June 24, 2006

In The 'Burbs, The 3-car Garage. In The City: The 3-Stroller Foyer

A dad-to-be from NYC emails with a gear question

Living in the city with space limited-my wife says we need three strollers: a snap & go, a jogger, and a pram.

I am all for the jogger and the pram but do I really need a snap & go, also? This assumes that I'll have the obligatory "umbrella" stroller as well. I'm also a gear geek so researching product and comparing isn't foreign to me, but making sense of all the options is proving to be a challenge. Do you have any thoughts on the subject?

After my initial reaction ["dude, you're lucky you're not trapped next to me on an airplane when you ask that."], it seemed there were a couple of underlying questions here: there's the specific, car seat carrier vs carseat adapter/travel system debate. But there are also the larger issue of finding gear that suits your actual lifestyle and usage patterns, and the impending takeover of your house by tons of baby stuff--most of which has very specific functionality and a limited useful life. For suburbanites, who cares, right? Just stick the junk in the basement or in one of your many garages. For us cityfolk, however...

As for us, we don't jog, at least outside, so the jogger was a non-issue for us. [Aplogies to all joggers for this blindspot on the site, btw.] Rolling with a carseat was important, though, but we used the Bugaboo in full-on Snap & Go mode quite often. [We also used it in bassinet mode, both in and out of the house.] From a space constraint standpoint, it kept our foyers pretty clear.

We put off the umbrellas stroller until we actually needed it, months later when the kid could sit up on her own. Then we got a Volo, which rocks.

But while Bugaboo was our answer, there are no points off for having a different one. If there's more taxiing and driving and less extended walking in your city life, I can see how a carseat carrier like the Snap & Go [I actually like the lines of the Universal much better] or the Mac Easy Traveller could be all the stroller you need for a while. Since the price is about the same [$45 or so for carseat adapters vs $50-80 for a car seat carrier]

Or maybe I'm missing the real dilemma here: maybe the real question is, "How's a guy supposed to approach the gear decisionmaking process when your baby mama spends seven months jacked into the urbanbaby messageboards?"

7 Comments

Why would you need _both_ a jogging stroller and a pram? (Let alone a snap-n-go?)

As a city dweller myself, I can't stress enough how nice it is to have a good all-terrain stroller (think curbs, driveways, tree roots, potholes, even stairs), and a jogging stroller often fits that bill nicely even if you don't actually, as such, jog.

And for babies smaller than can sit comfortably: Baby Bjorn.

[I agree, but if you actually do jog, just an all-terrain usually doesn't cut it. There are definitely strollers that can do both, though, like the Phil & Teds or maybe a Valco or a BOB or something. -ed.]

My recommendation would be to purchase one of the car seat carriers and to use that for a number of months until you really know how much and in what way you will be using your stroller.

You and your wife will have had time to discuss the matter with other parents and you won't make an expensive purchase that you may regret.

There is no rush to buy everything now before the baby comes. There will be plenty of strollers, some newer and some the same, in a few months.

I continue to buy stroller after stroller in an attempt to not spend the big bucks on a Bugaboo. The run down:
-Car Seat stroller 100
-Umbrella stroller (bought 2 because 1st one broke) 200
-Mall type stroller (broke after 2 years) 300
-Jogging stroller 300

I wish I would have thought this out better and bought the Bugaboo to begin with. But that being said I also would never give up the Volo we have. I love that stroller.

My husband VERY much wanted the Bugaboo but I was totally against it. I thought it was way too expensive and too bulky. We got the Graco carseat and their version of the Snap & Go. It is nice and light for when I have to go solo on the subway. However, once I caved in to the Bugaboo on Father's Day I loved it. NO comparison on the handling. So I use the Bug around the neighborhood (currently with the infant carseat adaptors) and the Graco carseat carrier stroller when I go on the subway. Once we are done with the infant carseat I'm sure we will get a lighter weight unmbrella-type stroller.

We're going to try the Micralite from the UK as our 'all-in-one' stroller. Then we'll probably get the Phil and Ted's - lots of storage until you have that 2nd child, and the 2nd seat once you do.

If the Micralite doesn't work out, we'll just get the Phil and Ted's earlier, and then pick up the Volo.

[heads up, the Micralite is coming to the US this year sometime. not sure of the timing, tho -ed.]

we got a stokke xplory, but at 3 months it hasnt left the apartment. so far it has been SO much easier to carry her around. At least long enought to figure out what you need - I second the bit on waiting, you'll know ALOT more about what you need in a few months. whether you need the snap and go has a lot to do with how much you are in a car - in nyc, probably not much.

Now that she is getting squirmy we are psyched about the handling and comfortable driving height of the stokke (we've been test driving it around the apartment). ive heard rumors of people jogging with them, but not a jogger myself. could it serve both 'pram' and jogging? though not so car seat friendly.

btw the 06 Xplory is a little sturdier and sleeker than the 05.

We are thrifty Midwesterners with strong anti-stuff, buy-American bias, so the stroller thing was a huge headache. After much research we settled on a Schwinnn Free Wheeler -- about which I can't say enough good things. It cost $200, it's made in America, (Madison, WI, actually) it's sturdy, has a great turning radius, lots of storage room, and seems as good as, if not better, than our friends' BOBs. (We live in BOB country, for some reason, out here Bugaboos are considered extravagant.)

We take the Free Wheeler for long hikes (it does great off-road) to antique fairs, and anytime the baby would need a sturdy little place to play/sleep/do his thing for extended periods.

The Schwinn is excellent, but, you know a little big for inside-spaces like grocery stores. For that, then, we have the Volo, about which many good things have already been said, all true. Finally, for those first months with the car-seat we just got something off Craig's list -- in our case a Silver Cross, but those early strollers come up all the time, and looking at craig's list obsessively proved a nice nesting activity with acceptable cost implications (unlike the bolts of fabric and sewing machine we bought... for two people who don't sew.) Anyhoo, our thinking is that we did this about as cheaply and happily as we could, and thus concludes these two cents.

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