on the handles and there’s no fancy footwork required. Just release a safety latch and pull on one tab with each hand and it folds easily. It automatically locks (though the fold could be more compact – but that’s a little nitpicky) and it stands when folded. I hate laying a folded stroller on the ground in wet weather so that’s a great feature for me. It has a nice carrying strap that doesn’t dangle, so you can easily fold the stroller and put it on your shoulder before boarding a train or bus.

Seat, Recline and Ride
The seat itself is just mesh, but a cushy, machine-washable seat pad is included in the price. The seat is over 13 inches wide and Finn sat in it comfortably. The seat does not recline at all, which is a deal-breaker for some (if you need a recline, you could always get the UPPAbaby G-Luxe which weighs just 11 pounds).

An adjustable, five-point safety harness features a nice, wide, padded crotch strap. It drives me nuts when the padding falls off other strollers all the time, but this one is sewn together so it stays put. All of the straps can be removed easily when your child no longer needs to be strapped in.

For an umbrella stroller with hard, plastic wheels, the ride is pretty smooth. The front wheels have shock absorbers, which seem to help somewhat. The aluminum frame is strong and doesn’t feel like it’s twisting and writhing under the weight of my preschooler. There is some wheel noise on the sidewalk but it isn’t distracting.

Storage and Bells and Whistles
The G-LiTE has a large, mesh basket that’s really accessible but still secure. Only the removable carrying strap stands between the parent and the basket and it wasn’t in the way. It’s good to have a large basket on an umbrella stroller because they are usually too light to hold a diaper bag on the handles without tipping backward. The stroller comes with a cup holder for parents. Call me easily amused, but that’s a big thing for me, and it’s unusual to find one on an umbrella stroller.

Sun Protection
The sun shade isn’t huge on the G-LiTE and, until I played with it, I thought it might not stand up to my rigorous standards for sun protection. But I was wrong! The sun shade is only about 14 inches long, but it clicks down and goes forward until it covers the whole seat. It gives about 10 extra inches of coverage when it’s pulled down all the way. That extra shade attaches to the top of the seat and Finn could feel the fabric on the top of his head, but 15-month-old Egan wasn’t bothered a bit by it. It is not a big issue and it’s a compromise I’m willing to make for more shade.

Pros: Wide seat, great sun coverage for an umbrella stroller, comes with a washable seat pad and cup holder, and it’s extremely light for carrying.

Cons: The fold could be more compact and it has no recline feature.

Recommended For: Commuters and travelers who want the lightest umbrella on the market but insist on high quality.

Final Verdict: The UPPAbaby G-LiTE squeezed every ounce of functionality out of a super lightweight frame. With great sun coverage, a washable seat pad and even a cup holder, the only thing you may wish for is a reclining seat.

— Kristen, NJ mama to energetic 1 and 4 year old boys, loves hot designer goods (but appreciates a good bargain even more) and believes strollers should come with cup holders and toys should have volume controls

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