Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Stroller Derby

I have a love-hate relationship with strollers. I love my stroller that I finally got for Will, but getting it took three other strollers. The right stroller can really make your life much easier, whereas the wrong one really can make a simple outing a headache.

There was nothing wrong with my original stroller combo. It was a perfectly nice travel system from Graco. I liked the fabric, the snap-n-go seat, and it worked fine for the mall. But I hated how bulky it was for folding up, it steered "okay" but not great, and, as Will got older, I switched to a more space-friendly travel stroller that folded very compactly, but still had all of the features that I needed, like a reclining seat, sunshade, and basket for storage.

Also, I surprised everyone (including myself) by how much I used a hand-me-down jogging stroller that I got from a friend. It pushed like a dream and worked great when Will was a smaller infant. However, it was an older model, with only a lap belt, and as Will got larger and more mobile, it became a safety issue. My girlfriend and I were taking 5 - 7 mile walks daily and so I was using this stroller a lot, and it wasn't very comfortable for Will and lacked a cup holder for my water bottle, or a snack tray for Will.

So, eventually, I found one stroller that worked for everything. It is not a jogging stroller by "official" standards, but it has a front wheel that can be fixed, and I am not a pro-jogger, so it has worked for me. It is super comfortable with a little steering wheel (that beeps!) for Will, and a place for me to plug in my i-pod, and drink holders, and a snack tray, and it steers like a dream, and I love it. I still have the travel stroller in the car and keep the jogging stroller in the garage, but we are down to two strollers (after having four at one time!). If we go for a longer day trip or an outing, like the zoo, we put the jogging stroller in the car and leave the travel stroller at home.

Of course, now that we are looking at purchasing a double stroller, I want to do it right the first time. I am considering doing something similar; finding a compact, travel double and also a jogging stroller for longer trips and the walking that I will need to do to bust off pregnancy weight later on!

We do not have a huge budget, but I would rather spend a little more and be happy than try to settle for something and be disappointed. I also am not at all hesitant to use craigslist (as I have for all of my stroller purchases with the exception of the original Graco travel system). So, with diligent looking, I can find even the more upscale strollers in our price range.

So, these are the strollers I am considering, based on friends' recommendations and personal research. But I also know that you, my dear reader, know a lot about strollers and I figured you might be able to help me narrow down my search. Also, I know it's a bit early to be purchasing the stroller, but with craigslist, you have to strike while the iron's hot, and it will give me time to find a super good deal. If there is a stroller that you LOVE but I haven't listed here, please let me know about it and why you couldn't live without it.

Phil and Ted's
I have found the e3's (both sport and original) for around $300 on craigslist a couple of times (with the doubles kit, car seat attachement, and rain guard, which would up the price of the stroller new by about $200). What appeals to me about this stroller is how compact it is. I might not even need a second travel stroller, it folds up so well. I love the option to have the infant lie flat, so I can use this stroller from day one with both kids. I am attacted to the fact that if and when Will decides he doesn't want to stroll anymore, we can just get rid of the doubles kit and this goes back to a single stroller without having to buy a new one. What concerns me is spending so much for a used stroller that will have no warranty and the fact that some people say it can be awkward to jog and walk with the doubles attachment in place (I guess the handle's too short on these "base" models, and I don't have $900 to splurge on the Vibe, which you don't see secondhand on the market very often and those are still $500 or more on the rare occasion that they do pop up and that is over my budget). There is also no storage when the doubles kit is in place (which it would be for most of the life of this stroller) and yes, you can buy the attachments, but they are pricey. M is already freaking out about paying $300 for a used stroller as is.

Bob Duallie
Ah, the Bob. I think every mom that I know that owns one of these is pretty much in love with it. I find these on craigslist quite often, again around $300. Other moms' opinions mean a lot to me, so that is what attracts me about this stroller. What I don't love about it is that it's huge. You can't take it into restaurants, a lot of stores, through some doorways, etc. I know they steer well and that the kiddos would be comfortable, but I know that I would definitely still want a smaller travel stroller. And if Will outgrew a stroller, we would be stuck with a large double or have to buy another single stroller.

Baby Trend Double Sit N Stand Deluxe
This would be a stroller that I would have for the car and then I would buy a less expensive jogger off of craigslist. I like that this is probably the least expensive option (I could get this brand new for less than $150 during one of Babies R Us sales and/or coupons - and then get jogger for less than $100 off craigslist), but wonder if I will always just wish I would have put out the extra money to have one stroller for everything. I also like the fact that if Will outgrew wanting to officially be in the stroller, this has the option for him to ride when he gets tired (after taking off the rear seat). It has all of the things that I like about a stroller . . . good storage, snack trays, etc.. And we have two strollers now, so it wouldn't be a problem to have two in the future. There is also a slightly cheaper version, which I really can't see too much of a difference between.

As I said, this is kind of what I have narrowed it down to for now. Weigh in, let me know what stroller has changed your life or what you think of my choices above!


Ms. J said...

I would die without my jogging stroller. I had three strollers, too, and it met my needs best (big basket, smooth ride, tough wheels, snack cup/sippy cup space, top part for my keys and D.iet Coke I mean water bottle). Oh and it reclines. I think it's a baby trend one?

The Combi one was nice & lightweight & fashionable, but teeny basket, and NO tray for snacks (WTF?). The umbrella stroller is just for trips to places in which we might have to ditch stroller for a few minutes (amusement parks), but don't want to care if it's stolen.

I gave away the Combi to a friend last week.

Roads/sidewalks near us aren't that conducive [sp?] to taking out the stroller anyway, so I limit my exercise time to purely alone ME TIME. Plus, it was a hassle for me to stop every 5 minutes to get LP yet another snack, when I just wanted to crank up my Ip.od and chill out while I walked.

Tina said...

This stroller was crazy-expensive, but after trying out all the others, including the ones you mentioned, it was the one for us.

It's the Bumbleride Indie Twin Stroller and we paid *gasp* roughly $700 for it. But it has a large basket and I can do a decent trip grocery shopping. It steers like you wouldn't believe. Even better than my umbrella single. It's comfy and my toddler doesn't mind riding in it. I can get it in my CR-V easily and it's not terribly heavy.

We considered the Phil and Ted, but I didn't like the basket and it didn't seem like one child would be able to see very well. But mostly the basket ;)

Tracy said...

Katie, we have the BOB Duallie, and I have yet to find a doorway we can't fit through, or a restaurant that hasn't been able to accomodate us. I have had some challenges in retail stores, but that is few and far between. It is the only stroller we've ever had, and ever will have. It is by far my #1 baby item and I love, love, love it. For what it's worth. :)
Also, it's not that huge compared to other double strollers, folds compactly, and is very easy to open and close.

Lesley said...

I don't have two kids (yet! did you see my post, though?) and so this is not advice exactly, but have you looked into the Joovy Caboose or Caboose Ultralight? I have the Joovy Kooper and just think it is wonderful. I would bet the quality and value is the same for any of their other models.

Katie said...

Oooh, that's an exciting teaser, Lesley, gonna have to head on over! :)

Anonymous said...

I want a Phil and Ted after seeing one in action. So nice and it looks super comfy. I'm just not ready to spend that much. We'll likely wait a bit before deciding. I should try Craigslist though...hadn't thought of that!

Danifred said...

Girlllll- I hate every stroller I've ever had. When you find the perfect one, PLEASE let me know.

Sophie said...

Love the Bob Duallie. My kids are three years 4 months apart so I was concerned about weight differences and usability- but I am still using it with a five year old and 20 month old! So comfortable, easier to push and steer than my single Maclaren Volo (I can push both my kids with one finger I kid you not). I bought the "accessory bar" for drinks phone etc. The underneath basket is a little small but that is my only very minor complaint. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Have you looked at Jane Powertwin? I have it for my boys and they are 22 months apart. Perfect for us!

Katie said...


I actually found a Jane Power twin for $250 on craigslist yesterday and got all excited, as it seemed just perfect for what I was looking for. . . but I was too late! Now, I will have to add that one to my list of craigslist searches!


Mel said...

I am useless with the double strollers but I will say that we simply LOVE every single stroller in our repertoire. I have the Peg Perego travel system and that stroller is an absolute DREAM ride, it is a bit bulky and heavy but turns on a dime. We also have a Maclaren lightweight stroller that I love and my BOB IRONMAN stroller is the sugar in my coffee. I LOVE me some BOB. Seriously, if I could french kiss a stroller, it would be that one. It was so ridiculously expensive and frivolous (my dad paid for 1/2 as a birthday gift) but it was worth it. We found that REI has 20-30% off on BOBs regularly and I found a few other small shops online that sold them for a good price. Good luck deciding!

Allison said...

I love my Bob Dualie sooooo much it is ridiculous. It was two years ago in march that I got it and even though the snow was deep outside I strapped the kids in and took pictures. lol. We have used it a lot....a LOT. I have not found a place I cannot take it into and if I couldn't I just would not go to that place. lol.

before this stroller we had a jeep single jogger and loved it but it did not hold up that well after several years. I knew it would not last another child and then DH broke it.

For our easy stroller we have the jeep umbrella and the kids take turns getting in and out. My kids are 4.5 and 2 and go in and out a lot but it is great.

Anonymous said...

I don't jog but I go on LOTS of walks and LOTS of little outtings. Purchasing a good double stroller has been one of the best decisions I've made. It sounds like we're looking for different things in a stroller, though. I love lightweight, easy to manuever, side-by-side (like being able to reach both kids easily), and an umbrella-type style that I could use from birth until the end of the stroller years. We have the maclaren twin techno and I LOVE IT. My youngest son is now 1 and I have used it almost daily for the entire year. It sells for about $400 at Babies R Us but I found it new through an online store for $250 with free shipping. Really my biggest piece of advice would be to buy the one you REALLY will love - even if it means a little splurge. (Easier said than done sometimes but remember you won't have to buy as much this time. And if you have another boy, it might be close to the only big purchase you'll be making.)

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