I eagerly anticipated the chance to try out the Valco Baby's Tri Mode EX. So much so, in fact, that when it arrived while my hubby was at work, I decided tackled assembly on my own—despite having both a hyper 4-year-old and a fussy infant on my hands. I was surprised by the brevity of the instruction manual and vague instruction on certain steps, but I managed to have the stroller ready for a trail in less than an hour. (A nice perk: The box occupied my oldest during most of the assembly!)
Although I already had a jogger I loved, this all-terrain option was ready for all occasions with an obviously durable and sound design. In candy apple red, it's a stroller that any mom would feel fashionable pushing. As I checked out all the specs on this high-end stroller, I was pleased to find that the backpack feature on the back of the stroller actually unzips so you can take it with you. And the expanding hood truly provides maximum coverage for my baby’s fair skin. The seat belt system was much different from any of my previous strollers and although I initially struggled with it, after a couple of tries, it became comfortable. (The instruction manual explains that this design is meant to be childproof, therefore two hands and a certain level of strength are required to unlatch.) Storage seemed comparable to other strollers with saddlebags on the sides and a basket underneath. My previous stroller experience had only been with travel systems that are compatible with infant seats so I was anxious to see how my infant would ride minus her seat. The head hugger fit snug my baby’s small head, and I reclined the stroller fully to keep her stable. Once reclined, she was perfectly comfortable; no doubt the interior matched the quality of the exterior.
I continued test-driving the stroller and found the Tri Mode is great to jog behind and offers versatility through the swivel system, allowing you the flexibility to position your wheels based on your terrain. The super smooth ride of the Tri Mode has lulled my baby to sleep on several occasions! I did find folding and unfolding the stroller to be challenging, but when folded, the stroller fits nicely in the trunk. The stroller is easy to clean by hand.
There are a few features I found to be missing, including a cup holder (available separately, $14) and a snack tray with cup holder for baby (also available separately, $20). Although my infant is not there yet, my first daughter often enjoyed snacks in her stroller, especially during all-day outings, so I’m afraid we may be purchasing a tray in coming years. Having had experience with a travel system as I mentioned previously, I also was interested in car seat compatibility. Although the stroller doesn’t come equipped with such capabilities, a car seat adapter is available separately ($40). As it turns out, my favorite features aren't necessarily absent, they're just available a la carte, allowing parents to pick and choose what's most important to them and customize their stroller accordingly.
Overall, I think the Tri Mode is a great stroller for jogging and off-roading and, with the purchase of a few extra accessories, is equipped to meet many families’ needs.
To buy: valcobaby.com