Monday, August 24, 2009

Review: Joovy Ultra-light Caboose double stroller

When someone announces a second pregnancy, many of the same questions arise as with a first baby: "when's the baby due?" "are you going to find out the gender?". And then there's a question that's new..."what kind of double stroller are you going to get?"

Seriously, I'm pretty sure we spent more time researching double strollers than we did picking out a baby name. I take that back, I am 100% sure that we spent more time on the stroller than the baby name.

First I read the blogs. Then I questioned my friends. Then I scoured the parenting magazines. And we went to Babies R Us to test drive the (VERY) few double strollers that they had. And we thought we had made up our mind to get the double version of the Peg Perego Aria OH, since that was the single stroller that we had been using and liking with Ethan. However, I ended up getting a great deal on an infant carseat and the carseat that I purchased was not compatible with the Peg Perego systems unless I wanted to invest in the conversion kit. Which, being cheap, I did not want to do.

So back to the drawing board for us. We were hoping to move before Vivian was born (ha! Now I'm hoping to move before kindergarten), so we put off making a decision as long as we could, since I knew that what I would want in a stroller for the city differed from what I would want if we lived in the suburbs. When it became evident that we were not going anywhere anytime soon, I started looking at strollers that would work well for city life.

The main thing that I was looking for was a lightweight stroller that folded up fairly small and that allowed my toddler a place to sit, since he wasn't even 2 when Vivian arrived. Finally, we decided on the Joovy Sit and Stand Ultralight Caboose.

Pros: 1) It weighs in at only 21 pounds, which is about half the weight of most double strollers. I'm only 5'1", and we have to lift up to put things in our trunk, so weight was a big issue for me.
2) The back offers a nice little bench seat with a seatbelt for Ethan to sit on, and when he gets older, he can stand back there.
3) The front was compatible with our infant carseat and many other brands of seats as well. When Vivian outgrows her infant seat, she will get to sit in a nice seat in the front that has a 5-point harness.
4) The stroller is super easy to open and close
5) The sun/rain shade is great, expanding separately to cover both the infant and the toddler. I'm really happy with this feature.
6) There are nice straps to secure the infant carseat in place, so I feel that she's very secure.
7) The stroller was very easy to assemble.
8) Steering is a dream, even when the infant seat is on the front and it's front-heavy. I have no problems at all steering the stroller with one hand at the grocery store and it navigates smoothly around obstacles and turns really well. I occasionally have to still use my single stroller and I am always frustrated with its poor steering after getting used to the great steering on my double stroller.

Cons: 1) The basket underneath is pretty small and is really hard to get to with the infant carseat in and the toddler in his seat. I usually put heavy things like milk down there, then hang the rest of the groceries from hooks on the front of the stroller.
2) The stroller doesn't store standing up like our single stroller did. We have to store it on its side. It's still pretty small and doesn't take up a huge amount of space, but it's more than we like to give up in our tiny home.
3) This is not an issue for us, since Ethan likes to sit leaning forward, but when the infant carseat is in, or when the child in front is in the seat and reclining, the child in back doesn't have a lot of space when sitting down. Again, not something that is a problem for us, but it might bother some people.
4) With the infant seat in, the stroller, being a tandem set-up is fairly front-heavy. I get a little concerned about this when I'm crossing streets that have any sort of incline, since the stroller will start to drift downhill. It's not a problem, but I do have to be very cautious and be sure I have a firm grip with both hands. This wont be as much of an issue once Vivian is in the regular seat.

I ended up getting a great deal on this stroller on, getting the all black model for about $150. It sells most places for closer to $240, but does go on sale on various websites and stores on occasion, so deals can be found!