Gear

All-Terrain Strollers

A stroller that can handle a variety of surfaces and speeds.

As with most things baby related, it’s hard to know what you need until the little one has arrived. But trail runners will know at least one thing for certain: They’ll want a stroller they can run with. Your choice of ride can be the difference between a blissful jaunt with your beloved and a cry-filled slog that can’t end soon enough.

In testing running strollers over the last six months, we came to terms with the fact that bombing down some of our favorite technical, singletrack trails was just not going to happen with a baby. But the right stroller will keep you moving on packed dirt, gravel paths and mellow trails.

 

Bumbleride Speed

Price:  $550

Weight: 26 lbs

Child Weight Max: 65 lbs

The Bumbleride is well-made, versatile and durable—a piece of equipment you’ll be able to use for some time. It navigates easily on all types of surfaces, and has excellent suspension and a clean, sleek look.

The company touts it as being eco-friendly—the Speed is made partly of recycled water bottles and is free of chemicals like PVC and pthalates. That may contribute to the price, which is well above other comparable options.

With the front wheel locked—a feature many running strollers offer to increase stability when moving at faster speeds—this stroller can seem heavy, especially when pushing it uphill. But when the wheel is on swivel, it’s smooth and easy to push, making for a comfortable ride for both runner and baby.

The storage is spacious and easy to get into, and the canopy has more coverage than many other strollers, making it good for unexpected rain showers. The fabric is thick and durable, but can make for a sweaty baby on hot summer days. A couple of bonus features: it comes with a bell, so you can let people know when you’re running up behind them, and it has a small zippered pocket for your phone and keys.

BabyTrend Expedition

Price: $120

Weight: 26 lbs

Child Weight Max: 50 lbs

If you’re on a budget and don’t often find yourself on rough trails, the Expedition is a good option. It rides smooth on paved surfaces and packed dirt, but lacks suspension, making it a bumpy ride on anything else.

You may find yourself walking with this stroller more frequently than some others, to avoid having the baby bounce around. The safety straps also don’t have much padding, although that didn’t stop one of our testers from falling asleep in it during a run.

Unlike any of the other strollers we reviewed, the Expedition comes with a plastic child’s tray. And it has a nice parent console with cupholders and storage for phone and keys, although the cupholders are a bit shallow for some water bottles. It has a simple, lean design, and would be a nice pick for city-dwelling parents who run shorter distances and want to use the same stroller for day-to-day walks and quick jogs.

Editor’s Choice: BOB Sport Utility

Price: $400

Weight: 26 lbs

Child Weight Max: 70 lbs

For the fast, serious trail runner who wants to take baby along for both distance and speed, the BOB Sport Utility is the way to go.

With excellent suspension, large tires and good tread, this stroller stands out from other models for its performance on trails with gravel, rocks, roots and even mud. It’s rugged and solid, yet feels super light on the toughest terrain.

The Sport Utility comes with a permanently fixed front wheel. And while some may consider this a downside, it also means the wheel stays true, so you can push this stroller ahead of you while running and it will not drift to either side. You will, however, have to get used to pushing down on the handlebar and picking up the front wheel slightly when making sharper turns—but it’s not a hard adjustment to make. The Sport Utility has mesh pockets next to baby, so you can put a sippy cup or toys there and he or she can grab them as needed.

Because of its large wheels, this stroller does not store well in small spaces (not the best for apartment dwellers). It also has a two-step folding process, which makes it a bit tougher to put away than some other strollers.

Overall, if your goal is to keep training hard on the trails, this stroller will let you make that happen.

Thule Chariot Cross

Price: $900 ($1,020 with the jogging-wheel attachment)

Weight: 28 lbs

Child Weight: 75 lbs

This stroller is a beast—in power, durability, size and price. And, boy, is it fun to run with.

More than just a running stroller, the Chariot can also be converted for biking and skiing. For families that spend their weekends outdoors and have varied athletic interests, this well-crafted baby vehicle may be worth the investment.

The Chariot has a fixed front wheel, allowing for a pleasant, smooth and straight ride on gravel trails. It’s heavy but you won’t notice the weight at all while on the run—it feels light. The ergonomically shaped handlebar adjusts to many heights.

Built much closer to the ground than other running strollers, the Chariot feels safe and controlled. But its low profile also makes it easy to bottom out on tall roots or rocks.

This stroller doesn’t have a canopy, but instead has interchangeable covers: one mesh cover, one plastic (waterproof) cover and one fabric cover. When the mesh cover is all zipped up, the baby is essentially in a little tent. Throw in some toys and books, and you’re likely to have a
happy companion.

Given its size, the Chariot can be tough to store, so make sure you have the extra space for it. It’s also quite wide, making it hard to run with on narrow trails or even side-by-side on wider trails and bike paths with another person.

Learn more here

Baby Jogger Summit x3

Price: $430

Weight: 28 lbs

Child Weight: 75 lbs

The Summit x3 has a little bit of everything—sturdiness, smooth steering and easy folding (just one pull and voila!). It has a handbrake, which helps when you’re stopping momentarily and don’t want to engage the foot brake. And the canopy’s two clear, plastic windows allow you to see baby while running.

A unique feature of the Summit x3 is that it has two ways to switch the front wheel from fixed to swivel: You can do so by walking around to the front wheel, like most other strollers, or by using a separate lever near the handlebars, for easy switching on the go.

Despite this being one of the heavier strollers, getting it into a car trunk is a cinch because the wheels easily detach.

The handlebar does not go up and down, so it may not be the most comfortable for runners who are very short or tall.

Joovy Zoom 360

Price: $300

Weight: 26 lbs

Child Weight: 75 lbs

Another budget option, the Zoom 360 performs best on smooth paths and buffed-out roads with minimal sharp turns.

The tires are a bit thin—a less-than-ideal choice for bumpy trails. At times, the Zoom 360 feels heavy, and it’s not the most responsive. The foot brake is somewhat stiff and hard to release.

The upsides to this stroller are mainly its packabiity. It folds easily and becomes quite compact. The undercarriage has plenty of storage, and there are mesh pockets for keeping toys next to the baby. The parent accessories, including cup holders and a phone cubby on the handlebar, are a plus. The Zoom 360 also comes with a portable tire pump.

For cost-conscious parents who will mostly stick to fairly flat surfaces, the Zoom 360 will get the job done.

 

 

Tips for Trail Running with Baby

Our family of three began running together as soon as the baby hit six months (as sanctioned by our pediatrician). Getting out on the trails again has been a game changer. But we have learned some lessons about how to make family exercise fun.

Pack ahead to make morning runs happen. For working parents, mornings tend to be a good time for runs (you’re up early anyway). Pull out your own clothes and put the baby’s bag together before you head to bed the night before.

Attach various toys to the stroller using pacifier clips. This way baby can grab things as needed—and can’t throw them out of the stroller while you’re navigating
the terrain.

Build up your mileage. Just like you need to train to run long distances, your baby needs to build up his or her tolerance for long runs. Don’t expect to get more than a mile or two on your first few runs—and even then you’ll likely have to walk some. Eventually your companion will be ready for the longer outings.

Plan around naps. If your baby sleeps well in the stroller, you may want to plan to run during nap time. Gentle jostling from the trail can keep your baby snoozing longer, and it will allow you to put in some extra mileage.

Purchase a parent organizer for the handlebar. Most strollers do not come with zippered pockets and bottle holders. Consider picking up a handlebar organizer to act as your personal aid station while on the go.

Consider a head cushion for baby. Support pillows clip around the seat harness to cradle your baby’s head and neck.