Double buggies



Finding yourself with two little people to push around? We trial a selection of double buggies suitable for twins, or toddler and baby families.

 


Milano Twin 3 Wheeler Stroller
RRP $399.99 from Baby City, includes two foot muffs, raincover, and a pump. Each seat can take up to 17kg. 82cm wide from back wheel to back wheel.
The Milano Twin is a solid and sturdy side-by-side buggy providing chariot-like transportation - except that, obviously, instead of being pulled around by a gallant steed or two, said chariot requires a strong person to push it. 
Good bits: Being a three-wheeler model, it is easy to "drive" and steer, and provides a comfortable, smooth ride. The front wheel can swivel or be locked. We trialled the Milano in a mall, but for a thorough workout, the buggy would be off-road-able. We liked the handle, an easy-to-grip bar, which is one-hand-steerable if absolutely necessary.
     The Milano has a well-designed five-point harness, with a dome-over cover making it baby-Houdini proof, but a little fiddly when it comes time to get the kids out, especially cranky kids. The seats recline individually, so it is suitable for newborns. It features a roomy and easily accessible parcel tray underneath, great back storage pockets, and a handy, easy-access pocket for your mobile phone too. We also liked the viewing window in the hood, which is large enough to check on the behaviour of your little side-by-side travellers, while in motion.
     Another great feature are the sleeping bags or "foot muffs" that are included for smaller babies. They are attached via the harness and provide a snug and cosy liner for baby and a fully removable (with zip) warm and waterproof cover, which can quickly be removed if the eather changes.
     The brakes were good, and easily applied with one foot. The upholstery is quite plain, in black with grey trim, but should hide the inevitable stains quite well. A highlight is the Milano's one-handed collapse (release buttons on the handle that only require one hand, then just push down to collapse), making it a breeze to collapse and put up.
Tricky bits: In a nutshell, the only obvious problem with this buggy is that it is Big and Wide. We only just fit in the lift at Farmers. We happily cruised the mall, but stood nervously at the entrance of many shops before deciding it wasn't really worth the risk of entry. Perhaps we're overly sensitive, but we sensed shopkeepers, and anyone in our path really, viewing us with concern. It also takes up considerable area when collapsed. It would fit in my hatchback's boot, but maybe not the boot of a sedan.
Bottom line: Great value for money, a comfortable, solid pushchair that would easily get the kids from A to B,  so long as the trip didn't involve narrow doorways or small lifts.


Maclaren Twin Techno
RRP $699.99 from Baby City, includes a raincover. Weighs 12.2kg, carries up to 34kg.
A compact, umbrella-fold, side-by-side double stroller, the Maclaren Twin Techno is handy for transporting children and shopping around the mall, and a Google search even revealed it as a favourite with celebrity parents of two or more children.  
Good bits: Made from high-performance aluminium, everything seemed within easy reach on the Maclaren - two cup holders, convenient storage pockets on the back, a storage basket underneath (though small, and harder to access than other models), and two handles (as opposed to the single bar) so shopping bags could easily be suspended.
      It has a good five-point harness, which is easy to do up and release with just one hand. One adult hand, that is, as the button needs to be pushed from the front and the back simultaneously, making it kiddy-proof. While the stroller is suitable for newborns, it also seems roomier for taller kids - our three-year-old still had some headroom under the hood. The seats are fully individual, with the options of five recline positions and extendable leg rests. Each seat has a water-resistant hood to offer protection from the elements, but these were quite floppy and our 15-month-old had great fun pulling hers right forward, which consequently bothered the sibling beside her. The seat covers are fully washable, which would no doubt prove handy. Collapsing the stroller required three actions: two pushes down with your feet, then one lever up with your foot. Once collapsed, there is a well-designed handle available to carry it. This stroller is much more boot-friendly, and should stow without too much hassle.
Tricky bits: The stroller has three sets of wheels front and back. The driver's feet kept kicking the middle set of rear wheels - not a huge problem, but a little irritating.
      Due to its smaller wheels, it seemed heavy to push and harder to manoeuvre. Great around town, but not really suitable for taking off the beaten track.
      The brakes were good, once we got the hang of them. They are activated with one foot movement, but required two movements to release.
Bottom line: A more expensive option, but the biggest advantage with the Maclaren is that it is a narrower side-by-side stroller, and shorter too, so we didn't feel like we were taking up more than our share of the lift!

 

Marco Sky L
$495 from www.bubstuff.co.nz and Baby on the Move. Includes rain cover. Weighs 13kg, carries up to 15kg per seat. Soft carry cot available ($90). Front and rear suspension, front wheels swivel or fix.
With similar dimensions to that of the average single pushchair, this thoughtfully designed, umbrella-fold stroller is a neat and tidy double option. Comfortable seats, like two little thrones, that toddler one and two were only too eager to climb up into. From the European manufacturer, Marco Kinderartikel, the Marco Sky L complies with Australian and New Zealand standards.
Good bits: The Marco Sky L is a narrow option for transporting two, as children sit "in-line", one behind the other. Its compact design means it is not too long, either, making it "unobtrusive" when out and about.
      It is versatile, suitable for children from birth to three years. The rear seat can fully recline with an option of inserting a soft carry cot (sold separately). Both seats have good five-point harnesses with extra padding on the straps. All covers are removable and washable.
      A well-designed canopy with a viewing window provides extra sun shade for both children, and is fully removable.
      The handles are height-adjustable and revolve 360 degrees so you can make unique adjustments to suit your personal driving comfort.
      The double brakes are easily activated with one touch, but didn't feel quite as sturdy as some other brands, possibly due to the nature of an umbrella stroller design where there is always more movement.
      Light and compact when folded, and easy to get in and out of the boot.
Tricky bits: We found the Marco a little hard to collapse - we needed to use our hands to move a lever underneath, then apply quite a bit of force to fold the buggy. However, this is probably because the stroller was brand new, and after some use we are confident the collapsing mechanism would ease up, meaning you could move the levers with your foot.
      As a four-wheeler, it is a little harder to manoeuvre than its three-wheeled counterparts. The wheels are bigger and sturdier than a standard umbrella stroller, which is great, but we felt they only just coped when we went "off-road", and lots or effort was required to get over curbs. 
Bottom line: Once we had sorted out the hair-pulling problem posed by an opportunistic 15-month-old sitting behind her sister, both girls really enjoyed their journey. Mum had quite a work-out pushing them, but to be fair, the passengers were close to maxing out the weight restrictions. All in all, this stroller is a great value buy.

 


Baby Jogger City Select
RRP $849.99 from Baby on the Move and www.babyfirst.co.nz. Comes with one seat. Additional accessories include second seat $289.99, bassinet $159.99, glider board $119.99, car seat adaptor $99.99, and rain cover $59.99. Available in red or black. Weighs 12.7kg, capacity of 20.5kg per seat. Swivel and lock front wheel options.
With so many great design features, we hardly have room to include them all.  A practical and adaptable option to say the least, featuring 18 configuration options.
Good bits: The whole family enjoyed test driving this stroller - toddler one and two were very comfortable and loved being able to see out in all directions. Dad was most impressed by the space-age technology, specifically the extendable handle with a nice comfortable grip. Mum especially liked the large, easy-access storage basket underneath and handy pockets behind the seats. And on a purely superficial level, she thought the hole package was notably good looking!
      The City Select provides a nice smooth ride, and felt very stable, even with only one child on board. With its in-line seat configurations, it's not wide, and not too long either. Brakes are great, and easily activated by hand with a lever conveniently located on the handle.
      The seats are compact and easily come on and off, to be moved into a different configuration (like we said, 18 options here!) Handy hoods are fully removable and provide great shelter.
      Suitable for newborns through to preschoolers, we love the many ways you can customise this buggy. Yet with all the fancy features, it is still lightweight, incredibly easy to fold, and doesn't totally monopolise storage space in the boot.
Tricky bits: Adjusting the straps was quite tricky, especially with two little ones eager to get into the zoo. This was possibly due to the fact that the components were all brand new, and would ease with use.
      Our three-year-old only just fitted length- wise, but she looked cosy and didn't complain about her limited leg room.
Bottom line: A considerable investment, but this buggy's versatility would allow years of use while adapting to meet the needs of your growing family. We predict great value for money in the long run.



Special thanks to Adele and Lyn at Baby on the Move Albany, for their practical help and expertise.

 

 

As seen in OHbaby! magazine Issue 11: 2010
   
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