*Gear Review* Chariot CTS

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 Set-Backs:
- 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!

Get one!
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! :)

Read More About how much we love our Chariot:
Moonlight Ski and a Challenge
Chariot Sweetness
A Biking Trio

Do you have a Chariot or a different system that works well for you?  



Disclaimer: Some of these links are affiliates.

Amelia lives with her husband and two young boys (aged 2 and 4) in Yellowstone National Park. As a family, they believe that life is precious, short and should be lived to the fullest. That includes introducing a life of adventures for their boys in the form of skiing, hiking, biking, running, camping and lots of outdoor playing. Amelia writes at Tales of a Mountain Mama in an attempt to inspire others to get outside daily too with tips and tricks, stories and lots of gear reviews.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if you could suggest a bike helmet for babe. Her head is just tiny sitting only in the 3rd percentile… The infant helmet is too big!Thanks.LauraLauracEllingson@yahoo.com

  2. we love ours. we did have a problem with the glue coming undone and the fabric sliding off of one of the side/top bars. unfortunately it was something that they couldn’t really send a replacement for (well they did send us a replacement strip of glue, but it was impossible to pull the fabric up and tight enough to really repair it). but it doesn’t affect the function too much so we didn’t bother sending it back, which would have been super pricey. definitely worth it over all (we have the stroller and bike set up and borrow a ski set up for the winter) as it’s the only stroller/trailer/kid carrier we use. it’s like our other car!

    • Oh interesting about the glue! Glad they fixed it best they could….And yes, totally like a family car! :) We’ll keep our eye out for your Chariot on the road! :)

  3. We LOVE our Chariot. We were lucky enough to score one used, a 2004 model, so I can attest to how they hold up over the years! We have the jogging, strolling, biking and skiing attachments. We use the jogging and ski attachments most. I love the fixed front wheel on the jogger – especially great for the rough terrain where we live – rocky beaches, rough trails and snow banks. Every time we go skiing I marvel at just how well-made the system is! I classic and skate ski, and both are equally comfortable. Certainly has to be tried to be believed. We’ve had to replace two parts, at a nominal cost of $10 each. We have the old knob-attached strolling wheels and one time I had them stored on the Chariot on a particularly bumpy trail and lost one of the knobs (not the wheel), and the quick-release mechanism on one of the back tires seized. I was surprised how affordable the replacement parts were both times).

  4. We have a Burley bike trailer with an optional stroller attachment. We’ve used it a lot as a bike trailer, stroller, and general gear hauler for park birthday parties and barbecues. It was great for concerts in the park even when our kids were way past strollers in general, because the kids could go to sleep in it and be rolled home easily.

  5. Where can i get a whole fabric body and weather gaurd top to bottom replacement on an older cougar 1 or a good price to pay to get it done?

    • Hi Jason,
      We actually had to get a new cover and Chariot replaced it for us (because it was a warranty issue.) I would definitely contact them first and they can direct you to the right people! I also know Rainy Pass Repair does some work, but not sure if they could do something like a Chariot. Good luck!
      =) Amelia

  6. Had the same issue with the glue failing as mentioned above. Anyone have a good solution? Looks like we need to glue Velcro to aluminum.

    Thanks much.

    • So weird – definitely contact Thule/Chariot about that – we haven’t had any issues with ours at all, but I think they need to know that for sure (from numerous sources!)

Trackbacks

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