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It’s completely compact, with a flatpack carrycot, narrow footprint and lightweight aluminium frame. It has a one-handed fold mechanism, patented dual suspension and shock-absorbent honeycomb wheels, which Ark claims makes it suitable for both smooth city streets and rough country paths.
Touches of luxury – like the well-considered, chemical-free fabrics, real wool layer in the mattress and temperature gauge – give it a sophisticated edge over its competitors.
Jessica lives in London with her partner, 2-and-a-half-year-old toddler and 12-week-old baby. They trialled the travel system over smooth and rough pavements, parks, sandy terrain, snowy ground and woodland.
What are your first impressions of the Ark 3-in-1 Travel System?
I think the Ark 3-in-1 is a good-looking travel system. The components seem well-made and look stylish.
How easy is the Ark to build?
Building the pram is pretty simple. The chassis pops open and the wheels click into place in seconds. Securing some of the fixtures takes a bit of strength and I had to recruit my partner, but otherwise the build was very straightforward.
What do you think of the Ark’s carrycot?
The carrycot is neat, compact and lightweight. There are some well-thought-out design features, such as the extendable sunshade, which pulls out from the hood, and the internal temperature gauge, which is designed to let you know if the baby is likely to be too hot or cold. There are ventilation panels at either end of the carrycot.
The fabric feels high-quality, as does the wool mattress, which feels very soft and comfortable if not particularly firm. And the carrycot is suitable for overnight sleeping, which is a plus. My daughter fell asleep in the carrycot before I’d left the house, which is a good sign!
You’ll need to buy an additional waterproof mattress protector, which is not included with the travel system and retails separately at £29.95. And the compact design might prove a bit restrictive for bigger babies.
The carrycot was perfect for my slim 12-week-old baby, but I have met chunkier babies that would have found it a bit of a squeeze and another home tester commented that her 4-month-old baby would outgrow it quickly. So, while I can imagine the carrycot lasting my baby until she is 6 months old, this definitely won’t be the case for those in the upper percentiles.
How easy is the Ark carrycot to add on and take off the pushchair?
The carrycot is easy enough to click in and out of the pushchair, although I found that I needed to push buttons on both sides of the carrycot at the same time to do so. I could take the carrycot off with the baby inside easily enough. The carrycot is also collapsible, which is a clever design feature and saves a bit of space when storing it.
Does the Ark travel system include a car seat?
No, the Ark 3-in-1 doesn’t come with a car seat but is designed to work with most brands. The car seat adaptors, which are included with the pushchair, should allow you to use a range of i-Size or Group 0+ car seats with the chassis.
My Joie i-Gemm car seat clicked in easily and another home tester used hers with the BeSafe iZi Go car seat without problems.
How easy is the buggy to fold?
The Ark’s folding mechanism is straightforward – there are 2 buttons that are easy to click simultaneously with the fingers and thumb of one hand. It is relatively simple to fold with one hand, even with the seat attached, although I needed to use both hands to open the pushchair back up.
How compact is the Ark when folded?
The chassis measures H89cm x W22cm x L59cm when folded, so it still feels fairly bulky to me, although another reviewer was impressed that the buggy didn’t take up too much space in her husband’s relatively small VW Golf boot, even with the carrycot in place.
You can also wheel it around while it is collapsed and use a clip at the side to allow it to self-stand – both convenient features.
How easy is it to push and steer?
I was able to easily steer the Ark with one hand. The narrow build meant I was able to squeeze through tight spots and it feels sturdy and well-made. It doesn’t mount kerbs very easily though – I found I had to lift the front wheels when doing so.
I’m not a fan of the wheels on the whole. The Ark pushchair has specially-designed honeycomb-structured wheels, which are meant to deliver ‘two layers of suspension’ for ultimate shock absorption. The front wheels can be locked for better handling on rough terrain but, when in 360-degree mode, they seem to fly around quite a bit – even on relatively smooth pavement – making for quite a bumpy ride.
When I brought this up with Ark customer services, I was told that it was a known issue, particularly for babies under 6 months of age that don’t weigh very much (although I found it to be just as much of an issue when pushing my toddler). I was advised to purchase 2 ‘anti-flutter devices’ – one for each front wheel – from the company.
These cost £5 each, with an additional £3.99 charge for delivery, but should be offered without charge to customers whose pushchairs are still under warranty. Still, I felt that they should come pre-installed on such an expensive pushchair.
The pushchair is relatively noisy, too. Pushing it around reminded me of pulling a wheeled suitcase – it’s fine on completely smooth floors, but rattles along over even mildly bumpy pavements. It was noticeably noisier than my other pushchair, a Joie Chrome DLX, although I did get used to it. I also found that the wheels struggled a bit on sand and snow.
How well does it work on public transport?
Given lockdown restrictions, I wasn’t able to take the Ark pushchair onto public transport but I imagine that the slim, compact design would definitely be an advantage when boarding buses and trains.
What’s the Ark’s chassis like?
I really like the look of the chassis, which has a compact and clean design with a matte finish. The pushchair feels strong and durable, but it isn’t particularly lightweight – I felt it was slightly too heavy for me to push over a doorway step while recovering from a c-section.
However, another MadeForMums reviewer really liked the weight of it. She has back and shoulder problems but found it easy to push and could lift in and out of the car without any problems.
How effective is the pushbar?
The Ark’s handle has an artificial leather finish, which looks smart. It is very easy to raise and lower with one hand using a large button at the handle’s centre. There are 3 height settings between 102cm and 112cm.
The upper setting was comfortable enough for my partner, who is 6ft 2 inches, but parents at the shorter end of the spectrum might struggle. One reviewer, who’s 5ft 1, found the lowest setting was still a little high for her.
How comfortable is the Ark 3-in-1 Travel System’s seat unit?
The Ark’s seat unit appears to be high quality – my toddler said it was comfortable for her. It has a nifty little pocket at the back, which is only small but handy for a phone or packet of rice cakes. I like that the bottom of the seat functions as a footrest.
However, my 92cm tall, 2-and-a-half year old daughter barely fits in it. Her head was pretty much touching the hood. The rain cover didn’t fully cover her and a trip out in the snow left her with cold, wet feet. Ark states that the seat should last ‘up to pre-school year’ with a maximum weight of 15kg, but I’d say it’s really too small for my 12.5kg toddler.
It is also disappointing that the seat doesn’t come with a footmuff – the Ark Snuggle retails separately at £99.95, which feels pretty steep when you’ve paid £899 for the pushchair.
How effective is the hood?
I really like the hood that comes with the Ark pushchair. It’s well-designed, offers a lot of protection against the elements and has a hidden pocket to store the rain cover. There’s a ventilation window that allows you to look in on your toddler when the seat is world-facing. It feels pretty sturdy and remained in position on our journeys.
Do the Ark 3-in-1 Travel System’s wheels come with suspension?
Ark makes great claims for its unique honeycomb wheels, which are designed to deliver ‘two layers of suspension’. The wheels are made of TPU plastic, which is apparently ‘resistant to oil, grease and abrasion’. They certainly seem strong and sturdy, and they won’t puncture, although it is difficult to predict how long they might last. The back wheels are 21.5cm in diameter, and the front wheels are 16.5cm.
The wheels are easy to attach and remove, although in honesty I can’t imagine having to take the wheels on and off very often, if ever. As I mentioned earlier, I was disappointed in their ability to maintain a smooth ride, which was especially noticeable when pushing my newborn baby around. I’m amazed she slept through the bumps! I really wasn’t keen on the honeycomb wheels, and I wish I had known early on to request anti-flutter devices from Ark.
They didn’t cope well in snow or sand, either. Snow seemed to get compacted around the wheels, jamming them.
How effective are the brakes?
The Ark’s brakes are simple and easy to use – you just press the pedal down towards the pushchair frame. They seem to work well and easily held the weight of my toddler on a slope.
How big is the Ark 3-in-1 Travel System’s shopping basket?
The basket is a decent size, and I like the fact that it is removable and washable. It wouldn’t hold a typical, half-weekly food shop for our family of 2 adults, a toddler and a baby, but is fine for picking up a few essentials, snacks and nappies. The bottom of the basket is waterproof, designed to protect the contents from puddles, and there’s a really clever zipped pocket and pouch for storing dirty or wet items away from everything else, which another MadeForMums reviewer commented was ‘so handy with a baby and perfect for when we can do trips away again’.
It’s easy to access the basket when the toddler seat is in use, but not so much when using the carrycot – I did find I had to crouch down to get things in and out.
What’s in the box?
- Pram chassis with wheels
- Pushchair seat
- Rain cover
- Car seat adaptors
- Hood, seat pad and carrycot cover
What are the additional accessories that you can buy?
- Essential – Ark Mattress Protector
- Essential – Ark Snuggle footmuff
- Anti-flutter device
- Ark Bliss Canopy
- Grab and Go Bag
Who would the Ark 3-in-1 Travel System be most useful for?
The Ark 3-in-1 is best suited for town and city dwellers with slim-built babies!
How does the Ark 3-in-1 Travel System compare to other similar pushchairs?
|Pushchair||Weight (kg)||One-hand fold?||Folded size||RRP|
|Ark 3-in-1||11.7kg||Yes||89cm x 22cm x 59cm||£899|
|Silver Cross Pacific Autograph||10.4kg||No||33cm x 60cm x 86.5cm||£895|
|UPPAbaby Cruz V2||11.6kg||No||83.8cm x 57.8cm x 41.9cm||£939.98|
|CBX Leotie Lux||16kg||Yes||41cm x 65cm x 89cm||£489.95|
Where can I buy the Ark 3-in-1 Travel System?
Is the Ark 3-in-1 Travel System worth the money?
The pushchair looks great and appears to be made from high-quality materials. It’s a smart, neat travel system, and has some lovely design details. The carrycot and seat both appear to be comfortable. However, I feel the honeycomb wheels have been oversold – the pushchair makes for a bumpy, noisy ride. And the compact system is probably not the best bet for those with chunkier babies or taller toddlers. For these reasons, I don’t feel the pushchair is good value for money.
While I loved the look, feel and design of the Ark 3-in-1 Travel System – and the fact that I could leave it in the hallway and still walk around it! – the problems with the wheels put me off.
Those, along with the fact that I think many babies and toddlers would quickly outgrow the carrycot and seat, make it difficult to recommend the pushchair for my family.
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|Model||3-in-1 Travel System|
Dimensions & Weight
|Weight||11.7kg – with seat, 11.9kg with carry cot|
|Dimensions (folded)||H:86cm W:58cm L:32.5cm|
|Child age (approx)||From Birth|
|Both seats suitable from birth||Yes|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Compatible car seats||
BeSafe iZi Go Modular X1, Cosatto Dock, Cybex Aton M i-Size, Joie i-Gemm, Maxi-Cosi Rock, Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus, Maxi-Cosi Pebble Pro, Nuna Pipa Icon, BeSafe iZi Go X1, Cybex Aton M, Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix, Nuna Pipa Lite car seats using Ark Car Seat Adaptors (sold separately)
|Seat facing direction||Forward facing and parent facing|
|Tyre type||Large all-terrain wheels with Hydrolytic PU tyres are puncture proof and 10 times more hard-wearing than traditional pushchair tyres. These wheels combined with its inverted 'C' shaped chassis gives plenty of clearance for true off-road adventures.|
|Recline positions||3 – Multiple reclining positions including a unique fully horizontal 180° Lie-flat seat position for new-born babies, supports natural, stress-free sleep.|
Colour Pack comprising of a hood, carry cot cover and seat pad