While UPPAbaby is a very popular name in the stroller world, MESA isn’t usually the first model name that pops into your mind when you think about an infant carseat. But maybe it should be because they hit this one right out of the park! I’m thoroughly impressed, from the installation, to the ease of use, to the aesthetics.
MESA Specs & Details:
- For babies 4-35 lbs and 32 inches or less (1″ rule also applies)
- No-rethread harness with 5-position front-adjustable headrest
- 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
- Lowest harness slot height is about 5.5″ and highest harness slots about 10″
- Removable infant insert recommended for infants 4-8 lbs.
- Robust head wings and shell lined with thick energy-absorbing EPS foam for enhanced side-impact protection
- SMARTSecure™ system features auto-retracting lower anchor LATCH attachments
- Built-in lockoff for seatbelt installations
- Tension indicator on base – turns from red to green when base is installed tightly
- Recline angle indicators on both sides of base
- Storage pockets in cover for keeping buckles out of the way when placing a child in the seat
- 7 year lifespan before expiration
MESA Base – the base is very low profile and clean looking. The entire base is rounded and smooth so it won’t leave a dent or scuff in your vehicle upholstery. The blue lockoff is located in the center of the beltpath. The LATCH connectors are stored in neat little compartments and you release them by pushing a button on top of the base. That’s a nice touch because then you don’t have LATCH straps flapping around interfering with your seatbelt installation or whacking you in the shin when carrying the base. There are recline angle indicators on both sides of the base and a button on top to adjust the recline on the base (there are 4 positions). A little window above the lockoff turns from red to green when the base is installed properly. I will discuss this more in the installation section.
Extra MESA bases can be purchased separately for $119.99
The 2022 MESA is available in several fashions. Bryce (White/Gray), Henry (Blueish Gray Merino Wool), Jordan (Gray Merino Wool) & Jake (Black). Fun Fact: They were all named after children of UPPAbaby employees!. UPPAbaby was the first manufacturer to bring Merino wool to market as a naturally flame retardant fashion that’s still able to meet federal safety standards without added chemicals. Both the Henry and Jordan fashions are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified fabrics. They are also made without lanolin, so the Merino wool fabrics are naturally allergen-free as well.
A button on top of the handle allows you to release the MESA from the VISTA or CRUZ stroller with one hand. The handle has 3 positions, all of which can be used in the car. The release mechanism to detach the carrier from the base is located on the back of the seat above the blue panel that serves as the shoulder belt guide for European-style beltpath installation when the seat is installed without the base (2014 version only)
The seat itself is fairly long front to back and should accommodate tall babies well. It measures about 28″ front to back when attached to the base and almost 26″ when installed baseless. It’s not particularly narrow and measures about 17″ wide. The base itself is a tad over 14″ wide and should puzzle well next to other seats due to its low profile. Internal seated height measures about 17.5″ tall to the top of the adjustable headrest.
Installation & Fit to Vehicle:
UPPAbaby claims that the LATCH installation on this seat only takes about 10 seconds and I will say that is accurate. As you can see in the video above, there’s not much to it and it’s as easy as they claim.
Lower the recline foot until the recline indicator shows green, then push the LATCH release buttons to remove the LATCH connectors, clip them onto your lower anchors, and press down on the base. You will hear a ratcheting sound as the base tightens. Keep pressing down on the base until the tension indicator turns from red to green in the little window. That’s it! A rock-solid install, effortlessly. Once it’s installed tightly, double check the recline angle indicator to be sure it’s still properly reclined. Also, UPPAbaby states that the Mesa must not be touching the vehicle seat in front of it so make sure there is at least a millimeter of space between the carseat and the back of the front seat.
Center LATCH Installations with Non-Standard Spacing: UPPAbaby allows the center seating position to be used with LATCH if the lower anchors are spaced less than 22″ apart and the seating position is approved for use with LATCH by the vehicle manufacturer. If the anchors are more than 22″ apart or the manufacturer does not approve that seating position for LATCH, then the vehicle seatbelt must be used for installation.
You can see the green window above the lockoff that indicates appropriate tightness. The gray button above it is to release the recline foot and the orange buttons on the sides are to release the LATCH connectors from their storage compartments.
To install the MESA base with a seatbelt – open the blue lockoff, thread both portions of the lap and shoulder belt through the base and under the lockoff, then buckle. Pull on the shoulder belt portion of the belt to remove all the slack from the lap belt portion and clamp the lockoff shut over both the lap and shoulder belt until it clicks. Check for tightness by tugging at the beltpath – if the base doesn’t move more than 1″ from side-to-side or from front-to-back then your MESA base is properly installed!
Inflatable seatbelts (available on certain Ford and Mercedes vehicles) are NOT approved for installation but in these vehicles you can use the lower LATCH anchors to install the MESA base instead.
The carrier attaches easily to the base. There is no jiggling around to find that sweet spot to click it in. You literally just set it there and it clicks right in like butter—if butter could click. To release the carrier from the base, pull the handle on the back of the seat and lift. This was also very seamless without any hang-ups or effort.
Fit to Child:
I had two models for this seat. The first was my son Declan, who is 16 weeks, 13 lbs and 26.5 inches. I love the fit on him. He has the harness on the second position and actually needs the buckle in the second outward position, probably due to his fat cloth diaper butt. The harness is extremely easy to tighten on him, which is a perk to me because he HATES the tug-tug-tug other seats require to tighten instead of the one smooth movement the MESA has. The shoulder pads provide adequate protection from the harness rubbing on his neck without being big and intrusive. Sometimes I feel as though infant seat harness pads make it difficult to get a good fit on the shoulders of tiny babies, and also prevent the chest clip from being in the appropriate place; not so with this seat. The chest clip is a nice size and doesn’t swallow him. One thing that I really like is how deep the seat is. Declan has long legs, and they hang off the edge of his usual infant carseat. He can almost kick the vehicle seat already and I’m constantly whacking his feet on things when I carry him in it from the house to the car. None of this is unsafe (well, I guess whacking his feet on the door frames isn’t the nicest thing), but I like the fact that he’s completely contained in the MESA. The head protection is close enough to his head to make me feel like it would give it the proper support in a collision, but not so close to his head that he gets annoyed.
My second model was Declan’s tiny buddy, Logan. Logan was 4 weeks, 20 inches, and 7 lbs 8 oz at the time of the photos. He isn’t the biggest fan of the buckling/tightening process so I didn’t want to retake the pictures with him in the seat using the infant support cushion that comes with the seat, but he fits amazingly well without it. In fact, I had to raise the harness up a slot to fit him properly. Even with his tiny little body, the chest clip and harness covers were not intrusive. He was adequately supported, and the recline was appropriate for a newborn, and a low birth weight one at that.
For a preemie or very small newborn, the harness strap covers should be removed. The fit on the Huggable Images preemie doll is very good. This doll represents a 4 lb., 17″ preemie. Using the lower body infant insert is recommended for babies 4-8 lbs and is necessary to get a good fit on this very tiny doll.
Adjusting the harness and headrest is a snap. Simply pull the tab at the top of the seat and push the head rest up or down. It slides effortlessly and clicks into place with each position. There are 5 height positions that range from approximately 5.5″ to 10″ tall.
Cover/Maintenance/Ease of Use:
The cover is not plush, but it’s not rough either. It’s easily wipe-able for those well-known projectile spit-ups, and is also easy to remove to machine wash (cold water, delicate cycle, mild detergent, air dry flat). The cover has these nifty little cut-outs on the sides where you can place the tongues of the buckle so you don’t have to dig them out from under the baby when you place him in the car seat. The canopy is made of a different material, is SPF 50, and can be spot-cleaned or removed completely for washing (cold water – hang to dry). It’s stretchy and pretty slick. My favorite part? The way it folds down. There is none of that obnoxious flapping around of the canopy when folded and the handle doesn’t get caught up on it. It simply folds down seamlessly against the top of the seat and almost looks like there isn’t a canopy at all.
The manual is very easy to read: the pictures are clear and the directions are easy to follow. I appreciated the additional comments of keeping children rear-facing to at LEAST two years old, and to not place bulky jackets or blankets on the child that interfere with the harness. The cleaning instructions are also very detailed, and accompanied by pictorials. There are illustrated instructions included for attaching the seat to the CRUZ or VISTA strollers. The manual is also downloadable from UPPAbaby’s website in case the paper copy is lost.
MESA is compatible with both the UPPAbaby CRUZ and VISTA strollers to create what UPPAbaby refers to as a “Performance Travel System.” Attachment to the CRUZ does not require any adapters but attachment to the VISTA does and those adapters are included in the box with the carseat. There are also MESA adapters available from Baby Jogger that make this carseat compatible with several Baby Jogger strollers. One adapter works specifically with the City Mini, GT, Elite, Summit XC & Summit X3 strollers. A different adapter is required for attachment to Baby Jogger City Select or City Versa strollers.
The UPPAbaby MESA is certified for use on aircraft, but the carrier must be installed baseless; the base is not FAA-approved. In the event of expiration or any type of vehicle crash, the MESA needs to be replaced. The lifespan of this seat is 7 years from the date of manufacture. You can find this information on the bottom of both the carrier and the base.
Extra Bases & Optional Accessories:
Extra MESA bases are sold separately and retail for around $119. A MESA carseat rain shield is available for $19.99 and also fits over the VISTA or CRUZ stroller bassinet. For sun and insect protection in warm weather there is the UPPAbaby MESA Cabana Shade for $29.99.
- 35 lbs. weight limit and tall shell to accommodate larger babies
- 4 lbs. minimum and great fit on small babies, including preemies
- Generous fold-away canopy with no excess fabric
- Small chest clip
- IMMI buckle is easy to buckle and unbuckle
- No-rethread harness with a front adjustable headrest
- Super easy LATCH installation and built-in lockoff for seatbelt installs
- Recline angle indicators on both sides of base
- Slits in fabric on cover allow buckles to be tucked out of the way when putting a child in the seat
- Cover is machine washable (cold water, delicate cycle, mild detergent, air dry flat)
- 7-year expiration allows for use with multiple siblings
- 2-year warranty with proof of purchase (keep that receipt!)—extend it by an extra year by registering your seat within the first 3 months after purchasing!
In fairness, these may not be a problem for everyone but I list some potential disadvantages that may be an issue for some parents:
- Harness is not removable or replaceable (harness can be spot cleaned using warm water and mild detergent but it cannot be removed or replaced)
- Made in China
The UPPAbaby MESA is an outstanding infant seat with a seamless install, cute color options, and it fits babies of various sizes nicely, including low birthweight infants. My son (who is not a big fan of being strapped in the carseat) doesn’t fuss as much in it as he does in his current ride, and doesn’t get as angry when I buckle him up. It’s nice and roomy on the inside and the head protection slides up and down with ease to fit the child. It comes with attachments to UPPAbaby’s high-end VISTA stroller and can also be used with the CRUZ (without any adapters needed) which can save you a few bucks if you wanted to use this seat as a travel system. I was highly impressed with the canopy, which I’m very picky about.
Overall, the MESA is packed with an abundance of premium safety and convenience features. There is a lot to love and for that reason, MESA is on our list of Recommended Carseats! Since it fits preemies and low birthweight babies so well, MESA is also on our separate list of Recommended Infant Carseats for Preemies & Multiples.
The UPPAbaby MESA Infant Carseat retails for $299.99 and more information can be found at www.uppababy.com/mesa.
Thanks to UPPAbaby for providing this seat for review and to baby Logan for allowing me to utilize his itty-bittiness. No other compensation was provided and the opinions and comments are entirely those of CarseatBlog!
CarseatBlog Experts Rating
Hi, as a FTM I’m thankful for specific blogs like yours. Truly helpful reading reviews from a mom who knows her business. We’re between the Nuna Pippa or the Uppababy Mesa… After reading, I discarded the convertible choices. But can make my mind out of this two… Please let me know which one you find best!!! ps, We bought the Uppababy Cruz stroller… So very thankful!
Hi Indira – both are great choices. Pipa has a load leg and that awesome dream drape feature. Mesa offers a no-rethread harness and attaches to your cruz without needing adapters. You really can’t go wrong with either seat so pick the one that you’re leaning towards and enjoy! 🙂
Thank you SO much for telling me that Baby Jogger had an adapter for this. IT’S BEEN DISCONTINUED.
So now I’ve got a car seat and a stroller that don’t go together. Both are expensive.
So which one do I return, huh? The expensive and perfect car seat, or the expensive and perfect stroller?
Maybe update this review a BIT?
Installed the messa for the first time a couple of months ago. It’s a great seat and one of the easiest I have found to install if you must use it without the base. My only issue with it is the false sense of security that many people may get from the built in ratcheting system and indicator. It turned green and was not tight at all. Seat moved well over the standard inch or less at the belt path in a new Subaru. (Multiple inches in fact) In our captains chairs in the van it went in quickly and easily with only about 1-2″ of movement when the indicator turned green. With more rocking we managed to get it snug with almost no movement at the belt path. It is important to buy from a retailer that allows you to try the seat in your vehicle before buying. Not all seats work with all vehicles. Unfortunately many who don’t know that there must be less than 1″ of movement may think that the Messa is snug enough because the indicator has turned green. It would be best if Uppa removed the indicator and placed a sticker that said tighten until there is less than 1″ of movement at the belt path.
I have a 10 lb baby and can’t for the life of me find the tab at the top that is supposed to adjust the headrest at the top. Do you have any tips? I emailed Uppababy and they emailed me a picture with the tab showing – but with the headrest up on mine I can’t find the tab despite looking many times. Thanks!
I had a problem finding it too, its there just the tab is sometimes hidden when the headrest is down, you have to move the fabric of the pull over head visor since the tab may have been pressed down flat. its small and right in the middle at the very top.
We have loved the Mesa car seat, until now. My is 13 months old, and is able to unlock the front clip. We have called uppababy twice, and both times say he is still safe and that is just an extra precausion. I’m not sure about that since the front harness is important. Our son is under the weight and length requirement, just think twice before buying since it is pricey.
Many children can release or escape the harness system. While carseat designs reduce their ability to do this, they can’t eliminate it completely. It doesn’t matter what price point or brand, there are children that can release the harness system components. Preventing this behavior by design would also likely make it difficult for the parent to adjust the harness and get the child into and out of the seat. It is true that the chest clip is not a critical safety feature. In fact, it isn’t even required to be on carseats. As long as the harness system remains buckled correctly and is properly adjusted on the child, the carseat will still protect the child in a crash. More on the chest clip can be found here: https://carseatblog.com/24861/
Agreed! my 10 month son can open the chest clip also. But the bottom buckles keep him secured.
What is a mother to do if she and baby live in the Midwest during a cold winter and are concerned about what clothing can be put on baby when in carseat when it is 20 degrees outside. My greaqt grandson is three months old, has an uppa baby carseat and according to his mother he cannot be put in a padded snowsuit because the safety of the baby is compromised because of the space the snowsuit takes u p under the harness. Please advise what outerwear can be put on baby to keep him warm as well as safe when in his uppababy seat.
Very thorough article. Thank you.
I’ve noticed that when I put the Mesa on my Cruz stroller it clicks in but jiggles back and forth with just the slightest motion. It won’t do it on very flat floors, like in a store. But when we’re outside walking on a smooth sidewalk it does jiggle noticeably. Does this happen to anyone else? It seems very securely attached to the stroller so it’s not an installation issue.
I have a 2011 Vista frame and wondering if the new car seat will work with the older model frame?
I contacted Uppababy directly and asked them this same question for the year frame I have. They stated it would fit!
You will need adapters! Luckily I was able to find some at my local buy buy baby for a discounted price of only 10$ but it was the last one and they are very hard to find! Good luck!
Which adapters did you find? Could you share the name etc? I have an uppa baby vista 2011 stroller and trying to use a new Mesa car seat with it. The uppa baby brand lower nor upper adapters work w the 2011 stroller.
We have the Mesa car seat and we like so many of the great features. However, our 11 month old has figured out how to use one finger to press and release the Chest Clip!! Slightly panicked, I sent a video clip to Uppababy customer service and they said it’s time for me to put her in a convertible car seat…. sigh… She’s 21lbs – so no where near the limits they advertise.
So, I would definitely say “buyer beware” for this one.
Huh! that seems like it could be an issue for a lot of people! I wonder if there is any kind of velcro wrap around thingy that would be wrapped around the button to extend use?
It’s worth mentioning that the 2015 Mesa is seemingly endlessly delayed, and last year’s model has already been pulled from shelves. This creates quite a conundrum for anyone with an approaching due date wanting to buy a Vista or Cruz to use alongside the Mesa as a travel system. This year’s car seat was initially set to release in spring, then June, then July, and now mid-August to mid-September, depending on color. Just a heads-up!
I am a FTM due in 6 weeks. Is there a way to check if this seat will fit in my car and my husband’s car? I’m a little concerned because it is longer than others we are considering (Chicco Keyfit 30). I contacted UppaBaby and they said that they don’ compile that information, that I’d need to check my vehicle manual. I have an Infiniti G37 (2013) and my husband has a BMW 528 (2013)…anyone with experience with these? Infiniti does provide a list of specific child seats that are compatible, but UppaBaby isn’t listed (I’m hoping it’s because the list predates the release of the Mesa?)
I saw the uppababy Mesa in a store and compared to other infant car seats, it seems rock hard instead of comfortable. Can someone elaborate on the comfort of the car seat. Thank you!
I just installed my Mesa car seat for the first time. The base is 100% secure and doesn’t move at all, but I noticed that when I click in the carrier, that will jiggle a bit on the base. Is this normal?
I have the Uppa Baby Mesa and it has all the advantages mentioned in the article. However, I have to add to the disadvantages that the material is not very breathable and that our LO sweats in it a lot more than in another brand car seat we have.
Oi! that’s great to know!
Can you divulge what other brand. Our daughter gets overheated in the graco and thus cries non stop in it. So we’re looking for an alternate.
This looks like an awesome infant seat! But I have to wonder if it’s really THAT much better than the Keyfit to warrant another $100+ for a seat that will be outgrown around 1yr. Obviously that’s not an issue for some families, but I’m sure it is for many. If parents are going to drop almost $300 on a seat, I’d encourage them to wait until it’s convertible time to do it.
I like how the lock clips on the seat are a blue color to stand out easily for you to see and they seem to be very easy to use. I love that UPPAbaby offers an orange fabric option also. Not many companies do which is sad since its our families favorite color. We are thinking about this as one of the carseats we look at for baby #2 since the infant carrier from baby #1 has expired. Thanks for such an informative review to help us out with our decision making! 🙂