Academics and researchers in relationships often face what is known as “the two-body problem,” in which they struggle to find positions for both people at either the same institution, or institutions that are close to each other. I also have a two-body problem, except neither of the bodies is mine. The bodies belong to my toddler and my infant, and the options for transporting both at the same time, as well as all of their ever-multiplying stuff, are limited.
Most double strollers are big. And expensive, and heavy, and hard to maneuver. And they have so many different variations, based on the ages and presumed activity level of your kids. Do you get a sit-and-stand? A tandem, a side-by-side, or hook on a running board?
When you have your first kid, you can spend hours researching and purchasing magical strollers that car seats click into, that snap open at a touch of a hand and weigh less than a candy bar. But when you have your second, it’s hard to not just give up and tie your kid on you with a piece of fabric. I wouldn’t be surprised to find two-timer parents hauling the baby around in leftover bookstore tote bags.
The Veer Cruiser solves the two-body problem so handily that when I posted a picture to a private Instagram account, nearly every parent and grandparent texted to ask where they could get one. Over the course of several days, I hauled a five-month-old and an almost three-year-old over a variety of terrain, from paved trails to unpaved mud trails, gravel, wet grass, wet and dry sand, and a little unintended backcountry bushwhacking.
This robust hybrid stroller-wagon is made from black matte airplane-grade aluminum frame with airless polyurethane wheels. It comes with a telescoping handle that also locks into place so you can both pull and push it. You also get a footbrake, cupholders, and a detachable snack and drink tray. For testing, Veer sent an infant car seat attachment and the retractable sun and rain shade, which can be purchased separately.
The cruiser is narrow enough to easily fit through front doors and gates—an issue with side-by-side strollers—and small enough to fit, fully assembled, into the trunk of a Honda Element. The infant car seat attachment meant that we could take the napping baby directly out of the car and click him into the wagon without unbuckling or disturbing him. Veer also sells a soft seat insert, but blankets and old sleeping bags worked just as well.
The toddler fit in the front seat, the infant clicked onto the attachment, and underneath the car seat was plenty of room to fit a diaper bag, jackets, dog leashes, and all of the other paraphernalia necessary for a winter day at the park.
Whether we pushed or pulled it, the wagon was surprisingly maneuverable and easy to steer. We found that pushing it as a stroller worked well on paved paths, and unlocking the handle to serve as a wagon made it easy to pull the cruiser up unpaved hills and trails. On nearly every surface, the stroller glided easily and smoothly. The only surface on which we missed inflatable air tires were on damp and dry sand, but it still rolled smoothly enough for both the toddler and the infant to fall asleep while moving.
When we encountered obstacles such as small drop-offs or fallen logs, locking the handle kept it out of the way. The cruiser is 32.5 pounds, which is not precisely light but is comparable to other products. For example, the popular double BOB Revolution Duallie stroller weighs 33.1 pounds and a plastic Radio Flyer Pathfinder wagon weighs 22.4 pounds. It was light enough for my male tester (i.e. Dad) to lift the whole thing, including kids, over obstacles in the trail.
We bumped into tree trunks and bushes without a scratch. Veer says each seat can accommodate weights of up to 55 pounds, and we were able to fit a small adult in the cruiser with two kids, a car seat, a diaper bag and snacks, for a combined weight of 170 pounds.
Yes, $599 is pricey for a child-toting vehicle, but it may seem less so when you consider that many families have a quiver of these things—jogging strollers, lightweight umbrella strollers for traveling, or the iconic Radio Flyer wagons that can do double-duty of hauling garden plants or injured dogs once the tykes are grown. The Veer is adaptable for a range of ages, stages, and number of kids. You can accessorize with a mattress insert for napping or a travel bag for gate-checking, and it is also within the specified dimensions for theme parks like Disneyworld.
After just a few days, we found ourselves taking it out multiple times every day—for trips to the playground or the corner market for groceries, for winter hikes at the beach or walking the dogs. We’re already anticipating how the cruiser will make summer camping trips so much easier. The only things the cruiser does not do for the kids is bathe them, feed them, or entertain them on long car rides. Maybe a few accessories will come out later to help with that stuff.
Read more: http://www.wired.com/