Double strollers can feel like a necessary evil: just a little too long or a little too wide for perfect maneuverability. Some of the double strollers out there can feel like you’re driving a tank down the sidewalks of the greater Boston area. But when you’ve got two little guys or gals with tired feet, you’re going to want a tough stroller to have your back.
Double strollers come in two major flavors: tandem style or side-by-side. Tandem lays your ducks in a row, with one seat in front of the other. Side-by-side is fairly self-explanatory. Each has its pros and cons. Narrow doors can be a side-by-side stroller’s worst enemy, while tandem strollers dislike curbs and cracked sidewalks. If you’re looking for even distribution of weight, easy access to your cargo basket, and a 0% chance of kiddo #1 accidentally (or not so accidentally) kicking kiddo #2 in the back, you’re probably in the market for a side-by-side. Two of your best options are going to be Baby Jogger’s City Mini GT Double Stroller, or BOB’s Revolution Flex Duallie.
Despite the name “Baby Jogger,” the City Mini GT Double is NOT a jogging stroller. The Baby Jogger brand got their name from jogging strollers, which they began building back in 1984, and they still make some terrific joggers, but they’re most famous these days for their City Series strollers, which are only “multi-terrain.” Their strollers are known for being easy to use and comfortable for both pusher and pushee.
The City Mini GT Double is 29.75 inches wide; for reference, the standard American door size is 36 inches, so your average door will not pose a problem. In terms of both length and width, it’s quite compact for a double stroller, perfect for crowded city sidewalks and narrow grocery aisles. The substantial UV 50+ canopies have two peekaboo flaps, so you can check on your bub or bubbette. For a quick snooze, the seats have a steep drawstring recline. The back is mesh for those breezy summer days, with an optional flap for chilly evenings. The City Mini GT is a four-wheeler, with all-terrain poly-foam tires. The hand brake is easy, the stroller has fair cargo space, there’s comfortable (and washable) padding on the seats, and you get a choice of four color schemes. The all-black version looks sleek, but it can get a little toasty on a hot July day.
The best feature of the City Mini GT Double Stroller is undoubtedly the fold, which is basically a magic trick. Two handles on the seat say “Pull to Fold,” and they mean it – just pull up both and your stroller whaps in half!
The resulting compact package easily leans against a wall, and will fit nicely in your average car trunk. Unfolding the stroller is equally simple: lift the clip on the side, pull the handlebar up, and kick the seat out.
Got a smaller baby who isn’t ready for the stroller seat yet? You can purchase a variety of infant car seat adapters that are easy to use. Instead of the long bar across both seats that we’re all used to, these adapters actually hook around just one seat, leaving your older kid with lots of leg room. The City Mini GT Double can hold up to 100 pounds of combined children, and the seat is long enough that taller kids aren’t stuck walking.
BOB is a completely different beast (BOB even stands for “Beast of Burden”). Established in 1994 by an airline mechanic and a bicycle industry expert, this company started out by making trailers for bikes. Now they’re the biggest name not just in strollers for jogging, but also in durable construction, with truly amazing suspension that can have kids sound asleep on rocky mountain paths.
The BOB Revolution Flex Duallie is absolutely a jogging stroller, able to tackle the bouncing of running with its incredible suspension system. The square canopy is maybe an inch longer than the GT Double, with a large peekaboo window and reflective tape for nighttime runs. It’s about a half-inch wider than the GT (30.5 inches), but longer by about 8 inches. It sounds intimidating on paper, but because of the three-wheeled design, the nose is quite narrow, making turning a breeze. The plush handlebar has a wrist strap for extra safety. The front wheel locks for optimum comfort while running, and the large, powerful foot brake can stop the stroller from rolling down a hill.
The Revolution Flex has 9 different handlebar positions for even the shortest/tallest of us, and equivalent storage to the GT Double. It also has a similar recline angle (drawstring as well), and a similar weight capacity. For younger passengers, the car seat adapter circles around both seats, but leaves plenty of wiggle room for the older kids. The wheels are air-filled for faster-than-strolling speeds, and require an occasional filling. (Magic Beans Stores keep an air pump in the back for you to use!) It’s not quite as pretty looking as the GT Double, with more of a rugged camp-tent feel going on. The orange in particular looks like something that requires a manual to build, but the blue is quite lovely.
The Duallie definitely looks like the kind of stroller that would be a pain to fold, but it’s actually one of the most effortless systems of any stroller. To fold your Duallie, first pinch the two black levers on the sides of the handlebar, and toss the front of the stroller over. A handle with a red cover then becomes visible; use the momentum of the stroller and pull it towards you, and you’re done. The resulting package is a bit cumbersome to get into your car, and requires substantial trunk space; plus, there is a strap you can connect to lock the fold in place, but no automatic mechanism to keep it folded.
However, unfolding your Duallie is so easy it’s actually fun: just grab the handlebar and do a beach-towel motion! The stroller immediately springs up, ready for action.
Beyond all of the features and colors, the most important thing about choosing the right stroller is how it feels to actually push around: always try before you buy! I took both of these strollers outside on sidewalks, brick road, and dirt/grass to compare. The GT Double felt much smaller than the Duallie at first, but after a half hour of playing with it, they seemed much more similar. Turns are easy on the GT, and getting out the door was manageable without assistance. It feels great just strolling down the sidewalk, and getting in between the aisles of the Magic Beans at Brookline was easier than I thought it would be. The ride was definitely shaky on the brick, and actually getting through grass and dirt was easier said than done. The wheels may manage rougher terrain in that they still spin, and you can absolutely power through, but it isn’t very fun. Also again, DO NOT run with this stroller. I tried it, the stroller tips. It’s perfectly safe at walking speeds, but ONLY walking speeds.
The Duallie, on the other hand, honestly feels like you’re pushing a tank. You can feel the power in that stroller! Just pushing it around, you want to take off in a run. We skipped a couple of the more narrow aisles in the store, but the main walkways had plenty enough room to turn and walk about. You do seem to take up more room on the sidewalk, but funny enough, people get out of your way a bit more with the Duallie than the GT Double. Jogging with the Duallie is everything BOB says it is: it practically glides across the sidewalk, and powering through the dirt and grass was practically no effort at all.
In conclusion: these are both terrific double strollers, designed for families with different needs. If you’re mostly strolling on sidewalks, at a sedate speed, and space is an issue, then the GT may be your best choice. If you need to roar through workouts and over tough terrain, and if you’ve got the trunk space for it, then we may recommend the BOB. Ultimately, you’ll only know when you’ve given them both a try – so come to a Magic Beans store and give them both a test-drive!