Ok, so this review is loooong overdue, but I really wanted to share our experience of the Britax Affinity travel system. Actually thinking about it, this is probably the perfect time to review it, as we’ve had the benefit of using everything to the max, and I feel like we know it inside and out.
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When I was pregnant with Baby J, the thought of choosing a pram, pushchair and car seat was very exciting, yet as we started to research, the more of a minefield the whole thing became. Baby travel systems aren’t cheap, and we knew it would have to last us, so it was important we made the right decision.
Our hunt for the perfect travel system had us traipsing around several baby shops, not really knowing what we were searching for. We knew we needed a pram and car seat imminently, but would also require a pushchair as Baby J got bigger.
The Britax Affinity first caught our eye because of it’s appearance (we saw the whole travel system on display in chilli red). Smart, sleek, bright, but not too ‘in your face’, it ticked all the boxes. After a lot of research into design and safety, we took the plunge and went with it, and I’m so glad we did! Here we are, 20 months later, with a well-used, fairly grubby, much loved Britax Affinity.
I’ve broken the travel system down into different sections for a more detailed review, and highlighted the points that I feel are most important.
- Comes in a choice of colours – available in black, white, silver and chrome
- Adjustable handle – this is one of the things that had me totally sold! I’d advise anyone looking into buying a pram or pushchair to look for this feature. It’s such a simple thing, but having the ability to flip the whole handle up or down makes a huge difference. When we were first looking in to travel systems, I didn’t see many other frames that did this, or at least not to the same extent as the Britax Affinity, but it makes life soooo much easier! Leaning over to put your baby in the pram or check on her with a handle jabbing in your tummy isn’t fun. With this system, you just flip it down so it’s completely out of the way. When you’re ready, flip the bar back up. I’ve also found this feature really useful in lifts if it’s a bit of a tight squeeze; just flip the handle up and you’ve got a bit more room to breathe! I guess the main function is for people of different heights to be able to push with comfort. Dan uses it on a higher setting than I do, and we’re both happy.
- Being able to switch from car seat to carrycot to pushchair with no adaptors – this was another huge plus point. We very nearly chose a travel system that required adaptors when you switched between the car seat and carrycot/pushchair. What a faff. Lucky escape for us. With the Britax Affinity, you just squeeze the handles on either side of the carrycot or pushchair and lift it off. The car seat lifts off by squeezing the button on the handle. Easy peasy.
- Folds up small – I drive an old-style Nissan Micra and had been stressing about what I’d do if I couldn’t fit the pram and frame into my car, but this little beauty just folds right up and the wheels pop off with a quick release button, making loading and unloading ridiculously easy!
- The handle goes straight across as a bar, rather than 2 separate handles, so you can push one-handed when needed. This is something my friend advised me to look out for when choosing a pram, and yep, great advice!
- For babies from birth
- Choice of colour packs – available in chilli red, black thunder, fossil brown, cactus green, blue sky and cool berry
- Can crush down flat if needed – we only had to do this once, but we had such a car full of stuff for a long journey, flattening the carrycot down was the only way to make it fit. It popped up fine the other end!
- There’s a hidden sun visor! We literally discovered this just as we were getting to the end of using the carrycot, before moving on to the pushchair. My mum found it by chance and I kicked myself that I hadn’t noticed it sooner. It’s like an extra flap that comes down from within the carrycot hood. Useful once you know it’s there!
- Comes with rain cover
- Can be used from 6 months – 3 years
- Can be forward or rear facing – this is a great feature of the pushchair. It clips on in the same way, whichever direction you have it facing. Sometimes you want your baby facing you so you can see one another, but if you’re out for a walk, they probably want to be forward facing so they can see what’s going on around them.
- Different recline positions – this is really useful for tipping them back as they fall asleep. You can start out on a walk with a bright, cheerful baby who wants to sit up and look out at the world, yet in ten minutes time, that same baby might be fast asleep. Baby J isn’t much of a napper these days, but if she does nod off on a walk, we just tilt her back a little so she’s more flat and more comfortable for sleep.
- Different feet positions – the little foot rest adjusts in the same way that the handle flips and the seat reclines; just squeeze in the two side buttons. This means the little ones can either have their feet resting on a shelf, or have their legs hanging down.
- Another hidden sun visor! – Bah! Another sun visor I missed! Literally only last month did I discover that the hood unzips to release an expanding mesh panel. Just as summer’s nearly over!
- Comes with rain cover
Car seat (Baby-safe plus SHR II)
- Both isofix and seatbelt options – this was important for us. The car seat had to fit in Dan’s company car (with isofix) and my very old Micra (with no isofix). Neither of us have had any problems with it. It clips into the isofix base really easily, and lifts out with a simultaneous push of a button and squeeze of the handle. The seatbelt option is simple and easy, too.
- Clips in and out of the frame with ease
- Comes with a detachable sun visor – it needs to be detached before putting into the car with the seatbelt installation, but can be popped on once strapped in.
- 5 point harness
- Changing bag – Our package came with a matching changing bag. The bag has a detachable roll-out changing mat, which is genius, as it means you don’t end up rifling through bags, trying to fish out the changing mat and pulling half of your nappies and spare clothes out at the same time. The inside of the bag is divided into three large sections (I use one for nappies and wipes, one for clothes, and one for drinks and snacks), two small side pockets and a mesh pocket on the inner flap. It’s quite compact compared to others I’ve seen, and it’s unisex; rather than being a ‘mummy bag’, it’s a ‘parent bag’, and rightly so.
- Cosy toes – Our package also came with a cosy toes, which to be honest, we haven’t used very much as Baby J was always quite resistant to it being put on.
As you can probably tell, I really do love our Britax Affinity. The only thing I was sad about was the fact that there was no sun parasol to match, so I had to buy one from Boots. However, since I discovered that the hood extends, I’ve not needed to use it!
I think we must have used at least one part of our travel system nearly every day since Baby J was born. It’s only now that she’s 20 months old that we’ve been making noises about getting a stroller, although we’ll probably hang on until she’s 2. Even though I’ve never used any other pram or pushchair, I really feel like we were on to a winner as soon as we bought our Britax Affinity. I genuinely can’t see how any other make or model would match up to it in terms of appearance, quality, ease of use and comfort.
Having written this review, I’ve been on the Britax website and found they’ve replaced our Britax Affinity with the Britax Affinity 2. I’m not sure what the difference is, but looks-wise, it seems much the same, although the colour options have changed a little. The Britax Affinity 2 is currently retailing on the Britax website for £535, not including the carrycot or car seat.
Anyhoo, if you’re reading this because you’re currently in the middle of carrying out your pram and pushchair research, good luck to you, and I hope you find what you’re looking for.