Mountain Buggy have been building their iconic all terrain pushchairs (ATPs) for 23 years, cutting their teeth on New Zealand’s mountain trails and now expanding around the globe.
Started back in 1992 with its first buggy the Terrain, the manufacturer now has a collection of 13 pushchairs, one of which is the Urban Jungle.
The Urban Jungle has been on the market for several years, in fact it’s known as part of the Mountain Buggy ‘legacy.’
But the brand has worked hard to tweak the design of the 3-wheeler and come up with a stylish new version of their original all terrain pushchair.
This new version is more like a souped-up, stylish off-roader. It’s ultra smart for city parents but ready to handle rough terrain for country dwellers too.
It arrived virtually ready to go in a surprisingly compact box – down to the fact it’s got a shorter footprint – now 102.5cm from front wheel to back, compared with the old style 113cm.
How is this new version different?
The Urban Jungle has all the usual features parents expert from a serious off-roader: three chunky 12-inch inflatable tyres, a solid, well-built frame and a generous hood and rain cover to protect the little ones from the elements.
But this newest incarnation has built on these elements to help mums and dads go the extra mile off road. The sturdy suspension now sits higher up the frame and that helps it create a smoother ride for my daughter Hannah, aged 27 months.
The adjustable handle has a fantastic range of positions, which helped me tackle both a steep uphill woodland trail pockmarked with gnarly tree roots, and yet also let me safely negotiate an escalator going down into the depths of Kings Cross Station.
It also has a new five-point harness, which – to be honest – I’m not really a fan of. The push button releases all the straps at once, worryingly, my 4-year-old Catherine was easily able to do this herself – which could have been a problem with an unhappily restrained child determined to get out.
When this was mentioned to the folks at Mountain Buggy they did respond by saying: “the 5-point harness has been designed to use a 5-6kg force to release the buttons of the clip. The minimum requirement in safety standards is 4kg, you can be assured this is secure enough to restrain your child.”
They also explained that having 4 separate straps on the harness is required for Australian safety standards and say that it allows you to clip the harness together at your own speed and removes the difficulty of your child’s arms being tangled through the strap loops.
However, I found the four straps reload one at a time and this proved difficult with the flailing arms and wriggling legs of my two-year-old.
The waist straps were forever sat upon and difficult to retrieve – at least with a regular harness you can pull out the top part of the straps and the waist straps follow because they are connected.
I joked that the shoulder padding was likely to fall off when the straps were unfastened – and then frustratingly lost both on my first outing.
How is it when out and about?
Mountain Buggy’s new Urban Jungle ticks all the boxes when it comes to pushing. Its brushed aluminium frame looks great and is amazingly lightweight too, important for arduous trekking adventures.
The good manoeuvrability is partly down to its shorter footprint but also the decent kerb pop – minimum effort required to nip up and down kerbs.
The large wheels and improved suspension also meant I could bump Hannah down a whole flight of steps and keep her asleep, and there are no wheel trims or brake pedals to get snagged on steps.
And I liked the handlebar brake – it felt reassuringly sturdy on serious hills and was better than struggling to release a foot brake with walking boots.
How is it against the outdoor elements?
It’s great! The mesh extension to the front of the hood shielded Hannah nicely without obscuring her view. The canopy itself offered great all-round protection from the wind when fastened and can pop unfastened as a ‘follow the sun canopy’ to give complete shade.
The peekaboo window was a good size and I loved the new magnetic fastenings. Hooray, no more noisy Velcro when checking on sleeping occupants!
The raincover is excellent too! It’s roomy enough to fully cover the pushchair and minimise windy gaps, and has two sturdy zips at the front to give quick access to the occupant.
In driving rain we were able to zip it up and quickly take Hannah in and out of the pushchair, keeping her as dry as possible without risking gusty winds whipping the storm cover out of our hands.
It costs an extra £29 but then most manufacturers seem to sell rain covers separately – even though our climate dictates they are a necessity, not a luxury!
Is it comfy for little ones?
Yes, the roomy seat is one of the biggest I’ve seen and would give parents real longevity of use.
The Urban Jungle has a lie-flat newborn option, is compatible with a carrycot (an optional extra at £139), and the longer seat back means older children will stay comfortable for much longer.
Our oldest daughter Catherine is four and a quarter, weighs 26kg and is 104cm tall. That’s a fraction over the recommended weight limit, but I felt the pushchair still handled really well nipping through crowded shopping streets with a full load on board.
But it’s worth noting that both our girls were obsessed with fiddling with the retractable leg rest when someone else was sitting in the pushchair and had their fingers squashed between the wire and the seat as a result.
Cue lots of tears and recriminations: “Hannah hurt me on purpose,” or “Sister squashed me.” I much prefer Mountain Buggy’s Nano with its internal clips to put the leg rest up or down.
What about the seat recline?
Mountain Buggy say the Urban Jungle should only be used in a lie-flat position for babies from birth up to 9kg, even though the seat has been tested for a child up to 25kg.
There’s no explanation for why this is the case, leading me to worry how far I ought to recline my 17kg child while she was sleeping.
When I queried this they explained it was to avoid any potential tipping with a larger weight to the rear of the buggy. In reality I felt my two year old was safely able to sleep fully reclined as she was strapped in and couldn’t wriggle back.
How does it fold?
The Urban Jungle has a genuine one-handed fold – I managed with Hannah on one hip.
With that said, unfolding it needs two hands but it’s smooth to operate. The pushchair stands neatly when folded at a size of 90x63x33cm but it’s not that small.
The smooth fold meant I was happy to fold the pushchair each time I came home, but it remained a chunky piece of furniture to negotiate in my front hall.
Tell us about the basket
The shopping basket is larger than average and sits a comfortable 10cm off the ground, so it doesn’t drag when fully loaded up.
I liked the two separate zip sections and the mesh side pockets at either side – much better than a jumble of shopping, snacks, discarded coats and other paraphernalia.
It’s also easy to detach for serious adventure-lovers who really want to go on all terrains.
Is it quick to build?
Yes, putting it together was a speedy job, just a matter of slotting all three wheels on and attaching the hood and bumper bar. Mountain Buggy’s instruction manual is full of clear diagrams but there is no explanatory text for pushchair novices.
New parents would benefit from watching the instructional videos online – feel free to laugh along with the cheesy music like we did.
Who is the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle best for?
Outdoorsy types who want to take baby on rough terrain will be impressed with the smooth ride and how easy it is to push. City parents who like to look ready for adventure will fall in love with the Urban Jungle.
This is a sturdily built pushchair that should stand the test of time regardless of how brutal you might be in your pursuit of exploring the great outdoors. Wipe the mud off the heavy-duty waterproof canvas fabric and you’ll still impress everyone in the playground with your stylish new wheels.