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!
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.
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.
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!
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.