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How To Pick the Perfect All-Terrain Stroller

All-Terrain strollers are the perfect mix of walking stroller and jogging stroller, built to tackle all types of terrain with ease for the driver and comfort for the rider. If you are on the fence about whether or not you actually want an all-terrain stroller, take a minute and jot down where you will most likely be taking your stroller. If grassy parks, sandy beaches, rocky pathways, or trails are on your list, it is safe to say that you could definitely benefit from a stroller that adapts to each of those different terrains.

JOGGER vs. ALL-TERRAIN 

The biggest difference is that not every all-terrain stroller is designed to be a jogging stroller. There are multiple features that jogging strollers have that make them safe for the speed and impact of jogging or running. If a stroller has been made to be a jogger, the manufacturer will specify so. 

DO NOT assume that because an all-terrain stroller looks a lot like a jogger it is safe to jog or run with it. Do you want to jog with your all-terrain stroller? No problem. Just make sure that the stroller you purchase is meant to be both! To get a more in depth look at all the features needed to make your jogging experience with your all-terrain stroller, check out our Jogging Stroller Gear Guide!

Baby Jogger City Mini GT2

Baby Jogger City Mini GT2

IT’S (MOSTLY) ALL IN THE TIRES

The most important characteristic of an all-terrain stroller is its type of tire. A stroller's tires have a huge impact on how different terrain affects the stroller. All-terrains typically come with either three or four large (12 inches or larger) air-filled tires. In some of these strollers the front tire(s) is slightly smaller than the back tires, but that is not always the case. 

Large air-filled tires allow for a smoother ride over rough and uneven surfaces, keeping the ride much more comfortable for your baby in the stroller. Pay attention to the tread on the tires as well! If you know that you will be encountering slick situations often, make sure your tires have a good, thick tread to help you with stroller control. Think of it as the difference between your snow boots and the cute sandals you wear in the summer. Snow boots would be useless without a good tread!

An all-terrain's front tire should have the capability to both swivel and also lock into place. A front tire locked into a straight forward position is best for bumpy terrain. A front tire that swivels provides good maneuvering capability, which is good for places like the mall, where you want to easily turn corners. A wheel that swivels and locks is becoming a very common feature, so you shouldn’t have to search too hard to find it. The best part about it is that for most strollers you can switch between the two with just the click of a button.

UPPAbaby Ridge

UPPAbaby Ridge All-Terrain Jogging Stroller

THE SEAT

To provide your precious cargo with the most comfortable ride, consider the versatility of the stroller seat. First of all, it should be possible to recline the seat. When a baby sits at an incline, the impact and jarring from going over rough surfaces can be distributed over his whole body. If your child were to be sitting straight up, the force would be focused mostly on his/her head and down the spine. Obviously, that isn't the best place for extra force to be felt. Additionally, the softer the back of the seat, the better! 

A handful of all-terrain strollers have what is called a "sling style seat." This style of seat is basically like a hammock. The seat is just the fabric suspended from the frame of the stroller, so it keeps your baby from banging up against the plastic back and inserts in most all other everyday strollers.

THE HARNESS

A five-point harness is the safest. Coverage of both shoulders, hips, and between the legs better ensures that your baby isn’t slipping out while you are out exploring. Research studies done by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that 50% of all stroller-related injuries from 2008-2011 were due to the stroller tipping or the baby falling out. These professionals reported that they believed five-point harnesses could have prevented those injuries. So, although we hope that the stroller never goes down with your baby in it, there is always the possibility. Please be sure that your stroller is equipped with one of these harnesses! Safety is our biggest concern, and we know it is for all you parents, too!

BOB Alterrain Jogging Stroller

BOB Alterrain Jogging Stroller

SUN CANOPY

Since you will be adventuring with this stroller you want to make sure that little human of yours is protected from the sun's rays. Yes, a canopy is meant to keep the sun out of your baby’s eyes, but if big enough, it can also keep his or her entire body shaded. This is especially important if you plan to be out strolling for an extended period during peak sun hours.

Bumbleride Indie Stroller

Bumbleride Indie Stroller

CAR SEAT CAPABILITIES

Generally, babies should not not sit upright in a stroller until they are six months old. Younger babies should ride in their car car seats when in motion. Thankfully, most strollers have adapters where you can attach your car seat. Depending on the brand, these car seat adapters cost anywhere from $15 to $60 dollars.

An important thing to note, however, is that not all strollers are compatible with all car seat brands and models. If you have a car seat, or have decided which one you are going to buy, make sure you have a compatible pick with your stroller!

 Also, check out our Car Seat Gear Guide if you're struggling with that decision as well. Some strollers have a seat that reclines almost completely flat. These seats are more suitable for younger children, but always make sure to discuss safety with your pediatrician before you transfer that baby to the actual stroller seat!

BOB Revolution Flex 3.0 with B-Safe Gen2 Travel System

BOB Revolution Flex 3.0 with B-Safe Gen2 Travel System

FOLDING AND STORING

All-terrain strollers are (almost always) big and have a larger fold than everyday strollers. Be aware of the space that you have to accommodate the stroller. You can definitely make it work, but it helps to assess your storage and transport options before purchasing anything.

THE BEST FIT FOR YOU

The best stroller is the stroller that best suits your needs. All-terrain strollers are designed to fulfill multiple needs, so make sure you take the time to assess exactly what you want and need. If you could use some more help figuring that out, give us a call or stop by our store to test out some strollers. Our Cubby Moms are always standing by to give you the facts on various models, their opinions about them, and even a comforting word when needed! 

Looking for some more basic stroller information? Refer to our General Stroller Gear Guide for all the info you need to make a happy, informed purchase.