Every friend of mine who has two small kids says the same thing: The amount of energy for two isn’t double the work — it’s three or four times the work. As I’ve now officially graduated to the big leagues with two kids, I see that they’re right. And with two, one of the larger challenges is transportation.
Tandem strollers tend to be big, maneuver poorly and look horrible. The Baby Jogger Summit X3 Double Stroller ($650) is making a serious attempt to change that. It strives for everyday functionality with a quality build, attractive design and intelligent storage.
Parents of young ones have zero time on their hands for mundane, time-consuming tasks. The X3 helps in this area with quick assembly. Unbox it, unfold it, snap in the wheels, and that’s essentially it. I was done in less than five minutes, and that included snapping the canopies in place. Disposing of the box takes more time than assembly.
The stroller weighs in at a hair over 36 pounds, which is neither featherweight nor a heavy encumbrance. It’s a couple of pounds heavier than its nearest (and more popular) competitor, the BOB Revolution SE Duallie ($536), but the X3 benefits in the area of maneuverability, since it’s shorter. There’s a bit of sacrifice in tot legroom, but if you place importance on your ability to negotiate crowded streets, the X3 wins. It also folds down quickly with a simple pull of the safety straps on the seat surfaces and stows easily in a car trunk — and it comes pretty close to flat when you remove the wheels.
The X3 sits the kids side by side rather than tandem-style. The latter allows for easier negotiation of doors, but makes the stroller excessively long. The X3 is 32 inches wide, enough to get through most 34-inch standard doors. The front wheel also pivots, unlike some jogging strollers, and you can lock it using a handlebar control, so going from strolling to jogging doesn’t involve bending over to fix the front wheel.
Stroller Smarts for Dad
Check the tires: If you think pushing 100 pounds of screaming kids is fun, try it with under-inflated tires. Check tires regularly and keep them properly inflated, especially when the temps change.
Bring snacks: Even on short strolls, stash some healthy snacks in Ziploc bags in the stroller’s storage area. Just don’t eat ’em yourself.
Get a rain cover: Weather can change fast, so get a rain cover that fits your jogging stroller and keep it stashed close by.
Keep it out of the sun: Yes, the kids, too. But also don’t leave your stroller in the sun for too long. Not only will it fade and deteriorate the fabric, it’ll also give your kids the literal hot seat.
Remember stroller etiquette: People generally get annoyed by strollers. Doubly so with double-wide jogging strollers. So remember to look where you’re going, and be kind.
Both seats recline to a 3/4 position and to any increment in between. It also seats the kids comfortably and don’t sink towards the center, thanks to a crossbar that keeps both kids in place. Both of my kids loved it. Seat adjustment is easy with the rear straps, and the seats themselves are comfortable, soft and supportive for longer strolls and runs. The child restraints are robustly built and easy to deploy with dual-action pushbuttons.
And thankfully, plenty of thought went into the canopies. Crappy canopies can make both you and your children very unhappy. The X3 Double’s are big, operate independently and provide windows for you to see your kid as you push, and another “moon roof” they can peer through as they luxuriate. The windows can be covered, as well, and secured with a Velcro tab. The canopies have rear covers that will block airflow on the mesh rear seating area when it gets cold and windy, and there are also side vents for ventilation on hot summer days. The canopy also provides UVP of 50+, ideal for protecting your child from harmful rays.
Rear and undercarriage storage is ample, but it’s no SUV stroller. The net underneath is more easily accessible from the sides than it is from the rear, but the pockets on the seat backs will hold lighter items with ease and are easier to get to standing up. None of the pockets hold large bags, but you can separate your items and hold enough to get back from a quick food run or a picnic at the beach.
Each of the three wheels gets independent suspension, unlike the BOB’s rear wheel-only setup, which provides parents and children alike with comfort on just about any surface. On pavement, it’s smooth and easy to push, even fully loaded with kids and gear. It also performs incredibly well on gravel, dirt and grass, absorbing bumps and undulations with ease. Jogging, of course, is harder with two than with one, but the X3 Double makes easy work of the run. The rear drum brakes are strong, and the handbrake works well on the downhills. There’s also a runaway strap affixed to the bottom, which you can strap to your wrist should you accidentally lose your grip.
There’s a lot to love about the Summit X3 Double, and the attention to detail shows. Of course, because it’s a double stroller, you’ll never be truly nimble, but if you want one stroller with which to take two kids on walks and runs with ease and comfort, this is a sturdy, attractive and maneuverable option that both kids and parents will enjoy.