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Thule Cougar feedback thread – chance to win a Sapling Elite Child Carrier for non-testers NOW CLOSED

(134 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 05-Apr-16 16:52:08

This thread is for the 5 lucky MNers selected to try the Thule Cougar combined Child Jogger, Stroller and Bike Trailer with their little one(s). Read on to find out how they are finding it!

You can see the Cougar in action in the video below

Here's what Thule has to say, "Our motto at Thule is 'Bring Your Life' and this is epitomised by the Chariot range, years ago new parents were expected to curtail or even abandon their active lifestyles outdoor lifestyles, the Chariot enables you to carry on but to bring your whole family with you, whether you’re into cycling, running, camping, or festivals, a Chariot can handle it, over all terrain, in all weathers. Packed with clever design touches, exceeding all U.K. safety standards and engineered to the level you'd expect from Thule, it’s you and your child’s ticket to the great outdoors".

The SRP for the Cougar including bike kit is £699.99 for the double and £599.99 for the single. The Jogging kit is £84.99 and the Strolling kit is £74.99.

Non testers – Thule would love to hear your top tips for getting active with your young children - share them on this thread and you will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will win a Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier in dark shadow/slate worth RRP £220.00 – they say “Thule’s Sapling Elite child carrier safely and comfortably carries your precious cargo while on the trail and effortlessly transitions between parents with simple torso and hipbelt adjustments. And with premium features like a child viewing mirror, removable backpack and roomy hipbelt pockets, you and your child will never want to leave the trail.”

Testers – we are asking for feedback at least three times please on the thread – please share your first impressions of the Chariot and then some feedback on your challenges and then some overall thoughts towards the end of May.

First impressions
Please say why you applied for this product test, who you are trying the Chariot with.
What were your first impressions when it arrived? What did you use it for first?

Please share the challenges you’re undertaking, who they are with and how the Chariot coped with each one: we’d love to see photos too!

Final thoughts
Overall, please give your summary of the Thule Cougar combined Child Jogger, Stroller and Bike Trailer – did it live up to your expectations? How did your LO feel about it? Did you get any comments from other parents about it? What was the best thing about it? Anything you’d like to improve? Would you recommend it to others?


Standard Insight T&Cs apply. Please note Thule may well use your photos on their website, on social media as well as possibly elsewhere.

Intotheclouds Tue 05-Apr-16 18:13:47

My top tips are to always walk or cycle to school. You could also build a den outside and encourage them to interact with all the bugs and creepy crawlies that are about. But most of all encourage your children's sports be it football, rugby or even roller skating.

AngelicCurls Tue 05-Apr-16 22:18:26

Make it into a game, so hide and seek to encourage walks in the woods, races to the next tree, finding the longest stick/biggest stone etc etc. also going for a picnic (even if it's just sharing a banana!) gets her excited and keen to walk. works well for my 3yo! making sure clothing is suitable-my dd always gets whingey when cold, so I always make sure I have spare warm gloves/hat/fleece in the car for spontaneous park trips/walks.

Bubbinsmakesthree Tue 05-Apr-16 22:51:41

One of the lucky testers here! I was very excited to get my hands on the Thule Cougar yesterday - big thanks to the helpful guys at Balfes Bikes who took delivery and set it up for me.

We already have a running buggy (a BOB Ironman) so our 20mo DS is used to speeding round the local streets and trails whilst DH and I get some exercise. However I really want to get back into a bit of cycling and the Cougar seemed like the ideal way to combine our existing love of buggy running with bike rides.

My first impressions were that it's a really smart, high quality looking bit of kit. I was surprised how narrow and streamlined it is, although the rear wheels are MASSIVE and it is quite long, so the overall dimensions are still fairly large.

Our first trip was taking it back home with the stroller wheels on, via a quick excursion on the local high street and getting on/off a train. Other than the running buggy our only buggy is a tiny light-weight stroller (a Babyzen Yoyo), so anything else is bound to feel a bit like a tank to me. However, although I struggled a bit with shop doorways, I was very pleasantly surprised how light and manoeuvrable it was - it really glides. I managed to take it into a coffee shop, buy myself a latte and then push it down the high street one handed with no difficulty at all. I can't see myself using it as a stroller regularly but other than the size there would be no reason not to - it would be great for the school run, trips to the park and the like.

Roll on the weekend when we can try our first run and bike ride and really see what it is made of!

mumsbe Wed 06-Apr-16 09:10:11

Non tester
To get the kids active we go on long walks and walk everywhere we needto go.

asuwere Wed 06-Apr-16 09:58:48

non-tester I try to walk as much as possible with the kids so its natural and normal for them. We always walk to/from school/nursery and walk to our nearest supermarket. They also love taking their scooters which means they do at least double the journey I do as they scoot ahead then come back to me then scoot ahead again!

TeaPleaseLouise Wed 06-Apr-16 11:05:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MummyBtothree Wed 06-Apr-16 11:07:55

Non tester - make your garden as child friendly as possible so they can play out in all weathers. Mine love to be at one with nature so to speak and get muddy!. Take advantage of lovely open spaces such as parks for dog walks and picnics.

Ratbagcatbag Wed 06-Apr-16 12:07:44

Non tester.

We have bikes, trikes and a scooter in the garden as well as sandpits, playhouse and slide. We like to try and get out every evening to do something.
Just spending time outside, learning to plant seeds and go out and water them and doing gardening.
Doing long walks since being a tiny baby so she's used to them.
Going to the park, making daisy chains, taking footballs and paddling in streams are also things we do so we end up breaking the day up whilst in one place.

putthePuffindown Wed 06-Apr-16 13:13:41

Non-tester: we discovered that my nephew was very keen to go out when we let him help research and pick the walk. We can't wait to try this with our DD when she gets old enough!

Ntinyn Wed 06-Apr-16 14:17:24

Non tester.

Get out in the garden in all weathers. Encourage the natural messy play and always have a football in there. If my DD gets particularly mucky I just run the bath and plonk her in, she loves it... From muddy play to bubbly water play.

TeaPleaseBob Wed 06-Apr-16 14:50:40

My top tip is just to get outdoors, every day no matter what the weather. Buy yourself and kids some decent waterproofs, sun hats etc.
We try to make being outside a habit wether it's walk to the shop, swing park, short trip to the beach or longer walks/ days out at country parks. My daughter is used to being outdoors so expects to spend time outside doing things. Don't get me wrong we have the usual moans and groans and "I'm too tired" at times but we always have a pushchair or carrier so she can rest when she needs to. Less fighting is good for us all

StopGettingBondWrong Wed 06-Apr-16 16:22:34

Non tester - my tip is to always have kit / gear ready to go whenever you fancy it. We try to get out once a day, no matter what the weather is doing. It makes it so much easier to always have a bag packed with any essentials - nappy changing stuff, change of clothes, tinned snacks that can be left in the bag, waterproof blanket to sit on. It sits with the raincoats and sun hats so we can just grab the things and go!

mountaingirl01 Wed 06-Apr-16 16:30:07

Firstly, my apologies as I got a bit over excited and already commented about this on the other thread! So there may be a bit of repetition.

So we wanted to test the chariot with our 6.5month old daughter because dh and I are both very active people who have had to slow down somewhat now we have a little one around. I especially have started getting cabin fever - having all this time off work and not able to get out!

We received our chariot on Friday and spent Saturday playing with it in our front room and working out how to use all the bits.
First impressions-

As expected from Thule it is really well built and solid. Everything seems to have been made to highest quality. I wouldn't say it was 'pretty' but it certainly looks functional. Dh loves it because it doesn't look like a 'normal buggy'.

It is BIG, I'm not sure how we would get on using it as an everyday buggy around town, but then that is not really the point of it for us anyway. It does however pack up much smaller than I would have thought and even fits in the boot of my fiesta.

The seat (with infant insert) looks immensely comfortable. My lo usually hates being restrained by any sort of harness but has no qualms about being in te chariot. She played quite happily in it on Saturday getting used to it.

The 'add ons' seem pretty easy to change and are all very (extraordinarily!) Light. Although the instructions are not great and dh nearly broke the whole thing fitting the bike arm in the wrong way round originally (he might not have read the instructions tbf).

On Sunday, I took the chariot out for the first time on a 10k run with baby. We chose a run which involved a bit of everything; country lane, field and town.

I was (happily) surprised at how easy it was to run with the chariot. I thought that I would be bending over into a weird position, but not at all! In fact it forces you into a very upright position, good for both core and breathing.
The chariot itself was incredibly light and easy to push and bounced over potholes without any trouble. I had previously wandered why there were separate wheels for strolling and jogging - I found out! The 3 wheels and locked front made stability much, much better and I was at no time concerned for baby's safety.

Running on country lanes was a dream, even going up hill was not as hard as I thought, although obviously you have to put more work into pushing the chariot, it's weight also means that you are forced to keep pace, resulting in my overall time not being hugely reduced but my heartrate was probably forced upwards overall.

I hit more trouble when running in the town. As it was a Sunday, thankfully the pavements were pretty empty or it would have been hard to keep pace when stopping for other people (the chariot is pretty big!). I found manoeuvring over pavements pretty difficult - partly due to our rubbish pavements - but also because the locked front wheel does not help with sharper corners or quick turns.

Baby loved the whole experience. I thought that she would fall asleep, but I'm pretty sure she was awake the whole time as I could hear her muttering, blowing raspberries and occasionally giggling. When we passed through the town a number of passers by waved towards the chariot, so I can only assume she was practising her royal wave in there!

I wasn't able to get any pictures of us running as dh was at work, but this just goes to show the real beauty of this buggy - I was able to get out and go for a run with my daughter without having to find someone to look after her. We both benefitted from and enjoyed the experience and will definitely do it again (and get pictures!)

We were planning on taking baby on a climbing trip today, but sadly rain stopped be continued!

SaltySeaBird Wed 06-Apr-16 16:46:35

Non tester:

I think being active yourself is key to getting your DC active. We run, cycle and walk and so DD sees this as the norm. She is only three but will happily scoot 5-8km now and we turn the whole thing into an adventure / game.

CommanderShepard Wed 06-Apr-16 16:52:48

Non tester.

Get decent waterproofs and kids can be out in all weathers (no such thing as bad weather; just bad clothing). And make activity fun or purposeful or both! My 3yo goes for miles on her balance bike as it's fun and it gets her places.

sulalovesbing Wed 06-Apr-16 17:40:50

Non tester. Go to the park, soft play, out in the garden, swimming and nature walks!

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Wed 06-Apr-16 17:41:14

Lucky tester here.

I applied for this product test because I have recently been looking for, and bought, a bike seat for my 16mo DD. I used to cycle a lot before I got pregnant, and was really looking forward to being able to take it up again. When I was looking I wasn't sure whether to get a bike seat or a trailer, initially I felt the trailer would be more exposed on a road.
When I saw this product test from Thule I was really excited, as I also used to jog a lot with my dogs and since having DD I couldn't jog as she normally is in a carrier on my back for dog walks, plus I could use it for cycling too. We also do lots of walking/rambling and it seemed very robust for that purpose too. It seemed perfect.
I have Thule roof bars and cycle carriers for my car and have found them to be excellent quality and so I was looking forward to seeing what the Chariot was like.

I put the Chariot together in around an hour or maybe more. The instructions were clear and pictures helped any ambiguity. (Side note: don't let your toddler run off with any assembly bits. If they do, be sure to look in the bin first...)
My only hiccup was that the bike quick release EZ hitch set up was mixed up so the joint of the EZ hitch was on the hitch arm, and not on the quick release lever, so I wasn't sure in which order it was supposed to be fitted onto my bike. Again the pictures helped and once I removed my existing quick release lever I could see in what order the springs should be replaced.

Once set up I tried the various kits. I had the cycling kit, the jogging kit and the strolling kit.
I love the fact that the strolling wheels fit to the frame upside down for later use, and the bike hitch arm fits to the frame for when you're in strolling mode.
It also had a tall bright orange safety flag that can sit in the frame of the Chariot, which I thought was great for making drivers see you that little bit more.
My first impression was that it looked very robust and sturdy, nice design, very cool. The frame seemed really strong and I didn't feel worried about DD being 'exposed' behind me on the road at all.

My first use was with it attached to my bike. We cycled to a garden centre cafe so had the stroller wheels attached ready to use.

First off it felt noticeably steadier than when I had been cycling with DD in her bike seat, due to the lower centre of gravity.

It was a great ride, I had to be more aware of the width of the bike and trailer, and think about pot holes for three wheel lines instead of one.

The Chariot as a pushchair was much wider than my pushchair, and I struggled in some of the narrower parts of the shop. However it handled extremely well, better than a pushchair, and is easy to push and steer one handed.

There is very useful storage including pockets inside the trailer, plenty of room in the footwell for toys or shopping, two slim pockets at the rear of the trailer and a large pocket that folds up or down.

When we stopped cycling we removed the top half of the flag and it fitted into the internal area, out of the way.

Overall I really enjoyed it, it seems DD was comfortable and had a toy to play with, which she wouldn't have done on the bike seat.

Looking forward to doing our challenges!! smile

Byrdie Wed 06-Apr-16 19:25:32

Young kids keep you active rather than the other way round i find! But when it comes to doing active things that you want to do t gets a bit trickier and a lot of compromises happen. One of the first things we did was get a national trust membership. Outdoors with plenty or room to expolre safelt but with cafes and loos nearby. My second thing was to make sure they can all swim well. Worked witb my eldests, next one really has hated it but we've kept going and the toddler is on the right track. Now that means we can all go swimming together without having three kids clung to me the whole time. Great in the holidays too. Last tip is to make it fun. We did lots of home made treasure hunts or challenges to keep them focused. I have to also add, that the new trampolining parks opening all over also mean we can get some active time when the weather is awful. Kids never say they don't want to go there!!

FeelingSmurfy Wed 06-Apr-16 19:41:40


The biggest difference is forgetting you have a car, it's automatic to get in the car for a short journey when you would have walked twice that distance without a second thought before you had a car. It's hard retraining your brain but the more you do it the easier it gets

catsofa Wed 06-Apr-16 19:56:22

Non tester here. Don't be put off by the weather. Invest in really good waterproofs, boots and gloves so neither you or the kids feel cold damp and miserable, and then get out to the park or whatever rain, shine or snow. Rain always looks worse than it is from indoors, and there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes!

sharond101 Wed 06-Apr-16 20:19:09

Non-tester. We are outside at least once every day rain, hail or shine. We set a good example by walking everywhere that is possible and when the weather allows go outdoors to play rather than indoors. We do chalk on the pavement, football skills, races, picnics, den building, pond dipping etc. We try to make it fun incorporating eye spy games hide and seek and trips to the park, into everyday walks. I love being outdoors and want my children to grow up feeling normal to be outside whenever they have opportunity.

littlemouse15 Wed 06-Apr-16 20:38:18

My tips for getting active are to plan something for each week and do small things everyday.
It can just be little things like walking the dog for longer or to a different park(or just walking yourself dog not essential).
If you drive try to leave the car at home for shorter journeys.
Plan weekly trips to the beach/country walks/forests (just a few examples) and take some drinks and snacks, go on a long walk and plan to have your picnic at the end, if you have small children make a sort of scavenger hunt with a tick list of Items for the children to see/touch. 5 items found could gain them a reward like an ice cream.
Have kids smile seriously I feel like i never stop anymore!
see what local groups are on offer, many areas have small fitness classes or running groups usually held at a local park.

CheeseEMouse Wed 06-Apr-16 21:33:00

Non-tester - with my toddler we often do little races whilst out walking, and she gets to shout "ready, steady, go!". I also get told to do "mummy running" (hmm) but often use that to make it into a chase game. More generally, getting outside, and not being afraid to go at toddler speed when walking (rather than reverting to the buggy the whole time)

polosarethefoodofgods Wed 06-Apr-16 22:06:08

* non tester * the best thing to do is walk everywhere possible. I often get a week's shopping on ds buggy and walk him back from local shops about 2 miles away! (Reigns also so he doesn't go too far) we play at the local field whenever we can with a football and park most days. And soft play if too bad weather. ( I have been known to make an living room assault course with sofa cushions on the floor a furniture used as dens when have not very much money for soft play!) I used the back garden when I can though as its shared access can't leave him to it. This year I'm planning to get more garden toys last year we did lots of digging in the mud and learning where he could and couldn't go and we made dens and had paddle pool out. Basically I got out as much as I possibly could.

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