Out'n'About Nipper V4 Parent Review
I'm Bryony, a new mum from the South coast. My husband and I run our own businesses, mine in the creative industry, and our lives have just been turned ever so slightly upside down by the arrival of our lovely baby daughter! She is now six months old and quite a handful, so while I am on maternity leave we currently spend our days doing a lot of walking together using the sling, shopping, playing, snoozing (her, not me… unfortunately!) and leaping around singing and pulling silly faces (me, not her … unfortunately!). It is a crazy journey, but the best.
So, April is over and our time with the Nipper is up! I have to say that initially I didn't think I would be wildly impressed with the Nipper, in as much as it seemed that there were no especially flashy or exciting features that made it particularly stand out above other similar suspects. However, after having used it fairly rigorously for six months it has become our everyday workhorse pushchair and has therefore become pretty indispensable to our family.
- Light and manoeuvrable
- Compact fold
- Great build quality
- Tyres can puncture
- Limited basket capacity
We've been excitedly awaiting the Out'n'About Nipper V4 for a few weeks now, so when the courier dropped it off I admit I was a little underwhelmed – the box was so small and light! Upon opening the box however it became clear that this was, of course, a good thing as I saw just how small the Nipper folded down (an especially small fold without its wheels). Baby A was plonked in her playpen to watch me unbox and set everything up, which took 20 minutes (including a few quick rounds of ‘Incy Wincy Spider'!).
A simple set up, and would have taken much less time if I hadn't got stuck on how to get the front wheel on – there's a holding piece in the front fitting that has to be removed first – derp! I tried folding it down a few times, which seems relatively simple. Not the quickest fold I've seen but it'll be interesting to see how straightforward it is once we're familiar with it. We got the Nipper in black and it looks good; sporty with a large hood, high quality build and the wheels look huge and sturdy. Great first impression!
Our first week with the Nipper has been great – we took it out for a family weekend walk around the local area and drove it on road and pavement where it performed really well. I tested it out going up and down kerbs and uneven flagstones and even drove it over some speed bumps, all of which it managed pretty seamlessly – I barely even felt the speed bumps, and our little girl seemed untroubled by them too. A good start!
This week I got to test the Nipper in the rain – and plenty of it! The raincover fitted well and kept the pram dry. However, the way it fastens under the front wheel left my hands a bit dirty when it came to removing it, and I did miss the feature from my previous pushchair where the raincover has a little ‘window' that rolls up to give baby some ventilation; it got quite hot in there as the rain stopped and started.
We haven't managed to take the Nipper out this week apart from a brief walk around the block a couple of times – it has a flat tire at the back! We're not sure how it happened as I've been careful not to go over anything sharp but I suppose it is an obvious pitfall of air tyres. We plan to attempt a repair on it next week so will report back on our degree of success!
We repaired the puncture quite easily this week with some little ‘Leeches' stickers we bought in a bike shop and it seems to be holding up… for now! Thankfully Out'n'About were kind enough to send another wheel out to us too (but please note that this is not usually covered under the warranty). We are good to go again now and should be safe for our future trundling. To celebrate we're going to go all terrain next weekend to test it out!
Rather nippy with the Nipper out in the cold this weekend – we tested it out on a long and bumpy walk up some hillside. The Nipper managed fantastically through thick grass, uneven terrain, mud, tree roots, and a kissing gate. The front wheel has the ability to lock in a set position for such tasks, but I found that it ‘drove' just as well with the 360 wheel mode. My only slight gripe this week is that I keep ending up with oily fingers from having to touch the various latches (such as the wheel lock and the bumper bar catch) where they have presumably been oiled during manufacture for best performance. It feels a lot like using a bike!
I've taken the Nipper out doing a lot of Christmas shopping this week and it handles brilliantly in the shops and even small aisles. It's very easy to bump through doorways of smaller boutique shops that have a threshold, although of course any pram will struggle to manoeuvre within the size of these. Although it is quite long, I don't find that manoeuvrability in larger high street shops or supermarkets is an issue at all as it has a great turning circle. The only thing that I would be worried about are the air tyres getting banged into low corners of shop displays etc and being damaged.
A bit of a non-update this week as we have been struck down with festive colds, how miserable! We haven't been out with the Nipper this week as we have been curled up on the sofa letting the little one feed and sleep. When we have been out we've used our previous travel system, and I definitely miss the facility to just pop a car seat onto a chassis and be off around the shops to grab some essentials. However at 9 months our little girl is about to outgrow that feature and I suspect that her car journey naps will also be starting to disappear soon, so in a few months' time I doubt it will be a feature that we miss.
Merry Christmas! We had a lovely first Christmas with our little girl… she had a fantastic time scrunching paper and laughing at the twinkling lights! We haven't done anything too thrilling with the pram this week as a lot of time has been spent travelling in the car again or at home. However I thought I would share with you a little picture of how easily storable the Nipper is. We only have a small porch area free to store the pushchair in, and although not the tiniest umbrella fold, the Nipper still flips back compact enough to stand happily in this small area, and if the front wheel is arranged correctly it will stand upright by itself.
I took the Nipper out in some rather unpleasant weather again this week and have a small grumble regarding its use in rain – the handlebar feels awful! I'm sure this is an issue with all pushchairs with foamy handles, but once wet it felt unpleasant to push; almost sticky! I think I will be scouring the internet for some handlebar covers, if such a thing exists!
We took the Nipper out this weekend for a rather bracing walk at the beach. It's probably asking for trouble after our issue with the tyre the other week, but living near the seaside it would be really great to have a pram that could actually cope with the task, so I thought we'd test it out. We were really pleasantly surprised – I found I did need to lock the front wheel where we hadn't needed to with the hillside test, but otherwise the Nipper trundled with no problems across the mixture of grass, tarmac and stones that we crossed – and after a good check of the tyres, they seem to have survived without any issues too!
I just wanted to update briefly this week about how the Nipper performs with kerbs. I've found that with low to medium kerbs and steps the tyres are large and squashy enough to mount the kerb with no problem, and even with higher kerbs I only need to push down on the handlebar with little effort to pop the front of the pushchair up over the kerb, which is great for minimal disturbance of sleeping passengers! Other pushchairs I have used require quite a lot of force on the handlebar to get up and down high pavements, so although a seemingly simple point it does make the whole experience with the Nipper a lot smoother (and safer when crossing busy roads etc). It becomes a bit harder with shopping in the basket, and the contents do tend to be in danger of touching the ground though.
It was blue Monday this week, so I thought it would be appropriate to have a quick moan about a little niggle that I've discovered. I find that at this age (nine months) my little girl's view is a bit obstructed by the buggy bar restraint. The pushchair seems well designed to be able to fit larger toddlers in and last for a long time. Due to this the bar is quite high and far out, which means that at this stage it is just at the wrong level! I also wish that it would pivot down, as although it has the great feature of swinging out (rather than just being removable) to enable you to easily lift your baby out, the fact that it doesn't also rotate means that occasionally it frustratingly falls back down just as I am undoing the harness, sometimes hitting her hand!
This week I want to mention the folding mechanism of the Nipper. The fold isn't amazingly quick or compact in comparison to similar sporty style pushchairs, but once you get the hang of it it is fast and simple. Although possible to fold while holding a baby, as it isn't really a full one-handed fold it is quite tricky to do so and requires bending downwards which can be hard with a baby who loves to lean around and grab things! The mechanism is: unclip two large locking latches on either side of the pushchair, pull a lever to unlock the chassis, ensure the seat is upright and pulled forwards, then shut the sun visor/hood and push the handlebar downwards towards the ground.
A bit of a continuation of last week's update! This week we have been loading the Nipper in and out of the car a lot, going on walks and shopping trips, and I just wanted to make a quick point of saying that it's a nice lightweight pushchair to pick up and manoeuvre into the boot. I know this can be quite a lot of effort with a weightier pram or travel system, but as the Nipper is pretty compact it's easy to swing the folded chassis up into the boot, and the buggy bar restraint acts as a little handle. The wheels get in the way a little as they are so big, but can be removed, so it shouldn't be a problem to fit the Nipper into any vehicle.
A quick update this week to mention build quality. Despite the lightweight nature of the Nipper, I have been impressed with its quality so far. You'd always expect a pushchair to be pretty robust, but often they seem to get a bit tired and ropey looking quite quickly. We've had the Nipper about 4 months so far and I haven't yet noticed any deterioration in the seat or hood fabrics, and the plastic foot plate at the front and the chassis even remain scratch free and clean looking. Great news for me as I barely have time to scrub myself these days let alone be performing regular maintenance on a pushchair frame! However, my little girl is still small and snuggled in her footmuff at the moment, so I can't comment on how well it will fare as she becomes more boisterous!
The seat recline on the Nipper is controlled by a strap and toggle adjuster. Reclining the seat is really quick if baby falls asleep by just squeezing either side of the toggle and letting the strap slip through it until the recline is at the desired level. However, I find that putting the seat back up is difficult (but not impossible) if the seat is occupied due to the weight of the child. I have developed a method of doing this which in short involves squatting behind the Nipper and using my elbow (or occasionally, head!) to push the back of the seat forwards while I use the strap adjuster. It works, but isn't really ideal!
One of my favourite features on the Nipper is the large peekaboo window on the top of the hood, which I keep permanently rolled up. A simple feature, but really effective as it lets me sneak a peek at my little girl to check that all's well as she's forward facing. On the days where she looks up and realises she can see me through it, she finds it really fun to lean back and watch me upside down through it!
Another simple but really effective feature is the flip flop friendly break (not that I've got a chance of wearing any flip flops in this grey weather!). The break feels like it holds the Nipper really securely but I don't find it stiff at all so it's really easy to flip on and off at a second's notice. Considering the location of the brake on the back bar, I was also surprised to find that stepping space for even my husband's longer stride wasn't a problem at all.
Out to feed the ducks this weekend! Quack quack. The issue with the height of the bumper bar has resolved itself slightly now and I am finding that our little girl can see over the top a bit better as she is getting taller. It is a bit wide to clip toy rings over, so it would be nice to see some toy hooks on it as part of the fabric bar cover, or loops in the inside edge of the hood for toys to hook onto, although we do make do fine with clipping them onto the harness.
I just wanted to quickly mention this week that the Nipper was surprisingly good for getting about on public transport. We tested it out on the train, and found that its manoeuvrability was great, and that the long length of the pushchair and the air tyres allowed us to not only get up into the carriage with ease but also to disembark easily without worrying about plopping the front down into the gap between train and platform!
One of my favourite little features on the Nipper is the hidden side pockets in the hood. These are flat and don't hold a lot, but as they run the whole length of the hood and are so discreet it means you can easily store keys, phone or cards etc in there (even retaining the ability to fold the hood back), which saves taking a nappy bag with you if you are just nipping (excuse the pun!) out. Slightly larger/bulkier items like a small bottle or snacks etc can perch in there too if you leave the zips open, but you'd have to keep an eye on them so they didn't pop out when you're travelling around.
Our little girl is now one! I can't believe she is growing up so fast and is even so much bigger than when the Nipper first arrived with us in November. She seems to ‘fit' in the seat better now that she is larger; she doesn't look at all swamped by the size of the pram any more, but you can tell she will still fit comfortably in it for a long time to come. She sits more upright in it now and has a good look out the sides without having to lean and crane her neck around – I think she really enjoys the ride!
Yet another small but important plus point for the Nipper this week – the harness! I've used prams before that have a carseat style clasp where you have to hold both pieces of the buckle together to secure it, and I've found they can get a bit fiddly with a wiggling ‘Houdini' toddler. The Nipper has simple ‘backpack style' buckles where each side clips independently into the middle crotch buckle, which means baby is at least restrained on one side while you wrangle the other arm in to the shoulder strap. Simple and effective. I also find that the shoulder and crotch strap covers are large and well-padded so there is never any issue with comfort or the mesh straps digging in to little one's skin.
This week we went off to Cornwall for a much needed break and are so glad we had the Nipper with us. We used our baby sling a lot for brief nipping about and visiting places where pushchairs weren't welcome, but for the hilly single track roads and lovely countryside the Nipper performed brilliantly and allowed us to get out and about for walks that otherwise we might have thought inaccessible with a baby in tow. I kindly let my husband have a go at pushing it back up said hilly single track roads on the return journey(!), but he reported that it was lightweight to push and had no issues with manoeuvrability even when on looser surfaces.
So, April is over and our time with the Nipper is up! I have to say that initially I didn't think I would be wildly impressed with the Nipper, in as much as it seemed that there were no especially flashy or exciting features that made it particularly stand out above other similar suspects. However, after having used it fairly rigorously for six months it has become our everyday workhorse pushchair and has therefore become pretty indispensable to our family. Despite having access to another pram which may be deemed slightly fancier(!) at first glance, I still reach for the Nipper first on most occasions as I know that it will be reliable, quick and light to use for all the little journeys and trips out that are part of our everyday life. It has loads of great aspects which add up to make a really good quality, dependable pram. We've mulled it over thoroughly and would like to give the Nipper a rather impressive 8 out of 10!
Here's our top 3 features of the Nipper, and the 3 aspects we weren't so impressed with.
Light and manoeuvrable. A nice ride for the little passenger, a nice easy ‘drive' for the parent!
Small and relatively compact fold, but sturdy and big enough in the seat that it feels like it will last for ages.
Great build quality. Looks like I've had it for a week, not six months.
Con's The air tyres. I will elaborate a bit as this is a double edged sword for us - on one hand the air tyres provide a bump-free ride for baby, and allow great manoeuvrability over most uneven terrain. However, we have had at least two punctures/flats in our six month testing period. At times I have been able to continue using the pushchair with a squishy wheel; it doesn't put you completely out of action, but manoeuvrability and control is obviously reduced. Spare wheels/tyres are available, and they can also be repaired in the standard way like a bike tyre, so really whether this is an issue or not for you depends on whether you are bothered about a bit of quick occasional puncture repair work or not.
Lack of ‘travel system' aspect / car seat compatibility. Another very personal choice here; if it was my only pram and I was using the Nipper from birth then I would be a bit disappointed by not being able to use a car seat with the chassis, and by its lack of parent-facing mode. However, this won't be an issue for many who either don't drive or wouldn't use those features anyway.
Not a huge amount of storage for shopping or other bits, although the flat zip-up hood pockets are surprisingly useful.