After Juliet was born, I debated back and forth about whether I wanted to buy a double stroller. Double strollers are very expensive; I feel like it’s a huge price jump from a single to a double stroller, and at three Drake doesn’t really ride a stroller much these days.
After being cooped up in the house for a month and a half with a newborn and a toddler, I decided to the venture to mall with Drake and Juliet one day to see how well we would do without one. I put Juliet and her car seat in the snap and go and attempted to hold Drake’s hand as we navigated the mall, and learned quickly that this was indeed a poor decision on my part. It was very hard to hold both Drake’s hand and push the stroller in a straight path. And oftentimes Drake would struggle with me and either drop down on the ground, stopping traffic in its path, or wriggle free causing me to have to take Juliet on a high speed toddler chase down the mall.
When I had to nurse Juliet and stop in the nursing lounge at Nordstroms, it was impossible to keep Drake in the room with me since he could freely roam the bathroom area. Thankfully the door was closed and he couldn’t leave the actual bathroom while I was pinned in my seat nursing. After a harried few hours, which honestly felt like years, I decided that the answer was yes, yes I needed a double stroller if I ever wanted to leave the house again. To soften the blow a little to Mr Chocolate, I reasoned that if we had another child we would eventually be in this situation with Juliet needing a stroller along with the new baby. Plus we were planning a family trip to Disneyworld with my mother this coming summer. Even at age 4 Drake wouldn’t be able to manage walking around the entire park without some rest, so a stroller would be necessary on that trip anyway.
So then began the research. I never did much when I registered for the travel system I got with Drake, which I regret now as I really didn’t care for it and rarely used it. This time around I was determined to get the “right” one, which quickly lead me to stalk every double stroller I saw when I was out, constantly compare specs online, and overall bore Mr Chocolate to tears as I talked about the pros and cons of countless strollers.
In the end I narrowed my criteria down to these:
- I wanted a tandem stroller as I had heard that side by sides were harder to get in and out of places. I live in suburbia and we go to the mall often, so I wanted to be able to navigate through the shops.
- I wanted something reasonably priced, and in the world of double strollers I rationalized that to be less than $300-$400.
- I wanted something that steered nicely. My Snap and Go and the Blink umbrella strollers I used with Drake weren’t as smooth as I liked, and I really wanted something that felt effortless to manage with two.
- Lastly I wanted something that was as light as I could get. One of the reasons I ended up disliking our travel system stroller was the weight. It was just so hard to lug in and out of my car that I simply stopped using it, and instead favored the lighter Snap and Go.
I sadly never got to go out and test drive any of these strollers because they weren’t available at my local Babies r Us, and with two kids it was just too hard to find the time go from boutique to boutique. So I relied reviews online, reviews from the forums I belonged to, and watching some You Tube review videos.
Here are the ones I was interested in, and the slow whittling down process to find the one we eventually purchased:
When I first started looking at double strollers the Baby Jogger City Select was the one that I lusted over. I loved the versatility of the seat configurations, allowing for changes as the children grew. I had heard nothing but great things about it online. I could literally see myself using it until I read the price. At $600 though, the cost was simply too prohibitive in my mind for a piece of baby gear that would only be used for so many years. I just couldnt justify it so I went on searching.
The next stroller that popped up when I polled about double strollers on my forums was the Britax B-Ready. Britax has a solid reputation in the baby gear market, with its car seats being touted as the safest as well as comfiest car seats to use. I liked that they too had the multiple configurations so I could move the seats around, but their price was almost as steep as the City Select. And the base price didn’t include the extra seat or even the car seat attachment. Since I was already heavily invested in the Graco car seat system and it wasn’t compatible with the Britax system, I would have to buy an additional Britax car seat just to use with the stroller; that itself would send the price of the B-Ready even higher than the City Select, so this one was crossed off the list as well. In retrospect I wish I had done better research when I was registering the first time around, as I do like many of the B-Ready’s features and think I would have liked to have registered for this stroller instead of the travel system. If I had gone with the Britax car seats and this stroller, I could have easily used it with Drake and then when Juliet came along, just bought the additional jump seat for Drake. Then this stroller could last through both my children, and not cost as much all at once.
Next I moved onto the Phil and Ted’s Explorer. This stroller I actually had tested before, as a friend of mine used it with her two children. The Phil and Ted’s glided like a dream, and this was one of the reasons why I wanted a stroller that was easy to push compared to less reliable Snap and Go. Having said that though, I remember how my friend’s son couldn’t really nap in the back seat because it lacked a reclining mode. Also there wasn’t a way to attach a car seat to it, so I would have to take Juliet in and out of her car seat every time we were out which I knew would be time consuming, annoying, and probably not much fun for Juliet. After some real consideration, the thought of the extra work turned me off and so this was crossed off the list too.
And then I found the Contours Options Stroller. It seemed to be everything I was looking for — tandem, on the lower cost side, and while it didn’t have as many configurations as the City Select and B-Ready, there was still some versatility to it. It looked to be the perfect stroller for my needs. I searched for weeks hoping to see this one in person before making my final decision, but simply could not find one in the area. Still I decided it was the one, but I never ordered it for some reason.
In the back of mind something was nagging me, and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. Then on a random trip to Babies R Us to pick up a few odds and ends for Juliet, I saw someone testing out the Baby Jogger City Mini. At a glance this wasn’t a thing like what I had wanted criteria wise — it was pricey, a side by side, etc. but the moment I watched that stroller glide around the store front I was sold. I realized that what was bothering me about the Contours and all the tandem strollers was the fact that I worried the child sitting in the back would get upset not being able to see as much. The City Mini felt like a dream when I pushed it around the store, and it just felt right when I took Drake back to try it out. He could climb in and out easily on his own, and he loved the idea that Juliet would be sitting next to him soon. I loved the idea of both of them being able to sit next to one another talking and interacting together. After some more research, I saw that the City Mini Double fit through most standard doors, so my fear of not being to get into places was alleviated.
I loved the smooth handling of the City Mini, but there were so many other features that grew on me as I played with in store: the fact that both seats could recline which is so wonderful for stroller naps, that I could use a car seat attachment for Juliet now and transition her into the seat when she was bigger, and the double canopies with the peek a boo windows (Drake loved these and kept wanting us to open and close them to see him).
We purchased the City Mini the next weekend and haven’t looked back since.