Before parenthood, you might be one of those people that were surprised when they found out that there are different types of strollers. When you don’t have a child yet, it’s easy to assume that strollers just differ in design and that they don’t have significant features for different usage.
And since you’re here, you might also find out about all-terrain strollers. How cool is it that the term “all-terrain” is also applicable not just to adult vehicles but also for child “vehicles”, right? Like our handy trucks and SUVs, you can also use this type of stroller in various places without the fear of wearing them out.
Imagine taking your child on the outdoors with you and giving him/her a breath of fresh air different from your usual walks around the neighborhood. But before you venture into finding the best all-terrain stroller in the market, you should familiarize yourself first with what makes these strollers special.
What is an All-Terrain Stroller?
To put it in the best description, all-terrain strollers are the more heavy-duty version of your usual stroller. They can handle difficult surfaces with ease because of their overall built. For starters, you will notice that brands market their wheels and tires to be puncture-proof.
Because of this, you can use an all-terrain stroller over any type of surface. Whether it’s a sandy beach, a rocky trail, a grassy park, or bumpy gravel, you don’t have to worry about getting flat. In fact, most brands boast their models to be compatible with off-road usage, so that adventurous families can bring them for their little ones. And because you will use it on challenging walks, you can also expect that the stroller has an amazing suspension system, so your child won’t feel the shocks.
Is it Different From a Jogging Stroller?
A common question that parents have is if getting an all-terrain stroller also meant owning a jogging stroller. Well, unless the brand specifies that you can use it on any terrain and even for jogging, then yes, you can. However, a typical all-terrain stroller is bulkier and doesn’t have features compatible with high-speed usage like running.
On the contrary, jogging strollers are more lightweight, have a triangular configuration, and locking front wheels, so they’re easier to control while running. Manufacturers also typically use air-filled tires to help with movement, but because of this, you can’t use it on rough surfaces because they can puncture.
You might also find it difficult to find a jogging stroller for an infant or newborn. Note that you have to use a bassinet or an infant car seat for the safety of babies who can’t support their heads yet. It is also recommended that children must be 6 months old before you can use a jogging stroller for them.
What are the Features That You Should Check in an All-Terrain Stroller?
1. Wheels and Tires
One of the most significant parts of an all-terrain stroller is the wheels and tires. And when shopping for a model, you might also stumble around brands boasting “all-terrain wheels” as their main feature.
Of course, they have to be large and heavy-duty in order to withstand the rough use in difficult terrains. And compared to ordinary wheels and tires, you might not be able to remove them in order to make the stroller more compact when folded.
Another characteristic of the tires is that they should have good quality threads for easier control, especially on slippery surfaces. And speaking of which, it is also not unusual to find all-terrain strollers that work like jogging strollers. What we mean by this is you can also lock the front wheels. This way, you can maneuver and steer the model without much effort, even if you’re not walking in a straight path.
2. Brake and Suspension
In addition to heavy-duty wheels, you should also expect that the all-terrain stroller has a quality brake and suspension system. According to Cute Little Darling, the brakes should be easy to engage as with other types of strollers. However, because you might end up using the model over bumps and curves, then the brakes should be quick and comfortable to engage and disengage.
At the same time, the shock-absorbing feature of the all-terrain stroller is usually on all wheels compared to other types of strollers. This way, your child will feel comfortable throughout the ride regardless of how many bumps or dents you’re passing over.
Comfort is one of the most difficult things to achieve, especially on tough terrains. The impacts should distribute equally on the stroller for your child’s safety as well. This is also the same reason why it should provide the adequate recline on your child’s age so that the forces won’t be focused on the head or spine. And as we have mentioned earlier, make sure that the unit has a bassinet mode or is compatible with infant car seats if you’re going to use it on younger babies.
Since we’re talking about the seat, it is only right that you should check the seat’s harness system. In all-terrain strollers, they usually have a 5-point harness to keep both shoulders, hips, and crotch securely. This way, your child doesn’t run the risk of falling off the stroller in case it tilts or tips.
And lastly, a large canopy is also something to keep your child safe on all kinds of environments. All-terrain strollers have large, extendable canopies that usually offer 4 panels. Some brands even have adjustable canopies, so you can move them depending on where the sunlight is. At the same time, it should be made with breathable material for all kinds of weather.
Should You Get an All-Terrain Stroller?
The answer to this is yes, although it might still depend on your lifestyle. If you rarely use your strollers on different kinds of environments, then you might be fine with a regular stroller. However, the versatility that an all-terrain stroller offers is still worth the investment.
If you find yourself switching from urban to rural places, your child might appreciate the comfort of the stroller’s shock-absorbing features. At the same time, outdoors and a change of scenery is vital for a child’s development, so you might as well get an all-terrain stroller for those situations.