Don't be fooled by hype - THERE IS NO PERFECT STROLLER! The main reason for this is that strollers are lifestyle products and every single family has completely different needs. We always find it interesting when someone has decided to buy a product like a stroller because some blogger in Brooklyn New York (who doesnt happen to even own a car and who leaves their stroller parked in their foyer rarely folding or transporting said stroller) thinks it's the best. The reality of buying lifesyle products based on recommendations of people who dont match your lifesyle creates a mess of purchases that are unsatisfactory and unfulfilling. Often these purchases get put aside once they start being used for another purchase that more closely matches the needs of the consumer.
The magical 'expandable stroller system'
In the past few years the 'expandable double stroller system' has taken off as a predominate category in baby gear. These are essentially single strollers that allow for adding a second seat for a future child or direct use for a double stroller for twins. A large number of consumers are choosing to go this route because...
- They find themselves pregnant while their first child is still stroller aged
- They are buying insurance against a future second preganacy close on the heels of the current one.
- They are having twins.
In the case of the 'insurance policy" we encourage parents to really focus on the use of the stroller system as a single stroller and buy the expandable stroller insurance policy based on the stroller that best fits their needs as a single FIRST. Some things to consider in this case is the ease of folding, storage size and weight, compatibility as a travel system with an infant carseat, and steering & handling as a single. These are often subjective issues for parents (we see parents struggle to fold and lift the smallest of strollers and other families that haul the monster strollers around like it is nothing) Get your HANDS on one and a side by side comparission is often best.
In-Line Double Stroller Configurations
There are so many possible combinations and permutaions of seating, bassinets, carseat adapters, forward facing, rear facing that the charts and diagrams are often multiple pages and make your brain itch trying to figure it all out. Pretty much you can be assured that any of the expandable in-line double strollers is going to provide an ton of seating options.
The bigger configuration issue has to do with how the second seat (second child) gets placed on the stroller. In this there are only really two distinct configurations, each offering their own set of challenges and performance issues. Like we said there is no perfect stroller solution. The second seat can sit at the front axle or it can sit at the back axle. The manufactures will all tell you their design is best but an informed consumer usually can juggle the pros and cons and decide which features are most important and which are not of substance to their needs and lifestyle.
Front Axle loads (like the Uppa Baby Vista) on strollers significantly reduce the functional maneuverability of the stroller and also tend to accomodate only smaller childeren in that position (limiting long term use of the stroller). Rear Axle loads (like the new Nuna Demi-Grow) tend to have better maneuverability and larger carying capicity but the second child occupies part of the storage basket and many parents perceive that the 'in the basement' positioning of that child inhibits their ability to see out and enjoy the ride. (we have heard both sides 'my children fight over the bottom seat' and 'my childeren fight over the top seat' so we are not really in a postion to make a ruling on this one).
The Bottom Line on In-line Expandable Doubles
- Parents of twins should consider the lifespan of the stroller and accomodating two equal sized children for as long as possible. This stroller will rarely be used as a single and parents should definately test as a double configuration.
- Parents buying an insurance policy for future babies should remember that you want this to be your stroller of choice as a single stroller. Get hands on and test folding, storage, manueverability and lifestyle alignment first. Consider the expansion as a bonus but choose the one that handles best for you and your needs.
- Parents of existing child that find they are now in the market for a double should be VERY cognizant of seating load capacities. Front Axle stroller loads are much smaller and many children outgrow that seating positon around 3 to 3 1/2 years old. If your child is already close to the front seat capacity you should probably consider a rear axle second seat stroller.
We are glad to help with side by side comparisions and testing in our showroom anytime, and be sure to check our our expandable doubles here.