Nearly two years ago, I began reaching out to experienced mothers of multiples regarding baby gear. Among my top questions were, “What kind of stroller do we need?” and “Should we get a quad stroller? OR Two twin strollers?” The resounding answer, “You’ll need several baby haulers before it’s all said and done.”
To my surprise, they were absolutely right. First, we would need two twin stroller frames that our infant seats clipped onto, but those would only last as long as infant seats. And, if I ever wanted to go anywhere solo, a quad stroller was in the cards. The thought of choosing and buying such a variety of strollers was daunting to say the least. Shortly after the quads were born, my friend, Jenny, was kind enough to give us her old Combi Twin Cosmo stroller. Prior to receiving this stroller, I was unfamiliar with Combi and really had no idea what a gem we received. For many months, her stroller waited in attic storage while we relied upon stroller frames. When the quads celebrated their first birthday we decided they were getting too heavy for infant seats. Thus, we purchased toddler car seats, successfully rendering our stroller frames useless.
It was then I discovered the beauty of the Combi Twin Cosmo stroller. Jenny’s stroller was already about five years old and had been well-loved in its hay day, but it cleaned up beautifully. Without much effort (or a user’s manual), I unstrapped the seat covers, tossed them in our washing machine, and then let them air dry. They came out looking like new. I also wiped the rest of the stroller down with a damp cloth to rid it of attic dust. By looking at it, you’d never guess this stroller was five years old. Clearly, Combi made an exceptional product, built to withstand multiples. When an opportunity recently arose to give Combi’s newest model of Twin Cosmo in Bamboo Scribble a test run, I jumped at it. I was already smitten with our older hand me down so I knew it would not disappoint.
Perhaps my favorite feature of the Combi Twin Cosmo is the ease of folding and unfolding. Seriously, this stroller takes mere seconds to both unfold and fold, and it’s never a battle. Once folded, it’s light weight for ease of transport and stores in an upright position. Even I have no trouble carrying or lifting it into the van. I always compare it’s size in storage to a bag of golf clubs. Twin strollers are double the bulk of a single, and I believe that this stroller is about as small as a full sized twin stroller could be. A stroller’s folded size is of the essence to us since we need not one, but TWO twin strollers to fit in the back of our van. The back of our van does not boast much cargo space, yet we can fit two Combo Twin Cosmos with a few other baby essentials back there.
I attempted to take a video clip of the “Three Second Fold”, but it proved more difficult to manage the timer and camera than I anticipated. Nonetheless, here’s a quick demo of how I easily fold, unfold, and carry the stroller-
At 17 months of age, the quads are extremely squirmy and tend to attempt escapes from seats. This is why I’m a huge fan of Combi’s five point, adjustable restraints. They allow us to adjust the straps for each child, making them tight enough to prevent escapees. In order to remember our seating arrangements, we use monogrammed initial buttons as place markers. Obviously, I do not have experience with this, but I suspect this stroller would work well for two children of different ages since the straps are adjustable. I’ve spotted pictures of multiples in our groups as old as about four still riding in Combi strollers. When dealing with multiples it’s commonplace to use strollers as long as your children are still within the weight limits. Otherwise, it’s exponentially more difficult to keep everyone safely together. Therefore, I presume we will be using them for quite a while.
When we are out and about, four high chairs (if any) are not always available so our strollers double as picnic hot spots. The five point straps unclip and convert to three point straps, allowing the quads to sit up better for meals. I typically toss simple finger foods into the snack holders and use sippy cup straps for drinks. Thankfully, the Combi Twin Cosmo strollers basically come apart for easy cleaning because picnics can be messy.
Unfortunately, the babies’ communication skills are rather limited at this time so they cannot share their thoughts on the stroller. However, based upon behavior while in their strollers, I believe they are rather content. They seem to enjoy the side by side layout because they can see what’s in front of them as well as their siblings. I’m certain they’d also agree that the sunshade and snack holders are handy creature comforts.
Even with a side by side layout, the Twin Cosmo fits through all standard doors. Consequently, I am now painfully aware of doorways that are not standard and ADA compliant. I actually filed a complaint at a department store that had ridiculously narrow aisles that NO wheelchair could ever navigate.
While there are nice baskets below the seats, there’s no way a bag stocked for quads would fit in them (or any other stroller basket for that matter). That’s not a problem however, we just use a large carabiner to strap our bags on the back. Voila! I was pleased to find that the new model included not only child cup/ snack holders, but also a parent cup holder. I always overlooked the fact that our old stroller didn’t have one because otherwise it was a fantastic stroller.
In addition to functionality, I appreciate that Combi’s patterns are cheery and gender neutral since we have boys and girls. Considering the age of our hand me down stroller, I’d say the pattern doesn’t give it away, it’s rather timeless as patterns go. If you’ve been following us within the past six months or so, you’ve probably spied our Combi strollers in many pictures, that’s because we take them almost everywhere. And, you may recall when we went to Legoland, our quad buddies also had Combi strollers. We got a chuckle calling that outing a “Combi Con”.
Combi strollers and other products are available for sale from Combi’s Web Store, Babies R Us, and Amazon.
P.S. I would like to extend an enormous thank you to Combi USA for providing a new Combi Twin Cosmo stroller for the purpose of this review. I was in no other way compensated for the writing of this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.