Exactly what we were looking for!
December 6, 2011
You won't find a better jogging stroller at this price no matter where you look. It's as handy and durable as models 3 times its cost! Our favorite features are the movable canopy, the enormous storage basket, how easy it is to fold and how flat it goes, and the fact that the front wheel locks or unlocks. The ability to unlock the front wheel is a VERY important feature--make sure you get a stroller with both capabilities! If you're jogging with it, you must be able to lock the front wheel or you'll get major vibration problems; that's just how 3-wheeled vehicles work. But if you're out on a casual walk and need some more maneuverability, then having the front wheel unlocked will make your life infinitely easier.
The stroller is super adaptable; we use it for everything. For example, I love to walk to the store with my son. The storage basket is so enormous that I can fit almost a week's worth of groceries inside if I pack carefully. I use it with the front wheel unlocked, which makes it really easy to maneuver along narrow grocery store aisles. My husband, on the other hand, loves to take our son jogging. He'll use it with the front wheel locked, giving him and the baby a super smooth ride. He's a long-distance runner, so he'll be gone for 2 or 3 hours and go 15 miles+. Our son (who is 8 months old now) can sit comfortably and watch the world go by, or have a snack from the tray, or take a nap with the back reclined and the canopy down. And one of our favorite things to do as a family is take long walks to different parks and neighborhoods in the area. We'll load up a picnic lunch in the basket and set off on a little adventure exploring, taking turns pushing the stroller. The handle height isn't adjustable, but it seems to somehow magically be perfect for both me (5' 7") and my husband (6' 3"). (If you're extremely short--I'm thinking under 5 feet--then I guess the handle would be a little high, but if you're jogging it's more comfortable to have it higher anyway.) The stroller manages all kinds of terrain without a problem: steep hills, lumpy grass, mud, leaf-clogged gutters, ragged sidewalks--and our son doesn't seem to notice any jostling.
We originally bought a Baby Trend travel combo (car seat & stroller) at Target just for the price and car seat features alone; the stroller was a nice afterthought, and when our son was very small, it was nice to have the car seat click in to the stroller. If we had known about this jogging stroller in the first place, we would have only bought the infant car seat and this stroller, since all Baby Trend car seats will click in just the same. This stroller is seriously all you need (well, this and a super compact $15 umbrella stroller once baby is sitting up on his own) when it comes to baby portability. I'm incredibly impressed with how small it folds down for being super durable and sturdy--it's only about 5" taller and maybe 3" thicker when folded than our regular stroller that we got with the car seat. It fits in our car easily, but we have a hatchback so that's not saying much; one of our best friends also has this stroller though, and it fits fine in the trunk of her Kia or her husband's Camry. (If you're having trouble getting it to fold down to its very flattest, make sure the front wheel is unlocked and the seat back is fully reclined.) It's a well-made product that's in just as great of shape now as when we bought it, and trust me, it has really taken a beating.
The only downside I can think of--and this is true for every Baby Trend stroller--is that the seat back doesn't recline to being perfectly flat. It will still release down to ALMOST flat, but if you're looking for a seat that must recline to being perfectly flat (say, for a 2-week-old infant who's too floppy to sleep on a slight incline), then I guess I could see that being a dealbreaker. But honestly? If you're taking an infant that small jogging, I would want him/her strapped into a car seat anyway for safety's sake. Just click the car seat in instead and you're good to go!
All the little extras make me think that this was designed by a mom, too, or at least someone with experience with kids. The child's cup holder/tray unhooks and flips to one side with the push of a button, making it super easy to get little ones in and out. Every strap length on the 5-point harness is adjustable, so you can customize exactly where the buckle hits (even more so than a car seat) and how snugly you want your baby strapped in. The front wheel is covered by a kick tray that's slightly scooped out, ready to catch any stray pacifiers or toys that get dropped, and it's low enough that even big kids (4 yrs+) won't feel crammed in. The "stuff" holder between the parent cup holders is big enough to hold my cell phone, keys, napkins, a pack of gum, and a zoo map at the same time, and it closes securely so you don't lose anything on a bumpy ride. The cup holders are on the small side, but they're deep enough to keep even tall drinks steady. (For reference, one of those super tall Smart Water bottles fits perfectly.) There are extra little storage pockets on the side of the canopy that we haven't even found a use for yet, and a big peek-through window on the top of the canopy has a mesh lining to vent on very hot days or a roll-back cover to keep off the rain.
Seriously, guys? Best. Stroller. Ever. We recommend it to all of our friends.
Pros:Compact & convenient folding, durability, tons of storage space, movable canopy, peek-through canopy window, front wheel locks or unlocks, good handle height
Cons:Seat doesn't recline to being perfectly flat