Friday, 20 August 2010

The low-down on twin prams

Since having the twins, we have had four different side-by-side twin prams. I know that sounds over the top, but they were mostly donated to us from friends (thanks!). We did make The Purchase earlier this year, and couldn't be happier with our current choice.

I thought I might put together a review of the four prams we have had. It might save someone else a lot of money and hassle, because in my way of thinking, a pram is an important purchase. You need to get it right because it can be the difference between sanity and a life of crazy.

To start with we were given the Valco Twin Runabout (with toddler seat). In its former life, it had already managed twin girls and their older brother, so was slightly worse for wear when it came into our life.

Having said that, this pram worked really well for us because Doo Dah was only just 2 when the twins came along. He still needed to be in a pram, so this large beauty accommdated all three of them. Tip: DO NOT take this anywhere near a shopping centre unless you want this to happen.

The good things about the Valco are that it is really sturdy and is a fabulous walking pram. You can literally pile kids onto the thing (Nugget would often ride on sun shade if he got tired coming back from the park), as long as you have the strength to push it! The extra wheels up front means that it doesn't 'tip' on hills, like some three wheeler single-prams do in my experience.

The down side for us was that it was very big to pack away. We have a big boot in the VW Caravelle but the Valco occupied a LOT of space (especially if you had to pack the toddler seat too). It is pretty heavy too, but I am yet to find a twin-pram that isn't heavy.

Our second pram was the Childcare Twin Rover (it is different from the current models available now). "The Big Rig" as it was affectionately named, was a hand-me-down from Sister B. Her first two children were only 16 months apart in age, so she found she needed a twin pram. The fact that her son grew and grew and grew meant that she couldn't hold onto this one for very long and so it came to us.

That is one of the downsides, it is pretty small. Well, the frame is big, but the seats are narrow and, somehow, closer together than other prams I have used (if that makes any sense). For a stroller, it has really big wheels on the front, which means it is better for walking than the average stroller, but it isn't as compact. A real hybrid.

On the upside, its closing mechanism is great (single handed so you can do it with a baby in your arms if you need to), it has good storage and it packs up very flat.

The third pram is the Maclaren Twin Triumph (different from the model currently available which is pictured here). While Ange and Brad seem happy with theirs, this stroller has been a nightmare to operate for us. The closing mechanism is ridiculous (I mean CRAZY), the sunshade is floppy and pretty useless most of the time (ours has a single shade that goes over the two children as opposed to the current model that has two separate shades) and, seeing as we broke one of the seat belt clasps very early in the piece and haven't been able to find a replacement, it has been painful to put babies into and out of.

The best bit of this pram has been the three handles (which I note isn't on the latest model!) because it is handy to be able to either hang shopping in the middle or have a 'brother' push the stroller with me. He can monopolise one handle while I still have the other two (and good steering). You can also have a child stand on the (small) shopping baskets (behind the shade) and still push behind them, fairly comfortably, which is helpful at times too.

The Maclaren has always been our 'leave it in the car pram' while the others we used for walking.

Sadly, the Maclaren is still in our lives (although it is about to die), but the Valco and Childcare have already been put out to pasture.

In January, we bought a very good second-hand Mountain Buggy Urban Twin stroller from our friends (and bought a kiddy-board attachment for the Doo Dah to ride) and, seriously, I am in love. This has been the BEST pram I have ever used. I will admit that the folding mechanism is a little strange, but I can not fault it in any other way. It is easy to push, sturdy, spacious, yet surprisingly compact through doors, has generous storage under the seats and a fabulous raincover and shadecloth. The babies are comfy on and off road. I think it is the bomb.

If I were to do it all again? I think I would just bite the bullet and get a Mountain Buggy upfront. Having said that, it is really expensive, and if I hadn't had the experience of the other prams to compare it to, I may never have known its true worth.  I doubt I would have realised that spending $1200+ on a pram would in fact be a great move. But I guess there is always EBay and other Second-hand options, so maybe I'd have been convinced?

If you are in the market, and living in Australia, this guide might also be helpful.

What pram do you use?

NB: I can't believe I cannot find a photo of the babies and Doo-Dah in the Valco pram or the Maclaren. I am hopeless!


Maxabella said...

Excellent round up. So glad the 'big rig' got a mention. It's definitely at the 'cheaper' end of the market, but it did the job for us and was one of the few prams under $1K that fit through a door at the time. I think they are much better at doubles these days!!

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

I love my Valco Runabout ...we bought it new & I won't sell it yet.
The boys got so much attention and we still do when I dare to take it out.
The only way I fit it in my car now is to remove the wheels ( easy enough but takes time )and no room for shopping.
It fits hubs car easy !

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

Ps I picked you from FYBF ...great post.

Mountain Buggy said...

Hi there!

We got alerted at Mountain Buggy HQ through our 'online alert system' of your blog - and what an awesome blog it is!

We just wanted to say a massive thanks to you for your gorgeous post (included with a fabulous photo of your little ones in the Mountain Buggy!) and are honored that our trusted Mountain Buggy urban twin is there with your growing family, enabling you to all live a life without limit!

We are proud of our double buggy, and absolutely stoked that we won you over at round 4 on your quest for the perfect buggy for two! It really is an awesome feeling for us back at the HQ office to hear stories like yours!

We want to ask for your permission to post a link of your blog through our facebook page, so that other parents who are thinking of a double buggy can read about your experiences and what you recommend. Please let us know or feel free to contact us privately at

Thanks again, and hope to hear from you real soon!

Take care
Mountain Buggy

Olive said...

Thank You so much for your visit yesterday.
Sadly I don't need a pram just yet, but and a big but if I ever have twins (hands behind back with fingers crossed hoping not. I'm sure I would not cope well) I will know what sort of pram to look for. Wondering if they would be any good for the cats.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

We made do with a tandem stroller frame, one that accommodated the girls' infant seats, for the first 10 months after they were born. We then invested in a BOB jogging stroller, which is amazing! Like you said, it's definitely an investment, but it pushes like a dream. And the sportiness of it just makes me feel like jogging...although I can barely make 1/2 a mile with A&B in tow! :)

Because the jogging stroller is so cumbersome, though, we bought a tandem stroller for out-and-about. It works great for trips to the store and to restaurants.

I never intended for our garage to look like a used stroller store, but it all seems so *necessary*!

Oh, and I'm laughing at Olive's hubby and I saw a lady walking her cats in a stroller in Central Park in NYC a few years ago. We've laughed about making a little bed for Sasha, our orange tabby, on the sunshade on the girls' stroller. What a spectacle that would be, huh?! :)

Our Park Life said...

Great pram post...Until I had children I didn't understand that the purchasing of a pram could be such a big deal...little did I know, there is a HUGE if not overwhelming choice!

We thought about getting a side by side pram after M2 was born as there is only 20 months between our boys....In the end we went for the Phil&Ted Sports buggy and M2 has to ride below M1! Been happy with it though...

I have heard only good things about the Mountain buggy

katepickle said...

ah twin prams.... they can be good and bad all at once!

Back almost 7 years ago when our girls were born there wasn't much to choose from and our choice was further limited by the fact that we had a teeny tiny mazda... so we got the smallest side by side umbrella stroller on the market then..the valco twin sports.

It folds down nice and small and it reasonably narrow when up too. We loved it.. but then our girls were tiny and are still skinny enough to fit in the narrow seats, for bigger kids they would have grown out of it way quick.

Still, 7 years on it is doing the round of various friends and relatives, it's dirty and a bit stiff to open and close but still going strong!

only said...

Are pleased to re-visit your blog, from which I learned a lot of knowledge, and totally agree with your point of view, I hope you can be the exhibitions, once again thank you for sharing such a wonderful text. I will wait to see what's! Thank you!i love Best Pram very much .

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