Britax Affinity Parent Review
We are a family of four. I am 32 years old, my partner Peter is 35, daughter Nicole 5 and baby Robert 3 months old. We live in east London and both work for hospitality business, but I am currently on maternity leave. Nicole started year 1 in September and she likes swimming and zumba classes. As a family we travel a lot, mostly to Spain, which we love so much we always plan the next trip before the previous one finished. My recent hobby is knitting and crocheting and enjoying time with my little boy.
We had a great time testing Affinity. Both carrycot and seat are great, comfortable, easy enough to use and look stunning. There was no surface impossible to ride on even though sometimes we had to pull rather than push, but we really tested it on difficult paths.
- Stunning look
- Great adaptable suspension
- Passenger and parent comfort
- Two hands seat recline
- A bit heavy if you need to fold and unfold it several times a day, once in a while is more than fine
- The hood could be even bigger to stop the sun glaring in babies eyes when sleeping (it covers perfectly well when in seating up position)
The day has started beautifully for a self-confessed pramoholic. I opened the door to the courier who brought me two boxes, one was huge, I couldn't even lift it, the other one was smaller and much lighter and it contained the colour pack . I was very happy to see I received my preferred red Chili Pepper colour pack and black chassis with my testing kit.
I opened the boxes eagerly and it was nice to see every piece wrapped carefully in some protective foam, there were no loose parts in the box, very smart. I decided to play with it a bit and not use the instruction manual. I had many pushchairs before and Affinity seems to be very intuitive. It took me less than 10 minutes from 'in the box' to 'ready to go' stage. My partner was very impressed with the wheels design, they look very smooth and match the curved frame beautifully. The back wheels are ready pumped and I hope they don't need top-ups too often. The front wheels are smaller and have visible suspension springs.
Fabrics are very expensive looking. The main seat is grey and you can choose the colour pack for the other parts. I like red, many of my prams were this colour but I have to admit Britax mastered it. The red is not too bright and not too dull, looks very elegant. The hood and the apron are the compilation of two fabrics, one on the top and one the inner side, it gives even nicer effect than a plain red. There is even a red basket liner (I have never seen this kind of equipment before) and a thick padded seat liner. You even get harness pads that you can attach to the straps with the snap fasteners. This is a great feature, no more lost or sliding harness pads. They will stay just where they should be. I have to say I was very impressed with such a small thing.
Apparently you can use the main seat for the newborn with the newborn insert included. As my baby boy is under 4 months old I decided to try it. It was fairly easy to attach to the buggy, but unfortunately, the straps were to short to fasten over my baby and he seemed to be a bit too exposed. I would be worried to carry him like this, he is wriggling too much. I am pretty sure the newborn insert may work well in the summer months and for a very new baby. I would strongly recommend to invest in a carry cot otherwise, especially if you expect to have a little baby over the winter months. Anyway, the newborn insert is covered with very cosy off white fabric and it also comes with harness pads made with the same material (I am going to use this pads for my little boy for now as he has very delicate skin).
Then I put Robert on the main seat (it was his first time on the big boys seat ever) and he was very proud of himself but I think he is a bit too young to spend long hours in this position (the main seat is recommended from 6 months to 4 years) so we will be using a carrycot for the next two months.
To summarize, my first impression is very positive. It was a real pleasure to put the pushchair together after taking it out of the box. It looks expensive, beautiful, elegant, funky. The curve on the frame is something new and eye-catching. I can't wait to go out with it and show it to my friends.
We took our Affinity for our Christmas break. We walked a lot every day and were very happy with how snug our little boy was in the carrycot. He was sleeping for hours, probably appreciating the soft suspension.
We were not tired with pushing at all, and he wasn't waking up even on the cobble roads. I really wanted to test it on the snow, but we had none this Christmas unfortunately. As you can notice on the pictures, we are both quite tall, I am 172 cm and daddy is 188 cm. I am feeling comfortable with Affinity as long as not wearing high heels (my arms are too short then) and daddy says the handle high in the middle position is ideal for him and he doesn't kick the wheels or chassis as he walks which is a great thing.
The black carrycot and red footmuff arrived just before Christmas. The carrycot looks tiny when you first open the box, so I was a bit worried if my baby will still fit in it. At first I didn't like the all black interior, but it works magic for my son, he finally falls asleep easily in the pram, so I would recommend it to all the light sleepers.
It was quite hard to open it up properly, you have to pull or push two metal brackets inside the carrycot but once you do it, it is very sturdy on the outside and soft on the inside (seems like the sides are filled with the memory foam) and looks stylish, just like the rest of Affinity. It's very easy to take the fabrics off (zips) and put the apron on (zips again).
I am positively surprised with the hood, it has a mesh insert that you can open to let some air in when it's hot outside and the hood extends nicely to cover from the sun. It is my favourite carrycot hood so far. There is also a hard handle in the hood, so when you carry it with your baby in, it feels very safe. I use this feature all the time and really appreciate the quality and sturdiness of the hood and the handle.
Even though the carrycot looks small it is quite spacious inside and my little boy is comfortable in it (he is 4 months old, 68 cm long and weights 7.5 kg). I actually put the footmuff in there and he still has some space to grow. The footmuff is designed to fit the toddler seat, but I pulled the strings around the top and squeezed it into the carrycot to make it feel cozy for the winter. My son seems to appreciate it and he falls asleep as soon as I put him in his lovely red nest.
Travelling with Affinity
I always thought that it's best to travel with the tiny, umbrella folding buggy. I was wrong. I decided to take Britax Affinity for a long combined bus/train/plane/car journey as my baby seems to be to small to feel comfortable in a little buggy. To make things more adventurous, I was travelling on my own with a 4 months old baby, 5 year old daughter and some suitcases and cabin bags. And I survived. Affinity is so easy to manoeuvre with one hand (even my daughter was able to help with her one hand) and it takes so much stuff into it's basket and on the handle, that I didn't feel too tired at all. At the airport I was simply taking the carrycot off the chassis with my baby still in it, then I was folding the chassis and putting it on the security scanner, then the baby out of the carrycot and a carrycot on the scanner. When it was all scanned, I was putting my baby in the carrycot on the floor, then opening the chassis and then putting the carrycot onto the chassis. Sounds weird, but it really is fast and easy, all parts of the pram just click together in seconds. Much better than trying to fold and lift the buggy with the baby in your arms.
Another challenge was putting Affinity into my mum's tiny Nissan Micra. I really appreciated how small and easy it folds. I took off back wheels to make the chassis really compact, I also folded the carrycot flat (it takes about 15 seconds to do it). To my surprise, we managed to squeeze the whole pram and two cabin bags into the boot. Hooray!
Walking on different terrain
One day I decided to give myself and a pushchair a little workout. I usually go to the parks with lovely smooth footpaths or to the shopping centres and obviously almost every pushchair is ok on these kind of surface. Britax is great, as it is completely soundless. I can't hear the wheels, any clicks or squeaks. I was really curious if I will be equally impressed using Affinity on bumps, sands, leaves and among trees. I have to say suspension made a difference in the woods. I set it on "soft" and the pushchair was going smoothly and effortlessly on hardened village roads and gravel, it was also pleasant on the bumpy woodland paths.
The difficulties appeared when I tried to go through the sand. I stuck. I actually turned the pushchair and pulled it behind me on two back air tyres. It was ok this way, otherwise the two small front wheels, even though they have their own beautiful suspension, are a bit too small to go through the sand. All in all, as long as you don't try to get through the sandy beach, you will have a nice stroll on every road or off-road.
Cold days are here. I took my baby out in a big seat for the first time. To make it super cozy, I put the liner on the seat and a footmuff on top of it. He was very comfy and was smiling all the way. As you can see, the footmuff kept him warm, but to be honest, it could be a bit higher around his arms and neck. The good point is, it is really pretty and well made and has a string to pull around the head (like a mummy sleeping bags). My boy is 5 months old now, we are changing the seats between the carrycot and a big seat, depends on his mood and the weather. I have to admit he sleeps pretty well in a well padded seat, but I still prefer to put him in a carrycot for a long walks for the sake of a healthy spine. I really appreciate how easy it is to switch between the carrycot and a seat, it takes a second literally, I think I will use this feature a lot for the next month and will miss the super cozy and calming interior of a carrycot when he outgrows it for good.
My shopping was very heavy, I had 4 pints of milk, 1 litre of oil in the glass bottle, 2 litres of juice and looooots of other things in there. I think I exceeded the basket weight allowance 2 times. The pushchair was still very easy to push on the smooth surface, but I was more carefull on the curbs and when going up the hill. I could also feel the suspension working hard when I walked through the grass. All in all I am very happy with how much shopping Affinity takes and how it maneuvres fully loaded.
This weekend we took our kids and the Britax to the beautiful countryside hotel for a bit of luxury relaxing treat. We went on a train, it was completely packed up, but we managed to squeeze in without folding the pram. Then we took a mini cab, but it was quite straightforward to fold the pushchair, even though I had to take the seat off first as it was in a parent facing position. I can't wait when my baby will be big enough to face the world and we will be able to fold the pushchair as one piece every time. In the hotel we left the kids with the nanny for a while and she also commented on how easy and nice the Affinity is to use.
I have to admit the interiors and hotel gardens were stylish and stunning, just like our pushchair.
Robert will be 6 months old next week. As you can see he has very limited space in the carrycot now. When he is wearing his snowsuit or when he is wrapped in some blankets, he can't move at all. We are using the big seat from now on and the carrycot will sadly need to be folded flat and put under the bed. What a weird feeling to know my little baby is not that little anymore. Anyway, the carrycot is good, soft, with a perfect hood and sun shield and I liked the carry handle in the hood. The only thing that could be improved is the apron. It is nicely padded and would be a great cold and rain protection, but it is a bit too short and only covers a baby waist down. Carrycot months will be surely missed.
Half term break in Lanzarote
Last week we went to Lanzarote. Affinity survived two flights with no damage, but I have to admit folding it as compact as possible and then unfolding it to its original position takes a good minute. I wanted to protect wheels and handle so I practiced folding before my journey, I stabilised the front wheels with the handle and folded the footrest so the folded buggy became a one sturdy piece rather than a couple of fiddly elements. You can't do it safely with the baby in your arms, you need two hands to fold the pushchair but it is a very simple process after all.
We finally tried Affinity on the sea sand. It was easy to push close to the water, on the hard, smooth beach, but a bit further, where the sand is dry and soft I was rather pulling it on the back wheels behind me. Affinity was very stable on two back wheels when pulled comfortably with one hand. It was not too bad overall. Anyway, I was covering my baby with the cotton white/red/blue blanket and the pushchair looked stunning and very coordinated with my boy's blue eyes.
Just a little proof you can take your baby everywhere when you have a comfy buggy. This week Robert took his daddy for a much needed gym session. He slept throughout...the baby I mean...
We didn't moan about the windy weather but used it to fly our kites. We pushed Affinity through the grass, loaded with the scooter (it is actually quite nice to hang a scooter in the middle of the handlebar, it doesn't slide down this way). Again I appreciated how easy it is to change the direction of the seat, I swapped it twice during this walk to protect the baby from the wind.
Last weekend the weather was great, we couldn't believe it's as warm as in the summer time, so we took the speed train to Folkstone. We walked for kilometres through the shingle beach, promenade, up on the cliffs and we had a really pleasant time. Robert was sleeping comfortably most of the time. It was really sunny, so I extended the hood to protect his eyes. It helped a lot during midday hours, but in the evening, when the sun was lower, the hood seemed to be a bit too short to cover the baby properly.
I also have mixed opinion about the mesh panel in the hood. It gives great ventilation, but lets sun rays in. It would be much better, if it was possible to open or close some extra opaque flap. Pulling Affinity through the shingle beach was easy and not tireing at all and we appreciated the big basket again as it kept our beach equipment off our hands.
Robert likes to spend more and more time outside of his pushchair. I started to appreciate the front opening to the footmuff and easy and twistable opening to the bumper bar. It's the safest type of the bumper bar I can imagine. There is a small button that opens it on any side, and you can twist it any angle you like and hang on one side of the pushchair, so there is no risk it will fall on a baby at any point. All the hinges are curved nicely, so there is no way the little one's fingers will get caught. I had this issue with my other pushchair, so it is a big deal for me.
After over three months of everyday use I finally came to the point when I had to face the tyre pump. The wheels were not flat, but just a bit softer than I like them to be. I used a small pump with a wide nozzle which I bought from Poundland. It was easy peasy job and it actually took me more time to think about and find a pump than to top up the wheels. They are hard and springy and I can feel a slight difference when pushing.
We were a bit stuck home this week, did nothing exciting but I used this time to spring clean a couple of things, including my pushchairs. I didn't try to remove any fabrics from the chassis as it looks like the screwdriver would be needed but I washed the footmuff in 30 degrees delicates and it came out refreshed and in perfect condition, no fading or bobbling. I also polished the wheels with the wet wipes. I really appreciated the design again. The smooth tyres and single bar in the wheels mean they are all super easy and pleasant to clean, no scrubbing or chipped nails.
We were quiet for last two weeks as we went for a long Easter break. The weather was good enough to spend lots of time outside. We were using our Britax on a terrible shingle road. It was possible to push it, I never got stuck or anything but it was always a relief to get onto the hard aspfalt surface. I've noticed most of the local parents used 4 pumped fixed wheels or terrain buggies, so if you live near simmilar roads think twice before getting a pushchair with smaller front wheels. Despite of the nice warm weather we are still using the footmuff and Robert is ok, not sweaty, not too hot and thanks to the front opening it lets the air in nicely when unzipped and doesn't flap on one side like most side zipped ones.
After 4 months of a very successful use I have experienced a problem with my Affinity. Two hinges that you pull to recline the seat got stuck and I could not lock the seat in position correctly, it was tilting when my baby was moving or when I was getting onto the step. I contacted Britax via email and was asked to send the video showing the problem. I did it and am now waiting for a seat replacement. So don't worry if something gets wrong with the buggy, Britax is happy to help.
After just a couple of days waiting I received a new seat to replace the one with loose seat recline hinges. The new ones work perfectly well. The good point is the old seat doesn't show any signs of use in comparison to the new one, which proves fabrics are top quality. While swapping the extras I also realised the seat liner can be reversible, which comes very handy if you have no time to wash and you child just ate very messy biscuit in the buggy. I decided to wash seat belt protectors and a footmuff and will let you know shortly if they are wash proof.
I just couldn't stop myself from taking this picture. The bike had perfectly matching colours to Affinity. Super cool and super hipstery ;)
I also got myself a lovely red changing bag. Thanks to the handle operation buttons it doesn't slide down, it's very handy. The colours don't match perfectly, but they are close enough. Due to a nasty weather we got the footmuff back on. I have to admit I had to wash it twice after last buggy eating session.
We had beautiful weather this weekend so we spent whole days in the park. My daughter decided to go for a run, 2 km exactly and her daddy had to follow her with the buggy. Affinity is not designed for running obviously, but it was coping very well with a very fast walk/ slow jog with no front wheels rattling etc. so daddy seemed to be pleased. He also noticed he didn't kick the back tube (the one between the wheels) as it is nicely curved and lifted.
We had a great time testing Affinity. Both carrycot and seat are great, comfortable, easy enough to use and look stunning. There was no surface impossible to ride on even though sometimes we had to pull rather than push, but we really tested it on difficult paths. It is a sturdy, all year/age/terrain piece of baby equipment and I will be recommending it to new parents. I appreciated big and easily accessible shopping basket. Britax customer services also proved to be very helpful which gives me a big trust in the brand. I would improve just two things in the pushchair: one hand seat recline and even bigger hood, but if you are not as crazy as me about it, you will probably consider this one big enough. It is very easy to push and looks elegant thanks to the curved frame.