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June 5, 2006

Fisher-Price Active Gear: Strollers For Where You LIVE--The Mall

f-p_stroller.jpgTime was when Fisher-Price was happy to make strollers just for the roundheaded Little People whose faces you'd gnawed off as a child. But you're all growed up now with a kid or two of your own, and corporate counsel declared those cool, old Little People to be liability-laden choke hazards, and so Fisher-Price has turned its attentions to the Real People stroller business instead.

First there was the Target-exclusive Bugaboogery F-P infant-to-toddler stroller. [At JPMA, the Dreamweaver folks who manufacture this rig said its weight limit has actually been upped to 40lbs, not 22 or whatever ridiculously low number was originally quoted. So you won't outgrow it quite as fast as you might've thought. BUT if you do...]

Well, less time than it takes to have Irish twins, they popped out two more strollers, both for multiples. They're part of the Active Gear collection of modern designs "providing on-the-go solutions for families with toddlers and preschoolers." Active Gear also includes a whole slew of purpose-built bags, too: a sleepover bag, a family backpack, a cooler bag, and even a Toilet-In-a-Bag [oops: Potty On-the-Go. my bad. Heads up, entrepreneurs, that TIAB trademark may still be available!]

Snap judgments of the Active Gear gear: they're the strollers American Families want. They're huge and cheap; they can haul a ton of stuff; and they're designed to be integrated with your minivan- or SUV-centered lifestyle.

Take the Stand 'n Ride Duo Stroller, which looks for all the world like a Graco Quattro Tour with an extended wheelbase. [I say 'looks' because even though I think it IS a Graco, the website talks about F-P not being affiliated with Graco, so I'm a bit stumped.] Now the Quattro Tour is a fine-looking stroller [that happens to be a bear to drive, but it's got good bones], so if I was gonna knock off a family stroller, that's probably where I'd start, too.

Anyway, the Duo has a platform or jumpseat in back for an older kid, but it also has an awe-inspiring storage bin that practically turns the thing into a grocery cart. Homeless families will live out of the Duo; Mormon pioneer families will push them across the plains. It's that big.


From this non-user's standpoint, though, I think the Kid Utility Vehicle is the real winner. It's like the offspring of a threeway between two old-school, chair-style strollers and a wagon, and it's designed explicitly "to fold so it fits in the back of your family vehicle." It looks perfect for hauling the kids around the mall, or the zoo, or the mall, or--to Costco Or the mall, did I mention the mall? I'd like to see a single, covered wagon-style canopy, but I'm patient enough to wait for some crafty Mormon mom to whip one up for the Pioneer Day parade in Provo next month [July 24th, mark your calendars. Clearly, I caught more than the flu during our recent Utah visit.]

The Active Gear line is exclusive to Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores, and the strollers sell for...a whopping $150 [0.17 Bugaboo Units, practically free.] I'd love to hear some hands-on reports, though, so if you're driving your your wife's minivan by a BRU, go in and check it out.

Active Gear from Fisher-Price [fisher-price.com via dt readers danielle, geoff, mike, & evan]

posted June 5, 2006 2:00 PM | add to del.icio.us | digg this


Who needs "Potty-on-the-Go" when you've got the Bumper Dumper?

posted by: JJ Daddy-O at June 5, 2006 4:23 PM

If a stroller is carrying five times more crap than baby, is it still a "stroller"? I can't even see the kid in that first pic. It looks like he's about to be buried under an avalanche of junk.

posted by: Scott at June 5, 2006 4:34 PM

I think fisher-price should just slap little motors on these bad boys and let the kids have their own SUV.

But they will need to offer an upgrade of an in tray dvd player. And speaking of upgrades, rims would be nice as well.

posted by: shannon at June 5, 2006 9:45 PM

I agree that the stroller with the huge storage bag would be lame for more baby stuff, but it would make parental shopping sooooo much easier. I've never understood how I'm supposed to push a stroller and seriously grocery shop at the same time (assuming NYC living, here)

[I just used one of those gigantic, combination shopping cart/toy car things where the kid rides/drives up in front, for the first time last week. It's like pushing a Zamboni through the grocery store, but the kid LOVED it. This stroller is like a Miata in comparison, though. -ed.]

posted by: NB at June 5, 2006 10:53 PM

That Kid Utility Vehicle is sa-weet. I love the old pram-type double strollers that allowed the kids to face each other. Whatever happened to those, besides the fact that they're probably the length of a station wagon and about as foldable? The KUV's problem is the wagon handle, though. I haul one kid around the neighborhood in her wagon, and that's bad enough.

posted by: Laura at June 6, 2006 9:25 AM

I was in BRU today and saw the Kid Utility Vehicle (KUV?). It's HUGE. Escalade huge. I think it's as wide as my Honda Civic...so whichever mall or zoo or Costco you go to better have a wide load lane. I don't think it'd fit on most sidewalks around here.

posted by: SBL at June 6, 2006 2:19 PM

"to fold so it fits in the back of your family vehicle."

um, my family vehicle is an 13 year old corolla. think it'll fit in my trunk? the fugly graco we got as a gift (and couldn't return b/c we had no money to buy anything better) barely fits and it's only for a singleton. good thing we aren't planning on having #2...ever!

[I think "family vehicle" is code for "suv or minivan," the way menthol cigarettes are described as being for the "urban" market. -ed.]

posted by: kate at June 7, 2006 8:31 AM

Was at BRU, and they have pulled the Active Gear Stroller because the snack tray was not sturdy enough to support the weight of a baby carrier seat AND the baby. They are working on a fix for it. The salesman recommended going with the Joovy Caboose because it stears better, smaller wheel base, but don't know if he was trying to make a sale.

Still not sure if going to buy Caboose or Baby Trend's Sit and Stand Stroller.

Any input would be appreciated.

posted by: James at June 30, 2006 11:14 AM

I got the stand n ride stroller a month or two ago and it is abs. great just a bit hard to make turns in. As for the infant carrier, fits great and it holds baby(12lbs) and carrier just fine. Also unless you have got a huge truck with a large trunk or a mini van with stow n go DO NOT BUY it will not fit any where else.We are looking foward to using the TANK at disney world for all the kid crap, we will let you know how it goes.

posted by: Bonnie at July 4, 2006 5:38 PM

So...I was in BRU today and saw the awesome KUV (where kids face each other)! My 55 lb 3 yr old rode with my 20 lb 9 month old and they loved it...3 yr old was giddy! Need transportation to and from the bus-stop so should work out nicely. Huge is good for this family...but I don't plan on loading it in the back of any vehicle, couldn't tell if it folds up at all.

posted by: Cori in Canada at September 7, 2006 1:58 PM

We own the KUV. Bought it last year when it first came out, now it sits in my garage and I think (not sure yet) I am ready to sell. When we bought it, I was pregnant with my second child. At the time, it seem like a good idea. Not so much. I have a 3yr old and a 20mth old. The bad thing is that they fight way too much for them to be sitting across from each other. Other than that. I love it. Even though it is big, it does still fit through the mall, which by the way got many compliments and fits nicely in the back of my husband's camry or my minivan.

posted by: lety ellsworth at August 1, 2007 8:12 PM

I have the stand n' ride stroller and love it! My 4 year old can stand on the back while the 2 year old rides up front. And the expandable basket... wow, that's a great invention. We can whip through the store now like a tornado!

posted by: Alice Williams at August 16, 2007 2:13 PM

I still say the most important features on a stroller is the tires. And by "tires" I mean actual t-i-r-e-s. Not plastic orbs that chuttle and crack as you meander down the sidewalk.

And because of that we bought a BabyJogger City Series and have never regretted it. It's called an "All Terrain Stroller" for a reason. The last time I checked, carting your kid around required you to be maneuverable. And yet people buy these matchbook strollers and are flaggergasted when little Bobby gets whiplash whenever they veer off the sidewalk.

More often than not you DO get what you pay for.

posted by: Michael DePaula at October 19, 2007 3:15 AM
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