If you and your baby love to explore the great outdoors, then an all-terrain stroller will open up a whole new world of activities for you and your baby.
The world is not flat - and neither are most of the surfaces you will encounter - once you get outside of the city at least.
An all-terrain stroller is the monster truck of the baby world, with big tyres that can handle any reasonable surface when you head off road! But to get the best experience, you need to match up the right model with your intended use.
We have looked at the most common activities, conditions and budgets and have found the best performer in each of the following categories:
So if you are an avid runner, hiker or beachgoer, and have always wanted to get your kids involved early then read on.
What is an All-Terrain Stroller?
There are a few main differences between a regular stroller and one that is “all-terrain.”
First: all-terrain strollers are typically designed with only three wheels (kind of like a tricycle). Having three wheels, with the front typically being a swivel wheel, instead of four, you have better control and stability when navigating over uneven terrain.
These wheels are typically fitted with bicycle-type tires, made of rubber and filled with either air or foam. By not using plastic for the wheels, like you see on most umbrella strollers, the tires have more give when rolling over rocks on trails and cracks in the road.
All-terrain strollers typically have suspension designed to act similar to that of a car. This helps to create a nice, smooth ride for your little one, with little to no jostling when running or walking over rough terrain.
Overall, all-terrain strollers are much bulkier than umbrella strollers, which can make them heavier and harder to store in the trunk of a car or in your home. However, they are also typically more comfortable for children than smaller umbrella strollers thanks to their room seats and smooth ride.
Features to Consider
Due to their bulky frames and large wheels, all-terrain strollers cannot fold up as small as standard strollers do (often only able to fold in half), and are also much heavier. These things can cause issues with some users if not carefully considered.
If you are a smaller-framed woman using the stroller on your own, you may have trouble maneuvering or storing it without help. You may also run into trouble if you cannot fit your stroller into a full trunk or a little economy car.
Be sure you do your research. Measure your trunk space and look for strollers that meet your size and weight limitations before making a final purchase.
Carefully consider when you want to start using your stroller, especially if you are planning to jog with it. Many doctors and manufacturers do not recommend jogging with your baby until she is at least 6 to 8 months old due to excessive jostling in the stroller.
You also want to consider how long you want to use your stroller for, as there are child height and weight limitations associated with each stroller. Thankfully, most all-terrain strollers can accommodate older children as well as babies and toddlers.
While your stroller does not necessarily need to be as safe as a car seat, you do still need to look at safety features, especially when jogging or going off-road.
Most all-terrain strollers are equipped with a five-point harness, which is the standard for safety. This means it has two shoulder straps and goes across the waist with a buckle in the center. The shoulder straps are essential for optimum safety.
If you are planning to jog with your stroller, you are going to want to find a stroller with one-touch brakes. They are usually controlled by a single hand lever (like a bike brake), which really comes in handy when pushing downhill, as it will help to regulate your speed and prevent to stroller (and your baby) from getting away from you.
Venturing off-road also means you will be spending a lot of time outdoors, and your need to ensure your little one is safe from the elements. Look for a stroller with decent canopy coverage so that your child is protected from the sun at all angles. You can also look for a stroller that has a fitted rain cover (often sold separately), which will allow you to go out no matter the weather.
Ease of Use
A stroller is supposed to make your life easier. It gives your baby a comfortable place to ride without you having to carry them, and it can even give you a place to put your stuff without feeling loaded down.
You do not want to take away from your stroller’s convenience by choosing one that is difficult to maneuver or fold. The best all-terrain and jogging strollers are easy to push with one hand and have a one- to two-step folding ability.
Planning for an all-day outing with your little one means packing a lot of stuff. You do not want to be loaded down with too much, so you want to be sure your stroller has an adequate amount of storage space.
Most strollers come with large storage baskets that can carry diaper bags, backpacks, and even picnic blankets; look for one that has the amount of space you need. In addition, you can also find an all-terrain stroller with additional pockets or storage trays on the handle bar or cup holders on the child tray.
Best All Terrain Strollers
All-terrain strollers, with their heavy-duty wheels and bulky frames, tend to be very heavy. While it is not the lightest stroller on our list, the Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight is our pick for the most overall lightweight and compact all-terrain stroller.
If you are looking for ease and simplicity in your all-terrain stroller, you are probably looking for a travel system to use with your car seat carrier. Being a trusted brand in baby car seats, this stroller by Graco is sure to meet your needs.
The best thing about this travel system is that the car seat is included, so there is no need to make a separate care seat or adapter purchase, or worry about your current car seat not being compatible.
Whether you are going on vacation with your little one or you live near the beach, you may want to look for an all-terrain stroller that is compatible with sand and surf. Unfortunately, there are not many strollers that are marketed as beach-ready, so you need to know what to look for.
The Thule Urban Glide is a great choice. The lockable front swivel wheel helps with steering and keeps your stroller from digging in and getting stuck in the sand. The plastic wheel housing protects the wheels from rusting and corroding due to salt water, and there are even several components that are water-resistant to keep your stroller from being damaged.
When it comes to jogging strollers, there are few better than BOB, and their Revolution Pro model is excellent for the avid runner. It features everything you need to keep you and your baby comfortable, with an adjustable handle bar, large canopy to keep the sun off your baby, and a seat that fully reclines.
It is also safe for joggers and their little ones with a hand-activated rear brake to help regulate speed, five-point child harness, and locking front swivel wheel for added stability when running off-road.
As we can see from our list, all-terrain strollers are not always the most budget-friendly, but price should not stop you from enjoying the benefits that one of these strollers has to offer. Thankfully, there is the Baby Trend Expedition Jogger, which is the best bargain we found for an all-terrain stroller.
You may not get some of the higher-end features, such as a full coverage canopy, hand brake, or lightweight, compact fold, but you do get the all-terrain tires, plenty of storage, and basic safety features that a jogging stroller should have.
All-Terrain Stroller Vs a Jogger Stroller?
While it is easy to think that an all-terrain stroller is the same as jogger stroller, there’s actually a distinct difference between the two.
Aside from a hand brake, jogger stroller has a large front wheel that doesn’t swivel. It is the exact opposite for an all-terrain stroller where the front wheel swivels which can be locked.
It is also important to remember that you cannot use an all-terrain stroller as a jogger stroller unless it is stated in the manual.
Other Points of Comparison
The tires for an all-terrain stroller need to be at least 12 inches. Some even have larger tires. It needs to be air-filled. Check the tire tread. Good tires need to have thick tire tread. Remember the purpose of an all-terrain is for you to have a stroller that you can use in any type of roads.
It is also important to check if the front wheel swivels and if you can lock it in place. You will have to need to lock the front wheels if you are maneuvering the stroller in a bumpy terrain.
Check if you can recline the seats. It is better to have a seat with a soft back and padded seats as well. The seat is another critical part of this stroller. The force generated each time that you’ll heat a bump on the road needs to be equally distributed. Paddings are essential because you do not want your child banging his/her head on the frame and harnesses of the stroller.
There are some all-terrain that have a “hammock-style” seats. These seats are made from fabric and are actually suspended from the main frame of the stroller. The main principle behind this type of seats is to prevent the child from banging up against the other parts or components of the stroller.
Straps and Harnesses
In an all-terrain stroller, it is best to go for a five-point harness because it covers both the shoulders, the hips and between the legs. This can protect your child from slipping off the stroller when you’re going off-road with your child inside the stroller.
Outdoor activities, going off-road means sunshine. As much as possible choose models with extended canopies or sunshade. This can provide better coverage and protection against the harmful UV rays.
Car Seat Adapter
Generally, infants are not allowed to seat in a stroller. That’s why you need to consider if the stroller that you’re buying is compatible to your car seat.
Weight and Size
It is a given that all-terrain strollers are heavier than the standard strollers but make sure that you are going to buy something that you can lift on your own. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to manage.
Also check if the stroller can fit the trunk or the cargo space of your car. Transporting this stroller with ease is essential. You do not want to end up with a stroller that you cannot even put inside your car.
Additional Safety Tips
Without taking proper precautions, strollers – especially when used off-road or jogging – can be nearly as dangerous as riding in a car. Make sure you always follow these safety tips to keep your baby safe while you both enjoy your adventures with your stroller.
Your stroller should not stop you from being able to enjoy what you love in the great outdoors. Any parent can benefit from the features that an all-terrain stroller has to offer. We hope our list has given you an option that can work for you: your family, your hobbies, and your budget.
Let us know what you think of our list in the comments below, and share this list with other outdoorsy parents who may be looking for a way to share their hobbies with their babies.