Total cost: £399 (cocoon carrycots additional £49 each)
Mountain Buggy started in 1992 when a father created a buggy with all terrain agility to enable him to enjoy the New Zealand mountain trails with his baby. Its products are designed to be suitable for newborns to toddlers and be used anywhere from mountain paths to city streets.
One of Mountain Buggy’s most popular products is the Duet, a side by side buggy which is famed for being the same width as a single buggy – a massive bonus for twin parents, or those using their buggy for children close in age. The Nano Duo is the brand’s lightweight side-by-side stroller, with a compact fold, aimed at city dwelling parents whose storage is at a premium.
It retails at £399 which is dearer than other lightweight doubles which are not travel system compatible, such as the Joie Aire Twin (£120), Chicco Echo Twin Stroller (£189) and the Britax Holiday Double Buggy (£200). However, the Joie is 2.8kg heavier and the Chicco is an extra 4.4kg, with neither folding up as small.
Helen is mum to a toddler and baby twins, and spends a lot of time out and about. She tested the Mountain Buggy Nano Duo on trips to the parks and going further afield in her car.
My first impressions of the Nano Duo were great. I was pleasantly surprised the first time I used it. It was much sturdier than I was expecting it to be.
What’s in the box?
Frame and seat fabrics
Two sun canopies
Storage tray with 8kg capacity
Carry handle and shoulder strap
How easy is it to put together?
It didn’t take us long to build it. It was basically adding two extra wheels to the frame, and the instructions were handy.
How does it compare to other double buggies you’ve used?
I’ve used lightweight buggies before when I just had my toddler and they’ve been flimsy and unsturdy, but I didn’t find this at all about the Nano Duo. Having said that it’s not a patch on my Mountain Buggy Duet in terms of how strong and robust it feels – but I guess it’s not supposed to be in the same league.
I love my Duet and I’m yet to find a doorway or terrain it can’t handle. But I do find it really heavy to lift in and out of the car – I seem to knock it against my leg every time and am covered in bruises as a result! At 14.7kg, it is significantly heavier than the Nano Duo – and it shows.
On paper, as with most buggies, it should be relatively simple to fold and unfold. But as usual, I struggled. There is a velcro strap which handily holds it together when folded that you have to undo, then unclip one hook on the left of the frame. You then have to hold onto the steering bar and as you pull that up, the whole buggy unfolds and clicks into place.
As I say, sounds simple, doesn’t it? It took me about ten goes to get this right. Not what I need when I’m out and about with three young children.
To fold there are two buttons you have to press simultaneously on the inside of the steering bar which then enables you to fold that bar down.
You then have to effectively fold the whole buggy in half down to the floor, squash it down, then hold it all together with the velcro strap. Again, I didn’t find this easy and even once I got the knack, every so often I couldn’t get it to work.
How compact is it when folded and unfolded?
One of the Nano Duo’s selling points is how compact it is when folded, and this for me is one of the best bits about the product. It hardly took up any room in my car boot – unlike the Duet which takes up two-thirds of it.
The Nano Duo measures 51.5cm x 73 cm x 28cm when it’s folded and stands on its end so is one of the most light and compact buggies available. When it is unfolded it measures 100cm x 73cm x 84cm so is pretty tall, with very high seats (idea for taller toddlers) but is still pretty narrow for a double. Although it’s wider than the Duet, which is 65cm wide compared to 73cm for the Nano Duo.
How lightweight is it?
The Nano Duo weighs 9kg (20lbs) so is really lightweight. It has a strap so when it’s folded you can carry it over your shoulder. I’m always suspicious of this sort of thing – normally you have to be a weightlifter to get it up past your waist, but this was really easy. So if you ever need to get the kids out and carry the buggy, this is a great feature. This is never going to happen with three children under three though!
How easy is it to push?
For a lightweight stroller, the Nano Duo is incredibly easy to push. I was actually surprised because just because it’s lightweight, doesn’t mean it’s easy, in my experience. But once we realised we needed to unlock the front wheels, we were away!
How does it ride on different surfaces?
The Nano Duo was great on pavements and mounting kerbs was no problem due to its perfect weight distribution. But as soon as I went off-road it was trickier. It was much harder to push on grass in the park. I spend a lot of time in our local National Trust gardens, and it was a bit of a tough ride on gravel.
What do you think of the wheels?
The wheels are solid 6×5 EVA long lasting wheels, unlike my Duet which are air-filled. I never know what’s the best to have, but I liked the Nano Duo’s wheels. They have swivel and lock functionality to provide better control off the pavement and rear wheel suspension for a smoother ride.
How easy is it to store?
This has got to be the Nano Duo’s winning feature – it folds down so narrowly that it can easily be stored in your house without taking up too much room. Both other double buggies and travel systems I’ve owned, I’ve had to keep in the car as they are too bulky to even easily get through my front door let alone find space for them indoors. But the Nano Duo could easily fit in the bottom of a cupboard or even behind a door!
The frame felt pretty strong, although not as solid as more expensive, sturdier buggies I’ve tried. It was durable enough though, and for a lightweight buggy it was better than I’d expected it to be.
What do you think of the handles?
I liked the main steering handlebar. This is always important to me as I’m often pushing one-handed whilst either holding my toddler’s hand or carrying his bike/scooter so it needs to be easily manoeuvrable. The one thing I didn’t like was when the sun hoods were up, the material covered my hands on the handlebar. It didn’t affect my pushing, but it irritated me.
What do you think of the seat unit?
The seat units were plenty wide enough for my 12-month-old twins. They are extra tall at 66cm, suitable for a child up to 15kg – so this could mean my toddler could use it if I’m ever feeling generous! I also liked the five-point harness to secure them in. It releases with the push of one button so is extremely easy to use. The straps can be put in three different height positions so can be moved as your child grows.
The buggy has a ‘deep seat recline’ so rather than it having a set number of positions, you can lean them back by loosening a strap on the back of the seat. I like this idea but find it hard to tighten it back up when the babies are sat in there. The Nano Duo also has a mesh back seat panel to let air through in warmer weather which was so useful in the heatwave we experienced when I got the buggy. It then has a fabric extension overlay for cooler days – although I didn’t realise this can be folded up, and it annoyed me how it hung down. I should probably have read the instructions a little better! Both babies have been really comfortable in the buggy.
What do you think of the hood?
If I’m honest, I have a love/hate relationship with the hood! I love how big it is (it’s in three panels) and how once it’s pulled right down – including an extra mesh section that can be untucked – it provides almost total sun protection. As I’ve mentioned before though, when it’s up the material hangs down on my hands, and it doesn’t have a peek-a-boo window to peer through to see your child, so interaction isn’t brilliant.
But my main issue with the hood was the colour. We had a ‘cyber’ one to review, which was bright yellow. It attracted flies and I’m sure we could be seen from space! It’s all down to personal taste though and my friends will always be able to spot me. The hood comes in five different colours as well as a special edition print, and you can buy them separately for about £24 which I think is excellent value.
Tell us about the brakes
I loved the colour-coded foot brake. Rather than having to hook your foot under to lift it up, you just have to step onto it and it switches – making it flip-flop friendly! It doesn’t have a handbrake which I love on my Duet, but I wouldn’t expect a lightweight stroller to have one.
Does it fit in the boot of your car?
Yes! We have a VW Touran as it is one of only a few cars with a back seat wide enough to fit three baby car seats in, so we have a big boot. But the Nano Duo hardly took up any room at all which I loved. I’m used to my buggy taking up more than two-thirds of the space and having to put shopping bags, bikes, scooters, the kitchen sink on the top of it. But because the Nano Duo stands on its end, it frees up so much space. This feature alone for me makes it worth buying!
What age children is it best for?
The Nano Duo is designed to be able to add a cocoon carrycot, so can be used from newborn to about 3 years with one, and from 6 months to about 3 years without one. It’s maximum weight load is 15kg (33lb) per seat.
How easily can you access the basket and is it big enough to store everything you need?
With baby twins and a toddler, and all the stuff we cart around, no basket is ever going to be big enough for me. But the Nano Duo isn’t too bad. The basket is easily accessible once the babies are in the seats, and I could manage to get a rucksack, separate lunch bag and rug under there which is about as good as I’d expect. It’s much better than some buggies I’ve used.
Is it good value?
At £399 it is expensive compared to other lightweight strollers. Pitched against sturdier side-by-side buggies it’s among the cheapest, but it’s nowhere near as good in terms of strength and ride. Compared to lightweight strollers which cost between £120 and £200, this is on the pricey side so I’m not entirely sure it’s amazing value for money.
You can also buy additional extras such as the cocoon, a grab bar, storm and sun covers, travel bag, sleeping bags, blankets and even a matching satchel. But apart from a rain cover, which costs £39, you’re good to go with what comes in the box. Unless you don’t like the hood colour!
The Nano Duo is perfect for anyone with a lack of storage at their house or has a small car boot, as it folds so very compact and is incredibly light. While it is easy to push, it’s not great at off-roading so would be better suited to city families or as a second buggy to take on holiday.
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Nano Duo Stroller
Child age (approx)
From Birth (with carrycot/cocoon) – From birth with cocoon
Up to 15kg
Dimensions & Weight
H:100cm W:73cm L:84cm
H:51.5cm W:73cm L:28cm
Travel system compatible
Seat facing direction
Forward facing and parent facing
Outstanding kerb pop
Easy 2 Step
Birth solutions for one or two
Roomy space with deep seat recline
Carry handle and shoulder strap
Extra large gear tray
Rear wheel suspension
Frame and seat fabrics, two sun canopies, storage tray with 8kg capacity, carry handle and shoulder strap, wheels