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Gear Guy Guide: Fall 2014

The best new strollers and car seats, plus something totally new

We've seen remarkable innovation from some of our favorite brands this fall—and figured it was time to get our trusted Gear Guy, Jamie Grayson, to weigh in on the new releases. This edition of the Gear Guy Guide features some fabulous new car seats and strollers, as well as one of the best products he's ever seen. "Like, ever."

Clek Fllo, $379
"Suitable from 14 pounds (around 6 months), Clek's new convertible car seat has a 50-pound rear-facing weight limit—and when you flip it forward, it’ll hold that kid until she hits 65 pounds. Couple that with a nice top harness height in forward-facing mode, and you’ve got a seat that will last a long, long time. How does it differ from the Foonf? The Fllo is quite a bit lighter, does not have the React crumple-zone technology, and does not use Rigid LATCH to install. It's a sensible purchase for anyone who's not using LATCH to install (due to age of vehicle or car seat placement), or for smaller cars. The Fllo sits a little bit lower than the Foonf, so getting your child in and out while rear-facing will be a little bit easier.  And it retails for less. Available at Magic Beans, the Fllo retails for around $379."

UPPAbaby Vista 2015, from $819
"The new version of UPPAbaby's Vista is a stroller to be reckoned with. Take the Vista we all know and love, now add a reversible Rumble Seat for toddlers that reclines, plus the ability to hold two infant car seats or two bassinets (the bassinet has been redesigned, by the way), and a new-and-improved fold. Bam! I’ve pushed it (weighted-down with boxes in both seats), and it’s surprisingly easy to turn and bump over curbs. UPPA has made a ton of improvements here, and the price has only gone up marginally.  The new Vista retails for $819-859 and will be available later this fall."

Doona, $350
"Hassling with adapters and dumpy frames is NO WAY to get a car seat from Point A to Point B. Meet Doona. Imagine an infant car seat with a lever that you simply pull, and wheels pop out of the bottom. No lie. The Doona also has a height-adjustable handle and it’s suitable from 4 to 35 pounds, so you get bang for your buck. The car seat-stroller hybrid will retail for $350—on the higher end for an infant seat, but when you think about not buying extra parts for your stroller it all evens out. One of my favorite features is that the Doona is available without the base, for city dwellers without cars. You may not get the smooth ride of air tires, but for taxis and airports, this is going to be major."

Cybex Cloud Q, $400-$450
"Speaking of car seat innovation, it’s no secret that I’m a GIANT fan of Cybex seats. They’re stylish, lightweight, and they install like a dream. Right on the heels of the amazing Aton Q, the Cybex Cloud Q is suitable from 4 to 35 pounds like other Aton seats, but has a magical new feature: it reclines. Yeah, you read that right. Imagine if you were able to recline a car seat into a lie-flat bed/carry cot contraption while you were out strolling around? Well, when the Cloud launches in early 2015, you’ll be able to do that. On top of the innovation, the new Cloud fabrics are delicious. Yes, delicious. It's expected to retail around $400-$450."

ezpz Less Mess Happy Mat
"I happened upon a very special product at ABC last month: the Less Mess Happy Mat from ezpz. These parents of twins did the impossible: they made a plate/bowl/mat hybrid that suctions to a table and doesn’t move. At. All. Made of silicone, it’s bacteria and mold resistant, dishwasher-safe, and stackable for easy cabinet storage. I’m seriously obsessed. This product is a total game-changer and I’m thrilled to share it with you. You’re gonna love it. Trust me. The ezpz Less Mess Happy Mat retails for $24.99 and is available for pre-order at ezpzfun.com."