A gleeful mother skips about the streets with her child comfortably seated in a stroller, sun shining upon them both without a care in the world. This might be the scene during a few months out of the year. But it’s far from reality when you’re talking about much of the time in our home and native land of Canada, which often includes rain, sleet, snow, and extreme cold.
Luckily, plenty of strollers are made for rough or challenging weather. Typically, they fall into categories like jogging strollers, and come with features like larger wheel bases to allow for easier navigation, and good water-resistance/waterproofing to keep your child effectively shielded from getting wet. While finding a stroller that can easily collapse and spring open is important for anyone, that’s particularly so if you know you’ll be pulling it in and out of the car frequently during inclement weather.
Which strollers are the best for rough weather use?
Jogging strollers have features that are ideal for use in rough weather, like a fixed front wheel that will prevent the stroller from tipping or changing direction if it hits a bump or rain puddle, hand brakes so you can slow it down if you hit an unexpected ice patch, and a suspension system to ensure a smooth ride for your little one (and you!)
The Mountain Buggy Terrain Jogging Stroller comes with two sets of rear wheels, so you can use the 16” ones for the city, and switch to 12” if you’re ready to hit the trail. Meanwhile, the front wheel can lock forward or backward, or swivel 360-degrees based on your needs and specific terrain. It can fold easily using just one hand, and is light and compact. The 100% cotton canvas material is water-resistant and durable, so it can withstand the rain, sleet, or snow.
If you’re on the market for a car seat as well, the Evenflo Victory Travel System Jogging Stroller and Embrace Infant Car Seat come in matching designs, bundled together. The stroller has large, pneumatic wheels with a shock-absorbing system, and a lockable front wheel. Plus, there’s a feature any parent who’s out and about during rough weather will appreciate: the stroller is self-standing when it’s folded, so you can safely pack the shopping bags away in the trunk before tossing the stroller in, without having to worry about bending down to pick it up off the ground.
Strollers with large wheels
Strollers with larger wheels can make navigating rough weather easier. The Graco FastAction Fold Click Connect Jogging Stroller, for example, has air-filled rubber tires that can be used in jogger mode, plus front swivel wheel locks. Like the Evenflo model, it stands on its own when folded, and can be folded up in a single second via the FastAction fold feature.
The Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle Standard Stroller has 12” air-filled tires that are designed to absorb bumps, and the weight distribution makes it easier to hop the front wheel over a curb. It also has an extra-large fixed sun canopy with a flick-out mesh extension with a UPF 50+ rating to protect your little one during especially sun-filled days.
In addition to its 12” air-filled tired, the phil&teds Sport Inline Stroller has some other neat features for use in rough weather. The auto-stop feature, for example, uses a pressure break system that will automatically engage the break system if the handle is released. This could be a lifesaver if mom or dad accidentally slips on the ice – baby and stroller won’t continue to roll into the street. There’s also the kerb pop feature for easily navigating over curbs and bumps.
Strollers with weather protection
Living in downtown Toronto at the time, I got caught walking in the rain several times when my son was a little baby. And while I might have gotten drenched, he was always well-protected in his stroller.
That’s because most strollers come with a canopy that folds over to shield baby from the snow, rain, or sun. But some take it to another level, making them particularly ideal for inclement weather situations.
With 12” pneumatic tires and secret storage for mom’s or dad’s cell phone and wallet (to keep them protected as well in case you left the diaper bag at home to go for a quick stroll around the block), the guzzie+Guss Connec+ 3 Stroller also comes with a large canopy that will cover your child from the bright sun, along with a ventilated peek-a-boo window, and a flip-out visor for added coverage.
Quinny’s Buzz Xtra 2.0 Stroller now comes with a larger quiet action canopy, plus a visor for better sun protection.
Note that stroller (and third-party) companies also offer accessories worth investing in to transform any standard stroller into a cozy, fully-protected pod for your little one, regardless of what Mother Nature might throw at you.
The JJ Cole Polar Bundleme Stroller Weather Shield, for example, can keep your baby or toddler fully protected inside if the temperatures have dipped below 0. It has an extendable bottom to accommodate bigger kids, or as your own little one grows. You can unzip it easily once you get indoors, then zip your child up inside when you’re ready to head back outside again. Along with keeping your little one toasty warm, this also eliminates the need to bundle your child with layers and layers of clothing to keep him warm, only to have to remove them every time you get inside. I had an accessory like this for my son’s stroller, and it got plenty of use during the winter months. I’d outfit my son with a warm onesie, socks, hat, and maybe a thin sweater, then bundle him inside. When we arrived at our destination, I simply unzipped it, and he was ready to giggle away.
There’s also gear like the Mountain Buggy Storm Cover, which fits over the company’s Urban Jungle or Terrain Stroller. It protects your little one from not just rain and snow from all sides, not just above, but also extreme winds. Naturally, it’s water-resistant, but still provides good airflow for breath-ability.
Strollers I’d recommend avoiding
If you live where it rains often, you’re expecting mountains of snow, or walking roads are in major need of repaving, consider that in your purchasing decision. Don’t, for example, opt for a stroller with small wheels that’s designed for moving freely on flat and even surfaces, like indoor shopping malls or nicely-paved roads. These might be great for urban dwellers, but not so much for those who need something that offers more movability control. The easier ability to push a stroller quickly along a shopping mall floor, for example, could be a nightmare on outdoor ice.
Naturally, while umbrella strollers are great secondary strollers for short walks around the neighbourhood, or trips to the amusement park, it’s best to leave those at home when the weather gets ugly, and opt for something with a bit more grip and handling capability.
Check out all of the stroller options suitable for rough weather at Best Buy Online.