Thursday, January 10, 2013

Joovy Zoom 360 Product Review


Our family lives on a dirt road in the western mountains of Maine. Any stroller we intend to use here needs to be an all-terrain stroller. We have very fair skin, but I am leery of sunscreen, so a large sunshade is essential. After doing weeks of research, I found the Joovy Zoom 360.

Sweet Baby Girl, 5-months-old, almost 6 months, in the Joovy Zoom 360

The Joovy Zoom 360 is a sturdy all-terrain jogger with a swivel wheel that can lock for jogging or use on rougher terrain. It has many of the features of a high-end jogger without the high price. It comes in blue, red, and black. I chose black. Assembly was quite simple and I completed it myself within 20 minutes, including opening and unpacking the box.

This stroller weighs in at 26.8 lbs. It is not a lightweight stroller by any means, but with 6061 aircraft grade aluminum and large air-filled tires, it is very sturdy and can be easily maneuvered with one hand, even on grass. It also easily folds, but can't be accidentally folded. To fold it, you lift up the flap (under your child's legs), push the red safety latch button out of the way, and pull on the red cord. It has a very compact fold, especially for a full-size jogger, as shown on

The 600D fabric is durable and feels like it will really last. The black does show the dirt, especially dried mud splashed up from puddles, but it can be wiped away with a damp washcloth.

One thing I specifically look for in a stroller is room to grow. The foot rest is far enough away from the seat that my daughter will be able to fit comfortably in the seat for several years without outgrowing it. It is sturdy metal with drainage holes, unlike many of the cloth footrests available on comparable joggers. The straps for the 5-point harness straps are adjustable; both in length and position, but the shoulder straps are wide enough that at 5-months-old, my daughters tended to have one strap always slip off her shoulder (show above). I think padding on the strap could have prevented this, but as she grows it becomes less and less of a problem. There are two lines of reflective stitching on the straps, which is a bonus if you plan to use the stroller on the road, especially at dusk. The buckle is simple for adults but hard for children. The seat is very wide. For a younger baby, I recommend either purchasing an infant insert or going with the car seat adapter. I rolled up a few blankets around my daughter to keep her centered and secure. The weight capacity for the stroller is 75lbs, which is a very large child. My 9-year-old tester was able to sit comfortably in the seat, but he could not use the canopy because the seat-to-canopy measurement is only 20”. The seat sits up enough that a child can see out without leaning forward, yet it also reclines for a small child. The strap recline requires some force to adjust the seat more upright when a child is buckled in the seat and leaning back. A bar recline would be easier. There is no bumper bar or snack tray for baby, but there are two mesh pockets in the seat for baby.
fully reclined seat

While it is not recommend for use with babies under 3 months of age, Joovy now offers a car seat adapter for Graco, Chicco, and Peg Perego that makes this stroller newborn-friendly (I don't have one yet). Please don’t ever jog with an infant under 6 months old! When reclined, there is a breathable mesh panel at the child’s head which allows for good air flow. To block the sun or wind, I just hang a blanket over the back. Again, because the seat is on the shorter side, a tall child may not be able to use the reclining seat comfortably because his or her head would be against the mesh.

The Joovy canopy is AWESOME. I like that it is so strong and very adjustable. It also stands up very well to the wind. The full sun coverage is one of the main reasons I picked this stroller. It has two reflective strips on the front. The clear plastic peek-a-boo window is large and sturdy. The fabric flap can stay closed with Velcro or be rolled up with a toggle. I would prefer a quiet magnetic closure to the Velcro. I have read complaints that shorter parents are unable to see the front wheel because the canopy is so large. At 5’7”, this has never been an issue for me. I have always been aware of the terrain in front of me, whether I look over the top of the canopy or through the peek-a-boo window.

to remove rear wheel, pull this tab
The 12.5” locking swivel wheel is very easy to lock and unlock. It doesn't shake when I jog, though I mostly use it walking anyway. I use this on our dirt road and on trails in the woods (with the front wheel locked) and the stroller goes right over rocks, roots, and small stumps without a problem. It even handles well in snow and mud. The 16" rear tires are great and make for a very smooth ride. The suspension is nice and springy. My daughter will sleep in the stroller as we glide over a variety of terrain. The air-filled tires help with that smooth ride. When the weather gets cooler, I do find myself topping off the tires with air before use, but it is very easy. I appreciate the fact that the wheels are easily removed, especially the rear wheels. Even with the wheels on, the folded stroller fits in the back seat of my Honda civic, but if I need some extra space, the wheels pop right off.

Storage on this stroller is great. The basket on the bottom is large and it says it can hold up to 5 pounds. I have never weighed the items I generally carry in the basket, but it must be at least that much weight. The back of the seat has a fairly flat mesh pocket that can hold up to 3 lbs. There are 2 mesh pockets on the sides in the seat for the child to use. There is also an included parent console that attaches to the handlebar with four Velcro straps. I like that it is not permanently attached and that it is included. I am careful to line up the Velcro exactly so it doesn’t come in contact with the foam of the handlebar. The cup holders are neoprene and large and deep enough for Nalgene bottles. The center compartment has a zippered cover and is large enough for my phone, digital camera, and keys with room to spare.

The handlebar is not adjustable, which is a bummer, but it is padded with foam and is a good height for me (5'7") and my husband (6' 1") and my sister (5'4") to use comfortably. I would have appreciated rubber on the handlebar instead of foam, since many of the foam handlebars I have seen on used strollers show significant wear. The runaway strap is attached to the bottom of the stroller, where the storage compartment is, which is great because it won't tip the stroller over if I fall down and the stroller gets away from me. The strap has Velcro to attach it to itself around the handlebar for storage. I do worry that the Velcro could destroy the foam on the handlebar if it is not lined up properly, but it hasn’t been a problem yet. Kicking the frame won’t be a problem, even for taller parents! Joovy has designed the Zoom 360 with a brilliant linked braking system that is triggered by a red lever on the inside of the right wheel. There is no horizontal axle directly connecting the two back wheels, with means there is more space for strides and for basket access.

The INCLUDED rain shield has come in handy already. I don’t tend to walk in the rain often, but since it came with the stroller, we tried it out. It is very easy to use. There is Velcro to attach the cover to itself around the stroller, and I was pleased to see how well it fit and how easily it could be attached and removed. It works great with rain, wind, and snow. There is a flap that opens in front (with velcro to hold it up) or velcros in place to keep out the weather. Notice the vents in the sides.

The tire pump is included and there is a spot to Velcro the pump into the basket below the seat. I had a hard time figuring out how to follow the directions to get the pump to work because the tube is stuck into the other end of the pump and I couldn't find it. Pictures would have significantly helped me, so I'll be including some. The tube isn't screwed in, it is the brass-looking thing on the end that you can grab well enough to pull on, and then it comes right out and screws into the opposite end of the pump. It works very well and in no time my tires were ready to go. It would be nice if there was an air pressure gauge, but I can't be too picky I suppose.

This stroller glides along, and can be easily pushed, turned, and stopped with one hand, even on grass or on a hill. Granted, my daughter is still very young, but I have tried it with larger children as well and have been impressed. I highly recommend this stroller. I wish they made a double version.

It is important to note that I bought the stroller myself. I am not in any way affiliated with the Joovy company and the opinions expressed are my own.

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