Saturday, September 22, 2007

Stroller review: Phil and Teds Sport Double

My reviews have gotten more mixed as time goes on. Don't forget to read the updates at the bottom of this post!

Before Baby A arrived I daydreamed about owning the New Zealand-made Phil and Teds Sport Buggy. Unlike most double strollers, this one is a single stroller that can be adapted to fit two children. You've probably seen it around town in this arrangement--the set-up for two kids over the age of 6 months.

It looks pretty cool and it's got an amazingly small footprint for a double stroller--really no bigger than any single jogging stroller I've seen. But since Baby A still lacks the head control necessary for an upright position, we're using the Phil and Teds set-up for a toddler and a newborn, which has the added benefit of keeping the newborn completely hidden away underneath the toddler's seat. She's away from the sun, wind and curious kids at the park.


Baby A seems really comfy and cozy down below, and I frequently glance down to see her looking straight up at me from her gently swinging bassinet. I've also taken her for strolls without Z's toddler seat on, and while the sunshade doesn't provide a ton of protection, with the addition of a blanket we're set for our long morning walks.

So what do I love about my $400+ purchase?
  • Steers like a dream (allowing for one-handed pushing while holding a cup of coffee or a cell phone)
  • Handles curbs, bumpy sidewalks, gravel and grass with aplomb
  • Folds down small without requiring one to remove the extra seat
  • Comes in fetching, eye-catching colors
  • Comfortable for the parent as well as small children
  • Handlebar is adjustable for adults of different heights
What don't I love?
  • The brake is difficult to set and almost impossible to release using just your foot
  • Placing your infant under the toddler seat and strapping her in feels awkward at first
  • The stroller does not come with a parent organizer, cup holders or a snack tray. I purchased this handlebar organizer from
  • The stowage basket is difficult to reach with the seat completely reclined, as it must be for a newborn
  • Because it doesn't accommodate a car seat adapter, we've opted to use a hand-me-down Graco DuoGlider for car trips to the library or museum. Pushing it is a chore, but even new it is a decent stroller for the price
Update 11/6/07: We switched to the "two toddler" positioning when our second child turned 3 months old. I noticed that placing the double seat on the back was very difficult and it didn't click in all the way. I called the US distributor for the company and they told me they knew of some problems with the frame. They promptly shipped out a new frame at no cost to us. But reassembling the stroller on the new frame was no cakewalk. It took my husband 3 full hours and a long chat with customer service to put it together. Getting the double seat off is still very tricky--and you need to take it off to fold the stroller flat.

Update 9/28/08: My frustration with this stroller has been mounting since May. The top (main) seat has folded in on itself so that instead of a flat sitting area, it looks more like an open book. I called the distributor in June, but because my one year warranty had passed, they would only offer to sell me a new seat for $90.