Having a 3-year-old girl and a baby boy, I knew our family would need a double stroller. Sure, our daughter is mobile and can walk—but when you travel as much as we do, strollers are just a better bet. Throw in a new baby and it’s a no-brainer. So, I was thrilled to find out we would be reviewing the Verve from phil&teds.
When I first saw the box it came in, I was a little nervous. It was big and it was heavy. Those are two things that most parents probably don’t want at the top of their list when choosing a double stroller. But when I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the box was actually bigger because the stroller wasn’t entirely assembled.
I took out the parts and laid them on the floor. I looked for the manual but couldn’t find it so I resorted to the internet and found a manual online along with a video to accompany it. I browsed the online manual pretty quickly, but thoroughly watched the instructional video. Even though there was no dialogue in the video, an actual person assembling the stroller was a nice visual guide.
Once I was able to open the stroller (per the video instructions), I found the manual. It was in an odd location, tucked away in the pocket of the folded stroller. What little written language is in there has a cheeky undertone, as if the manual is actually speaking to the person assembling the stroller. It didn’t sound mechanical at all. As far as the illustrations go, they are clear enough.
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As I mentioned above, there is some assembly required but it was pretty intuitive. It took me longer than I had expected (about an hour) because my initial search of the manual set me back a bit. However, the nice thing about the assembly is that absolutely no tools are required! Everything I needed was right there and the sound of things clicking into place made for an enjoyable experience. Not gonna lie, even fully assembled, it is definitely larger than I had expected, though not quite as large as a side-by-side stroller.
One of the things that appealed to me about the Verve is that it’s more streamlined since it is an in-line stroller. Aesthetically, it is definitely on the more attractive side. Although slightly bulky, it’s chic and European and very well-made with high quality materials. As far as upkeep and maintenance for the stroller goes, it isn’t difficult to clean. Per the manufacturer’s instructions, it should be cleaned with a non-abrasive household cleaner and a soft cloth. They don’t recommend using detergents or bleach. To make it even easier to clean, the fabric is removable and wipeable.
Now, to test it. We buckled our daughter in and right away, I loved how she looked as soon as she sat in it. She looked comfortable and the seat looked like it was perfectly ergonomic. With a fully adjustable harness, she buckled in with no problem—not too tight or too loose. The seat reclined completely at 180 degrees, which made for a more relaxed setting to consider on days that she would be exhausted. With the front seat fully reclined, we could also insert the second seat in the front section of the stroller to face us. This is the newborn setting, which is one of 23 seating positions the Verve has to offer. However, in this position, there is no room for a second child. We felt like this newborn setting would be great for a baby and a mobile toddler or for trips that don’t require long stretches of walking for the second child.
When storing the stroller, it folds fairly compactly and certainly will fit in the trunk of any car. We have an SUV, so there’s still a lot of room in the trunk, even with the stroller in there. If the stroller were in a smaller vehicle, it could be a tighter fit. Something we really love about the Verve is that even with the rear seat in its place, it does not need to be removed to be folded. I will say, though, that if we did remove the rear seat, it was much easier to fold the stroller. With the rear seat in place, it takes four steps and both hands to fold it up; if using it as a single stroller, it only takes two steps and both hands to fold it. The stroller has a lock option when folded and will stand in place without us having to worry about it splitting open!
One of the things we considered when we were shopping around for strollers this time around was what “extras” the stroller came with versus what we would have to purchase separately. Was there a snack tray for baby? Was there a cup holder for mom, dad or baby? Is the stroller car seat compatible? In the case of the Verve, none of those options came with the stroller; however, they are all available for purchase on their website. (The snack tray made specifically for the Verve sells for $14; there are three different types of cup holders available ranging in price from $10-$20.)
An accessory the Verve does come with is a canopy, which is a bonus. It’s a decent size and provides ample shade, but there is no peek-a-boo window. Something I found annoying about the canopy was the installation. It felt cumbersome to attach it to the stroller and no matter how many times I reviewed the instruction manual or video, I just couldn’t get the canopy to stay put. It somehow kept falling off, even after hearing it click in place.
Even though it comes with a canopy, it does not come with a sun/rain cover or a foot muff. Again, covers can be purchased separately on their website. In my opinion, they’re optional for good reason. Unless I’m planning on spending a lot of time in the elements, I didn’t feel like we needed to make this extra purchase. (A single storm cover is available for $35 while a double storm cover goes for $55. There is also a single sun cover for $45 and a double sun cover for $65 to provide extra shade.)
The Verve can be car seat compatible with the additional purchase of a car seat adaptor. All of the adaptors cost $40 and are available on their website. The car seats that work with the Verve are phil&teds alpha, Mountain Buggy Protect, Maxi Cosi models, Graco Snugride Classic Connect models, Peg Perego Primo Viaggio (excluding 4/35), Graco Snugride ‘Click’ Connect models and Chicco KeyFit models.
Here’s the nitty gritty—because the Verve can accommodate two passengers, there are several different weight recommendations. The maximum weight in the newborn position is 20 pounds. In the upright main seat, it’s 44 pounds. When using it as a double stroller, the rear seat has a maximum weight limit of 33 pounds and in the front, 44 pounds. If using the stroller in the parent-facing position with only one passenger, the maximum weight allowance is 33 pounds. As I mentioned, the stroller can accommodate up to two passengers. The nice thing about the Verve is that it comes with this extra seat for the rear passenger!
The Verve has four wheels—two in the front, two in the back. The front wheels are made of plastic EVA, which is nice since there is no need to think about inflating them. However, the rear wheels are rubber and are air-filled. They come filled already, but with continued use, I would imagine they would need to be filled pretty regularly. The wheels in the front swivel and can switch to being locked in place. The rear ones stay locked in place.
We live in a pretty urban environment and I felt like the stroller handled the city streets like a charm. Sidewalks were a breeze and felt seamless to maneuver. Walking through the park, grass didn’t seem to be an issue, either! Since the wheels are sturdy, I felt like they handled the road pretty well. I imagine that gravel would be safe to use the stroller on, although, because the back wheels are rubber, the tread on them might wear faster if the stroller was constantly used on uneven surfaces like gravel.
For the most part, I feel like the Verve is definitely better-suited for the city—think leisurely to fast-paced walking. I would save the daily jogs or nature walks for a more rugged stroller. Another perk of the stroller is the hand brake! I found it much more convenient to have a hand brake instead of a foot break. It is very easy to engage and disengage making for a smooth experience without having to really think much about it.
If I could tweak or change anything about the stroller, I’d make it a little more lightweight. As it it, it’s pretty heavy to lift. Second, although it isn’t difficult to open and close, doing it alone with two children in tow can prove to be challenging. I’d streamline the process if I could!
The Verve comes in three different colors: Cherry (red), Cobalt (blue) and Black. Priced at $600, we felt like it was on the higher mid-range scale, but considering it is a double stroller that is versatile and touted as having 23 ways to use it, we felt like it wasn’t an unreasonable.
The Verve from phil&teds is an amazing feat in stroller design and function. Beautiful and functional, it’s pretty much a design fanatic’s dream.
To buy: philandteds.com