I hope you have some chocolate and a cup of tea as you sit down to read this… it’s going to be a long one.
I wanted this pram long before I had even wanted a child. It is simple, stylish and customisable. At 12 weeks pregnant I secured my Bugaboo secondhand and couldn’t be happier. The prices have come down markedly in the past 3 years. The strong Australian dollar means they are now “more affordable” although still out of reach for most punters, but it also means there are many great ones on the secondhand market.
Why will you love this pram?
When baby first arrives you put them in the Bugaboo bassinet. It is massive and looks oh so stylish, like an old fashioned pram. Bugaboo recommend your baby stays in the bassinet until they are six months old – which seems achievable for most babies as the bassinet is a good size. The large bassinet on a small (59cm wide frame) means that baby can sleep with you in cafes and be a portacot on holidays. At 9.5kg the Cameleon is also relatively light for a pram and because it folds into the car in two parts it is good for those who have bad backs. Don't plan to use the underbasket in bassinet mode however, as it is really hard to access anything other than a muslin wrap or squeaky toy!
Next phase is when baby is ready to sit up. You need to remove the bassinet fabric and put the seat onto the frame. Note this means that you cannot simultaneously use the pram for both baby and toddler. Many seem to survive fine with this set-up, but if you have a gap younger than two years, be aware that there is no option of strapping in little crazy Johnnie when he is going berko in Coles. Crazy Johnnie can however, stand on the Bugaboo skateboard which is brilliant. It clips on an off in a breeze, is “mildly attractive” and is easy to walk behind because of the shape.
You can face the seat of the Cameleon both ways, which is lovely as you can face baby when he is young and turn him outwards when he is getting bored. You can also move the handlebar to the other side without moving the seat if it is getting in your way. The seat is nice and large. It tilts back to 2 recline positions and this is great when you want to give baby a bottle to drink. The recline mechanism is nice as fabric doesn’t bunch around baby’s head (like our friends at Mountain Buggy).
The wheels on the Cameleon have great suspension, so if you are outside it is a nice smooth ride. The front wheels are small though, and can get caught in gutters and cracks – while you can definitely walk with it, it is NOT the best fitness pram out there. As a side point – always borrow your friends prams to see how they push on real roads and sidewalks… anything steers well on the carpet of a baby store, even trolleys… but it is outside where the rubber hits the road so to speak. If you want to do anything that resembles a ‘jog’ – the front wheels are just not big enough and I don’t think this pram is for you.
Around shopping centres, the Cameleon turns on a pin. It is smooth and beautiful, even if your hair is not.
Why you will not love this pram
While the Cameleon has a lot of attractive features, it still has pimples. The lack of flexibility between the bassinet and seat is a real downer. The basket also isn't great, even in 'seat' mode. I can fit my son's backpack in the basket of a Bugaboo Bee or Mountain Buggy but not the Cameleon - the cross bar means everything in the basket has to fit under it or around it. The main thing that gets me though is the two part folding. You have to remove the seat of the Bugaboo to fold it. This is fine once, twice or a hundred times… but doing it every day for 6 years with your children gets tiring. If you err on the lazy side… (like me)…heed this warning. I also find the two parts of the pram balance precariously on each other and take up a lot of boot space.
On the collapsing issue, I have been known to help many a stranded Bugaboo owner in the Westfield Bondi Junction car park who cannot for the life of them manage to get this contraption to collapse. Also a warning to those expecting grandma to be able to collapse it – think again.
On a final note, the sunshade on this pram is kinda useless – it pops on and off and you can’t see your child through it.
I hope this helps you think through your Bugaboo purchase. As for me, I still own a Bugaboo but it is now a Bugaboo Bee. But I’ll leave that to my next review!