"The canopy extends a significant distance, and it even has a zippered panel that allows you to extend it to cover almost all of baby. Another cool feature: One of the canopy panels folds forward to reveal a mesh window, so you can keep an eye on baby and he can look up at the sky."
The gb Evoq Travel System was sitting on our porch when I came home from work. My first thought was “Man, that’s a huge box.” Although it took some effort, I was able to get it up the stairs to our second-floor apartment by myself. As soon as I opened the box, I could tell the Evoq was a very well-designed system.
The only assembly required was inserting two wheels into the stroller base. They clicked right in, and the entire system was ready to use—super simple. Once I had everything unboxed, I put the stroller through its paces. Obviously, I ignored the instruction manual, but because everything moved, locked, adjusted tilted, and folded exactly as you would expect it to, I didn’t even have to look for help. The Evoq is incredibly intuitive, which makes using it a no-brainer.
The handle extends, but not a ton—just enough so that you’re not stepping on the wheels. Collapsing the stroller for storage is easy. You simply pull two triggers with your fingers and lift. The handlebar goes forward, and the frame drops down. The stroller seat even folds up right along with the stroller. Heads up: The Evoq isn’t the most compact stroller you’ll find—it takes up about as much floor space as our dog crate—but it still folds up enough to go into the trunk of our coupe as well as our wagon.
The four-wheeled base is sturdy but still maneuvers nicely. There’s a one-step brake on the back wheels that locks into place and provides a good grip, but it also unlocks with a simple lift of the foot. All four wheels are big and wide, so the stroller never feels unsteady. Under the seat is a deep mesh carrier basket, roughly the size of a boot box, offering plenty of storage for long walks and trips. Bonus: the basket doesn’t collapse when the stroller folds, so you could keep your stuff in there all day without a second thought. The stroller even comes with a cup holder.
The stroller seat itself has a bunch of neat features. Like many, it can be installed forward- or rear-facing. It goes on and comes off with the simple push of a button on either side, and its aluminum frame makes it super light. It offers four recline positions and has an adjustable footrest. The canopy extends a significant distance, and it even has a zippered panel that allows you to extend it to cover almost all of baby. Another cool feature: One of the canopy panels folds forward to reveal a mesh window, so you can keep an eye on baby and he can look up at the sky. The five-point harness also offers three height settings that can be adjusted to fit your baby. The seat doesn’t have a stroller tray, in case that’s a deal breaker.
The compatible Asana 35 AP Infant Car Seat is also nice. For starters, it’s sturdy—made withthick plastic and plush fabric. But it’s not at all too heavy. The classy yet muted sterling color palate is great—very manly for me and my little dude—but the system also comes in teal. The carrier handle has all the positions you’d expect, and the seat snaps in and out of its base or the stroller with the simple squeeze of a release lever on the back of the head support. The canopy is short, though. Fully extended, it only comes about 1/3 of the way over the seat. The way I see it, that’s just an excuse to get the little man some baby wayfarers, right? The carrier also comes with a low birth weight insert, which was a nice feature considering our little guy spent two months in the NICU. It’s not the most intuitive thing to use, but it definitely helps position small babies more effectively.
Buckling your little one into the carrier takes some practice. There are no height adjustment slots for the shoulder straps; instead, the head support and shoulder straps slide down to secure your kiddo. In other words, you put the little one in the seat, buckle his waist and crotch, and then pull the slack out of the shoulder straps. As you do, the back of the car seat and headrest slide down to tighten on his shoulders. Be patient and practice with the system a few times. Once we got the hang of it, we really loved it. (Our guy was a preemie, so we may have been slightly stressed when we put him in a car seat for the first time—don’t judge!) Now that we’re used to it, we realized how awesome the no-rethread harness system is. Every time we buckle our buckaroo, the straps adjust to fit his exact size. We don’t wait until we notice a growth spurt to make the adjustments, they’re automatically done for us. It’s awesome.
Like most car seats, the Asana base works with either LATCH or seat belt installation. The seatbelt installation is worth mentioning. The best feature is the lock-down bar. Once you’ve routed the belt through the seat and cinched it tight, you push down on a metal bar that clicks into place and traps the belt from loosening. It takes a lot of pressure to get that thing to click but there’s a little window that turns green when it locks, and once that puppy’s in, it ain’t going anywhere. The car seat can also be installed without the base, which is key because we haven’t seen the bases sold individually yet. The base itself is a beast. Thick, solid and sturdy, you know your little one is safe when he’s hooked into it.
Overall, the Evoq Travel System from GB is a winner. We have no complaints! The stroller is top of the line in use, style and structure, and the base is super sturdy. We’ve been very, very happy with the system.
To buy: babiesrus.com