A baby takes up a surprisingly large amount of space. Not the actual baby, of course, but the piles of onesies, newborn diapers, teething toys, and bottles that parents buy to go along with that cuddly lump. With all this extra stuff around, I perk up when a traditionally-large baby product promises to take up significantly less space than its competitors.
There are a lot of gadgets that promise to use smart technology to make your parenting life easier, and those promises don’t often pan out. But when you’re making a gadget for a baby, smart design usually trumps adding a Wi-Fi radio.
The gb Pockit stroller doesn’t have an app or a Bluetooth radio, but it has an incredibly smart design. It can be instantly collapsed to a size that’s small enough to fit into a reusable grocery bag. Or to tuck under the seat in front of you on a flight. Or to neatly rest on a closet shelf with no chance of falling out the next time you open the door. This stroller’s folding design makes you want to open and close it just to watch the faces of the people near you.
I packed up the Pockit for two three-hour car rides and its compact, rectangular shape was much more manageable than any other stroller I’ve brought on a road trip. We haven’t yet succumbed to the "Have Kids, Buy SUV" rule, and I’m pretty sure I heard our four-door sedan’s cramped trunk thanking me for bringing such a small stroller.
But the gb (short for Goodbaby) Pockit’s $249.99 price leaves me puzzled about how to categorize it among other strollers. You have your high-end running strollers, like the $460 BOB Revolution Pro. Then you have what I’d call your primary strollers, which often have three wheels for easy maneuvering and can handle a variety of situations from long walks with sleepy toddlers to short bagel runs (in my case, I use the $270 Britax B-Agile). And a lot of parents have umbrella strollers like this $25 model, which are inexpensive, simple, and lightweight.
While the Pockit has a couple nice extras like a small storage compartment, a basic sun shade and adjustable, padded straps that make kids comfortable, it’s pretty much a fancy umbrella stroller that costs as much as some full-featured strollers because it folds up into a really tiny size. Is that worth it?
The designers at Goodbaby think certain people will pay for this small-size luxury, and they’re probably right. Even in its opened-up state, the Pockit is more svelte than other umbrella strollers. It’s narrow enough to be rolled all the way down the aisle to your seat on an airplane — a huge plus for moms and dads who struggle with gate-checking a stroller while juggling babies and luggage. (If you ever see a parent doing this at an airport, stop Snapchatting and go help them.) The Pockit is also narrow enough to fit through train turnstiles, which could help commuters with babies.
This isn’t the first time a stroller has tried to impress the world with its folding technique. The 4moms Origami stroller grabbed lots of attention back in 2012 with its button-press automatic folding, along with daytime running lights, an LCD dashboard and a built-in phone charger. But rather than shelling out $849.99 for the Origami, plenty of parents miraculously managed to manually open and close their strollers.
Even if you don’t need a power open / close button for your stroller, a one-handed fold is nice to have if you’re holding your baby while trying to collapse your stroller. For all of its folding prowess, the Pockit requires two hands, which some people may find frustrating.
My husband, Kevin, and I each tried taking our boys — a 2 ½-year-old and a nine-month-old — on walks in the gb Pockit. Both kids seemed comfortable, and our toddler had no trouble taking his afternoon nap in this stroller, despite the fact that its seat back doesn’t recline at all. Kevin found himself occasionally kicking the back wheels of the stroller as he pushed it along, a problem he hasn’t had with any of the four strollers we own. I found that the Pockit’s wheels maneuvered about as well as other unremarkable umbrella strollers that I’ve tried, but people won’t be buying this thing for its maneuvering skills.
When it came time to fold up the Pockit, I pressed in on two white buttons to lower the stroller handles, then pushed directly down on them in the direction of the back wheels. The whole thing quickly folded down on itself, like an accordion, and stayed in place with a white latch. In its folded state, the Pockit still stands up without falling over, which came in handy. Most of the time, I folded the Pockit using the Compact Fold, which makes it small. But this stroller gets even smaller if you fold the back wheels in before collapsing it, which gb calls the Ultra Compact Fold. This extra step would come in handy if you really needed to store the stroller in a tight spot; otherwise, the Compact Fold is faster and still makes the Pockit remarkably small.
To open the Pockit, I unhooked the white latch, swung out the handles and gave it a strong shake. I then pressed in on the white handle buttons to raise them to regular height.
For now, the gb Pockit only comes in a Monument Black color, which is good at hiding dirt but doesn’t exactly stand out in the crowd. An olive tone called Lizard Khaki is coming later this year, along with other colors.
While the gb Pockit is pricey, its flexible design will give parents more options in situations where they might not normally be able to use a stroller. If that happens enough times, this high-end umbrella stroller might just turn into the one stroller that gets pulled out of the closet more often than the others. And that’s worth something.