Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My quest for the perfect stroller

So I have been searching off and on for a couple of months now for the "perfect" stroller for our soon to be 2 kids. I really thought it would be super easy but as I am finding the stroller that meets all of my needs either doesn't exist or is not out yet and when it comes out will probably be way too much and pretty much to get what I want I will have to either eliminate a whole set of needs or buy two strollers.

Before I go into this quest more I will tell you about an amazing stroller I found that is not out yet but I would so want called the Bugaboo Donkey. Weird name but exactly what I want (minus the whole jogging part). Check out the promo videos here! I love how versatile it seems, how fashionable it looks and I just love it! But considering their single versions are starting at $880 and this is a new must have and hot item that I am sure will be in the thousands, I am not going to think about it anymore! Oh..... and this isn't even out yet....although they did say Spring 2011!!!!

To give you an idea of my journey thus far (and just to let you know I still don't have a stroller picked out)......

Here are my must haves:
  • Would prefer a side by side double stroller as opposed to tandem or the jumper seat styles
  • 2 fully reclining seats
  • 2 separate and retractable canopies with significant coverage
  • Small enough width to fit through most standard doors (usually 30" or less)
  • Small folded size to fit in small cars (with wheels still on) as well as my 4 Runner
  • Easy to fold as I travel with Peyton a bunch by myself and would probably do so with both kids and need to be able to fold it with not too much work
  • Automatic lock when folded
  • Would like it to be compatible with my current car seat (even if I have to buy an adapter) but not a must have as long as it fully reclines for an infant.
  • Accessible under seat storage. Doesn't need to be a whole lot of space but I need to be able to get to the space I have.
  • Able to handle brisk walks around the neighborhood (would prefer ability to jog as well but would compromise since I have a jogging stroller and probably wouldn't want to push two kids) as well as trips to the store, around airports etc
  • Adjustable handlebar for John
  • Finally, comes with some accessories so I am not adding $100 plus to the cost for cup holders, snack trays, rain covers etc.

Here is list of the brands I started with: Combi, PegPerego, Valco, Britax, MacClaren, Phil&Teds, Mtn Buggy, Inglesina, Baby Jogger, Bob, Tike Tech, Abie, Bumbleride, Chicco, StrollAir, EasyWalker, Zooper, Joovy, Mutsy, MaxiCosi, Micralite, Bugabo, Orbit, Mamas&Papas, Guzie&Guss, Uppa Baby, Teutiona, Quinny, Cybex, i'Coo and Aprica.

Here is the brands/models that made the next list: Baby Jogger City Mini Double, Baby Jogger Elite Double, Easy Walker Duo BOB Revolution, Tike Tech All Terrain X3 Sport, Valco Tri Mode EX Twin, Valco Latitude EX, Mountain Buggy Duo, Stroll Air My Duo, MacClaren Twin Techno

Here is what I don't like about my above finalists or at least the ones still in the running:

Baby Jogger City Mini Double: Although one of the smaller folding it is still pretty large folded and certainly not easy in my opinion to fold or at least I had a hard time figuring it out at the store and there is no automatic locking mechanism. You can not access the storage below at all, very hard to get to and use. For the size and style, I would like it to have the ability to be a running stroller as well. No adjustable handlebar. No accessories included and although car seat compatible, when you add the adapter and other wanted accessories you add $188 to the base price.

BOB Revolution Dualie: Slightly wider at 30.8" and although it is only .8" I wonder how much that would affect going through spaces. Seems easy to fold, no automatic locking mechanism and it seems pretty big when folded even when you remove wheels. Nice storage in both seat backs and underneath. I can run with this one! And since you can either have swivel wheels or fixed (and change at the touch of a button) it would make running errands easy as well. Not adaptable with my car seat and again accessories add about $80-100 to base price. Since the accessories are not as much as Baby Jogger City Mini, it does help compensate for the increased base price of the BOB.

Valco Tri Mode EX Twin: The narrowest of my top choices at 28". Can't find a video of how it folds and they don't sell them in any stores around here so I am not sure how that works. I think it has an automatic lock or at least a better system for manually doing it but not sure. Does have smaller folding dimensions at 28x29x18 but without seeing it still can't have a good grasp on how it would fit in the Civic. Seems to have decent storage and easily accessible. When you add the accessories you would want you add about $60 to the base price making it the most expensive one on my finalist list which is hard for me to swallow since I still couldn't jog with it but it is small enough for errands, brisk walking and seems like it could travel well.

Stroll Air My Duo: I stand corrected...this is the most expensive option and since it is not sold in Texas, I am having a hard time buying something I can't see even if I really like it. It is narrow at 29", it folds easily from the videos I have seen and small at 29x29x10 and has an automatic lock when folded. It has an adjustable handlebar, easy to access storage. It can't be used for jogging. It does have a really nice feature of two separate removable seats so I can have one kid facing me and one kid facing out, both facing me or both facing out. Comes with most accessories I would need. I am a little worried on seat width and height since I have a tall toddler. Mostly I really like it but don't know why I don't LOVE it.

Maclaren Twin Techno: An umbrella style stroller which compromises on the ease of pushing with brisk walking and totally eliminates any potential for running but I have a Maclaren single for Peyton and it is perfect for trips to the mall etc. Great accessible storage, fully reclining seats with separate canopies, compact, small folding, automatic lock when folded. Pretty much great but I would like something easier to walk with for exercise etc. which leads me to think that I would need two strollers to solve my problem, this one and then an exercise/more SUV like stroller but who wants to collect strollers?

So, I leave you with these questions....
  1. Anyone with two kids or more have any recommendations on strollers?
  2. Anyone...two kids or not....have a brand that they are so incredibly happy with so I can look into their double options?
  3. Any good sites for reviews? I have looked at Baby Gizmo, Stroller Queen mostly.
  4. Any other comments, help?

Have to take a break from the quest for now as Peyton is waking up from her nap.....hopefully I find something before Graham comes!


Stori said...

I do! I want to collect strollers :). Strollers are my new obsession!

I want to mull this over for a while, but in the mean time, have you looked at the Mutsy 4 Rider? I know you want side by side, but this stroller is so cool. It has a fully reclining "special" seat for Graham, plus this really cool little "fun seat" with a steering thing so Peyton can pretend like she is steering it, in addition to a regular seat. I could definitely see a spirited little girl like Peyton having a blast on it!

Plus it comes with one of those rider boards for when Peyton is older and Graham is in the fun/toddler seat.

As for Jogging, there is the regular 4 Rider and the Light version, and they both have serious wheels that I would think could handle a light jog, but maybe not a full out run.

And my favorite part is the giant optional shopping basket!

I think this stroller is awesome. The only downside is to do the full recline for a baby you have to remove the seat, but you can do the rest of the settings with Graham in the seat!

I think its in the price range of the My Duo, but I that there are deals all the time online.

Stori said...

Ok... I have pretty much watched every single video I could find on the Strollers you mentioned except for the BOB. I am not a BOB fan, but I don't know why - I think its because it seems like a stroller for men to push, not housewives.

I think that the Valco is my new favorite stroller ever (it changes from day to day). The little "Joey" seat is so cool if your third one comes along while Peyton still needs a stroller. Plus that footrest is incredible. That's one of my pet peeves in strollers, they all seem to have bad foot rests. If you go to BabyGizmo.com, they have footage of this stroller being pushed/run over all kinds of terrains, so I don't know why it couldn't be used as a jogger if you locked the front wheels.

Have you checked out the Baby Jogger City Elite Double? Its more in a class with the Valco Twin, and from what I have heard, all of the Baby Joggers have super easy folds if easy fold is a concern for you.

I do love the Stroll Air My Duo though. I would love to have Isla facing me when I push her.

For what its worth, out of your four finalist, I think that Valco is super cool.

John and Che Acord said...

Stori...you are awesome! Thanks for your help! We are both a little stroller crazy!

I did look at the Baby Jogger Elite over the City Mini and my oly thing was that I wasn't sure what I was paying extra for (an adjustable handle, 0.75 wider, and a larger footprint when folded). I still have the City Mini on my list.

I agree, the Valco is pretty high up on my list and I have a friend who has one so I can go and try it out. Also, I added the Bumbleride Indie Twin to my list as another option to check out.

I agree on the BOB. The more I talked to John about it, the chances of me taking both kids running is ZERO considering I stopped taking Peyton by herself because she was too heavy for me to push and run!

Narrowing it down and if you come across anything else let me know!

Stori said...

No problem! This is way more fun than organizing my stuff for a transcontinental move :).

I was going to suggest the Indie Twin, but I didn't want to add anything else into the mix and overwhelm you! I think Bumbleride is the coolest stroller brand out there, and I love all of their strollers. Have you see the Queen Bee? It is so cool, although I can't for the life of me figure out what mommy demographic would buy it!

Keep us posted on your quest!