You’re already being woken up at 6 AM; time to go for a fun run! And, since jogging with a baby in your arms is frowned upon (mostly by your neighbors), it’s time to fold up the umbrella stroller and buy a hi-tech, feature-laden jogging stroller.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re exercising to maintain your sanity, or training for some baby-friendly races, here are 4 things to look for before you make the investment. Running is free, but the jogger stroller and accessories are not:
- Fixed Wheel vs. Swiveling Wheel: Fixed is considered better for long-distance runs, but most everyone wants the option of turning their jogger into a stroller with a lockable swivel wheel. And all the wheels should be air-filled, pneumatic tires bigger than 12-inches.
- Suspension: It’s not recommended to subject a lot of bouncing to babies under a year old, but even older infants need a good pair of shock absorbers for where the sidewalk ends.
- Adjustable Handlebar: If you are 6-foot and your wife is 5-and-a-half feet, there are going to be issues with how you hold the stroller while you stride. Get a handlebar that can be adjusted to fit both heights. Or a wife who doesn’t jog.
- Cupholders (And Other Features): If there’s one thing Seinfeld taught us, it’s that coffee is hot. Don’t put anything but bottles of cold liquid in these things. Also, secure areas to keep your keys, Body Glide, and nipple tape are great, but not the only factor you should consider.
For The Urban Athlete: BOB Revolution Pro
Pro: Gear Patrol calls BOB’s Revolution Pro “the most technologically advanced piece of workout equipment you’ll ever own,” and says that the hand-activated rear drum brakes make you feel in control. “As comfortable as the stroller was for the jogger, it was even better for the rider. A large canopy to shade the sun, foot rests and a wide padded seat, two mesh pockets perfect for a stuffed animal and a sippy cup and reclinable seat back for long jogs (or ones that happen closer to nap time) kept my year-old test pilot happy nearly the whole time.”
Con: It’s heavy and a bit unwieldy. GP says, “At around 25 pounds and 25.5-inches wide from wheel to wheel (wider than most other strollers), it took some maneuvering to get it in and out the trunk.” Reviewers also say that the jogger stroller’s canopy, which doesn’t filter UV, is a weak spot.
Front Wheel Type: Swivel lock Wheel Dimensions: Rear 16″ x 1.75″, Front 12.5″ x 1.75″ Suspension: Coil spring and elastomer core shock absorbers, with adjustable shock release knobs Brake: Hand-activated rear drum brake; foot parking brake Adjustable Handlebar: Yes (33.5 – 45.8″)
For The Trail Runner: The Burley Solstice
Pro: Burley has been doing the outdoor thing since 1978, so they have a bit of practice making gear built to withstand Planet Earth. The Solstice has coil-spring suspension on all the wheels, making dirt roads feel like (poorly) paved streets. While a lot of reviews cite the S.I.T. technology that keeps the straps out of the way — a pain in the ass if you’ve ever had to dig around to find a buckle under your kid — it also gets points for how easy it is to fold and store. Core 77, who gave the Solstice a Design Award in 2015 said, “with the exception of the telescoping handlebar, virtually all of the Solstice features can be operated with one hand.”
Con: Again, a lot of reviewers wish that their giant-wheeled jogging strollers could be lightweight and smaller. At least one reviewer on REI had issues with the ease-of-use of the brakes, saying “I seem to always be looking for the brake pedal. It is small and tucked up under to the right.”
Weight: 29 lbs
Front Wheel Type: Swivel lock Wheel Dimensions: Rear 16″ x 1.75″, Front 12.5″ x 1.75″ Suspension: Coil springs Brake: Foot-activated parking brake Adjustable Handlebar: Yes (37.5 – 40.5″)
For The Elite Marathoner: Phil & Ted’s Sub 4
PHIL & TEDS
Pro: To own this jogger stroller you should probably be running an elite marathon time. In fact, the guys over at Runner’s World said this jogging stroller “is an ideal choice for tempo and fartlek runs. Testers comfortably turned in sub-six-minute miles thanks to the aerodynamic, lightweight design.” No word on how many of those testers can say “fartlek” without laughing.
Con: Besides costing as much as a one-way ticket to Fiji, the biggest drawback: it doesn’t really fold up, so you better have an extra parking space in the garage.
Weight: 30 lbs
Front Wheel Type: Fixed Wheel Dimensions: Rear 20″, Front: 16″ Suspension: Anti-shock suspension and torsion control bars Brake: One-hand dual disk brake Adjustable Handlebar: Yes
For The Blade Runner: KidRunner Jogger
Pro: If you’re already a jungle gym, piggyback, and airplane to your baby, why not workhorse? With the KidRunner jogger, it’s not a stroller you push but a tiny rickshaw you pull. Gizmodo says, “the actual stroller that rolls along with a pair of bicycle wheels is a flexible bow that dampens the up and down motion of a runner so that a kid in tow isn’t being constantly bounced around. Because kids and motion sickness go hand in hand.” And champion runner Max King won a 10k with this thing on his back — so you know you can legitimately run with it.
Con: If you’re looking for a jogging stroller that you can take to the mall as well as the track, this ain’t it. The other con is that you currently can’t get one. About 300 of these were already pre-ordered and it’s currently out of stock.
Weight: 20 lbs
Front Wheel Type: None, two rear wheels Suspension: Flexible “bow” Brake: None Adjustable Handlebar: N/A
For The Weekend Warrior: Thule Chariot Cougar 1 / Cheetah 1
Pro: Perfect for the parent who is also a triathlete (although there’s no boat function, yet), the Thule Chariot Cougar not only has the distinction of being the most badass name for a stroller, it’s also the only one that goes from jogger to bike trailer. One reviewer on Amazon.com cut to the chase, saying, “It is a big, brawny, cage of a stroller meant to protect Junior in comfort while you pursue serious outdoor activities.”
Con: By being a stroller, jogger, or trailer, the Chariot Cougar isn’t as good at either as some single-function carriers. Gear Review has issues with the tail-light function, saying, “We would really like to see a better, more central light holder (or, even better, a built-in flashing light for the back) to help with visibility when the carrier is used as a trailer)” Then again, what are you doing riding a bike with you baby in the middle of the night?
Weight: 24 lbs
Front Wheel Type: Fixed Wheel Dimensions: Rear 20″, Front (Jogging Kit) 16″ Suspension: Adjustable coil spring Brake: Foot-activated parking brake Adjustable Handlebar: Yes (HeightRight has a “high” and “low” setting)
For The Casual Jogger: Baby Trend Expedition
Pro: Baby Gear Lab calls the Baby Trend Expedition “a good all around stroller” if you’re going on “unexpected adventures” (you mean, like the Goonies?). Runner Amy Tarpley wrote on Runner’s World, “It’s got great handling and we’ve pushed it in several races. My husband has even run a 22-minute 5K and said it handled well!”
Con: It’s reliable for the light jogger, but not the serious runner. On the other hand, the price is as serious as its competitors.
Weight: 24 lbs
Front Wheel Type: Swivel lock Wheel Dimensions: Rear 15.5″, Front 11.25″ Suspension: None Brake: Double foot-activated parking brake Adjustable Handlebar: Yes (Max height 41″)
For Running With Siblings: BOB Pro Dualie
Pro: If you have two young kids — best of luck. But also, you’re going to need a double-wide version of the jogging stroller. BOB comes through again with the Pro Dualie. It’s just like the Pro above, but more to love. Moms Stroller Reviews says, “The most important feature of Pro is the wheels. It rolls on large air-filled tires with adjustable state of the art suspension system that provides a VERY smooth ride.” (Emphasis MSR.)
Con: Some Amazon.com reviewers have said that locking the front wheel was challenging. Also, as expected with a stroller that holds two kids, it’s about 10 pounds heavier and at 31-inches wide, won’t easily squeeze into most compact cars.
Weight: 36 lbs
Front Wheel Type: Swivel lock Wheel Dimensions: Rear 16″ x 1.75″, Front 12.5″ x 1.75″ Suspension: Coil spring and elastomer core shock absorbers, adjustable shock release knobs Brake: Foot-activated parking brake, Hand-activated rear drum brake Adjustable Handlebar: Yes
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