One thing I’ve learned as an outdoorsy mother is that the way you carry or transport your baby is the key to being active outdoors with your baby.
But I don’t have the space to store different carriers, nor do I want to be packing and repacking different strollers with all the items that come with the baby: water bottle, snacks, toys, hats, jackets, diaper kit. I’d rather have one system that does it all – that allows me to grab my groceries and go for a bike ride in the same hour. It has to be convenient, easy to set up, and comfortable to push.
When I was expecting my daughter, I kept a keen eye on what systems people were using here in my mountain town. Out of all the sporty carriers, joggers and burleys parked outside my local coffee shop, one brand looked like it knew what it was really doing: Chariot. It’s easy to look at something pretty and think it’s the best, though. I wanted to try it out for myself.
Needless to say, I was stoked when Thule Child Transport Systems wanted me to review the Chariot Cougar 2 ($749.99 MSRP), from their Sport Series (a single version, the Cougar 1, is also available). With it I also received the jogging kit and biking kit.
The product description on their website resonated with me: “This sleek and aerodynamic series is designed for outdoor adventure seekers who do not want limits on the activities they can enjoy with their family and expect the maximum level of performance from their carrier.”
Did the Chariot Cougar 2 perform as promised?
What I Loved
-The whole system was super easy to put together. I had the whole system up and running in no time thanks to their straight-forward instructions and innovative and interchangeable systems. It’s pure genius how the wheels simply pop on and the arms for the jog wheel or bike hitch slide in.
-After the initial setup, I was very impressed with how quickly I could change from one system to another. In less than two minutes I had the stroller wheels off and the bike hitch installed, or vice versa. Not only that, but there are places to store these pieces (right on the Chariot), so I could bike down to the local Farmer’s Market, lock up my bike and switch the Cougar to stroller mode and roll around the market, then bike home with my purchases.
-The whole carrier collapses for easier storing.
-No matter which system you’re using, the Chariot Cougar 2 offers such a smooth ride.
-I was initially worried about the size of the Cougar 2 since I only have one child right now, but it never felt too big, and when I’m biking with cars around I actually like having a wider load behind me. For now, I can put soft items next to my daughter in the Chariot if I need extra storage space.
-I love that the stroller wheels snap right onto the sides of the Chariot so that they are out of the way, but always with you. When I’m biking, I’m happy to have a back-up in case I get a flat or have any other issues.
-For running, the jogging wheel is a fantastic accessory. The wheel doesn’t turn as easily as the stroller wheels, which is a good thing, and it can handle uneven terrain so that you don’t have to slow down to avoid every last crack and bump.
-I love the compartment at the back for storing extra gear, baby stuff, layers – even the conversion kits.
-I’m not yet sure if I’ll have a second child, but I enjoy having the extra seat should I be caring for another child. When one of my mama friends offers to take my daughter, I can offer her the Cougar 2 to take both babies for walks.
-Various accessories, such as an infant sling and baby supporter allow this system to grow with your child.
Things to Consider
-The one and only thing that went less smoothly for me was attending to my baby while I was biking. When she needed something, I couldn’t simply reach back and give it to her, and when she’s strapped in she can’t reach down if something (water bottle, toy) falls to her feet. The side pocket inside the Cougar are within reach, but my baby isn’t yet able to put items back in there when she was finished with them. I’m not sure if there’s anything that Chariot could do in this case, but it’s worth mentioning.
Overall, the Chariot Cougar 2 performed as absolutely promised. But for some people, the price point of this system may be prohibitive. If you can make the initial investment, I think you’ll see that this system is well worth the money, especially since you can use it for years and it is very high quality. The interchangeable systems and innovative technologies used in the Chariot are not just smart, but very useful.
At the end of the day, the Chariot Cougar 2 makes it easier for you to get out the door with your wee one, and that’s worth something.
Thank you to Thule Child Transport Systems for sending the Chariot Cougar 2 for review.