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08 January 2011 @ 10:40 am
Tandem strollers: Joovy? Kolcraft? Something else?  
I'm in the market for a tandem stroller that can seat two--a brand-new infant in a bucket seat, and my son who'll be two when the new baby is born. My one MUST-HAVE feature is the ability to position the infant's bucket seat rear-facing, so I can see my newborn face-to-face. As far as I can tell, this one criterion narrows my options down to a Joovy Ergo Caboose or a Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem (I or II).

Right now, I'm leaning toward the Joovy, because I love the notion that when Baby 2 is a little older and transitions out of the bucket seat, my older son will be able to choose to walk alongside us or hitch a ride on the "jumpseat"/rear platform. The Joovy only actually comes with one full-on kid seat plus the jumpseat, which I'm thinking might shrink its footprint a little bit... although I don't know that for certain, having only researched them online and never seen either one in person.
On the other hand, though, the Kolcraft model is significantly less expensive, which is an important consideration for our limited budget. Plus, the Kolcraft's two seats are configurable in so many ways, which strikes me as pretty cool--the kids can face each other, etc; what a nice idea!

Do you have any hands-on experience with either of these models? I would love to know what you think! Especially if you've looked at both; I've searched high and low for direct comparisons between the two, but can't find any online.

Or maybe you know of another tandem stroller that a) accommodates two children of different ages b) will accept a bucket seat in a rear-facing position?

Also, we were given a stroller with our first so we really never did any research at all into various models. How important would you say a physical test drive is? Joovys seem kind of hard to find in-store, so I am wondering whether I really need to track one down to examine it myself, or can just trust what I read online.

carolinebealsabubbette on January 10th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
stay away from the kolcraft. the way the wheels are attached in the front was a NIGHTMARE on the single, i don't even want to imagine what it would be like on that heavy monstrosity. i really wanted the double to be awesome, and i asked a few people that i saw with it how they liked it and they all complained about the front wheels.

everyone i know with a joovy LOVES it, also the sit-n-stand has gotten very good reviews from people i've accosted in the mall. i had a graco duo glider with when the baby was still in the bucket, and i hated it like nothing else.
Tenysajateke on January 11th, 2011 02:59 am (UTC)
This kind of first-hand knowledge is so helpful. Thank you! Off to track down a Joovy, I think. :)
scavengersarahness on January 11th, 2011 05:07 pm (UTC)
I love my Kolcraft tandem. I don't have any problems with the front wheels.
basmelechbasmelech on January 11th, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC)
Are you interested in a side by side? B/c then I would recommend the Baby Jogger City Mini.
scavengersarahness on January 11th, 2011 05:15 pm (UTC)
I went to stores and test drove just about every double stroller before settling on my Kolcraft Tandem I.

The pros:
I love all of the different seating options, the big storage area below, and the fact that my Graco infant bucket seat fits on it. It pushes easily and it maneuvers quite well for a huge beast of a stroller. It fits through aisles in clothing stores and it serves my purposes fantastically.

The cons:
Now it's a big stroller, and heavy, too. Folding it down isn't a quick process until you've mastered it (now it's not so bad for me, though). You have to actually take the seat(s) off for it to fold down nicely. I just leave the seat on now (I use the car seat adapter in the second seating area), though, and while it takes up a lot of room, it does fit in the trunk that way.

I'm really happy with it, though.
scavengersarahness on January 11th, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, and the Graco Quattro also fits your critera. I almost got that stroller, but I felt like the Kolcraft was more maneuverable.
outerspacerobotouterspacerobot on January 11th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
I've been considering the new Phil and Ted's Explorer stroller which will take a rear facing bucket seat. But my older child would be totally content riding in the bottom and with where I walk 90% of the time the jogging stroller style works better for me.
The Joovy was also tops on my list but if/when I buy a tandem I think I'm going to go with a jogging style stroller.
Jen: O & L The boysjadesymb on January 12th, 2011 12:34 am (UTC)
I love the joovy caboose. Works well for us.