We tried it: Burley Solstice Stroller
Who tried it: Anya Leon, Babies Editor
Why she did it: Trying to go for a brisk morning walk with a toddler in tow can be painstakingly slow without the right stroller.
Pros: Before the Burley Solstice came into my life, I had no one to make me accountable for morning walks. You know, that exercise buddy who motivates you to go the extra mile? But once I put the stroller together, I suddenly had no excuse to write a rain check: I had found my new workout partner.
Setting up the stroller was quick and easy: Just pop the tires in place until you hear a click. (The tires come off just as easily with a push of a button.)
In fact, everything about this stroller is parent-friendly. Accessories, like the cup holder, pop on and off, while the storage basket is something parents have long dreamed about. Not only is it big, but the seat sits high, making access to even the back of the basket quick and painless. (No more kicking your bag to make it fit and no more smushed snacks? Our dreams really have come true.)
The seat alone won me over from the start. It’s big … like, really big. And even the tallest toddlers and preschoolers — the weight limit is a whopping 75 lbs.! — will be comfortable with plenty of room to spare. It also features a special harness that magically does not tangle or lie flat against the seat when unlocked. The straps of the harness pop up so that parents can place their child in the seat and not have to dig for the buckle while wrestling with an active tot.
As to be expected with a good jogger, the ride is smooth and takes bumps, cracks and even grass like a pro. While the turn is commendable, it’s not necessarily the easiest maneuvering I’ve experienced with a stroller.
If you’re packing up for the day, the stroller has a super-easy one-handed close. And although it’s bulky when folded, it’s still easy to carry (or roll — yes, it rolls while folded!) from your garage to the car. While we’re on the topic of folding, the stroller does stand upright, making storage that much more efficient.
Finally, the see-through window has become standard on many strollers, but Solstice’s flap has veered away from the Velcro and opted for a magnetic tab that stays firmly in place.
Cons: After a few uses, the smoothness and steer took a slight turn. The ride became a bit bumpier, even if I purposely tried to stick to the even parts of the paved trail. As for the steering, the stroller felt like it was leaning to the left whenever I did anything other than a slow walk, something I had to compensate for if I went at a quicker pace.
The stroller features a moderate recline, which is understandable as it’s a jogger and not meant for small babies. However, I’m one to double up a jogger for both exercise and a day out at a local fair or park — places that small children tend to fall asleep. That, paired with the strap recline — you push in on the tab and pull it down the strap — makes naps not the most comfortable for light sleepers.
And, yes, locking the front wheel is easy for parents. But with the lock positioned below your child’s feet, it’s also tempting for curious passengers to take a swipe at it.
The verdict: If you’ve already invested in an everyday stroller and are looking to add a well-priced jogger that can keep up with you on the trails (and not break the bank!), then the Solstice is the way to go.
Cost: $399, available in black, blue or green at REI.