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Seriously good off-road pushchair needed!

(34 Posts)
MurderOfProse Tue 23-Apr-13 18:28:06

I walk miles a week with a pushchair (I'm talking serious miles - 30 to 50) for exercise and relaxation at a fairly brisk pace and very occasional light brief jogging (e.g. if I'm late to pick up my oldest from school!!)

I recently moved to a much more rural area from London, and am having to come to terms with crappy pavements and kerbs but by far my toughest issue is the footpaths riddled with stones, mud and tree roots, and stiles. Plus the odd set of unavoidable steps especially at our local station when I want to travel further afield. And other such country obstacles!

I have a Phil & Teds Sport double right now, but it's bulky and prone to punctures and the front wheel keeps sticking (twists 90 degrees) on tree roots and rocks and so on. I'm not easily able to lift it either partly due to the shape rather than lack of strength although that is a factor too.

The intended passenger is my almost two year old son. Yes, he's old enough to walk, but he isn't going to be doing 12 miles at a brisk pace any time soon in the next few years!

I have been out of the pushchair market for YEARS. I know nothing these days. No particular budget in mind as I know you have to pay for decent quality.

Must haves:

- Really good at off-road, and I mean really good. Better than Phil & Ted's.
- Lightweight enough for me to carry it over stiles etc if necessary
- Robust and reliable

I've probably already ruled out every pushchair on the market with those three requirements but just in case, here's my "nice to haves":

- Tyres that don't puncture
- Facility to turn it into a double/twin P&T style
- Suitable for jogging with
- Not too wide
- Reasonable sized basket for carrying my clutter
- Foldable in one piece

If anyone thinks there might be something out there that would be a noticeable improvement on my (several years old, somewhat battered, a few thousand miles on the clock) Phil and Teds I'd love to hear about it!

Similarly if I may as well stick with the P&T, just say so too. I do have a Maclaren XT which is great for pavements etc but hopeless of course off-road. If only there was an off-road version of that at the same weight!

Thank you very much for your thoughts flowers

MurderOfProse Mon 13-May-13 17:27:57

Well, I'm pretty happy! It just about fits through some of the more "interesting" kissing gates we have locally that the Maclaren fitted through easily, so that was one of the main worries out the way. It goes very well along the often quite bumpy canal towpath. Haven't tried it out yet on narrow footpaths with treeroots (the straw that broke the camel's back with the P&T) but I can tell it will be a little easier.

DS seems happy with it at least! DD (4) tried to perch on the end when she got tired but he was having none of it and kept kicking her. Oh well, maybe in a few months!

Tiggywunkle Mon 13-May-13 00:53:53

Glad you made a decision. Let us know how you get on.

MurderOfProse Thu 09-May-13 22:38:33

Well, I bought the Nipper today and will be literally field-testing it tomorrow!! DH is unimpressed and muttering about space in the house, but he's not the one who uses a pushchair day in day out, well, last I checked it wasn't a job requirement wink

mamaloop Thu 09-May-13 21:35:26

I would agree with all the Nipper suggestions. I had the same dilemma; moved to the countryside with a bugaboo and soon realised i wasn't getting anywhere fast. I rented a nipper double for my two from and was convinced enough to buy one! The difference was just incredible. I was able to walk through fields, footpaths and some bits of beach!

MurderOfProse Sun 28-Apr-13 11:30:41

Alas I'm SE, but thank you for the offer! smile

Daisybell1 Sat 27-Apr-13 20:21:19

If you're anywhere near the frozen north you're welcome to come and try mine..

MurderOfProse Sat 27-Apr-13 15:16:54

Thank you! I might see if I can find somewhere that has a Baby Jogger to try out as well and see which one I prefer!

Daisybell1 Thu 25-Apr-13 20:56:07

Tiggy beat me to it, I have a summit and I ask it to do all the things you need it to. I live on a farm in the frozen north and so ask it to push across frozen sheep sh*t, up and down steep hills and along very rocky paths. I adore it. It is simply amazing.

Mine is air wheels as its an older one, but I got one puncture at the start and nothing since, which is amazing given the punishment I've given it. And if you get to a stile you pop the wheels off, chuck them over the wall, pick it up by the grab handle and just carry it over. Its that easy.

I've taken it on holiday and on a train too, so its not antisocially large either.

Tiggywunkle Wed 24-Apr-13 23:42:56

I would be suggesting the Baby Jogger Summit. It has forever air wheels, so no punctures. Would be fab for running with. The wheels could be easily removed and thrown over a stile and put back on in seconds. The chassis itself is fairly small once the wheels are removed. Its the one I would want to be carrying!

Other than that, most of the rest have air tyres. The Nipper is great as long as you aren't tall and your child isn't tall. It is very light to push and lovely to use.

Look also at the BOB range - they have just arrived in the UK. I have a Revolution CE and its fab to push and use. The seat is huge with lots of leg room. They do doubles but not "add on" seats. They are easy to fold and light-ish to carry. I prefer carrying my BOB to my Nipper.

Look also at the TFK Joggster Twist. Fab pushchair with a huge seat and really thick padding for the child. There is an add on "buddy seat" for this pushchair, or a lie flat carrycot option. Its probably on the heavier side to carry over a stile.

If you fancy something a bit different, there is the Recaro Babyzen which has solid wheels, and folds down flat. Easy to slide through a gate lol

MurderOfProse Wed 24-Apr-13 20:45:29

Thank you again everyone!

My main concern about the Mountain Buggy is the weight, for when I have to lift it over stiles or other obstacles like those stupid "person only" kissing gates that keep out bikes. Now admittedly this happens very, very rarely and once I get to know the area I'll start to learn where they are, but with the Maclaren for instance I can just about lift the lot over the top. I certainly can't with the Phil and Teds. And there's the whole stairs/steps issue for going up at least even if I can bounce down.

I went to try out a Nipper today - it seemed fine, but of course there's no real way to know on a showroom floor what it is like with tree roots and stones on a steep bridleway! A little bit heavier than I was expecting but still lighter than the P&T. It seemed easier to steer though, and I much preferred the brake, and the suspension at the rear.

cathpip - I'm impressed you managed to get a buggy over a five bar gate! Respect!! I had a look on eBay but could only find one. I'm assuming the newer ones are not as good?

drinkyourmilk - I am actually a sling user (I have a babyhawk and a pattapum, so no Baby Bjorns here!) but I have a bad neck after whiplash from an accident nearly ten years ago now, so once they hit around a year I end up in a lot of pain the next day when I use a sling so that puts an end to it sadly. Or it would be an easy solution. PS - the foam - what is the brand of the stuff, do you know?

gruber - It's good to hear about the durability. These things matter a lot to me, I put my buggies through one heck of a lot so I need to know they'll handle it!

gruber Wed 24-Apr-13 15:35:12

Having had both P&Teds (several versions) and Nipper, the Nipper wins hands down. 1 family I know have had their Nipper for 6 years, 3 children, multiple holidays, regular dog/forest walks & it's Still in great condition. I haven't had a puncture in mine yet...

twintwo Wed 24-Apr-13 14:38:08

Another vote for the nipper. I had a double for my twins, my 3 year old used to ride on the footplate if tired. It is incredibly easy to push (even when the twins were 4yrs old) and could cope with all manner of hills, woods and beaches. It wasn't too heavy to lift I can remember picking it up to carry over stiles on my own, also up and down stairs on a couple of trips on the London Underground.

DorsetLass Wed 24-Apr-13 14:19:46

Worth bearing in mind some of the old nippers have fixe front wheels - so if ou are considering buying a second hand one make sure it is the newer version with swivel front wheel.

My neice has p and t - I find nipper much easier to collapse and lift in/out/over things (but maybe as I'm just used to it) nipper def much lighter. We change to nipper from Jane slalom pro (which I hated - huge, heavy and everything broke) and my DH who is very unimpressed by any child related purchase even admitted it was a vast imporovent. Good luck!

drinkyourmilk Wed 24-Apr-13 13:58:43

I'm a nanny of 15 years, so had many many pushchairs.
I'd go for a mountain buggy over the Phil and teds. It is a heavy frame, but seems more weight balanced and is easily pushed and steered with one hand.
I'd get the wheels foam filled- then you never need worry about them.
Re double, have you considered an ergo carrier? Even your 4 yr old will sit in at on your back and its pretty comfortable.
I used to take my 6 year old charge out in it when her sister was born instead of in her wheelchair to the zoo etc and didn't have a problem.

cathpip Wed 24-Apr-13 13:56:29

My 4 year old sits in the double mountain buggy for morning runs (still on stabilisers so not very quick!) The double is heavyish, but I can lift it into a boot, the single is fairly light (easily fit a 4 year old on the footrest) have hoofed it over a 5 bar gate before, and with the thick inner tubes have only ever had 5 punctures in 4.5 years, they also both have fixed front wheels, you just tilt onto the back wheels and it spins round on a coin.

cathpip Wed 24-Apr-13 13:50:02

I have the single and double pre 2010 model mountain buggy terrain, (you can find them on ebay now) I live on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and with my running and having to exercise 2 cocker spaniels, this is the only buggy that I have found capable of fields, bridleways, tracks and cattle grids. There is a company called Charriots all terrain were you can get hold of industrial inner tubes, tyres etc. They did used to stock the mountain buggy but since P and T took over the manufacture they have not (new version is not as robust as the old!) I will not use any other buggy, but a friend does have the baby jogger and swears by it.

StrawberryMonkey Wed 24-Apr-13 13:34:20

Nipper is a significantly better push than a p&t IMO!
Other pushchairs you might consider would be the baby jogger summit x3 (due out mid may), especially for the jogging/extreme off road activity.
Also the Bob revolution SE.

MurderOfProse Wed 24-Apr-13 11:22:50

The Nipper does sound tempting. Has anyone used the Nipper and the P&T before, and which one was better over rough ground? As obviously I need to justify it to DH (space being an issue!) so it needs to be a significant improvement rather than just a bit nicer if you see what I mean..

Wallace Tue 23-Apr-13 21:08:30

I have an ancient Baby Jogger that ticks most of your boxes. Can't convert to a double but could probably squeeze a 4 year old in with the 2 year old if you had to.

Never had a puncture and I've had it for almost 6 years (it is 14 years old...)

gruber Tue 23-Apr-13 21:08:20

Definitely Nipper. Really easy to lift (I could 1 handed a few weeks after giving birth!). 1 piece fold. Indestructible. Lock the front wheel and it will go anywhere.

Tribblewithoutacause Tue 23-Apr-13 21:05:16

Oh and the suspension on the nipper is fab as well, it does take a bouncy path well.

fishybits Tue 23-Apr-13 21:04:50

I lift my Nipper in and out of a Defender 110 without issue. I found it heavy to start with but got used to it very quickly. Any decent off road buggy is heavy.

Tribblewithoutacause Tue 23-Apr-13 21:03:30

I have a single nipper that's been through a fair few children and hills. Nippers are the blinking Nissan micras of the pushchair world, they just don't die. I have a Phil and Teds and would say the Nipper is best at being able to be lifted. I'd take your child out first though. I've jogged with it as well, not that I recommend it. But I did it and it was fine.

My childminder has a nipper and she would pop tired children on the footplate over the front wheel. I've seen this done by others, so it's an option in a pinch.

MurderOfProse Tue 23-Apr-13 20:51:15

Great, thank you everyone! Several pushchairs to think about (I did do a Google but just couldn't narrow it down, there seems to be thousands..)

We did pop slime in the wheels but still got punctures. But then that was when we lived in SE London and there was a lot more broken glass everywhere. I hardly see it now!

The doubles thing isn't absolutely essential. Some days DC2 (who is 4) is out with me and although she can cover miles and miles, it's not at a pace I like and is often filled with whining if I try, so it's nice for her to pop into the pushchair especially if we're running late. But she starts school in September and is at nursery some days anyway. Also there's the small possibility of maybe DC4 one day.

Interesting about the fixed wheel on rough terrain. The P&T had an issue a while back (fixed with grease) where the wheel kept popping into the fixed position and I actually found it harder! But then it wasn't properly fixed as it kept popping in and out - maybe it works better if it really can't move.

The Out and About looks like one of the top contenders so far.. but how is it for lifting? As in up and down steps or potentially over stiles? That's one of my biggest issues with the P&T, especially as we're new to the area and there is nothing worse than walking a mile down a lovely track only to be presented with an impassable stile or worse one of those stupid gates that lets people through but not much else.

SilkySocks - How heavy is the Mothercare one?

Has anyone been able to compare the Mountain Buggy and the P&T and if so, was the Mountain Buggy significantly better? How is it for lifting?

Thanks all!!

DorsetLass Tue 23-Apr-13 19:19:57

You can also green slime inflatable tyres so not to worry re punctures

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