Ever wondered why after decades of popularity, infant carriers still seem heavy? With all the inserts and a canopy it’s like somehow the upscale models all feel close to 10 pounds. We’ve heard promises of ultra-light, carbon fiber designs for years, but they’ve never appeared. So what is the absolute lightest weight rear-facing only infant carseat carrier on the market in the USA for 2017? In September, it will be the nuna PIPA™ lite at only 6 pounds with canopy! It’s a hair over 5 pounds without canopy, and just under 7 pounds with both the full newborn insert and canopy.
The PIPA lite will be sold at independent Brixy affiliated retailers in the USA for $349.
Here are the basics. The PIPA lite shaves over 2.5 pounds off the fabulous PIPA. Lightweight, high performance materials in the shell and foam liners allowed nuna to cut the weight considerably while claiming to have no reduction in crash testing performance! Notably, they use high strength aluminum and proprietary aeroflex™ EPP energy absorbing foam fused directly to a re-invented semi-flexible thin wall shell. That means no more breaking of the stiff, white energy absorbing foam layer found in most carseats. PIPA lite is completely flame retardant free. Both lite models come with an all-new matching head and body newborn insert. The patented design with memory foam insert helps PIPA lite to meet the enhanced European 129 safety standard. They also include an extra set of dye-free GOTS™ certified organic cotton newborn inserts and harness/crotch strap covers inside the box!
- Weight limit: 4-32 lbs
- Height limit: up to 32″
- Inside depth: ~14″
- Inside hip width: ~9″
- Inside height: ~18″
- Buckle slot depth: 7″
- Harness slot heights: 6″, 7.5″, 9.5″
- Outside dimensions: 27.25″ x 17.5″w x 22.5″h
- Carrier weight: 5.3 lbs, 6.1 lbs with canopy
- Carrier + insert weight: 6.7 lbs with canopy
- Handle positions: 3
- Harness height positions: 3 (2 using insert)
- Expiration: 7 years
The lite models use the same steel-reinforced PIPA base as the original model. That includes the dual bubble recline indicators, load stability leg and belt lock-off system, plus the wonderful rigid LATCH attachments. LATCH guides are included in the box to help with installation.
This is a pretty amazing feat of engineering, to be honest. As with every single carseat design on the market, there are always tradeoffs and compromises. I think those with the PIPA lite are worth the reduction in weight! Notably, the lite must be installed with the PIPA base. They feature a single, fixed crotch strap position. This is not a matter of cost. It turns out that carrier-only installation and extra slots in the shell require considerably more reinforcement to meet nuna’s stringent safety standards. That would mean adding significant weight back into the carrier design. For parents who must have either or both of those features, the original PIPA will still be available and is a little less expensive, too!
Finally, the lite will not be FAA certified initially, but may be in the future.
Whether it’s the sleek, ultramodern design with leatherette handle or the 6 pound weight, I think the PIPA lite will be a great addition to the original PIPA that is one of our 2017 Recommended Carseats and an Editors’ Pick. You can find our full review of the original PIPA here. We will have a full review of the PIPA lite within the next month or so at CarseatBlog.
Editor’s Note: Updated upon request to remove information saved for future press release. PIPA lite is now FAA certified for airplane use with the base! Owners of early production retail models can call Nuna for a replacement label kit with aircraft instructions.