Fantastic Stroller for Two
Dec 7, 2009 (Updated Dec 7, 2009)
Review by hippy_mom
Rated a Very Helpful Review
User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Pros:Lightweight, double capacity, older child can sit or stand, oversized sun canopy, easy to push/turn.
Cons:Pricey, lack of cushy padding, undersized storage basket, bulky.
The Bottom Line: This stroller has been a fabulous choice given the age range between our children. It's perfect for the baby and provides a place for our tired older child to rest.
If you need a stroller for a single child, there are a multitude of options. Many infant carriers have accompanying travel systems, and there are other options in every size, price range, and color.
Recommend this product?
If you need a stroller for two children of the same or very close ages, there are still many options. Double strollers are plentiful, and they too can be found in almost every price range and color.
If, however, you find that you need a stroller for two children with a wide age gap between them, your options are much more limited. Most older siblings will at some point be jealous or tired and want to ride, but few will want to be strapped into a stroller for long periods of time. So how do you find the compromise that will seat your infant or young child, but provide a seat for an older child that they can easily get in and out of?
Enter the Joovy Caboose Ultralight.
The Joovy Caboose Ultralight is a "tandem," "stand-on," or "sit and stand" stroller, meaning that it provides a full seat in the front and a rear or jump seat and/or platform for an older child.
The Joovy Caboose Ultralight has the following features:
- weighs 21 pounds
- front seat which supports up to 45 pounds
- universal car seat adaptor and removable tray
- rear jump seat and platform for older child, supporting up to 45 pounds
- sun canopy
- storage basket under seat
- parent organizer
- ball-bearing wheels
The Joovy Caboose Ultralight is not sold in most baby stores, but is readily available on-line. It is currently sold in 4 colors and has a suggested retail of $269, although it can easily be found for less.
I am not what you might call mechanically inclined. The idea of assembling baby products (or anything for that matter,) is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. When my Joovy Ultralight Caboose arrived, I was not looking forward to putting it together. It was incredibly easy to assemble. Despite the loving and enthusiastic help of my 3 year old, assembly took about 10 minutes. I had to put together the back wheels and attach them, snap on the front wheels, and slip on either the snack tray or the universal car seat adaptor, which I chose.
After it was put together, I sat back on my heels and marvelled. Let's be honest; the Joovy Caboose Ultralight really seems pretty impressive. It looks so...European and posh. I have to admit, it made me feel fancy. Fanciness aside, though, how would it work for us?
Weight and Size:
While most double strollers are at least 30 pounds (most 35-40,) the Joovy Caboose Ultralight weighs in at a mere 21 pounds, lighter than many full-sized single strollers. Its light weight allows it to be easily lifted and moved and makes it easier to use when loaded with two children.
Unfolded, the Joovy Ultralight Caboose is longer than a single stroller, but folded without the carseat adaptor or sun canopy, it seems about the same length as most folded single strollers. It can easily fit in the trunk of my car (a Toyota Camry) while leaving room for a full cartload of groceries.
Folding the stroller does take two hands, which can be inconvenient when holding an infant. The sun canopy can interfere with folding unless it is pushed all the way forwards - easy enough to remedy, but irritating at times.
The front seat has two positions: reclining and upright. The upright position is for babies 6 months and older. The reclining position is for younger infants or for use with the universal car seat adaptor. The seat is lightly padded, but not extremely cushy. The material of the seat wipes clean easily, and after 6 months of use, exhibits no stains.
Even in the reclined position, the seat is still quite upright. With the straightness of the seat and no head supports, it is more useful once your baby can sit supported. The straps have no padding, which can cause them to rub and leave marks on my son's neck, but this was easily remedied with the purchase of some strap pads that attach with velcro.
Universal Car Seat Adaptor and Tray:
Both the universal car seat adaptor and the tray are included with the Joovy Caboose Ultralight, but only one can be used at a time. Both are easy to attach and detach, although two hands are required to remove either the adaptor or the tray.
The universal car seat adaptor works with two straps to secure almost any brand of infant car seat to the stroller, including seats by Baby Trend, Britax, Chicco, Combi, Compass, Evenflo, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Peg Perego, and Safety 1st. The stroller seat must be placed in the reclining position, then the infant carrier is placed in the stroller resting in the adaptor braced against the back of the stroller seat. The straps, attached on either side of the stroller, snap across the car seat.
When not in use, the straps fold into little pouches on either side, keeping them clean and out of the way. While the infant carrier does not snap in like with many travel systems, it seems very secure and safe.
When not using a car seat adaptor, the included snack tray snaps on. It does not swing out of the way, unfortunately, and the cup holder is a bit too shallow to securely hold a sippy cup. The tray itself can be useful for holding snacks or small toys.
Jump Seat and Platform:
The rear platform provides a place for an older child to stand, and the jump seat provides a much needed place for a tired kid to take a load off. The seat can slide back and out of the way when the platform is in use, or the seat can be positioned forward using straps that snap around the frame to keep it from sliding back while in use.
The jump seat is backless and has a seat belt. The seat belt straps are a bit on the short side; even though my son is thin, the straps are fully extended. The straps may not be necessary for all children, but my son likes to perch on the edge of the jump seat. A couple of times, he has tumbled forward when we started moving, so we use the straps whenever he's seated.
When an infant carrier is used, the reclined front seat seems to seriously cut down on head room for an older child in the jump seat. My son seems to hunch a bit whenever we use a carrier with the stroller, but he says it does not bother him and that he is comfortable. Even with the seat reclined, without a carrier in place
there is more headroom. The car seat seems to press the seat back more than my infant does.
When the jump seat is slid back out of the way, my older son has plenty of standing room. There are handles on either side attached to the frame for him to hold. He cannot fit under the sun canopy while standing, but as he'd rather see where we're going anyway, this has not been a problem.
Unsnapping the jump seat and sliding it back is quick and easy, but it is more difficult to transition from standing to sitting. The straps that snap around the frame are very snug and can be a little difficult to fasten, taking more time than one might prefer in a crowded shopping center.
The sun canopy is very generously sized, providing more than adequate shade for both for either or both seated children. It can be easily removed (although it takes two hands,) and it can move all the way forward or all the way back, allowing it to shade your child regardless of the angle of the sun.
The storage basket under the seat is useful for small things, such as a child's jacket, but is woefully undersized for a stroller built for two. The basket isinaccessible from the top or back when both children are on the stroller. The sides of the basket are elasticized, which provides some access, but you cannot fit anything very big through the side openings.
The parent organizer is made of neoprene and snugly fits over the handle. It has two cup holders, an open pocket, and a zippered pouch. The pouch is just the right size for keys and a cellphone or sunglasses. The cup holders will fit a soda can or a bottle of water, but to-go cups from restaurants do not fit. We do not often place open containers (such as soda cans) in the cup holders, however, as they tend to splash our son at the smallest bump. The open pocket is perfect for keys, cellphone, iPod, or, in our case, a couple of toy cars.
The Joovy Caboose Ultralight has sealed ball bearing wheels (like those on roller blades) which provides a smooth ride. The front wheels pivot for easy tight turns.
They provide a turning radius that isfantastic given the size of the stroller and, in fact, smaller than the turning radius of many single strollers. The wheels roll very smoothly, and combined with the light aluminum frame, this makes the stroller extremely easy to push and navigate.
+ seats two children
+ easy to turn
+ oversized, positionable sun canopy
+ cool appearance
+ standing platform for older child who is "TIIIIIIIIIRED, MOMMY!" but doesn't want to sit
+ great colors
+ replacement parts sold individually on website for easy repair if needed
+ ball bearing wheels
+ includes parent organizer
- heavier than some single strollers
- longer/bulkier than single strollers
- front seat not well padded
- takes two hands to fold
- cupholder on tray too shallow
- storage basket hard to access, too small
- relatively expensive compared to single stroller
- cupholders in parent organizer of limited usefulness
Amount Paid (US$): 204
Age Range of Child: 0 to 12 Months
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