Last year, a colleague in the business told me the Mockingbird Stroller is “the UPPABaby Vista, but for much less!”. Naturally, we were intrigued and eager to give you our honest take of it (also: psssst, this Mockingbird stroller review is totally unsponsored!).
Stepping back for a second… direct-to-consumer strollers are the talk of the parenting world. The value proposition is that you get a high quality product for a much lower price because there is no middleman (i.e. a retail store) marking it up by 2x.
We recently reviewed the Colugo Stroller, a compact DTC stroller, and have now turned our sights to the luxury DTC stroller of the year, the Mockingbird.
BackgroundThe founder of Mockingbird, Eric Osman, was working for the DTC shaving brand Harry’s when he observed his pregnant sister struggling with the registration and gearing up process for her first baby.
“New parents are going through such an overwhelming time, with a million products they’re supposed to buy — none of which they’ve ever really researched before,” Eric said. “And everything gets crazy expensive, and it seems like all the brands are yelling at you saying, ‘buy this $1,000 thing or you’re a bad parent.’”
That’s why Eric decided to quit his job at Harry’s and, using what he knew about DTC, launch Mockingbird Strollers — in hopes of providing new parents with more purchase control, a more direct line of communication, and an overall more relatable, approachable experience.
Since the UPPABaby Vista has been THE top full-size/convertible stroller in the “luxe” category for about 10 years now, we thought it would be interesting to see if this direct-to-consumer version can actually compete.
I’ve used the Mockingbird with my two-year-old son for the past couple of months, and I’m happy to say: the answer is yes (with caveats)!
The Mockingbird has all the basics of a high-end stroller: a suspension system with substantial wheels, a kick-ass canopy, a good brake, an adjustable handlebar, generous storage, and a high weight capacity. For a stroller that only costs $350 (for comparison, the UPPAbaby Vista is $899), it’s an impressive accomplishment.
Let’s take a closer look…
The Mockingbird is a full-sized stroller. Its frame, like that of the Vista, is substantial and built to last; I love that it looks sleek but feels rugged at the same time. I also love the chic leatherette details on the handlebar and the removable bumper bar. Mine is the “penny leather,” which is a beautiful cognac brown that instantly elevates the look.
Though it’s 26” wide (slightly wider than the UPPAbaby Vista), it felt narrow enough to maneuver around tight corners and crowded supermarket aisles with ease.
I was very excited about the fold. You see, you can fold the Mockingbird with just one hand — with or without the seat attached — and it automatically locks and self stands. A mama’s dream come true!
Once I learned to guide the stroller into a self-standing position when folding it, tucking it away at the end of the day was a breeze.
The folding mechanism, which is located on the handlebar, did require some getting used to: in order to activate the fold, you need to push the big white button that’s at the bottom of the handlebar while simultaneously sliding the lever that’s at the top.
Like other full-sized strollers, the fold is not particularly compact. What’s more, you cannot fold the stroller when the seat is facing rear (towards you). Like the UPPAbaby Vista, you’ll need to rotate the seat to face outward (or remove it altogether) to fold it. This is not uncommon among reversible strollers, but it’s worth mentioning.
If you want a flat fold, you’ll actually need to remove the seat. This brought me back to my Bugaboo Cameleon days, and I personally could have done without this extra step. You don’t have this issue with smaller strollers like the Baby Jogger City Mini, which is the main tradeoff when comparing full-sized strollers vs. more compact strollers.
Storing the seat and the frame separately felt like an incompatibility with city/apartment living, but again, it’s optional for those wanting a flatter fold.
All of that said, I found the folding and storing process to be much easier than for my Baby Jogger City Select (a comparable full-sized stroller); and once folded, it does feel slightly more compact than the UPPAbaby Vista or City Select. To be fair, those two strollers (the City Select and the Vista) are convertible strollers, meaning you can add a second seat to use for a second baby later on. Update: Mockingbird just came out with their 2nd seat option, though it isn’t ready to ship until October 2020 or so. We’ll keep you posted.
Weighing in at 26 lbs, the Mockingbird is comparable to the UPPAbaby Vista, but it’s heavier than most single strollers — especially the stroller I had before (the Bugaboo Cameleon weighs 21 lbs, a solid 5 lbs less). Since I am pretty petite, I’ve tried very hard to choose strollers that don’t way more than 20-ish lbs — and I have to say that the 5-pound difference feels pretty substantial. I had a harder time carrying it around than my Cameleon — it felt overall boxier and clunkier.
The Mockingbird is a modular stroller, meaning its seat can face front or rear. Flipping the seat is easy; just click the buttons on each side of the seat, lift the seat up and turn it around. This felt reminiscent of other reversible strollers, like the Bugaboo Cameleon3.
Just like the Vista, the Mockingbird has a “high seat,” which I absolutely love! As corny as it sounds, it made me feel closer to my baby, but not just that — it also made it easier to tend to him (whether I needed to wipe the dirt off of his face or give him a good old kiss). The Stokke xplory is an extreme example of “high baby placement” (to mimic a high chair and whatnot), but this one is a happy medium.
The seat on the Mockingbird fully reclines — like legit horizontal position. The recline truly is impressive and is perfect for naptime on the go — or for newborns who aren’t using a car seat or bassinet. If you want to use the seat with a newborn, you’ll need to buy an infant insert to provide head support.
The seat has a footrest with three different positions, but what I love the most is the fact that it has a zipper. Unzip it to clean the crumbs off easily. If you’re a tot mom, you know — this is genius!
Another cool add-on is the seat liner, which not only adds some padding for comfort, but also adds a layer of protection between the stroller and your messy babe. All you have to do is remove the pad and wash it separately. Your stroller will look as good as new!
For newborns, you can also purchase a carriage (bassinet) and use it in place of the stroller seat. By comparison, many upscale full-size strollers (like the UPPAbaby and Bugaboo Cameleon) include the bassinet, which could partly explain the price difference. If you want the bassinet for the Mockingbird, you will need to add $100 to your stroller bill. However, it’s nice to have the option to opt out of items that might not be needed.
Finally, you can get a car seat adapter, which is compatible with Britax B-Safe 35, Chicco Keyfit 30, Evenflo Embrace, Evenflo Nurture, Graco SnugRide (30,35,40), and Nuna PIPA (not the Lite) car seats.
The canopy feels super luxurious. It comes in three colors: light blue (sky), teal (sea), and black. I love that you can customize your stroller so it doesn’t look like everyone else’s! It’s thick and easily wipes clean. Here too, the brand paid attention to details. The canopy’s interior flaunts black and white patterns (either window panes or rounds) that are not only pretty to look at, but also captivating to infants.
This is another genius feature, and here’s why: studies have shown that babies who are still developing their sight can see high-contrast colors and patterns at a distance of 9 to 12 inches, so this could actually help support baby’s visual strength.
The canopy itself, which is SPF 50, is a nice, average size, but it is not expandable. That said, Mockingbird made up for this omission with an attachable breathable sunshade, thus still offering full coverage (think Nuna PIPA’s Dream Drape, but on the stroller). We didn’t use it, but this would be especially useful for moms who want to cover their infant without trapping heat the way they would with muslin (or any other kinds of) covers.
You can also expose a full mesh panel in the back to provide airflow when baby naps (and to keep an eye on him when the seat is facing out). This was particularly helpful in the summer months. My son was able to take naps without waking up in sweat. It also has a peekaboo window, which closes magnetically.
The wheels on the Mockingbird are next level. They feel like air-filled tires, but without the potential to pop or go flat. You can also lock the front wheels in place to ride on uneven terrain (think cobblestones, gravel and so on).
Overall, the Mockingbird offers a really smooth ride — for both baby and for whomever is pushing it. Though it weighs 26 lbs and felt heavy to carry, pushing it around was a different story: it’s light and breezy to steer, even lighter than the Vista.
Really, it’s a dream to push. I was able to go over potholes and tall curbs without fearing it would flip over. In that sense, this full-size stroller feels like it’s borderline “all-terrain.”
There’s a seat suspension that stabilizes the ride, which is a nice touch for that little one of yours rolling all over town. My son isn’t a big stroller napper, but he did fall into the arms of Morpheus while out on the town — the bumpy city streets didn’t wake him. Major win for this mama!
The Mockingbird has a one-step footbrake, which is flip-flop friendly. This has become a pretty standard feature of full-size strollers, so nothing crazy there.
Basket and Storage
Storage: another department where the Mockingbird shines! The underseat basket is… major! Much like that of the Vista, it is vast and spacious. I can fit my diaper bag and a couple of grocery bags down there. In fact, it can hold up to 25 lbs of stuff, which is impressive. This is great for city dwellers whose stroller also doubles as a shopping cart and car.
The basket also has a detachable cover, which is very smart. Put the cover on when you want to make sure your belongings stay put; pull it down to access them from either the back or the front.
The new direct-to-consumer Mockingbird stroller is a complete package for an awesome price. It’s got the looks and the smarts. We love the cleanable footrest, the giant, sturdy storage basket, and the breathable sunshade that provides full coverage (as well as a custom print). Being a sturdy, full-sized stroller, it’s not lightweight or compact, but neither are most full-sized strollers. We feel this stroller is a bargain next to the UPPABaby Vista ($350 vs. $899), but note that it doesn’t become a double stroller (yet) nor does it come standard with a bassinet. Mockingbird does, however, have a 30-day return policy if you are not satisfied. In short: if you want a lux, full-featured stroller for a fraction of the price, yes — consider the Mockingbird.