You’re a parent. You’re on the go. Just because you now have a wee one doesn’t mean you can’t get back the swing. And just because you have to travel doesn’t mean you can’t still stick to your running routine. For anyone that has run with both a jogging stroller and a typical baby stroller, the difference in mobility and maneuverability is astounding. A stroller should not hinder exercise, it should make it easier. A stroller should also enhance travel, rather than make it frustrating and cumbersome. While each type of jogging stroller differs in size, shape, weight, and extras, most of them are not made to be compact or travel friendly.
Jogging Stroller Defined
What exactly is a jogging stroller? A jogging stroller is designed to assist parents with physical exercise, while still maintaining a comfortable, safe place for baby. Most jogging strollers are identified by their three wheeled design: one wheel in front and two wheels in the back. The wheels of a jogging stroller, are made with actual tires, rather than plastic wheels, that do require air pumps and maintenance. However, these tires make pushing the stroller much easier and the ride is much smoother on a variety of terrains.
Jogging strollers also have more of an aerodynamic design. You will notice that they are constructed in an an angled shape, which comes to a point over the front single wheel.
The Front Wheel
One of the most significant aspects of the jogging stroller is the swivel or fixed wheel. Swivel wheels work best when walking or moving at a slower pace. This is one of the reasons why typical 4 wheeled strollers come with swivel wheels. The ability to lock the wheel for jogging allows for a safer jog and ease of running on rough terrain.
There are three distinct aspects of the travel size stroller which distinguish it from the typical jogging stroller: a more compact fold-up size; a lighter weight; and, only a single seat. Typical jogging strollers are made as single seaters or double seaters (a few models offer triple seats). The single seat stroller is the most narrow design, therefore the jogging strollers that are best for travel have single seats.
The size of the stroller, once folded up, is what distinguishes the portable jogging strollers from other jogging strollers. A more compact folded size, will make traveling easier. When shopping for a travel jogging stroller, take note of the dimensions when folded. For travel, the dimensions when unfolded are not as significant as the size when folded. The most compact, lightweight jogging strollers, when folded, range from 21.5 to 37 inches in length, 20 to 29 inches in width and 10 to 16 inches height.
The travel jogging strollers are a lighter weight than the typical jogging stroller. Models evaluated ranged from a very light 16.5 lbs to 26.5 lbs. All of these weight ranges include the total weight of the stroller, with wheels. When examining the overall weight of the stoller, it is important to pay close attention to the total overall weight. Most jogging strollers are constructed so that wheels can be removed, therefore, in the product specifications, a weight with and without the wheels would be cited. For travel purposes, the lighter the stroller, the easier to pick up and carry (with one hand if necessary), to load in and out of a vehicle and to send through airline security.
Because jogging strollers are not a popular travel option, most of the compact jogging strollers are not labeled as “travel jogging strollers.” Instead they will most likely be categorized by their weight (lightweight jogging strollers) or their ability to fold into a compact size (compact jogging strollers). You may have to peruse the jogging stroller listings for fold-up sizes and overall stroller weights to find those that could be categorized as travel-friendly.
The weight capacity of a stroller refers to the recommended weight of the passenger. Once your child exceeds this weight, it may not be safe for them to ride in the stroller. The lowest weight capacity of the jogging stroller was 44 lbs and the heaviest was 77 lbs. Most often, the lighter the weight of the stoller itself, the lower the weight capacity of the traveler.
When perusing the different models of jogging strollers, you may want to consider the stroller’s compatibility with an infant carrier. If your passenger will be in an infant seat, check the specifications for compatibility. Some of the strollers we reviewed specifically listed compatible brands and models, some did not. It may be necessary to purchase an adapter for your infant seat to work properly.
All strollers are made with some type of overhead covering. Travel jogging strollers are no exception. The size of the canopies are slightly smaller than typical jogging strollers and can easily be removed for travel.
Compromise for Travel Size
When shopping for a travel friendly jogging stroller, on which features will you have to compromise?
Wheel Size and Type
The size and the type of the wheel in a travel jogging stroller will be smaller and often composed of plastic, rather than rubber tires. Most parents do not typically travel with an air pump, therefore, the travel version of jogging strollers do not have inflatable tires. Plastic wheels can still cover a variety of terrains, so it makes the stoller easier to use in a variety of situations. If you absolutely prefer the rubber tires, there are travel jogging strollers that include this feature, however the rubber tires increase the stroller’s overall weight.
Depending on the type of exercise environment you prefer, you will want to check the specifications of the stroller for intended terrain type. Because travel jogging strollers are constructed of lighter materials and plastic wheels, they may not be rugged enough to hold up to rough terrain or trail running. Depending on where you travel, this factor could guide your purchase decision.
Hand brakes are a common feature of jogging strollers. The hand brake allows for quick and safe operation of the stoller (particularly at higher speeds) with one hand. The travel jogging stroller does not have this feature.
As previously stated, the compact size equates to a single seat over a double seat. If you have more than one child or intend to have more children who will both be in the stroller at the same time, this may be a significant consideration. The wider the stroller, the less travel friendly and the heavier the overall weight.
For a more compact, travel-friendly design, the travel jogging strollers do not include some of the extras that you may be used to if you have a full-sized jogging stroller. The canopies are shorter in size, for a smaller, more compact fold. The front of the stroller typically includes only a cross handle, rather than kiddo cup holders and food trays. Likewise there may not be a cup or water bottle compartment on the adult handle. If you use these features exhaustively, you may have to consider adjusting to the compromise for travel.
Having the ability to exercise, with ease and maneuverability, with baby on board, is an enormous benefit of owning a jogging stroller. The design specifically focuses on the ability to continue an active lifestyle with a comfortable and safe environment for baby. A busy, on-the-go parent should not have to compromise on safety, security or a great workout. Likewise, you should not have to purchase 2 or 3 strollers to achieve one, functional goal on any given day. For a budget conscious, active and adventurous parent, a travel jogging stroller is a smart purchase.