Lightweight double stroller does it ALL!

I was pretty psyched about the Kinderwagon Hop the first time I read about it two years ago. But since I’ve been out of the stroller scene for a while, I didn’t realize they’ve made some HUGE TREMENDOUS COLLOSAL improvements since then.

This double umbrella stroller features:

1. Carseat compatiblity (with Graco Snugride).

2. Huge canopy.

3. Tall handles–42 inches, to be exact.

4. Bigger-ish seats. Ok, so it’s still not a huge seat like the Britax B-Agile’s, but these are roomy enough.

5. Comparable size to a lightweight SINGLE stroller.  This is a double stroller that’s no bigger than a single.

6.  21.5 pounds light and 20.5 wide. This baby is small enough to go anywhere–airport, tiny shopping aisles, or the back of your mini cooper. This stroller is a full 15 pounds lighter than my current double, the Britax B Ready.

I’m ready to trade.  The Kinderwagon Hop is just too good to pass up.

Read more about the Kinderwagon Hop:


The One Question You Should Ask Before Buying a Stroller

Regardless of where you’re from, your parenting style or whether you say to-ma-to or to-MAH-to, there’s five key features to a great stroller:

1. Lightweight

2. Compact fold

3. Infant carseat compatible

4. Large sun canopies

5. Large and accessible basket

“Hey ‘rents! This totally doesn’t meet any of EclecticMothering’s Five Key Features!”

There’s only one question you’ve got to ask when you’re got the five key features covered:

Have I worn out a pair of running shoes or hiking boots recently?

Say what?

I’m serious. Have you, in the past three months, had to purchase a new pair of hiking boots or running shoes because you do so much running/hiking that you just plum wore out the pair you had before? Because if you haven’t, you aren’t a serious enough outdoor athlete to justify a jogging or all-terrain stroller.

Jogging and all terrain strollers are their own animal. It’s apples and oranges to compare a jogging stroller to a full sized or umbrella stroller. If you’re an avid hiker and need something that will take you and your babies up Mount Mitchell, you’re going to need air filled tires, excellent shocks, and a rain cover.  Runners need similar equipment, and typically prefer a slim frame. For everybody else in the world, the trouble of pumping tires and the extra bulk of large wheels is unnecessary.

Listen to me, Mama: I know you want to work that baby weight off. I know you’ve always wanted to “get into running”. You’ve probably already been down to B’RUS and thought “There’s a jogging stroller and travel system all in one.  I’m actually going to save money since I don’t have to buy two strollers.” But darling, that’s just horse manure.  It’s clunky. It’s heavy. It doesn’t have squat for a canopy.  But you’ve got rosy glasses on, thinking about how awesome it will be to fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. In truth, you’re going to be busy and tired and you probably won’t feel like exercising at all.

Let me tell you a secret: God is merciful. He knew you’d be exhausted by raising this kid so he deducted 500 calories off your daily intake of calories. All you’ve got to do is breastfeed. You’ll be back to your pre-preggers weight before you know it.

Now go look in your closet. Shoes can tell a lot about a person, so start getting to know yourself.

Quite Possibly the Worst Double Stroller in the World

The Kolcraft Contours® Options® Tandem Stroller, Ruby

The Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem

The worst double stroller in the world

Um, why are you so upset about a double stroller? 

This particular double stroller is everywhere. It pops up continually on Craigslist, it’s still sold on Amazon and listed on the Kolcraft website.  All the the minor advantages are magnified through good marketing to make it appear to be a great, budget-friendly stroller when it’s really the stroller from Hades.

But it looks so spiffy..

Let me break it down:

  • This monster weighs 48 pounds.  That’s embarrassingly heavy for Kolcraft, so they don’t mention its weight in the product description. Pop in a 32 pound 2.5 year old and a 20 pound nine month old and you know what you’re pushing? 100 pounds.  A hundred freaking pounds.
  • You have to take it apart to fold it.  That’s right–take off the seats, lay them in the car, then fold up the stroller and put it in the car. Oh wait–you need to put the stroller in first and then lay the seats on top of it. Just lay the seats in the gravel then. Now the seats are dirty, but at least they aren’t crushed by the stroller frame.  Oh, did you pull your back out trying to put that thing in the car? Why don’t you just leave the darn thing where it is and back over it. That would be fun.
  • At 52 inches in length, it’s too long to steer.  This mommy said: “The stroller was very awkward and hard to steer because of the weight of the 2 yr old in front.” This stroller is best used when you don’t have your kids with you.
  • It’s poorly made.  As another mommy said, “My child is 11 months old: One of the harnesses have broken, one of the seats are bent downward, one of the locks doesnt lock very good anymore and the tray broke off.” It’s not going to make it through the next kid, so there goes your “budget-friendly stroller.” It costs twice as much to buy two strollers, you know.
  • The seats are really short–another mommy reviewer said “Seats are SOOOO shallow and short- my 22 lbs baby just barely fits.” For all you self-righteous folks thinking “A bigger kids should be walking anyhow,” have you ever tried to do anything with toddlers? The second you grab one the other wiggles away to destroy something. Not conducive to grocery shopping, walking off the baby weight, or doing anything outside the house.

Amazon shows an average review of  4 stars. If it’s so awful, Miss Eclectic Mothering Smartie Pants, why do the masses love it?

Ignorance and some “free” accessories.

The Kolcraft Contours® Options® Tandem Stroller, Ruby includes a few features that parents really love: two parent cup holders, seats that can be faced forwards or backwards, a big basket, and an INCLUDED (not “sold separately”) car seat adapter.  With the average price tag of $250 new, this was a steal compared to the $660 Baby Jogger City Select that looks almost identical after purchasing all the extras. Reviewers ooh and awe over it’s “manueveablity” but that’s just because they’ve never pushed anything besides a Graco.

When the Contours Options first came out in 2000, it was revolutionary.  There were not many strollers that would accommodate multiple brands of car seats and certainly no strollers that had two seats facing the person pushing.  Walking and cooing at your baby without even taking them out of the carseat? Hot diggity dog!

But let me share a little story with you. Last year we went on an extended family vacation with my husband’s siblings and their families.  My sister-in-law had this stroller. To get it to the cabin, she actually had one of the other siblings carry the stroller frame in their car, since the frame and seats and the vacation luggage wouldn’t fit in the trunk of their sedan. Then, while we were at the cabin, the stroller and its accessories took up tons of space in their room, even while folded. When we went out on the town, my sister-in-law opted to take the Baby Bjorn carrier instead of the stroller just so they wouldn’t have to pack it up and get it out of the car because it was so heavy and inconvenient.  What should have been a relaxing walk turned into musical babies in which those two poor parents took turns holding the children while the other ate, walked, shopped, or tried to visit with family.

The purpose of a stroller is CONVENIENCE.  For my poor sister-in-law, the stroller promised much needed relief but failed to deliver.  Although this stroller might have filled a niche twelve years ago, there are far better options available and that’s why I believe all Contours Options Tandem Ruby strollers should be re-purposed as boat anchors.

PS–Kolcraft strives to produce affordable products with the best features and they do a pretty good job.  Over the past ten years they’ve worked out lots of kinks and produced the Contours Options LT that weighs a lot less but still has the accessories parent’s like.

Stroller Lust: The Search for the Perfect Stroller Never Ends

I’ve visited the chiropractor ten times in the past month.  It’s all this baby hauling–and baby gear hauling–that’s got my back out of shape. This had got me yearning after something lighter and smaller than my Britax B-Ready. My newest love?

The Kinderwagon Hop

This puppy is just 22 pounds, seats two kids and folds up teeny, just like a single umbrella stroller! Oh, how my arms ache for your svelte and delicate rods, so small and yet so useful!  Alas, the Hop is too blame expensive at $300 and just not common enough to fine on Craigslist. Maybe I should just move within hobbling distance of the chiropractor’s office.   It truly never ends, the belief that the next stroller will be….

The Perfect Double Stroller

Oh no…

I don’t know why I do this to myself: I just happened to glance at the Britax website and what did I find? They’re launching a new stroller. It’s like the Baby Jogger City Mini (if you recall, that was a serious contender in my stroller search) but without the nasty cage adapter. So now I’m wondering if I made the right decision after all.  It’s official: I’m addicted to strollers.

An Update on the Perfect Stroller

Some photographic proof of why it’s so important to have a stroller that accommodates an infant car seat and has a second full sized seat.  It’s for keeping sleeping babies asleep!

PS–Don’t you love the bright pink seat? Joseph and I don’t believe in gender stereotyping and certainly don’t want to raise our children under that sort of filthy patriarchy nonsense. Just kidding. It came with the stroller and buying one in silver or black seat would cost be about $100. So pink’s fine.  Just fine.

Stroller Finale: It All Ends

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the moment you’ve all been yawning for. Yes, I will finally wrap up this series on finding the Perfect Double Stroller.  I have made my purchase and it is the Britax B-Ready Stroller. And no, I did not have to take out a loan to get it.

britax b ready stroller

A wonderful young lady advertising on Craigslist gave me a great deal on the Britax B-Ready stroller and the lower carseat adapter.  All I have to order is the universal car seat adapter for my Graco and the second seat (but I don’t plan on getting that until later on since I will use the car seat until Baby #2 is the recommended six months of age).

My estimate in the Britax B-Ready post was that the system would cost $624 with double kit, lower adapter and universal car seat adapter for my Graco.  Even if I spend the going rate of $100 for the double kit and $40 for the universal car seat adapter (and I won’t, because I have time to wait on a good Ebay deal), my grand total for this stroller will be $320. That is a glorious markdown of 49%, resulting in sighs of relief from my darling husband.

A crescent shaped tear in the foam grip handle of the Britax B-Ready –about 2.5 inches long

Of course, when purchasing second hand, some wear and tear is expected.  For instance, a snag in the handle bar foam left it torn.  I called Britax Customer Service and they are sending a replacement handle bar tomorrow. Gratis. Oh yes, this baby was still under original warranty and the dear lady who sold it to me on Craigslist also gave me the paperwork that came with the stroller.

Now we can all sit back and relax

After some all purpose cleaner and a toothbrush, it looks good as new, with the exception of a few scuffs and bumps it received from its original owners. It’s reassuring to know that I didn’t pay retail price to put my very own marks of ownership on it. I think I wouldn’t have wanted to take it outside if I had actually forked over the $620 to buy this sucker new.

After many months of searching, hours spent writing what I’d found, a trip to Richmond to see these babies in the flesh, and boring my husband to tears with my rants about tandem versus side-by-side, it’s done. We’ve finally discovered the Perfect Double Stroller–for us that is.  Now all we need is the second baby.