Over the past 6 months we have been putting the Hamax Outback (also available on Amazon) to the test with our kids (and some friends too). The Outback is a multifunctional child carrier (available for 1 or 2 children) that allows you to stroll, bike, jog and ski with your kids.
Note: While I have been testing like crazy, I bigtime failed on getting some great photos in the warmer months this year. I will update that as soon as the snow melts, but for now you get lots of snow pictures!
In general, we were pleasantly surprised with how much we love the Outback. While it is a bit heavier than other models we have used (most noticeable only loading and unloading), the incredibly smooth ride and easy of transition between accessories easily makes up for it.
The Hamax Outback has a unique “Safe Connection Point” which secures a safe switch between bicycle arm, stroller wheel, jogger wheel and ski attachment. The connection point displays a green field when mounted correctly and a red field when unlocked. It’s fantastic for all modes except the ski mode, and only because snow tends to get in it blocking a complete attachment (and then icing up when we finally get it in). We’re working on being more cautious with that one, but it’s hard in the pow pow!
NOTE: If you store your stroller outside, you may need to warm it up inside sometimes in the winter. The connection point did start getting tough to use, but an overnight in the mud room solved the problem.
The Outback has large windows on the sides and on top for viewing, a comfortable interior complete with a rubber floor and a fully adjustable handlebar (which I LOVE especially for hauling little skiers behind me!)
Different Modes of Transportation
Like all modes with the Outback, switching to the bike mode is super smooth and easy. The point is secure and the ride is smooth. The hitch does require getting it in the right place for the pin to go in when connecting it to the bike. It’s not a huge deal, but we tend to be big fans of “ball and socket” hitches that align themselves without having to fiddle with them.
**Biking photos coming in the spring….this is where I failed the most!**
I love the strolling attachment and use it more than any other summer mode. The wheel is just large enough to allow for a smooth ride, swivels well and is sturdy. I often throw an extra kid in there and the strolling wheel handles it no problem.
The jogging attachment comes with a hand-powered disc brake making it great for rougher terrain or hilly runs. I always tend to struggle a bit with disc brakes and getting them aligned just right. This one is no exception, so I do end up adjusting it more than I prefer. That said, if you’re walking or running trails, this attachment is essential.
The ski attachment is the most exciting for me because it is slightly different than any others we have used. Like others, you can hook it up to a harness with poles (which we wish were adjustable to different lengths) and pull it. As mentioned above, the switch to ski is very easy though it’s important to not let snow get into the place where the harness attaches to the Outback because it must be removed before you can get it locked into place.
What sets the ski attachment aside from others is primarily the fact that the skis lock into the Outback in two different places meaning that it is not on a pivot and can be used to PUSH with skis on too. It has been incredibly handy to go from a ski to pushing it through snow or around a festival, etc. The skis are skinny with no fish scales so it slides very easily. That said, because those skis attach without a pivot, the kids get bounced around less, but the puller gets yanked around a little more during normal ski movement.
The harness is made so it can go under your jacket, ideal when you anticipate needing to peel layers. The shoulder straps are removable, but I do like having the weight not just on my waist when pulling.
What we love:
- The change between different modes literally takes only a few seconds. It is the smoothest of any multifunctional child carrier I have used
- The cockpit is large, tall and wide, easily accommodating two children plus gear. In fact, to be honest, we often throw a third child in there and it totally works for strolling….there’s that much room. This is the only one I have seen that larger children are comfortable in.
- The strolling wheel is THE best I have ever used, even on bumpy roads. Usually kids are thrown all over the place and it’s hardly worth pushing on dirt roads with a strolling wheel, but this one is totally different. In fact, I prefer it to the jogging wheel for my every day use.
- The handlebar is fully adjustable (twist to lock it into place), which works great for all heights of caregivers AND siblings who love to help push. Note: When new, the lock is much harder to use, but gets easier as it is broken in.
- Rubberized floor means easier clean up (you know…when you find a full meal of scraps in the bottom of it…)
- Great ventilation
- Huge trunk space (my older boys routinely stuff BOTH their huge backpacks in with no issue on the way home from school)
- Large top viewing window lets me see very well what’s going on inside
- Adjustable suspension
- Easy-to-use footbrake. I don’t know why this is so huge for me, but I am a stickler for a good foot brake and this one is fantastic!
- The skis (sold separately) lock into place so it can be used as a stroller with kids (other brands like Thule and Burley pivot and so would need a front ski too to keep them up).
What we would like to see updated:
- The jogging kit comes with a disc brake….which I found was more hassle than it was worth to get it working correctly. Personal preference….but not something I need for a place that is not super hilly. I wish it (the hand brake option) was sold separately.
- The sun shade and rain cover rolls up into a pocket at the top of the Outback. I would love to have a strap included to keep them in place better….they do tend to slip out on me sometimes
- This is maybe something I shouldn’t even admit, but SO often I end up throwing gear on TOP of our strollers. Kids, small bikes, packs, etc. It totally doesn’t work on the Outback because of the angle of the supporting part of the stroller (believe me, we tried!)
- The infant sling was different than any I have used, but all babies (newborns and babies truly too big for it) found it really supportive and comfortable. That said, I would love if the side head supports were slightly more moldable/supportive for tiny heads.
- This doesn’t actually need changed, but required a bit of a learning curve for me: When you have the rain cover on, along with the mesh cover, I get the zippers so they are not in the same place which makes it hard when I am just trying to open it up enough to throw in a snack, paci, etc. I learned (sadly not as quickly as I should have) that it’s best to keep all zippers meeting at the bottom 😉
- In the winter the Safe Connection Point easily fills with snow which makes it tough to use if you let that happen before you get the harness attached.
- The ski attachment bars going between the rider and the puller are not adjustable for different lengths (handy when in different conditions than groomed trails
- I wish the connection point wasn’t affected by the cold!
Bottom line, I have grown to really love the Outback. It has tons of room, is super solid and rolls very smoothly. While it is heavier than the Thule Cross or Burley D’Lite, the ONLY time I notice it is when I am loading and unloading it. It also has THE easiest transition between modes and is very comfortable for both the children and adults pushing it. I also especially love the ways the skis attach for winter strolling.
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