Stroller Wagon Buyer's Guide

October 07, 2022 5 min read

If you've even stepped foot into the stroller market, you know that it's a lot bigger than it ever has been before. The "standard" strollers of the past have been supplanted by joggers, all-terrain strollers, and stroller wagons of every design and intent. No matter who you are, however, your stroller is transporting your most important items - your kids. You want something that not only works for you, but is comfortable and safe for your little ones.

A stroller wagon, in particular, is probably the safest option you can invest in, and though some have said that they're more unwieldy than other strollers, we believe that what you sacrifice in dexterity you make up for in durability and accessibility. Still, when picking out a stroller wagon, you need to make sure you're buying one with all the most important details and options so you're not overpaying for an underwhelming stroller.

With our buyer's guide, you will find the best option for your family, capable of carrying your kids and all their stuff wherever life takes you.

What are the benefits of a stroller wagon?

Standard strollers are great because they can fold up and be stored easily. For parents who are taking their kids for walks on sidewalks or streets, they are perfectly serviceable options. They're not great, however, for joggers, or for parents who like to experience the great outdoors - standard strollers simply lack the tires, suspension, and safety measures for more intense outdoor activities.

Stroller wagons, though not as maneuverable as a jogging stroller, are great at handling the beach, rocky inclines, or mossy forest paths. Their tires are designed to be puncture-proof and to essentially last the lifetime of the stroller, and the suspension is designed specifically for the bumpy terrain the vehicle is made to traverse. A good all-terrain stroller wagon will handle whatever your family wants to experience, while keeping your baby safe, comfortable, and dry, all the while also storing all their stuff, blankies, and snackies (is snackies a word?).

Look for puncture-proof wheels

Most all-terrain strollers will lack the hard, plastic tires of a standard stroller because they aren't good for shock absorption or handling terrain. They'll also avoid the inflated, air-filled donuts of a jogger that are great for agility but can get punctured if you go even slightly off-road. Instead, a wagon should have sturdy rubber tires that can't puncture but are also capable of dealing with gravel, sand, rocks, and dirt.

Protection from the elements

You need a stroller wagon that has a cover, because no kid likes to ride in the rain or harsh sunlight. Cover also allows them the protection to lay down and nap if the ride is smooth and they're tired from a long day of being pulled around in a wagon.

Usually you can opt for a stroller wagon that has the covering standard, or get it as an add-on; both are great, just make sure you have it. It's also a good idea that the cover is fully removable, but it's not a deal breaker - there will be times when you might want to hike with the top down.

Safety is number one

One of the most important features of a stroller wagon is a great braking system. You want to make sure there are working hand brakes, and also manual brakes on the wheels for when you need to stop and take a breather.

Multi-point safety harnesses are essential as well, because if the stroller does go awol, you don't want your kids getting tossed out or severely bumped up. The Veer comes with an incredible, responsive braking system as well as a standard 3-point harness for maximum safety.

Finally, you want to ensure that the sides are sturdy and safe, capable of handling impact from any oncoming obstacles as well as punching and kicking from rowdy kids inside. Go with the most secure, sturdy, and brake-responsive unit you can buy, because you don't want to doubt your wagon's abilities if something bad happens.

Check the weight limits

If you have a single baby, then this is less important - babies basically don't weigh anything and are perfect little angels. Older kids, on the other hand, are heavy little energy machines and you need a stroller wagon capable of handling their weight. It's especially important if you're going to be transporting several kids.

Most stroller wagons can handle at least 2 kids, usually between 50-100 pounds each, but you need to make sure. If you have the option, it's best to get a wagon with more carrying capacity than you currently need, because kids always grow - they're just designed that way.

You also want to have enough space for your kids, because sometimes kids can be light but tall and they take up a lot of room.

Don't overbuy a wagon

If you have a single child, you don't need a tank, so don't spend an extra $100 on features and size you can't really use. When you make your purchase, if you're looking to save money, cut things like size or storage and other random, extra features - but don't skimp on safety, suspension, or braking.

Make sure you can move it around

Portability is hugely important - stroller wagons are bulkier than other strollers and so you need to be able to transport your child's chariot in your chariot. If you buy a stroller wagon so massive and unwieldy that it takes both parents and a stiff wind to move it around, then you probably need to reconsider.

Don't buy something too small either though, just for the sake of portability. You can get big wagons that are lighter framed or fold up more logically - keep looking and find something that meets your portability needs.

You'll also want something easy enough to move around if your kids suddenly decide they want to partake in a hike as well. Few things are worse on a hike than dragging around a wagon that's still crazy heavy, even without your kids in it.

Do your research and invest in safety first

No matter what stroller wagon you buy, you need to make sure that it's capable of handling the terrain you're most likely to travel across. For most wagons, this will be a primary feature - after all, stroller wagons wouldn't exist if you could do all-terrain stuff with a standard or jogging stroller.

Ensure it has a cover, sturdy sides, great brakes, and at least a 3-point harness for safety. You want storage, too, because kids have a lot of stuff, and you'll need suspension capable of delivering you and your kids (and their stuff) safely across all obstacles.

Make sure your wagon can handle the weight of your kids, and has enough space to accommodate their growing bodies.

Buying a stroller wagon is an investment, especially if you have many kids of differing ages. It can last their lifetimes and makes getting out into nature fun and safe. Get something that protects your kids, totes their stuff, and is within your budget, and you'll have a child-chariot perfect for any outdoorsy, family adventure.

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