Our shed (which we are so thankful to have) is full of strollers. We have been living, breathing, running, walking, chasing and stepping around strollers for the last six months. What started out as an opportunity to put a couple of joggers through the wringer has turned into a full-blown project with no real end in sight as new models come available. I’m finally admitting that this blog is my “job” – and it’s pretty cool because job description is testing out and finding the best gear for families to get outside with. We take it very seriously.
Let me be upfront with you right away – I don’t think you NEED to have the best of everything to get your family outside. For most of us, that is nearly impossible. I just think you need the RIGHT gear for what YOUR family needs. It’s a personal preference based on availability of hand-me-downs, funds, time, experience, and comfort levels. What works for us may not necessarily work for someone else. Our opinions are personal (though offset with the opinions of others we know and trust) and are exactly what we tell our family and friends. While admittedly my time is limited (being a good wife, mom, homeschool teacher and “professional blogger” is surprisingly taxing), I am happy to answer any questions we can. And we always welcome the insight and experience of others. My dream is that this site, this “place” is a community where people can come and find companionship, inspiration and opinions, not only from us, but from everyone else who stumbles upon it. That’s slowly yet surely becoming a reality.
So, in the past few months we have really jumped deep into single jogging strollers. Our goal was to test and find out what each model excelled at and what needed improvement. Most companies (if they are good) are open to feedback and ideas on how to make their products better. It’s the reason why new models come out as the years pass by – they figure out what is working and what is not.
Below I am linking to each review of each stroller we tested, plus a quick snippet of what (and who) we think they work best for. Finally, we’re handing out a couple of awards AND giving our favorite stroller away. This has been a long time coming and I’m so excited to pull it all together for you.
I must preface this by saying that there isn’t a lemon in this bunch. While we did hand out two awards, we could have easily given one for each stroller. It was NOT an easy task to compare them because they really do all have notable strengths and weaknesses. There is not one of them that I wouldn’t recommend, depending on what your family’s needs are.
We published a full table on our “Stroll-On” hosting page so you can really see the differences between the strollers. Please be sure to check that out.
An awesome choice for economic-minded runners. We were pleasantly surprised on how great of a ride is has (given the drastically lower price tag than any of the other models) – it’s one you can go some distances pushing, even on less-than-ideal terrain. The comfort of the child is compromised a bit to get the price down, but if you are a fair-weather jogger and can prop the child with rolled up blankets, etc. this one is great. Plus, it has a high weight capacity and tall seat to accommodate the big kids.
While this stroller is heavier than the rest of them, it’s just got a great FEEL to it. It pushes well, rides well, has great pockets for storage and is just incredibly user-friendly. Not the best option for really big kids (aged 5+, but lays flat for infant use). It also has the ability to be converted into a bunch of different configurations bassinet-style or rear-facing seat) by adding accessories using Mountain Buggy accessories. We like the flexibility and those options!
When people say “jogging stroller”, this is the brand that comes to mind. I would venture to bet it is the most popular and widely known model out there. And it’s for good reason. It’s a great runner, holds a bigger kid, has an incredible sun roof and works seamlessly with the Britax B-SAFE infant car seats. The downside? It’s heavy and bulky – not something you want to throw in your car on a regular basis. If you are running on non-paved roads primarily, the BOBs excel.
The Chariot really is the one thing that is not like the others in this line-up. It has the capacity to be used as a bike trailer and a ski trailer. However, we included it because it really is an excellent runner. With a hand disc brake, it stops on a dime, as a ton of storage and has the option to be used with an infant sling. This is the stroller we put our kids in at only a couple weeks old because we can. The infant sling is that good.
While it isn’t the best jogger in the group (meaning you wouldn’t want to be pushing it for any serious miles), it is my go-to stroller for everyday use. It’s incredibly lightweight, folds down for naps, protects the child in a “bassinet-feel”, is comfortable for the child, adjusts well for the pusher and is easy to maneuver. And I like that it just seems to take less room up in our already crowded garage. Again, not for putting serious miles on, but you could comfortably jog with it for a few.
This.stroller.rocks. It received the Editors’ Choice for the following main reasons:
Very lightweight, especially in relation to the impressive stability
One handed fold
Easy adjustments between riders and pushers
Just awesome to push, even for long distances
We hope in the future to see it in a double. Since it is brand new in the line-up there are a couple small pieces we hope to see improved, but in general, we are infinitely impressed.
Win a Thule Urban Glide!
This is a HUGE giveaway for us – we’re pretty psyched to get someone else running with one
As usual, please use the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter to win. The winner will be emailed and announced on this post in the Rafflecopter Widget. Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me at mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com so I can help! This giveaway is open to the U.S and Canada!
I will admit that my husband and I do not get out together as a couple sans-kids as often as we should. Mostly it’s just the logistics – how long can we be gone (especially with a nursing baby), who will watch the others, where will we go, what will we do, etc. We live in an area where getting a quality babysitter is really tough, and there isn’t an abundance of places to go out together. And by “places” I mean restaurants and movies and plays and special dinners and all that “normal date stuff”.
But, here’s the thing – our marriage is anything but “normal”, especially if that means making appearances at all the right shows and going out to dinner together and watching movies, etc. Not that those things are bad necessarily, but they just aren’t us. From the very first day we met, we have connected best out on the trail. Whether we’re skiing or hiking or biking or spending time on the water – THAT’s where we can leave the distractions of life behind and focus on each other.
Plus, we’re cheap. We’d much rather put that money that we would have spent on a fancy dinner and show towards a new bike or skis or boat or camper. Again, WEIRD!
But, I also think we have the right idea about something, even if it only happens when the grandparents come visit: exercising outdoors together helps us think better, which in turn helps us communicate better, connect better and build our relationship further. The quote below is referencing the link between walking and writing well, but I think it translates into so much more than that, including healthy relationships.
“When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.” – from “Walking Helps us Think” New Yorker
Exercise also is proven to greatly relieve stress and boost your overall health as it bumps up the “feel- good” endorphins in your brain, improves your mood, and helps you become more focused on the task at hand (in this case, your partner in life!) (Mayo Clinic)
While there is no hard feelings towards those of us who love a good movie or a meal in which you only have to feed yourself (if you have small kids, you understand what I mean), there is great benefit in offsetting that with dates focussed specifically on outdoor exercise together.
A few ideas on how to mix it up outside:
Once the kids are old enough to be home alone for a few minutes, take a nightly walk together, even just around the block
Go biking (road, mountain, cruisers, whatever!)
Explore a new trail that neither one of you have been on
Pack a picnic dinner and watch the sunset
Train for a race together (5K, 10K, marathon, etc.)
Go rock climbing
Don’t have the gear? Rent, borrow or buy! If purchasing, take advantage of end-of-season-sales
Walk to an outdoor movie showing/Shakespeare in the Park, etc.
Trade kids with a friend so you can even have 30 minutes together and then take full advantage of that time to reset together.
Someday I won’t have a nursing baby that keeps me closer to home. Someday we’ll find the perfect babysitter or family to swap kids with on a regular basis. Someday our kids will be older and things will be easier to leave them and get out together. That “someday” WILL happen. For now, I’ll take advantage of what I can get.
Ideally couple time means sans strollers and carriers and bike trailers. But, in not-so-long-ago years, we just put the kids in those contraptions while we got out and they passed out. The hour or so of quiet thanks to sleeping kids still meant time to connect as a couple. Not perfect, but it worked.
Finally, outdoor dates are a perfect time to allow yourself to be challenged and/or challenge the one you love. Be open to new activities and pursuits together. You may surprise yourself and find a deeper connection as you overcome the challenges of the unknown.
What about you and your partner? How do you get out and make time? What would you like to do differently?
I am so SO excited to introduce you to Muddy Munchkins boots by MyMayu out of Canada. They are a “new kid on the block” and pushing out their first line of footwear for kids that keeps them dry, warm AND moving comfortably and safely. They are a solution to the annoying bulk of mud boots that slows so many kids down.
I’ve been communicating with owner, Suzanne, for months now as we awaited their first shipment and then went through testing. I’ve come to appreciate not only their product, but also the small, family-run business that they are. They are a couple of parents that saw a need and did something about it! More importantly, they are open to feedback and improvement of their product – which says a lot about their business and, in my opinion, guarantees success.
Play Outside. Use your Imagination. Never stop Exploring while Discovering what’s around the next corner. Listen to kids and their Parents. Solve problems. Build the Best Product and never stop Innovating. Love Mother Earth and use Business Practices that keep Her Protected. Give back to our Community.
In the interest of testing, we received Muddy Munchkin boots and liners for both L (teeny tiny size 1/2) and P (size 7/8). L is not walking yet, but loves to stand (with help) and we wanted something to keep her dry while she explores to the capacity she is able. My plan was to use the boots in conjunction with the kids’ DucKsday rain suits for wet weather.
The Muddy Munchkin Boots are intended for use on a daily basis for exploring. They are water-repellent (though not proof), ultra-lightweight and provide excellent coverage and protection for little legs. They are great for hiking, exploring, and keeping grasses, sticks and bugs away from them.
While they do not claim to keep feet dry in puddles, we wanted to test them anyway. P is an expert on finding the really deep ones.
He was breaking up the ice (it was a cold day!) and wading in the puddle pictured below for a good 10 minutes. His feet stayed dry and warm. However, when we pulled his boots off, the liners were damp. Considering the depth of the puddle and duration, I thought that was definitely decent for boots that do not claim to be water-proof.
The soles are soft and pliable for easy walking, and the toe box is wide to let little toes move and stay warm in cooler temperatures. Coupled with the liner, the boots are suited for 3 seasons. They aren’t what you are going to tromp around in in 6 inches of snow (but, MyMayu, that WOULD be nice!!! Another line in the future of snow boots?!?!), but are perfect for the rest of the year. If you live in a place with temperatures that don’t drop much below freezing, these could keep little feet happy year-round.
Is Water-Resistant Good Enough?
In most instances, yes! Like I said, P was tromping in a deep, dirty, cold puddle for a substantial amount of time and he was dry and comfortable (with the liners). If your child were wearing classic mud boots, there is always the problem of water coming in up and around the top of the boot when they splash in the puddles (which most kids do). The boots get damp or wet and take a very long time to dry. Because of that fact, the water-resistant Muddy Munchkin boots that cinch at the top are better than any rubber boots out there. Any moisture that does get in can be quickly cleaned up so play can continue again right away. I am looking forward to the Aqua boots in the spring to see what they can handle, but absolutely recommend the Muddy Munchkin boots just the way they are.
What we love about the Muddy Munchkin Boots:
Super lightweight so no extra bulk for kids to deal with
They pack up small for travel (which is huge for us)
They can be worn up high or down low depending on where you tighten the toggle
While they are not completely waterproof, they are definitely water-resistant
If they do get wet, it’s very easy to dry them off on the inside quickly and be set to go
Their fun designs encourage kids to wear their boots (also available in solid colors)
The upper toggle hits right below the knee which means they stay up and their legs stay protected.
What we think needs improvement:
This was not an issue for P’s boots, but the shaft on L’s size was tight for chunky baby legs. When she is wearing the liner also, I can’t get them over her rain suit. We just put them under the suit so it was no big deal, but I’d love to have a little more wiggle room. Again, not an issue for the bigger boots – I just think baby legs are chunkier in proportion to their feet than the older kids!
The soles of the boots are soft and pliable, but when P was really scrambling up rocks and on looser gravel, he did slip some. I’d love to see an option for a beefier tread on the Play Boots in particular. As you can see in the photo below, I’m talking some serious mountain walking – which most kids aren’t doing on a daily basis. In general, the soft and light sole sticks well to most surfaces for great movement and stability.
The boots are awesome for providing an easy-to-move option for little feet. They are the only water-repellent option I know of for babies learning to walk, which is a big deal for when you want to be able to get outside in wetter weather.
We have put a good month of play into these boots and see no sign of wear and tear or failing of the materials. We will continue to use and test and update as necessary.
You can buy the boots directly from MyMayu.com or at this great shop, Biddle and Bop. They are another wealth of information for getting kids out to play for active kids and happy families. They also happy to be family-run and dedicated to great service. We like them so much, we are bringing them on as a sponsor of the blog (which I am VERY picky about). You can also find them on Facebook.
You can find the full line of retailers in Canada and the U.S. on the MyMayu site.
Win a pair of Muddy Munchkin Boots and Helios Liners by MyMayu
Your chance to try them out!
As usual, please use the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter to win. The winner will be emailed and announced on this post in the Rafflecopter Widget. Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me at mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com so I can help! This giveaway is open to the U.S. only.
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