Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And now for something completely different

I'm so tired of seeing those sad posts on my blog every time I hit my blogroll, so let's talk about something else -- namely, strollers. I'm considering getting another tandem stroller, and I'm looking for some advice.

Currently, the only stroller I possess is the Graco DuoGlider I received as a shower gift. Back when I was registering for stuff, I figured the DuoGlider was inexpensive and would be good enough. Fourteen months later, I'm starting to chafe a little bit, and wondering if there's a better alternative out there.

As I quickly discovered once the babies were born, the stroller is perhaps the single most vital piece of equipment a twin mom has. If you have a singleton, you can cart around the infant carrier, or wear/carry her, or hold her hand as she walks. If you have two, though, they pretty much go in the stroller. I occasionally wear one baby and put the other in a shopping cart, but with the still-iffy knee, it's not something I do often.

My principal peeves with the DuoGlider are 1) it's so freakin' huge; 2) the back seat is angled funny, causing the baby in that spot to constantly slide downward; 3) the front seat canopy comes off pretty much every time I fold and load the thing. I don't mind the heaviness of it, but I do mind how much room it takes up, especially in crowded situations.

I originally thought a side-by-side would be even bulkier and clumsier, but some of the slimmer SBSs really aren't too much wider than the DuoGlider. I'm starting to think the extra width might be a pretty good tradeoff for the stroller not sticking out three-plus feet in front of me.

A frequently mentioned negative of the SBS is that most of them don't have trays, but I can live with that, I think -- I don't use the trays on the DuoGlider that much anyway. I almost never use the DuoGlider's basket at all, because my giant diaper bag blocks it off, so basket size and access is not really a consideration. Some other things I don't care about are all-terrain/jogging potential, because I don't jog and mainly use it in stores and on sidewalks, and a parent cupholder isn't high on my list either. I'm also not too concerned with infant seat usage -- obviously, the girls are long past this stage, and I'll probably just go back to the DuoGlider if we have a third baby.

My #1 consideration is that the designated stroller MUST be easy to steer with one hand, because that's mostly how I get through the grocery store -- I push the stroller with one hand and pull the cart behind me with the other. Secondary to that is that it should be relatively narrow, and that it be comfortable for the girls to sit in. I would love to have a BOB Revolution or a Mountain Buggy Urban Double, but I'm not sure I can really bring myself to spend upwards of $500 -- I'd like to keep it somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 or below.

Here are the strollers I'm considering:

Jeep Wrangler -- it's so inexpensive, but I wonder if it's a cheap piece o' crap
Combi Twin Savvy -- compact and seems easy to steer, but I've read it doesn't hold up well
Maclaren Twin Techno -- good reviews, but at the very top end of my price range
Chicco Citta -- cheap and cute, but on the wide side

What strollers do you have? What do you love and hate about them? What would you buy if you could go back and have anything you wanted?


Suz said...

We have the Twin Techno and LOVE IT! It's extremely easy to steer, but...it does not do well on any type of terrain. If you're walking down a city street with large gaps in the concrete, you will be in trouble.

Eva said...

I also LOVE the twin techno. And I do think it's easy to steer, BUT I think it's a bit challenging to steer with one hand, truthfully. Because it has a handle on each side. Fine if you're going straight, but one hand around turns is tough. On all other counts it is great.

We also have a jogging stroller we got from a neighbor used. It is awesome for steering and super light, but I don't think it folds up well so without a bigger car, we only use it from our house, don't drive it anywhere.

If you have a used kids store in town, or craigslist, it might be worth looking for a used stroller. You can probably get a better quality one than you can afford new.

Also, our friends bought us our Maclaren, and I think they bought it new off ebay, and that even after shipping, it was cheaper than in the local store.

Cass said...

We have the Peg Perego Aria Twin (SBS). It's very VERY lightweight and has a single handle across the back (easier for one handed pushing than the Maclaren). And it has trays, which we use for snacks when we're out and about. Small sunshades, if that matters. It's narrow enough to fit through doorways, but you'd need two hands to maneuver it to line up the wheels. And now that the kiddos are getting heavier, and differing weights, it's a bit harder to steer. Not HARD, just harder. I wouldn't recommend it for two singletons of drastically differing weights, I don't think.

We also have a Mountain Buggy (with the swiveling front wheels) which is the EASIEST thing to steer, ever, and still fits through doorways. And we bought it used, for a fraction of the cost new. I second the suggestion to check Craigslist or your local MOT club (if you have one) for deals -- they're really sturdy strollers so even used it seems like it will last. Which is good, because I think at some point we'll be out of the stroller for quick outings, but we'll still use the Buggy for walks or bigger trips even when they're older.

I have some friends who just got the Zooper - I saw it in person and if it had been on the market when we were buying we'd definitely have considered it. No personal experience, but it seemed nice.

Emma B. said...

Well, I test-drove the Combi and the Chicco Citta, and didn't really like either of them. The Combi folds easily and is narrow, but it feels really flimsy. I liked driving the Citta with the babies in it, but it's the very dickens to open and close, and yeah, that extra couple inches of width does make a difference.

Tomorrow I'll head to BRU and try out the Jeep Wrangler, the Peg Perego Aria, and the Maclaren if they have it.

laura said...

Ahh... a subject near and dear to my heart!

I also started out with a front/back stroller, and still use it, but found that it wasn't particularly great on an urban sidewalk. We do a lot of walking outside.

I always swore I'd never get a side-by-side, as I was always bothered by the women who drove them like they owned the road (sidewalk). Plus, I owned a store, and saw all the trouble that women went through to get them in the door, and then through the maze of products.

That said, I ended up with a (free) Peg Perego Aria Twin. It was okay, at best. Not great to steer, awful sunshades, but it did the job. It now lives at my parent's house, so I don't have to travel with my monster stroller ...

The BOB. I don't run, but as I said above, do walk a lot outside in the city, to the grocery store, etc. I wanted a stroller with bike-like tires/shocks, decent storage, a cupholder (sorry, I need my Dr. Pepper or coffee!), good sunshades,and that was easy to steer.

Yes, I struggle sometimes to get through doorways (although it is about 1 inch smaller than standard doors), but I'm getting to be an expert at it and I plan well and try to take the front/back if I know I'll be in narrow spaces. And, I could steer it with one finger, let alone one hand.

My big decision was between the BOB and the Mountain Buggy, but price won out, and the BOB it is.

I got the one with 12" wheels (vs. 18", I think), so it's a bit more portable. I think it's sooooooo worth it. Our twins club occasionally has one for sale, and I've seen them on Craig's List, too.

Can't wait to hear what you end up with!