We’ve owned a couple strollers over the years but with Charlotte being our one and only, have not had the need to look at a lot of tandem strollers for ourselves. Nevertheless, I’ve seen a few different types out there. You’ve got the baby/toddler style with standing options for the older child and then actual twin style tandem hookups. The latter is what the Contours Options Elite tandem stroller brings into the mix.
The word “Options” actually refers to seating placement on this stroller. Unlike most strollers, the two infant/toddler seats aren’t fixed in place out of the box. You can move the seats to face you, face outward or meet somewhere in the middle (like having the children face each other or one face either way.) Rather than a side by side stroller that ends up being a double wide, this one retains the width of a normal stroller but has a front/back seating alignment.
Lots of assembly required
When I first received the stroller in-box, I was trying to figure out how the spacing and dimensions of it worked. Most strollers I’ve come across have been pre-assembled or at worst, needing the wheels put on. This stroller comes with a lot of assembly required. While the main components (frame, brake shell, seats) are assembled, you still need to snap and assemble them all together. In other words, don’t expect to just pull this out of the box, roll and go. You probably have about 20 minutes to a half hour worth of work ahead. In the accompanying video, I’ll show you how it all comes together. It’s not very hard.
One thing of note as well is that this is a road/urban stroller. The layout of the stroller should probably tell that tale but there are no shocks to make this a jogging-style stroller and the seats themselves don’t really come with additional sinking/head and neck support so it’s best to keep this on the sidewalks and at the mall.
How comfortable will my child be in the Contour Options Elite Tandem Stroller?
I’d say they’ll be pretty comfortable but it only at a certain age. The seats are fairly simple fabric with straps and buckles for child safety with a few inserts for foot rests and a couple cushions for comfort. You can recline the seats back for young ones but it also leads me to believe that perhaps you’d want to start sitting your child into a seat like this once they’ve got proper head and neck control. A younger infant would probably be best to stay in their car seat. Outside of that, it’s no different than most jogging stroller configurations so your child should be pretty comfortable sitting in it.
That shouldn’t be a deal breaker for you though. Most infant/toddler strollers that aren’t part of a travel system tend to account for just this thing for this exact reason. I’ll touch further down the review upon your options when it comes to adapting infant car seats with this stroller.
Storage and portability options
One of the worries I always have with hardware this large is how well it does (or doesn’t) fold or stow for transport. Urban strollers tend to have a little bit more tubing/hardware (as opposed to jogging strollers that accomplish a lot through buckles and belts) and this is no exception. However, given the large size of this stroller, it actually does fold down again quite well. It probably will never fit back in the box again if you were to ever tear it down (if you’re moving for example) but it should fit pretty comfortably in the trunk of a mid-size sedan and definitely an SUV. However, you might find some challenges with more compact options (like a Chevy Spark or a Kia Soul) or most hatchbacks. If you have twins and a compact vehicle, you might need to look at tandem jogging strollers or those that rely more on the fabric than the hardware for seating comfort.
For vehicle reference sizes though, it fit perfectly in my Toyota Corolla and left lots of space for other things.
It cooperates with other car seats too
One of the things I like the most about the Contours Elite Tandem Stroller is the fact that it actually cooperates well with other car seats. In the manual, you’ll see a few different seat brands that attach to the frame of the stroller, so that in essence, you don’t necessarily need to install the default seats. The one thing that I should warn you about, however, is that you need adapters or fitting pieces for them. You can usually fit an infant car seat into strollers like this but will need to buy additional hardware for it. There are some seats that can fit through universal adapters but there are a few brands (like Graco and Britax) that have specific hookups for this stroller.
This is a really good feature for parents of very young children especially. If your child is in that less than 6 month range and you have your car seat fine tuned, you may as well keep them in there rather than shifting them about.
Is the Contours Options Elite the Tandem Stroller to get?
Given my limited history of using tandem strollers, I may not be the best authority on them. However, there are a lot of things that lead me to tell you that this should be top of your list.
The only thing I really feel this is missing is an option for kids that are a fair bit older than their younger sibling. I think you’ll probably be discontinuing use of this type of stroller when the kids are around 3-3 1/2 years old or thereabouts. While the stroller itself weighs about 35 pounds and can probably balance weight just fine, your kids will probably outgrow the basket seats around their 3rd birthday. What do you do with a kid that’s, say, 4 and one that’s a year old? Well the latter will be fine in this stroller but there isn’t a great sitting or standing area for the older child. You might be reading this and saying that a child should be out of a stroller by that age, right? That’s a fair point but I’ve also seen 2 child strollers that had a standing area for an older child while the parent pushed. It’s a good option for “resource management,” so to speak. It’s really hard to run around and chase a 4 year old at the mall when you’ve got your hands full with a stroller.
My daughter just turned 3 and in the video, you’ll see that she does sit in the stroller, though at her height, we would have had trouble with the 5 point shoulder harnesses. That said, it’s likely that you can discontinue use of those harnesses at that age anyway.
That aside, this is a great option for twins or younger toddlers that might only be a year or two apart. I really like the idea that the seats can both face whatever directions the babies prefer and that the stroller itself folds down as best as it can.
This may just be the tandem stroller for you and if it is, the Contours Options Elite Tandem Stroller is now available (online only) at BestBuy.ca