Ahhhh, the great stroller debate. It's endless and complex and seemingly ever changing, to be sure. There are so many options that it will make your head spin. Like spreadsheet creating kind of complicated, just so you can compare and contrast all of the features and functions of the strollers within your price point. This could be an entire article on all its own merit, but I will spare you an infinite amount of words on the topic, and instead give you a mere hundreds.... Truly the condensed version - trust me. Ultimately the stroller choice is a personal one and it seems as though it has become something of a status symbol and a matter of pride when you can stroll along with ease, beaming at the level of comfort and convenience your choice provides for you and your family. Sad... but true. At least this is how I interpret the looks on other people's faces when I am out and about, so I can only assume that I must also fall prey to this.
So here is the skinny, as far as it relates to my personal needs and wants. If you have any of the same requirements or struggles, I hope this helps.
Over the last 8 years I have owned and used dozens of strollers. Dozens. This is not a joke. Just ask the Mister how he feels about strollers, he will tell you. I think finding the right stroller is like finding the perfect car or home. It needs to be comfortable, convenient, and have everything you may possibly need and more because your sanity depends on it.
When you consider the price tag on strollers, my preferred stroller of choice falls somewhere in the middle between the all-inclusive basic travel system strollers like Chicco or Graco and the high-end, high price point, luxury strollers like Bugaboo and Orbit. If I had to choose between a basic but all encompassing stroller like a Graco / Chicco and a Bugaboo / Orbit, I would probably choose the Graco / Chicco stroller 9 times out of 10. This is because those less expensive travel systems actually factor in comfort and convenience of both kids and parents much better than those luxury brands seem to, and you will pay 1/5 of the price for all the bells and whistles - the accessories and features are not add-ons.
If you have been following this blog for any period of time, you know that I am a huge fan of all things modular because I like to have options and I hate to go without. The number one downside for 99% of the luxury strollers out there is that damned miniature basket they sport. I mean... seriously, what gives? Do they assume that if I can afford that stroller that I probably also have a butler in tow, everywhere I go? Ridiculous.
But, the thing that has made me a die hard lover of this particular stroller system is that it's the only stroller on the market that can easily adapt from a single to a double stroller with multiple seat arrangement possibilities and has a wonderful basket and adjustable everything - it's a dream come true. There are several modular strollers out there that can go between a single and a double, but none that sit tandem, that don't skimp on the second seat by making it a jump seat, that force you to sacrifice all of your storage space to house the second rider's feet and legs or that give you all of the amazing features you could possible want but set you back upwards of $1500. I mean, shucks... at that point, just get yourself the butler, or hire a nanny and leave those kids at home, am I right?
This stroller comes pretty close as far as I can tell, and has a fabulous price point. It's absolutely worth checking out and the shopping basket option in place of the second seat seriously is the bomb dot com. The only thing I'm unsure about is if when you remove the second seat, it remains just as long as if you hadn't. That is not a deal breaker necessarily, but I will say that I like that when I use mine as a single, it is truly a single and steers and rides and takes up only as much space as a single. But perhaps the extra storage space is actually a bonus and I have been missing out on something amazing (absolutely possible)... I would be very interested to hear from someone who owns one of these!
Also, a little known fact that they don't seem to advertise about this stroller is that the canopy is removable as a whole. As in... the whole thing, frame and all, actually clips and unclips. This may sound unimportant, but for those of you who have tall children or use your strollers for far longer than most (guilty!), this is fabulous because it means that you can actually clip the canopy onto the frame a bit higher up than it normally sits and give those kiddos extra headroom. This is also helpful for adventuring in hot climates, regardless of the size of your kiddo, because it allows you open up that space between the canopy and the top of the seat back, without actually opening the canopy itself. This single seemingly unimportant thing lets the air flow all the way through, front to back, which helps with the heat more than you can even imagine. Along with a clip on fan, this is the difference between a peaceful trip and a chaotic and stressful trip with the stroller. Have you ever tried to sleep when you are drenched in sweat because it's one million degrees and there is absolutely no breeze whatsoever? Ya... like that.
I could go on and on about the things I like and dislike about so many strollers, but in truth the few things I mention above are the standout items that will make or break a good stroller choice if you plan to give your stroller a serious run for its money. Aside from a personal preference for a tandem arrangement versus and side-by-side arrangement (because, I frequent places that are hard to navigate in a double wide and my boys drive me nuts when they can see, reach, or touch each other), I consider many of the previously mentioned tidbits to be somewhat universal. You may have different requirements and your kids may have different needs and wants, but at some point many of these things will factor into your general love for your stroller or lack thereof. Promise. And yes, my older boy is seemingly way too old to ride in a stroller, but for days with lots of walking, he loves to jump in and stroll. Frankly I like that he still can as well. He may be nearly 8 but he is still under the weight limit so it's just a matter of his height that isn't ideal. Since he really just uses it for brief moments throughout the day when we have much walking and exploring on the horizon, this is a non-issue and seems to work beautifully between rides at an amusement park or when we are hurrying to get from one place to the next and he is petering out.
Have you embarked on the great stroller hunt or begun to collect a vast amount of gear for travelling with your kiddos in comfort? I would LOVE to know what you found and anything that you think is crucial as a feature for a good piece of gear that will go the distance and span the ages of your children. Do tell...