Direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies are becoming all the rage and for good reason: by cutting out the middleman (big box stores, Amazon, and the like), DTC companies can sell their products at a lower cost while offering excellent customer service. The DTC trend has now made its way into the world of strollers, whose many, many different stroller options often leave parents feeling confused and overwhelmed — and that’s before the baby even arrives!
When Ted Iobst and his wife were gearing up for the arrival of their twins, they became frustrated by the amount of research it took to find a quality stroller for a decent price. Iobst, who was enrolled in the Wharton MBA program at the time, decided that stroller shopping needed to be streamlined. This led him to create Colugo, an internet-based brand (like Casper, Warby Parker, Mockingbird and now Tesla) that sells its products directly to consumers and offers a generous “try it on at home” policy.
Colugo — which now carries a compact stroller, a baby carrier and a diaper bag — claim to offer products of exceptional quality without the markup. The Infant Bundle comes with the stroller, the infant kit, the diaper backpack and the baby carrier — all for $525. This is a bundle geared toward urban dwellers who may not use a car seat on the regular.
After using the Colugo stroller for over a month now, I would say they’ve largely succeeded in their mission.
At $285 (including shipping), the Colugo stroller is cheaper than many of its luxury tri-fold competitors like the Babyzen Yoyo at $499 and the UPPAbaby Minu at $399, with rivaling quality and engineering.
With the Colugo stroller, I find that juggling a baby and a stroller at the same time is no problem. It folds with one hand. All you have to do is press the two buttons on the handle bar and voila! You get a compact rectangle (24x10x17 inches) that makes for very easy storage in your car, coat closet, or an overhead airplane bin (though keep in mind that some airlines may still require you to check it).
Unfolding it is just as quick: unclip the latch on the side and pull it upwards towards you. When you hear two clicks, you’re ready to roll.
The Colugo stroller weighs 16 lbs, which is heavier than most other tri-fold strollers, but it comes with a shoulder strap and a carry backpack. Would I want to carry this stroller for longer than ten minutes or so? Probably not, but these accessories are thoughtful touches for those quick transfers from the car to the house or for the subway stairs. Or for getting on and off a public bus.
The stroller comes standard with an extra washable padded seat insert, which is super convenient to clean, and a handy rain cover that stows in a small pouch that attaches to the stroller. Unlike other rain covers, this one is made of a soft, see-through plastic material that’s malleable and easy to attach to the stroller with velcro tabs. It’s rare that these types of accessories come with the stroller.
Colugo also gives you the option to “bundle” your stroller with other accessories to save some cash. These accessories include their Diaper Backpack, designed to fit in the storage basket, and their On the Go Organizer.
Speaking of, the (washable) Colugo organizer is pretty nifty. Get this: you can detach it and wear it as a cross-body bag or as a fanny pack!! It’s perfect to fit all of baby’s essentials for quick outings! Finally, my dreams of unironically wearing a fanny pack have come true! I am complete.
The only thing I don’t love about this fanny pack/organizer is that you can’t zip the top closed when attached to the stroller via the velcro straps.
The stroller works for babies 6 months and up. For newborns, you can buy the Infant kit, which is a soft, foldable bassinet that includes a memory foam mattress, sun shade and a footmuff for the cold weather. At $95, this kit is more affordable than those offered by competitors (the Minu kit sells for $129, while the Yoyo’s costs $225). Like its competitors, the stroller can still fold with the bassinet still attached. However, unlike the Minu or Yoyo, the Colugo cannot take a car seat.
The regular stroller seat can hold a max weight of 55 pounds, but your kid is likely to outgrow it height-wise well before then. For a point of reference, my 4.5 year old can’t fit his head under the canopy and he’s just over 40 pounds.
What We Love
In addition to the speedy, one-handed, compact fold, we also love the maneuverability of this stroller. Like other compact strollers, the Colugo is best used on sidewalks, roads, and inside stores. On these surfaces, it turns on a dime and can easily pushed (and turned) with one hand. You’ll be impressed by the maneuverability of such a compact stroller.
Another favorite: the sun shade on this stroller is faaabulous. It has a peek-a-boo mesh window and a zippered insert that extends the shade for great sun protection:
Unlike most strollers, you can customize the look of your Colugo by choosing from one of five unique prints for the canopy. This is no small thing if, like many parents, you like to stand out.
The storage basket is not very wide, but it makes up for it in depth. You could fit an afternoon outing’s worth of stuff in here, for sure.
Last but not least, Colugo offers a 100-day trial period. If you aren’t happy, they will pay for you to ship the stroller back to them. Now that’s confidence! Side note: hang onto the box for a little while ‘til you’re sure it’s a keeper.
Alas, no stroller can be perfect…
As mentioned earlier, the Colugo doesn’t take an infant car seat; moving a sleeping baby from car to stroller will be less than ideal. Note that most compact tri-fold strollers lack a child cupholder and/or snack tray, and this one is no different.
The biggest issue I have with this stroller is the harness straps, which have been difficult for me to adjust. The double fold-back of the adjusters makes the straps tough to tighten and loosen, but this may not be a big deal for you if you don’t have to adjust the straps very often.
Another critique of the Colugo stroller is the handle height. Tall parents might kick the lock while walking, as it’s located on the back center of the axel (see photo below). At 5’8”, I had to adjust my stride to stop kicking it. You can also straighten your arms out in front of you while you stroll, zombie style. I mean, hey – you’re already sleep-deprived, might as well lean into it! Again, this is common for tri-fold strollers which lack an adjustable handlebar.
Good news: if this turns out to be a deal breaker for you, you can always return the stroller within the trial period.
For a good price ($285), the Colugo stroller gives you a customized look, great sun protection, one-handed maneuverability, an easy fold, and bonus accessories. Not too shabby. Outside of car seat compatibility, the Colugo checks all the boxes. Thus, it’s ideal for space-constrained urban parents who don’t regularly use a car seat. The best part is that if you don’t like it, you can send it back within 100 days with no questions asked.
Happy strollin’, parents!