Whether it’s a muddy woodland walk or a visit to a sandy beach, there are some occasions when it feels an impossible mission to get a pushchair with a baby and bags on board to go where you want it to.
Trendy Dutch company Bugaboo, which prides itself on inspiring people to get out and explore the world, promises that its all-terrain Buffalo travel system pushchair offers a smooth ride, no matter “how rough the expedition”. It is suitable from birth with the carrycot/bassinet, from six months up to three years-old (23kg) with the seat and can be used as a travel system with some child car seats using special adapters.
The Bugaboo Buffalo is billed as the world’s first pushchair with an official safety certification to hang up to 6kg on the handlebar and you can store up to 10kg in the underseat basket.
What’s in the box?
- Underseat basket
- Seat unit
- Sun canopy plus wires and clamps
- Swivel and rear wheels
- Carry handle
- Instruction booklet and 3-year warranty
What extra accessories can you buy?
- Car seat adapters – £34.95
- Foot muff – £94.95
- Parasol – £34.95
- Breezy sun canopy £64.95
- Cup holder -£14.95
How easy is it to assemble?
Assembling the Bugaboo Buffalo turned out to be an incredibly straightforward process thanks to the clear instruction book and easy-to-follow images. Perhaps I did have an advantage in that I have owned a Bugaboo Chameleon since 2010 and used it extensively for both my children, so knew how it ‘should work’. But there’s a reassuring click when pieces are correctly fitted together.
The carrycot simply attaches to the frame of the Buffalo using velcro tabs to form a pram, although you will need to pull these very tight to ensure it fastens evenly. It was simple to attach the seat to make it a pushchair.
However, I did find attaching the apron cover zip to the bassinet zip a bit tricky and it took me quite a few attempts – although when my husband had a go, he typically did it first time!
The only other problem I encountered was getting the wires and clamps correctly fitted into the sun canopy, again this took me a few tries before doing it right.
So how does it ride?
To see if the Buffalo lives up to its all-terrain tag, we had a blast trying the pushchair out at various locations – the seaside, our local woods, grassy paths, cobbled roads in York city centre, the supermarket and even on a bus journey.
As a family that spends a lot of time outdoors, this pushchair was ideal and certainly delivered on its promise. It felt robust, nice to push over a range of terrains (including harder ground) and suitable for different occasions. I really noticed the difference with having two big wheels at the front as well as the back – bumpy paths were no longer a struggle. Bigger wheels at the front also made a big difference when simply riding along the street. Despite the pushchair’s weight, it felt light to steer along our sloped pavements and easy to push over grass and woody areas – even when pushing one-handed while hand-holding my three-year-old.
We also really liked the two-wheel position, which made it easy to pull the Buffalo along the sandy and pebbly bits of Bridlington beach, although you can only use this when the seat is facing you.
While it is a great outdoorsy buggy, it is not ideal if you have to use public transport or have to manoeuver it in tight space. It is large in size and does feel a bit cumbersome at times, especially when getting on the bus and into a lift, but it was easy to push around shop aisles and good at navigating stores with step access.
How easy is it to fold and store?
The Buffalo is a one piece foldable and self-standing pushchair, which means you can quickly put it away with the bassinet or seat still attached. Although Bugaboo says you can fold and collapse the pram with one hand, I’d say you need both as the chassis is rather heavy to lift and carry. It’s incredibly easy to unfold the pushchair.
Even when folded down to its most compact state, it still feels rather bulky and leaves little room for anything else in our Ford Focus boot. While we like the big wheels for manoeuvring, they are rather chunky so the Buffalo would probably suit families with a bigger car and boot space. Its size and weight doesn’t make it ideal for taking on a holiday either but then you can have this problem with most pushchairs of this design. You’ll be pleased to know that it can be easily cleaned after a messy adventure.
Is the carrycot comfortable?
Yes, it is. Although generous and spacious in size, my youngest son at 16 months-old was too big to test the bassinet/carrycot so I enlisted a friend’s three-month-old baby boy to help me test it out. The bassinet includes a breathable liner in the mattress so you can confidently lay your baby flat, although it is not recommended for overnight sleeping.
Within a few minutes, baby was fast asleep and looked very comfortable during our walk. Even over bumpy paths, the bassinet felt solid and steady. Using the carry handle, it’s so easy to unclick and transfer the bassinet into the house without disturbing baby and its frame sits comfortably and securely on the floor.
It’s worth knowing before you buy, that you can only use the bassinet from birth with the seat not recommended until a child is six months-old.
What about using the seat?
I tested the Bugaboo Buffalo in its seat mode with my 16-month-old son. The well-padded seat is big and spacious with a five point harness and height adjustable shoulder straps that are really easy to fasten together, loosen or tighten.
My son quickly settled into the seat and looked comfortable with plenty of space. You can handily reverse the seat, so your child is either looking and communicating with you or looking around at the world. I really loved how incredibly simple it is to change the Buffalo’s seat position using the handle in the backrest. It can easily be done with one hand, which is such an improvement on the fiddly option included in my older Bugaboo Chameleon, and you have the option of three recline positions.
Another bonus is that the carry handle/bumper bar now rotates, so you don’t have to remove it to get baby out. Like the bassinet, you can unclick and place the seat on the floor, which could be useful as a substitute for a chair if you’re eating outdoors on a family day out.
Tell us about the Buffalo storage options?
Not only does the Buffalo have a massive underseat basket – much bigger than most pushchairs – that is incredibly easy to access and can hold up to 10kgs, but it is also the first pushchair to be certified to hold up to 6kg on the handlebars.
As well as a changing bag, I carried two heavy bags home from the supermarket and it was reassuring to know I could clip bags on without fear of it toppling backwards.
Does the handlebar adjust?
Yes, it does, which makes it straightforward to adapt the pushchair to suit your height – perfect for our family where Dad is tall and Mum short!
Tell us about the hood.
The extendable hood is just fantastic – you can use the zip to extend it when the sun gets too bright, if it’s very windy or when your child needs a snooze. My son didn’t particularly like it when I tried the hood fully down and with no windows you’ll need to constantly stop to check how they are doing under there. You can buy the vented Breezy canopy as an additional alternative.
I love the fact it had four big wheels – two front 10″ swivel wheels and two 12” rear wheels – that are foam filled and puncture free. After suffering a few punctures over the years with our air-filled tyres, foam tyres are great – although admittedly much heavier.
The brake is a decent sized foot pedal which is easy to flick on and off, but sits a little too close to the wheel for my liking as my shoes kept brushing against the tyre.
Is it travel system compatible?
Yes, with additional adapters the Buffalo is compatible with Maxi-Cosi Pebble, Cabriofix and Citi, a Britax Baby-Safe Plus II and SHR II, a Be Safe iZi Go, a Cybex Aton and a Bebe Confort Pebble.
How does its price compare?
There’s no denying that buying a Bugaboo Buffalo is a hefty investment that not many of us could afford. If you live in an urban area, with not much call for ‘off-road’ wheeling, there are plenty of smaller and cheaper models that would probably suit your needs. But we understand why this stylish and versatile pushchair comes with such a high price tag and we would snap it up in a flash if money was no object. We bought our Chameleon second-hand and it is still going strong after use with both our two children, so you will get good value for your money when buying a Bugaboo.
Sturdy and practical yet smooth and stylish, the Bugaboo Buffalo is a fantastic all-rounder. It’s spacious and comfy and lovely to push over a variety of terrains. It’s full of handy features including an extendable seat canopy that is ideal for different weather elements. You’re always going to need deep pockets to buy such a premium brand and it is a little heavy when lugging about, but with the Bugaboo Buffalo outdoor-loving families are guaranteed good mileage and a versatile ride.