June 12, 2008

Phil & Teds: The Real Slim, But Not Shady


It's the city parent's dream: a double stroller the size of a single. Just not if you use it when the sun's out. While the sun canopy on the Phil & Teds has certainly improved over the years, it still feels kind of small and un-shady to me. And if you don't believe me, just ask the kid in back with the lobster-red scalp and the vultures circling over his head.

Brooklynite & DT reader Amy jury-rigged some kind of canopy for the rear seat, but her mom kept stepping on it. [don't get her wrong; it's great to have grandparents close by. She's just saying...] So she flew in a Tandem Shade for the P&T from Protect-A-Bub in Australia, and now they couldn't be happier. Assuming, of course, that they didn't go outside this week; it was like 110, even in the imported shade.

Has anyone else figured out a shade solution for the Phil & Teds?

Tandem Shade for Phil and Ted Jogger, $AU44 + s/h[protect-a-bub.com.au]
An eBay Store has some, too: Protect-a-Bub UPF 50+ Back Seat Tandem Sunshade Black, about $42 shipped [ebay]


Perhaps a Kiddopotamus & Co Rayshade® Uv Protective Stroller Shade For Strollers, Joggers And Prams like the one I use on our InStep Safari Swivel Stroller would work fine. It's held up well, repels the occasional light shower.

It's quite long, and should offer sufficient sun cover for a small tandem.

[ah, so over both seats? might work. maybe something to attach to the handle... -ed.]

Kiddopotamus & Co Rayshade® is what I rigged up to fit on the back of my Vibe. See DT post.. http://daddytypes.com/2008/04/08/from_the_phil_teds_vibe_unboxing.php

It's not long enough for both seats on the Vibe... but I think the sport has a different shade setup. Maybe worth a try. Or you can do what I did...Clip the extra material to the main seat. You can get one of these really cheep at secondhand kids stores (in any town that you see lots of Maclarens in) Or Ebay.

How about the double sun shade from Phil & Ted themselves? We've had good success with it although it does make it look as though you're pushing a big black secret down the street.

My older son (just turned 3) will not tolerate the all-encompassing sunshade. He barely handles using the boy in the bubble raincover when it is pouring. So it wasn't an option for us and I didn't waste the money on it.

The Kiddopotamus Rayshade was what we had rigged that didn't really work well and then Mom put the baby in the carriage, couldn't figure out how to attach it properly again, had a tether hanging down, stepped on it and trashed the whole system under the carriage wheels...

Took my boys to the park the other day with the new shade and all of the other P&T riders where quite intrigued by the shade. We got multiple comments/questions.

I also discovered other day that Babystyle now carries the Protect-a-Bub tandem shade.

[thanks for chiming in, Amy. -ed.]

Kristina- I just looked again at how you set up the Rayshade on the Vibe; the Vibe has that extra bar that is further up than the Sport. What you have setup looks pretty clean and workable, but we couldn't configure ours even close to that so it was a more complicated to work and sloppy looking.

We just stick to the shadows. We're a bright orange ninja on 3 wheels. We also buy sunscreen in bulk!

When we were in London a few years back I seem to recall seeing bugaboos with a nifty little adjustable sun umbrella attached to the stroller. Maybe you could jimmy rig one of those to attach to a Phil & Teds.

Nice to see someone addressing some of the flaws in the Phil & Ted's. We recently picked up a Sport to replace our Mountain Buggy Urban Single as we awaited #2. We've been using the Sport for about a month as a single stroller and are five days into Toddler/Newborn mode. I'll start by saying that the stroller does one thing that no other stroller I know of can do: it fits two kids in relative comfort in the same footprint as other three wheelers. Now I'll say that it doesn't do this in a way that justifies its price or ubiquity in neighborhood among other parents of two (or for reasons that are even less clear, parents of one). My frame of reference includes the MB Urban Single, MacLaren Triumph and MacLaren Ralley Twin. Each of these have pros and cons but I can say that the designers got about as much as they could out of each. I hesitate to recommend strollers to people because I think there are too many personal factors that go into this decision and I will not try to talk anyone out of a Phil & Teds Sport (I'd probably still decide to get one today) but I'll make the following points about some flaws in the Sport because the Sport's ubiquity may lead some to think it's all roses:

- I'll start with the sunshade to stay relevant to the post. It would be nice if there was a good option for the rear child but there's no excuse for the Sport's primary canopy. First, it provides very little shade -- comparable maybe to a smaller MacLaren but this is a large, heavy stroller. Why couldn't they fit a larger canopy. It's small so it must be easy to use? Wrong. What other stroller requires the use of two eyeholes and two buttons to open the canopy? Mountain Buggy's just flop into place. MacLarens flop down and can be quickly locked/unlocked with levers. The Sport doesn't really fit right until you engage all the eyeholes and buttons and you need to undo them all to flip it up. I will say that the sunshade looks pretty cool when open but it's a pain and it doesn't block much sun. I've read that the Vibe is somewhat better in this regard but I haven't tried it.

- The fold: this thing folds like a mouse trap. Other strollers seem to move in a relatively smooth or at least predictable manner. On the Sport you need to find the two levers (they tend to get turned around so they're not the easiest to find), depress them and hope for the best. Hope no kids are around. Hope you're fingers are clear (they did add some plastic guards to help address this issue). Hope there's nothing in the basket below that will keep it from folding flat. Most strollers don't fold so well with stuff in the basket but you can usually get away with something down there. The Sport is not as forgiving.

- The Sport drives like crap. Yes it has air filled tires (love the whitewalls) so the ride is pretty smooth but this stroller is a disaster to steer. It handles better than some shopping carts but anyone who thinks this thing steers well has never been behind a Mountain Buggy. It is a challenge to keep the Sport going where you want. It doesn't track well in a straight line and it doesn't respond well when you want it to turn. I've tried to figure out what's behind this and can think of two culprits. 1) There is more weight over the front wheel than other three wheelers. 2) The pivot point for the front wheel is just barely ahead of the axle. Other strollers that handle better typically pivot from a point that's well ahead of the front axle(s) giving the driver a bit more leverage and control. I'll give the designers a pass on (1) but (2) is unacceptable. It's pathetic that it's harder to drive the P&T with one hand than my Triumph which is cheaper, flimsier and can't be steered from the center because it has two handles.

- Play in the handlebars. There's a good deal of play between the handle bar height positions. Not a big deal when you're pushing on flat ground but try to smoothly maneuver this thing up/down steps. Make sure you're not looking at your newborn down below as you crash onto each step...maybe I'm extra sensitive having just seen the shaken baby video at the hospital but it's not a pretty sight.

- Recline of the seat. A couple brands have zippered reclines (Valco also comes to mind). Why is this. Zippered reclines suck. Maybe they make the fabric fold a little neater (an upright Mountain Buggy seat gets a little sloppy around the edges) but they are a pain. They are challenge to zip up with a kid in the seat. They can only be set at specific points. Spend 20 seconds with the incredibly easy, infinitely adjustable web straps that recline a Mountain Buggy and tell me why P&T couldn't do something similar.

I'll stop now. I've got a 6-day old to enjoy and a stroller to try to learn to love. Again, P&T are have a stroller that offers something that other companies aren't but my impression is that this fact has made them a bit lazy on the engineering and design side. They've got the marketing and hip factor down...I just wish they put a little more time into fixing some pretty glaring and correctable flaws.

While I agree with some and disagree with some other points SJG did above the P&T has one huge advantage going for it. If you have a third child in preschool age let him sit in front on top of the front wheel. Triple stroller right there. Hard to steer but the kids love it.

I made a shade for my double seat using a square of courdura nylon. A row of buttons on the top allow me to attach it to my Vibes sun shade. (where you attach the plastic thing for the bassinet) A couple of velcro tabs to attach to the double seat frame. The best part is I can just set it in the bottom of the basket and still fold the stroller.
You could probably do this for the Sport too.


You can purchase it direct from Protect a Bub http://protect-a-bubusa.com/backseattandemsunshade.shtml

I totally agree with every single thing that you have commented on about the P & T pram.
I too owned a mountain buggy before purchasing this pram and I think that we may have been spoilt.
I do now like the P & T pram but it did take some time to adjust, I also can't stand how the pram colapses, the basket has to be empty and that clip on the side seems to always get stuck.
But like someone commented you just can't beat the fact that it fits 2 children, shame that the MB can't design something similar.

I don't like how the protecta-bub sticks out at the back - I knock my legs enough on the doubles seat as it is.

I've been using a BlueCamo custom made sun shade on my Phil & Teds Sports for the last few months & love it! I highly recommend it. It doesn't eat into any precious leg room but is still able to extend back to cover bubs when the rear seat is in recline mode. I think they also fit the Classic & newer Urban & Vibe but not sure - has anyone else tried these? The shades are designed & made by an Aussie SAHM (which I love) & you can get them on ebay for a decent price. I have the Blue Camo & get compliments everywhere I go!

Here's the ebay link for the custom made BlueCamo Sun Shades but there are other colours too:

I am having difficulty purchasing this shade cover and IT IS EXACTLY what I have been looking for! Please help!

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