I can honestly say that our Chariot was some of the very best money we invested in our children as far as being able to get outside and be active with them. We recommend them to everyone with children.
We bought our Chariot (thanks to help from some awesome baby shower money) back in 2009. I will say right up front that they are certainly not cheap. Currently, the Cougar 2 base chassis runs for $685 at REI. And then you have to purchase at least one attachment to make it work. We get the most use out of the Bike Trailer Kit ($75) , the XC Ski Kit ($275) , and the Jogging Kit ($100) , though there certainly are other attachments out there (like strolling wheels and a hiking kit)
Before you faint from sticker shock, please note that this could easily be the only stroller you need. It works as a jogger (BOB strollers run from $400-$600 by themselves), bike trailer AND a solution for skiing.
Why they are worth the investment:
- Start with a double (ex: Cougar 2) and you very well may never have to buy another stroller. Before P was born, we easily packed groceries, gear, etc. around J. Now we just have to be a little more creative with our space!
- Along with ample room in the actual Chariot, there is a “trunk” in the back that also holds a good amount of gear. (Weight limit of 75 pounds.)
- It does fold up fairly well for travel (and you can buy a bag for them if you are traveling by plane.)
- The weather cover is amazing (and apparently has recently gotten even better.) On our Cougar 2, there is a screen for bugs, small rocks, etc. that is built into the carrier and is used every time we use the stroller. There is also an optional “winter shield” that we pull over when skiing or on cooler days. I just saw a newer version that had zippers to make the “winter shield” more weather proof (ours just has velcro on the bottom and wind can definitely sneak through the sides.)
|Close up of weather cover system (with “winter shield” on)|
- An innovative harness system keeps the kids secure and protected from sliding dangerously down in the Chariot (which I have certainly seen happen in other bike trailers.) Additionally, you can buy an Infant Sling that we use for our kids until they are about a year old. It is basically a hammock for baby and they are comfortable and safe.
- The customer service at Chariot is top notch. We had an issue with our cover and they sent us a replacement, free of charge. They stand behind their Limited Lifetime Warranty.
- The switch between attachments is easy and quick (and you can store them on the Chariot itself.) Sometimes I will clip on the jogging wheel to the Chassis, ride my bike to town and then switch attachments for around town or a walk before switching back to bike home.
- The Ski Attachment is certainly better suited for groomed trails. We have used it in the backcountry, but it can be a beast to pull through powder or deep snow. I have also seen some great tutorials online for building your own ski attachment (which would be MUCH cheaper!)
- The price tag (despite the benefits, it is absolutely expensive!)
- It is slightly heavier than a jogging stroller if that is what you are primarily using it for (though the cover to protect kids in their own little “pod” is HUGE for us and worth that extra weight.)
- Like anything that does a LOT of things, it may not be the absolute BEST at all of them (though we certainly think it is right up there!
While we had no luck finding one used, I have heard that REI garage sales are often a great place to score one. However, know that people just hang onto these (because they are that great!) Also, if you are a member of REI , right now is a GREAT time to use your 20% off coupon!
Do you have a Chariot or a different system that works well for you?
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