First of the pushchairs to be reviewed on Baby Routes, the Mamas and Papas Sola is a realiable and compact lightweight buggy, perfect for walking on footpaths with good surfaces and in-town manoeuvring. We bought this as a our main pushchair on the principle that we would always prefer to use a baby carrier or rucksack for any serious off-road walking with baby and the Sola looked the best option for pushing baby around a department store without taking out other shoppers and for general purpose versatility and walking on well-kept paths. It has lived up to these expectations and despite going best on smoother surfaces, can cope with moderate off-roading in good conditions (see the Marlow Riverside Walk).
About the pushchair
The basic Sola pushchair package includes a chassis, seat unit and raincover. The seat unit comes in a wide range of colours to suit all tastes, can face both directions and reclines fully to offer pram functionality for little ones although the basic seat just lies flat with straps to keep baby secure. It does the job fine but if you want the full pram effect of raised sides and harness free you will have to fork out for the carry cot unit which comes separately and has limited usage. We were advised by the Mamas and Papas shop assistant that the carry cot was not essential and we have never missed it despite using the pushchair from newborn. Whilst you can’t wade through bogs with this pushchair, it is compact, lightweight and you can steer with one hand. It folds up well for back of car storage and the handle folds down making it a good option for tucking in a porch or under the stairs. The pushchair also has good storage underneath for shopping or carrying outdoor kit.
Weight/ age limit
The Mamas and Papas Sola pushchair is suitable from newborn through to children of around 15kg offering great versatility and value for money. The pushchair seat simply tips from flat for newborns through to fully upright for older ones hitching a ride and is robust enough in feel that you can have faith it will still be going strong years down the line. If you choose you can purchase a Sola carry cot from Mamas and Papas separately to convert the pushchair into a pram but this isn’t a necessity.
At 10kg the Mamas and Papas Sola is a moderately light weight pushchair but maintains a feeling of strength and durability and has excellent steering control, weighting and balance. The Sola pushchair does not have air filled tyres or any suspension of note although baby will be comfortable in the padded seat on smooth journeys. It is not a buggy for serious off-road walking or muddy trails but if you want something that packs up easily and is good for town and most good condition tracks then the Sola is the pushchair for you.
The key features of the Sola pushchair are its longevity and versatility – you can use the Sola pushchair from the day baby comes home to the day you finally tell your now rather large baby that it’s time they walked for themselves and stopped hitching a ride! Mamas and Papas also sell a variety of add ons for the Sola converting it into a travel system and adding to the pushchair’s functionality. The seat comes with a good rain cover and you can choose to purchase additional items such as the foot muff to keep toddlers’ toes warm in winter and a parasol for summer. You can even coordinate your pushchair bag with the chair colours!
In terms of functionality you can choose from the detachable carry cot, converting this into a more traditional pram and saving you having to buy a separate carry cot for overnight stays when baby is little. The award winning and Which Best Buy 2010 Cybex Aton car seat also fits on the chassis base and comes in coordinating colours and will see you through from newborn baby to 13kg or around 15 months with both seatbelt and Isofix base options. The car seat clicks quickly onto the chassis to create an even more compact pushchair for quick trips to the shop or for when boot space is at a premium.
Talking of boot space, the Mamas and Papas Sola is very quick and easy to collapse and locks once folder up. You will need both hands to collapse it but is straightforward and the Sola fits in to most boots with plenty of room to spare, although may need to go side up on smaller models. The wheels detach and reattach really simply for more compact storage. If it’s a trip to the shops with baby you’re after, the Sola’s storage is fairly generous although once you’ve used up the under chair allowance you have to be quite creative with the little hooks on the side of the chassis to eek out extra bag hanging space. Pushchair seat, carry cot and car seats all can be turned around to face either forward or rear with a simple click and allowing baby to watch you whilst walking in those early days.
Overall the Mamas and Papas Sola is a versatile, light-weight and easy to manoeuvre buggy for both crowded shopping trips and tow-path strolling. If you are looking for baby backpack on wheels for serious walking on bumpy tracks however the Sola is not the pushchair for you.
The Mamas and Papas Sola is neat, compact and good looking. The Sola comes in a wide range of fun and vibrant colours which baby will enjoy, as well as a good range of darker colours for a sleeker look. The Sola looks small and lightweight and is more the modern Mini of pushchairs – lots of get up and go, fun and good looks. If you’re more a Range Rover kind of person, keep looking!
This is where the Mamas and Papas Sola comes into its own. Mix and match with a coordinating car seat, Sola carry cot, foot muff, parasol and changing bag and if you time it right, you can make the most of seasonal offers to pick up mutilple bits of kit for a bargain.
The basic Sola chassis, pushchair and rain cover cost in the region of £295 with the car seat, Sola carry cot and other add ons costing extra. If you time it right with in store promotions however you may be able to purchase multiple items for a fantastic price and even at full cost this is still a competitively priced model for the versatility and practicality offered. Second hand on e-bay you can find the Sola for around £80 upwards, which as such a robust bit of kit offers fantastic value.