Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Great Double Stroller Quest

About a week or two after I found out that we had another bundle of joy on the way it clicked with me that we were going to need a double stroller.  If Robby were going to be 2 or so, I would almost consider not getting one, since he would be able to walk pretty well at that point and I could teach him to hold onto the stroller to walk beside me.  But since he will still be perfecting that cute little toddle of a walk when this baby comes, I don't think we have much of a choice but to get a double stroller.  We love our travel system for Robby and had planned to use it whenever we had baby #2, but did not expect it would be so soon.  Since we don't need to get a new infant carrier/carseat, I wanted to get a double stroller in which I could snap or strap it into.

For those who haven't thought much about double strollers, there are essentially two types: side-by-side and tandem.  There are benefits and drawbacks of each, and no matter which type you get, it's going to be a pain to maneuver.  I began my plead on Facebook to find out what kind of stroller we should get.  I got a little help, but found that the best help I received was simply stopping moms pushing them around the mall or on a sidewalk and asking them what they thought of whatever stroller they were pushing.  Unanimously, they all said to go with a side-by-side.  Most of them had a tandem stroller in the past and had pretty much negative things to say about them.  As much as you would think a double stroller was difficult to get around in a store, a tandem was actually more difficult because it's so long you can't turn it between racks and things.  Also, depending on how you distribute the weight, it can be next to impossible to get the front end to go where you are wanting.  One of my own realizations regarding the tandem stroller was that I am essentially going to have two babies.  Robby is still going to rely on me for pretty much everything, so I need him to be within an arms reach and also easy to keep an eye on.  If I have him at the front, I can't see what he's doing/needing or get to him as easily as bending over the handlebars.  

So, that meant I was set on a side-by-side.  But oh, what type of side-by-side?  There are umbrella type side-by-sides that are very light and much narrower.  Or the heavy duty jogging type, which are generally wider.  I tried a few of the lighter side-by-sides and really liked the Combi Twin Sport EX
A huge perk to this one was that our carseat (which isn't really adaptable with any other brand stroller or carseat base) actually clicked in!  It was very light and super narrow.  It was only a tad wider than our current stroller.  When it folded up, it folded in half, then over in half again so it took up the same amount of space as a single stroller!  There were only a few negatives about this one.  First, it wasn't super heavy duty and I intend to get out and walk most days with the kids, so I wasn't sure that the wheels and frame would hold up well over the next 3-4 years.  Also, the one we tried out in the store seemed really flimsy.  The frame would really wiggle and sway as you shook it lightly from the handlebars.  The worker said he thought it was just like that because it was the demo.  I went home and read lots of reviews.  It was pretty evenly mixed on durability.  Some said it was great and others said it wasn't holding up well.  But other than that, it had great reviews.  Also, I wasn't going to be able to fit my diaper bag in the basket underneath, so I would have to get a hook attachment to go on the handlebar.

Next, since I do want a stroller that will hold up well with lots of outdoor walking and things, I decided to look at the jogging strollers.  Many people recommended the Bob jogging stroller.  We drove up to Austin yesterday and went to Buy Buy Baby to try out this one, as well as several others I had been researching.  After trying this one out, I realized that it is almost as long as some tandem strollers.  Also, the price is quite steep (However, I had almost decided that if I was totally and completely blown away by it and it was just perfect, I might consider getting a stroller that expensive.  I just wasn't that blown away by it.) and I would have to spend about $150 more on the snack/drink trays for the kids, the carseat adaptor, and the parent tray attachment.  I just didn't think it was worth spending that much on it.  

I was looking around and saw one that looked great.  I had Tim pull it down so I could look at it.  It steered like a dream.  Pretty much every part that was fabric came off so it could be cleaned and all the parts were so adjustable, each baby could have their own little personalized space.  The car seat fit in perfectly.  Robby fit in it perfectly.  It had everything we needed and wanted.  I loved it!  It didn't have a price tag on it so I asked a worker how much it was.  She looked it up and of course it was an expensive one.  I tried it out again, but just couldn't justify spending that much money on it.  

I really wanted to try out the Joovy ScooterX2 because it has really good ratings and is pretty narrow.  But I couldn't find any stores that carried it where I could try it out.  I emailed the company and they said my only option was to buy it, put it together, try it out indoors, then return it for a full refund if I decided I didn't want it.  I really don't want to purchase something like this without trying it out first and I definitely don't want to go through the hassle of purchasing it, putting it together, then deciding it's not right and having to return it and wait forever for the refund!  

So, after trying out lots of strollers, some expensive, some not so expensive, we think we have decided on the Baby Trend Navigator.  

It is really easy to steer, the carseat straps in, and snack and drink trays are already included.  The basket underneath is really big and there is a parent tray with drink holders.  The only negative (and there will be a negative to any stroller we decide on, it is just a matter of deciding which negatives are deal breakers and which aren't) is that it is wider than all the other double joggers that we looked at.  But I have talked to two people who have this stroller and they said they don't have any trouble getting through doors, as long as there is a handicapped door.  We measured the wheel base and measured our front door (not that it matters since we won't be bringing it up 3 flights of stairs!) and it is several inches narrower than the doorway.  I also looked up what a standard door of a business is required to be and they are supposed to be wider than what the stroller measures.  I know that I will have to maneuver it through some doors and I just won't be able to go into some stores (which would be the case with whatever stroller we end up with).  But the fact that it is a great size and will be good for when the kiddos are even 4 and 5 makes it worth it to me.  I don't want to buy a stroller in 2 years because Robby is too big for it and then spend just as much money on a bigger stroller and only use it for 2 more years. I want something that will last and be able to grow with our needs as they change.

Changing the subject, while we were at Buy Buy Baby we decided to look around.  Even though we didn't need anything, it seemed like such a waste to go and not explore the whole store!  :-)  We saw some amazing things we had never seen, nor had never heard of before!  

First was this incredible swing/bouncy seat.  

If we were planning on having 2 more kids after this one, I think I would try to talk Tim into letting me spend the money on it!  It was so cool just to watch.  

Next was this carseat and stroller combo.  

In front of it was a page showing all the stars who have it for their kids.  I'm sure that is it's biggest selling point!  I just imagine that this is what the future of travel systems looks like!

I'm beginning to think that the baby gear market is like the wedding market: they push things that you just have to have to give your child the perfect infancy and childhood, when really we all turned out just fine and didn't have floating baby seats or space pods for carseats!

1 comment:

Catie said...

It is crazy how many options there are and it just makes things so difficult! I am glad you found one you like :)