A few months ago, a drunk driver ran into our (thankfully empty) stroller. While I was first and foremost glad that our children were safe, I was also bummed about the stroller. It was a good one. We have four children (7, 6, 3, and 1) and love to go on outings as a family. I wanted a stroller that could safely hold the baby as well as be easily accessible to a big kid who might need a break from walking or be contained in a busy public setting.
I was thrilled to find the Valco Baby Tri Mode EX Twin stroller. Our kids are super hard on toys, car seats, strollers, etc. We really know how to put products to the test. I knew we would need a stroller that was up to the task. I had my eye on a twin side by side stroller, but that alone did not meet the need for my bigger kids. When I found out about the hitch hiker attachment (sold separately) offered by Valco Baby, I was totally sold! It is basically a boogie board that attaches at the back of the stroller for an older child to stand on.
I never realized how much I relied on my stroller until I didn’t have one. When the stroller arrived, my husband was the one to open up the box and put it together. He kept saying that it was “intense.” At first, the task of putting the stroller together seemed daunting. The stroller has many pockets and zippers. However, once glancing at the instructions and laying everything out, he was able to easily assemble our new stroller. It does not come with tools for assembly—the pieces generally just snap together. The illustrations in the manual are clear and easy to follow. I did tuck the manual into one of the many pockets so I would have it handy. I was nervous to go out the first time without my husband. I was afraid I wouldn’t know how to fold it back down. It does take a little practice to get used to. I’m a little nervous as to what would happen if the stroller got really dirty and I had to take the cover off to wash it. It is doable, but not desirable to take the cover off. Spot cleaning is ideal if that will get the job done.
We have a compact minivan. The stroller itself is rather large and does not exactly fold flat. It took some work to make it fit in the back of our van, but we managed. With the stroller in the van, there isn’t much room for anything else. I imagine that would be the case in the trunk of a car as well. But that’s expected with a stroller that will fit four kids!
The Valco Baby Tri Mode twin is a quality stroller. It is well built with plenty of support. I was really impressed with the weight limits. Each seat can hold up to 45 pounds. The hitch hiker is also recommended to hold 45 pounds (although we put it to the test with our 50 pound plus seven year old and it held up just fine). A friend was comparing our stroller to hers of similar build. She remarked that the Valco Baby has a support bar down the middle that hers did not. This prevents the stroller from sagging in the middle.
We also received an extra seat attachment (the Joey Seat) that fits in the middle of the front of the stroller to accommodate a toddler, thus holding up to three children in the front. I think this would be ideal if you had infant twins and a toddler. It might become cumbersome when the babies get bigger. It also holds up to 45 pounds. One thing that you need to know if you choose this stroller with all kinds of fun attachments is that you will be stopped in public, often, to be asked questions. We even had one lady ask if she could push it around for a while … with our kids in it!
Things I really like about the this twin stroller are how easily it drives, how comfortable it is for the kids, the many, many pockets for storage and how important it makes me feel as I stroll up and down main street with my crew. I love that the handle is easily adjustable. I can push the stroller without having to bend down and strain my back. You can lock the wheels in place so the stroller doesn’t turn or you can have them free for easy turning. I was nervous when I realized that the wheels are air filled rubber tires. I was so afraid that, as rough as we are with strollers, we would pop the tires the first chance we got. That has not been the case so far and we have tested the stroller on several different types of terrain. It seriously feels like we are just floating over bumps. A pump for the tires is included. The buckles took a little getting used to when strapping in the baby, but they really are easy and quick to use. They are also padded for extra comfort. Each seat also has its own hood, with pockets and a peekaboo window so you can see how the baby is doing as you stroll along. The hood even extends to completely cover a napping baby. (Don’t worry, there is plenty of ventilation.) The stroller also came with a rain cover that is very easy to zip on the front.
There are only a few small things that I am not a fan of with this particular stroller. The first is the under stroller storage area. It is very small and does not easily accommodate my massive mom bag. I generally end up carrying my bag or unpacking essentials before we go and stuffing them into one or two of the pockets. The other thing that is not ideal is that the stroller does not come with any trays. You can buy snack trays for the seats or a cup holder for the handle, but none of that is included. It would be nice to have somewhere to put my drink while I’m walking. The hitchhiker is another item I wish was a little different. Don’t get me wrong, the kids and I love the boogie board. It just doesn’t attach and detach as easily as I would have hoped. It took some creative engineering and patience on the part of my husband to figure out how to put it on the stroller effectively.
As far as the cost, this stroller is on the high end of the price range. You totally get what you pay for with this one. It is quality made, durable, comfortable and safe. We have had all four of our children riding on the stroller at the same time with no problems. It almost makes me want to have more children to extend the life of this stroller in our home … almost. I would definitely recommend the Valco Baby Tri Mode Twin to families with multiple children of multiple ages.
Joey Twin Toddler Seat $90
To buy: valcobaby.com