Out'n'About Nipper 360 V2 Review
We take a close look at the latest offering from Out'n'About; the reinvigorated and updated cult classic - the New Nipper 360!
You could quite happily use and abuse the Nipper over many years and with multiple siblings and it would more than likely come out the other side still smiling and asking for more!
- Lightweight and hard wearing
- Travel system/carrycot compatible
- Exceptional maneuverability off and on road
- Seat from birth is not ideal
- Fabrics are a bit basic
- Many steps involved in folding
The Nipper 360 V2 comes in Balck, Charcoal, Camel, Red and Navy.
The first thing you notice about the Nipper 360 is how light it is; for an off-road pushchair it is exceptionally light and easy to manoeuvre. Although it doesn't register highly on the weighing scales, unlike many lightweights it packs a punch in the sturdiness stakes too. It feels robust and there's nothing wobbly or flimsy about any part of it. Another thing you notice right away is that the chassis is no classical beauty, no gently sweeping curves or high shine chrome, but, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the beauty of the Nipper 360 is truly in its performance.
Easy to steer, even with a heavy toddler on board, and with no problems tipping it back for kerbs (even though there is exceptionally good suspension at the rear) Out‘n'About have managed to obtain a happy medium between practicality over rough terrain and manoeuvrability around town.
The handle bar is height adjustable, which is a welcome change over the previous version - especially in a pushchair where the task of pushing up steep bumpy hills may often be delegated to taller dads. The handle bar is covered in the standard foam you often find, and although there are clear warnings about the vulnerability of the foam to damage, the handle bar doesn't touch the ground when folding so the risks should be pretty low, it also comes with a wrist tether strap which I like to see on any pushchair, not just jogging or off-road styles. The addition of an adjustable handlebar has lead to an increase in length of the pushchair, it's quite hard to judge the position of the front wheel around tight corners, especially when your view is obstructed by the carrycot – if you are the type of person who gets annoyed when your partner runs a shopping trolley into your heels – be warned!
The wheels are large diameter and have chunky air filled tyres with a decent tread and a quality feel, the front swivel wheel can be locked in the fixed position for hardcore off-roading, although the mechanism to do this is still fiddly and located under the footrest – not ideal when half way through a muddy walk on a freezing cold day with no gloves! The wheel hubs have been changed from stainless steel to a heavy duty black plastic on this model, a great improvement if you use it on the beach or in the rain a lot as there is now no risk of rusting. The wheels are all quick release, although at the front only the actual wheel is removed – not the fork that holds it in place, but this makes no difference to the folded size anyway. The suspension at the back is quite obvious – two large springs make it easy to push over any terrain, and your little one can be guaranteed a smooth ride.
The Nipper 360 comes with a drawstring shopping bag attached to the back of the seat that you can fill really full. You can, if you like, buy an additional shopping basket to put under the seat; this is very spacious, but would catch on the ground or drag through the mud if you were doing some serious off-roading.
The brake has been redesigned on this version too, and is now a spring loaded flip flop friendly paddle style, easy to put on and off, gives a reassuring clunk when engaged and secure - it's a simple design which works.
The seat of the Nipper 360, looks on first examination to be fairly basic, but on closer inspection it does have a certain amount of rugged charm. Although the seat itself isn't particularly padded, the pushchair comes with a padded liner that offers a bit more comfort, so adding or removing the liner would work well for summer or winter use. The liner gives more than adequate padding and will work well for keeping the seat fabric underneath clean, as the pushchair is wipe clean only.
The seat is spacious in width and height and would carry a taller or larger child easily, the seat base gives plenty of room for larger bottoms too. The pushchair seat feels a little low down compared to many other pushchairs but this low centre of gravity should help with balance when going over rough ground or up and down kerbs, it feels very unlikely to tip.
The hood is a feature I like, it gives plenty of shade to the occupant, but without blocking out too much of their view, it also covers tops of legs and even feet of littler babies because of its long canopy. It has a viewing window with a Velcro closure and on either side of the hood are some big zipped pockets, great for avoiding those "now where did mummy put the car keys..." moments (which usually occur in the rain when you have too many bags of shopping to juggle and a screaming toddler in tow).
The seat recline mechanism has also been improved, instead of the basic threaded clip the pushchair now features a pinch-slider system, which means you can lower the seat back down to an infinite amount of positions using just one hand. To sit the seat back up though you do need to perform a tricky three handed manoeuvre – pushing the seat back forward, holding the loose end of the strap taught and pinching and sliding the clip up to the desired position. Not ideal, but an improvement at least. Something I do quite like about this system is that you get a great range of seating positions – if you were out in town you can tighten the strap right in so your child sits very upright for a good view, and over rougher ground you can drop them back a touch to give a more secure ride. Fully reclined the seat lays almost completely flat, and would be good enough for a young baby to use with some additional padding and head support, although not ideal. With the seat fully reclined there is a flap at the rear of the pushchair which provides some protection to a sleeping child, half of which is mesh to maintain airflow.
The pushchair doesn't have a calf rest as such, but rather than a child being able to dangle their legs straight down uncomfortably there is sloping fabric down towards a fixed footrest, this fabric looks hard wearing, but with a child jumping in and out on country walks it looks prone to becoming more than a little mucky.
The seat has a 5 point harness, with all five straps being adjustable, both the crotch and the shoulder straps can also be repositioned to create a better fit. You can attach the shoulder straps to the clip separately if you need too, the clip is a basic finger pincher type and you can do up each side individually, as well as doing the shoulder straps separately too. There are no chest pads included, and the standard nylon webbing might be a bit harsh against a baby's skin.
The pushchair now comes with a gate-opening swing away style padded bumper bar which is lovely to have and was lacking from the previous version. The chewable looking foam is covered with a stretchy zip off fabric, which is rather handy and should keep the bumper bar looking fresh for longer than average. The sockets for the bumper bar are also where other accessories can be plugged in, such as the car seat adapter or the carrycot, and to remove items from the socket you lift a little red latch on either side of the chassis. I'd be sure to watch out for inquisitive little fingers investigating this latch though, it's located in a prime fiddling position for bored tots.
A new advancement for the Nipper 360 is the addition of a carrycot option. This is a great bonus and really turns the Nipper from a part time or toddler pushchair to use just for the beach or for muddy walks, into a great all-rounder to use from birth right the way through - with no need to ever buy another pushchair. The carrycot sits very securely on the pushchair frame using two adapters which plug into the bumper bar sockets. With the seat back fully reclined the carrycot can easily click into place where it is further supported by the pushchair frame and by sitting upon the seat, this makes for a very comfortable and stable ride for baby. All you have to do to un-attach the carrycot is press down on buttons on the top rim of the carrycot and lift it away, although it is easier said than done as the buttons are located under both the apron and the carrycot liner so you have to feel around for them. The carrycot has little feet on the bottom to stop the fabric base coming in contact with the floor when you put it down. Because of the location of the adapters for the carrycot on the pushchair chassis it does seem quite far away from you when you stand at the rear of the pushchair, but you could still easily see babies face peeking out from under the hood. The carrycot itself is well made, and can be collapsed down to store or transport. Although not a huge carrycot it is more than adequately sized to see you through the first few months, and I like the fact it has a belly strap to wrap around your little one to give them a bit more security, handy for the bus if nothing else. The carrycot apron is secured with velcro on either side (I have visions of mums up and down the country very carefully and slowly peeling it back so as not to wake sleeping babies!) and has a raised portion at the front to keep the sun off. Something I like about this method of sitting the carrycot in the existing pushchair is that the hood from the pushchair can be pushed forward if the sun is low or to give baby a bit more of a quiet snoozing environment.
The fold is easy to master but involves quite a few steps; with the brake engaged and the seat upright you undo the locking pin from the side, unclip the latches on either side, release the safety catch and push down on the handle bar, the chassis will begin to fold down in half, as it almost gets to a fully folded position make sure the front swivel wheel is turned to the side to fold it completely, you can then engage the lock to keep it folded. The only really tricky bit is that the hood needs to stay folded back with the handle bar, but the seat back needs to stay up near the folding hinges as you start to fold. Sometimes these two get in a bit of a muddle with each other, but once you know what you're doing you should be fine. To unfold you just reverse the process.
The Out‘n'About Nipper 360 V2 is a great little pushchair. Being more robust, feature packed and baby friendly than a simple stroller, yet more lightweight, manoeuvrable and toddler friendly than a traditional bulky 3 in 1 travel system the Nipper 360 delights on many levels. With the addition of a carrycot and car seat adapters you can have your newborn secure and facing you, at least for the first few months, but the decent sized seat unit, lightweight chassis and air tyres mean the nipper will be a joy to push for many years to come, with even the heaviest load over the roughest terrain. The already reasonable pricing of this pushchair seems even better when you consider its potential longevity.
There are just a few niggles with the Nipper for me, the many stages involved in folding it for one, the fabrics feel cheap and rough (although for the practicality of an all-terrain pushchair I can see the point of this), the recline is fiddly to sit back to upright and the carrycot release buttons are hidden under layers of fabric, and if I'm honest, it's not the most easy on the eye.
All in all though these points would be minor given the fact that you could quite happily use and abuse the Nipper over many years and with multiple siblings and it would more than likely come out the other side still smiling and asking for more!