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Hiking with a stroller?


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  • #3812180
    Rebecca 510
    BPL Member

    @wanderingrebecca

    Locale: East bay, SF bay area

    My baby is 6 months old. I had so looked forward to hiking with her in a carrier, but due to postpartum issues I can’t.

    Have any of you hiked with a baby in a stroller? What kind of terrain? What kind of stroller? Does this work at all? How strenuous is it?

    Is it possible to cram enough gear in there to do something overnight?

    Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. I hope to be able to carry her in a pack someday, but so far I haven’t managed more than 30 minutes without ill effects, and any other option would make my life so much better.

    #3812214
    Chris Ryan
    BPL Member

    @ucdchris

    Rebecca,

    My daughter is now 4 years old now and  we’ve done lots of hiking and running on trails with a stroller, though no “backpacking”. Theoretically any three wheeled stroller with large pneumatic tires will work for trail use. I prefer one that does not have a fixed front tire, and some suspension seems to help the bumps a tiny bit. We used one that had an adapter for our infant car seat to make it easier to leave the car and go for a hike. However the car seat also leads to a more elevated center of gravity and a tippier ride compared to an older child sitting down in the stroller seat.

    We use a Joovy Zoom 2, but if I hadn’t been limited by a particular car seat adapter and was starting over then I’d probably buy a used BOB stroller. They’re easy to find for a good price on Craigslist or Facebook in the northwest.

    Hills will be more strenuous than what you’re used to and narrow trails become almost impassable, but as your child gets older and strong enough to better support their own head you can start to go on bumpier trails and at faster speeds. When we started out we stuck to well groomed horse trails and wide hiking trails, but now we comfortably run on rocky trails and bump over fallen tree trunks.

    #3812230
    Paul McLaughlin
    BPL Member

    @paul-1

    I did quite a bit of hiking with my boys in a jogger stroller – the kind with 3 bike style tires about 16 or 20 inch diameter. I went on some fairly rough trails once or twice, but mostly just dirt roads of varying roughness. Toa take it on a trail was challenging, and required muscling the thing around quite a bit. I did take it overnight once or twice, on dirt roads, and that was with a 3 1/2 year old who ended up pushing it himself most of the way! The one we had did not have much cargo space, and the pocket it had was on the back, behind the kid, so that it was not well balanced. You could probably modify one to carry more gear, or just figure out a way to strap a daypack onto it. But I would not expect to go far hauling overnight gear, and again, only on dirt roads and not trails unless the trail is pretty wide and pretty smooth.

    #3812239
    Rebecca 510
    BPL Member

    @wanderingrebecca

    Locale: East bay, SF bay area

    Thank you both! That’s a pretty wide range of outcomes between you, but either way it sounds well worth trying.

    I checked Craigslist and nextdoor for used BOBs, and there were two kinds of listings: ones that just say, like, “bob stroller pretty good condition” with a grainy photo for $50-75, and ones that tell the model name and details for $200-300. So for my wallet’s sake I’m hoping the specifics aren’t too critical!

    One thing I wondered about for hiking, I saw that some of them have a handbrake for deceleration and some don’t. Do you think that’s important for safety on hills?

    #3812243
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    Reminds me of using a walker.
    Many 3 wheeled walkers are unstable.
    They can be too fast and get out ahead of you, which will affect your posture and hurt your back. A brake might be nice.
    If it’s too cheap be careful. Lots of scams.

    #3812281
    Megan W
    BPL Member

    @meganwillingbigpond-com

    I’m not sure if this will be useful-

    I used to have a bicycle trailer which could convert into a stroller. It had large spoked wheels and bicycle tyres, so was much better over rough ground than standard strollers and was also lighter. It had ample storage space behind the seat. The centre of gravity was lower than most strollers so it was less tippy. I didn’t take it for overnighters.

    When I read your post, my first thought was ‘I’d rather pull it than push it’ – a sled on wheels? 🙂

    #3812369
    Chris Ryan
    BPL Member

    @ucdchris

    Rebecca, I’m not an expert on which models and years of BOB strollers are “best” to use on the trail. You’ll probably need to take a dive into comparing previous model specifications. I do know that some of the ones I saw had been through multiple kids and still looked comfortable and in good working condition. The stroller I used does not have a handbrake, but there have been a few occasions on steeper slick trails where I would have used one if it was available.

    #3812377
    Rebecca 510
    BPL Member

    @wanderingrebecca

    Locale: East bay, SF bay area

    I certainly wasn’t expecting anyone here to be able to rate specific stroller models LOL! I was just wondering whether it was important as a general principle to go into the weeds about things like whether they have handbrakes, or just grab any old one… sounds like the brake would be nice but not critical.

     

    I looked up those bike trailers strollers, and they look very neat! But also bigger and more expensive, and since we already have a box bike it might be overkill. If I didn’t have a cargo bike, I would DEFINITELY want one of those.

    I don’t think the cheap Craigslist posts are scams; they fit pretty well with general patterns I’ve observed on there. You have your people who know the value of a thing and all its details and want to make the most of it, and then you have your people who just have something lying around and don’t care very much but they figure it would be nice to get a few bucks.

    #3812405
    Kevin Babione
    BPL Member

    @kbabione

    Locale: Pennsylvania

    I have twins and can highly recommend the Bob strollers – we had the double and it saved us until they were almost 5!  I never took it on anything rougher than a rail trail (small packed gravel), but it was great.  Unless you’re planning on jogging with it I wouldn’t worry about having a brake.  I can’t imagine that you’d take it on any trails where it’s steep going up or down.

    I didn’t backpack with our girls until they were 4 1/2, but we did a bunch of car camping and small day hikes.  Here’s a link from my first backpacking trip with them:  Four Preschoolers on the AT

    Start small and easy – most of the state parks around us have all kinds of trails and some of them would definitely work with a Bob stroller.

    #3812439
    David Thomas
    BPL Member

    @davidinkenai

    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    20 years ago, we did lots of miles with the kids in a three-wheel, bicycle-tired stroller.  Mostly on dirt frontage roads bordering the forest akin to many hiking trails, but also going into USFS cabins, 4 to 7 miles of trail from the parking lot.  They worked well for that and could be tilted back and then forward again over modestly large logs or water breaks.  With two adults, larger obstacles could be passed by each adult grabbing each end of the stroller and lifting it up and over.  There was some volume inside and some underneath for additional gear, but not as much as the additional human along dictated.  A two-kid stroller, but with only one kid in it would help with the volume of gear.

    Along those lines, we also had a two-kid bicycle trailer – aluminum frame, nylon sides and clear windshield in front.  There was only ever one kid in it at a time (our surviving children are 4.5 years apart), so the added volume was really helpful and we used it mostly for sleeping bags and pads – fluffy, low-density stuff that we didn’t worry about hitting the child in the event of a roll over.  (Some of those?) bicycle trailers have conversions kits to strollers.  We didn’t do that with ours – we only brought it on bicycle-packing overnights, but there was a conversion kit available for that model.

    If it is primarily for trail use – stroller or bicycle trailer – I’d suggest larger diameter wheels and more ground clearance will let you pass more obstacles more easily.

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