Top critical review
33 people found this helpful
Pretty good full, pretty awkward empty
on August 30, 2013
For the most part, this is a good bag that does what it's supposed to do in protecting the stroller from overly enthusiastic baggage handlers, but I can't give it a ringing endorsement because it's also kind of a pain.
As far as doing its primary job, the padding is okay and the double zipper expansion ensures that the stroller will fit (though, with the wheels off, I usually don't need the extra space). I'll agree with others that the black, nondescript look of the bag doesn't help distinguish it as a stroller and, therefore, definitely gate check material, so you'll want something to help it stand out as such. I went with another's suggestion and throw it into one of those big, red, vinyl-ish stroller bags that say "GATE CHECK" in no uncertain terms. Apart from making everything obvious and keeping it from accidentally winding up at baggage claim, it's a nice barrier to keep the Baby Jogger bag from getting torn up on the tarmac. Our red bag is a filthy, tattered mess after about a dozen flights, but the black bag underneath is in almost pristine condition.
Still, the Baby Jogger bag fails for me in a couple of ways. Firstly, the inside makes no real sense. There are a couple of pockets that I guess could be receptacles for the wheels, but they're not really shaped for it and I feel like the stems of rear wheels would eventually put a hole through it. What purpose they serve, I know not. Similarly, as many have mentioned, there's not a great deal of guidance for the *best* way to put the stroller in there. I think my method's all right, but I'm sure others do it better.
Maybe the engineers at Baby Jogger worked tirelessly in their labs to produce the perfect bag wherein everything fits perfectly, but no one decided to share that with us, so I'm a little more convinced they looked at the basic dimension of the stroller folded and just slapped together a bag slightly bigger, kind of like the laziest "Project Runway" challenge one could imagine. Or perhaps the idea is to promote absolute spatial democracy. I don't pretend to know. The net is that it's left to the user to make it work.
(A tip I stole from one of the reviews here is to pack some plastic bags--perhaps in those otherwise useless pockets--to cover the stroller's wheels when packing this thing.)
My biggest issue with this thing, however, is when it's empty. It's just big and awkward and doesn't really work for any kind of double-duty. This means that from the time we leave our car until we get to the gate and from when we leave the gate until when we get to wherever we're going, we've got the giant empty bag flopping around. It's too rigid to fold up (though not so rigid that it doesn't bow in the most annoying ways possible when carried empty by the shoulder strap), it doesn't hang off the back of the stroller in a convenient way (ie, you'll be kicking/kneeing it or it'll start rubbing against the tires and your lateral clearance for doorways and aisles is greatly reduced), and it's not like it rolls along or attaches to other luggage. It just is. And that's a pain.
Were it only for the lack of guidance on the innards of the bag or the non-obvious 'gate check' exterior, I'd gladly give this four stars, but the fact that you're stuck traveling with an albatross the size of an area rug minus the convenience of rolling up means it may be the best solution for the circumstances, it's just not an ideal one.