It would be hard to overstate the good looks of the Orbit Baby Limited Edition Porter Collection G3 Travel System. It’s a head-turning, compliment-attracting visual treat that, as luck would have it, also has a lot to offer in terms of practicality. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
This set includes four key pieces that work interchangeably to meet your every baby-transporting need: the G3 infant car seat, car seat base, stroller seat and stroller base. It also includes a cargo basket and sunshade, which are typically sold separately. The entire system is outfitted with a tailored twill exterior and leatherette accents that make the Limited Edition Porter Collection a modern-vintage mashup that screams style. (Between it and my baby, I honestly don’t think anyone has any attention left to focus on me—which mean no one notices my maybe-a-little-too-dry-shampooed ’do and slightly spitup-scented sweatshirt. Score!)
The car seat snaps into the in-car base with ease and is just as easy to use with the stroller base. In both instances, the patented SmartHub ring system allows you to attach the car seat with a quick click and then squeeze two levers to rotate up to 360 degrees until your desired angle is achieved.
In the car, this means you can turn the car seat to face you (while you stand at the open door), so you can easily adjust the buckles/insert a pacifier/offer one more kiss before turning the seat into a safe rear-facing position for driving.
When using the stroller, the same rotation factor applies, which means baby can face you, face forward, or even face sideways (which I’ve found to be handy while tucked into a corner a restaurant—we couldn’t fit the stroller frame sideways, but we could turn our daughter in a way that she could see us and vice versa).
The car seat is ideal for moving a sleeping baby from car to stroller, and I really like its luxurious knit fabric and good-sized sunshade. It’s a bit bigger and bulkier than some other infant car seats on the market, but the flexible carry handle makes it relatively comfortable to sling over your arm when necessary. (When we can, we use the stroller frame and save our backs!)
The stroller frame is also fantastic when used with the stroller seat. The seat reclines significantly—and oh-so easily!—so tots can lean way back. Of note: Because the entire seat moves, not just the backrest, the seat does not lie completely flat. However, it’s pretty darn close.
The sunshade is enormous, and the seat is ultra plush with a memory-foam insert. I think I’d be quite happy to ride in a seat like this! The five-point harness is easy enough to buckle but requires two hands to undo. (Darn safety features!) Still, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out, thankfully.
The footrest is adjustable (with just one hand), allowing kids up to 50 pounds to ride comfortably. Although the seat can rotate 360 degrees, I noticed that when the seat is sitting upright, the footrest gets in the way when it reaches the handlebars. To have baby go from facing forward to facing you, it’s best to recline the seat completely (and make sure the footrest is on its shortest setting) before turning it around. Alternately, you can remove the seat from the base and re-place it, if that’s easier in a particular instance.
The stroller is incredibly easy to steer and turn—even with one hand—and the handlebars are adjustable, which is great for parents (or babysitters) of varying heights. The coordinating parent console is perfect for stashing your keys and phone, as well as a beverage or two. (The Porter Collection comes with a complimentary travel mug that fits beautifully, a small but appreciated perk.)
Foam-filled rubber tires and a patented Quadshock suspension system make for a smooth ride all around the city, even when we’re navigating curbs and in-desperate-need-of-repair sidewalks. The one-touch brakes are easy to use, thanks to a red foot pedal on the left (stop) and a green foot pedal on the right (go). There’s no need to worry about scuffing your shoes or scraping your toes!.
To fold the stroller, you have to first remove the stroller seat. From there, the stroller base can be folded by twisting a bar with one hand. I’ve practiced enough to avoid scraping the handlebars on the ground during this process, but during the first few times, I definitely hacked them up a bit. Oops! The base locks into place, so it doesn’t come unfolded in the back of your trunk, which I love. And because it stores in two pieces, I’d venture to say the fold is more compact than it would be otherwise. (Although it’s still a good size. Don’t think you’re getting this in your Mini Cooper.) Still, I wish the stroller could be folded in one piece—who among us wouldn’t enjoy having one less thing to worry about?
The cargo basket on the stroller base a good size without being totally massive. (I’ve managed to stuff a medium diaper bag in there, along with a small blanket.) It’s equipped with elasticized access panels on either end to make getting your must-haves in and out a little easier. This a huge help, making what would be a tight squeeze substantially less of one. There are also zippered pockets on the sides that are great for tucking away small items, like car keys, crayons and a notepad or granola bars. I’ve noticed that the stroller base folds best when the cargo basket is empty or nearly empty.
At $1,500, the price point on the stroller is steep. But in addition to the quality of the materials used and the well-thought-out design, there’s another selling point that helps justify the price tag: The stroller can become a double stroller with the addition of the Helix Plus double stroller upgrade kit ($300) and/or sidekick stroller board ($120). No these additions are not free, but they do eliminate the need to purchase a completely separate stroller as your family expands. Plus, as your older kiddos outgrow the need for a ride, you can return to using it as a single stroller, so there’s plenty of time to get your money’s worth.
The Orbit Baby G3 is an incredible travel system and the Limited Edition Porter Collection is especially stunning. If your budget can accommodate the splurge, I can’t imagine you’ll regret the purchase.
To buy: orbitbaby.com