Top 7 Safety and Feature Considerations When Shopping for a Multi-sport Child Carrier
There is no shortage of “must-have” equipment when kids are in the picture. Most parents have budget and space limitations, so finding multi-purpose solutions that grow with your children are a win-win! That’s why a multi-sport trailer that converts to a stroller and jogger is so great – it gets your kids where you need to go whether on a bike or on foot. So how do you know which child bike trailer is the best? If you’re asking, “What should I look for when shopping for a multi-sport trailer,” look no further:
Size of the Multi-sport Trailer
The first thing you will want to consider is how much space you need in your multi-sport trailer. This could depend on the number of children you want to bring with you, or even on how much storage you anticipate needing while using the trailer. Most multi-sport trailers offer one or two seat models, as well as extra storage space.
There can be quite a range in width and height between brands so you will want to check the trailer dimensions before purchasing. Not surprisingly, the higher-end models will give you more space both in the single and dual seat trailers.
If you are planning to haul groceries or other goods, make sure to double check the cargo space dimensions as well. The Hamax Outback Dual offers a storage space of 22” x 11”, while the Outback One offers 17” x 11”. There’s a good amount of space up front with the kiddos too, but be prepared to arrive home with a half-eaten bag of cookies.
Ease / Size of Folding
If you are looking at a larger trailer (and even if you aren’t), the ease of folding your trailer and how small it collapses is something you should consider – especially if you have a smaller trunk or limited garage space.
Many models collapse for storage, but you will want to check the dimensions carefully as there is a wide range both in height and length. Quick-release wheels will also be a benefit during storage or transport of the trailer as it will allow for a smaller footprint. The Hamax Outback Dual compresses down to 42.5”x32”x12” and the Outback One collapses to 42.5”x26.5”x12”.
As for the ease of collapse for storage or transport, some models release with the push of a button, while others have more intricate methods or require more strength. Reviews are a good source of insight. The same can be said for reassembly the trailer, especially if you are trying to do it with (not so) patient children waiting.
Attachments / Kits
As the name implies, a multi-sport trailer is meant to be one single product that fits into multiple areas of your life. The vast majority will have a bike attachment so you can pull the trailer behind a bike, as well as smaller wheels to use the trailer as a traditional stroller.
The Hamax Outback model also has the option of a jogging wheel kit so you can use the same multi-sport trailer as a jogging stroller. Now you are able to take the kids while preparing for two legs of a triathlon. We’ll get back to you when the floating model comes out (yes, kidding)!
Suspension minimizes impacts while using the trailer as a bike trailer or jogging stroller. A good suspension system will reduce the bumps for your child while biking or jogging on non-paved areas. This turns a jostling, jarring ride into one of peace and comfort.
Brakes may not be the most important feature when using the multi-sport trailer as a bike trailer, but on a stroller, a parking brake is required by law. This means that any multi-sport trailer should be equipped with one. Many jogging wheel kits, such as the Hamax Jogging Kit, include a secondary hand brake.
While most of us do not plan to ride in the rain, getting caught in the rain is a reality for any family living in a wet environment. A trailer that is water and wind resistant will enable your child to relax and enjoy the ride instead of getting cold or wet.
A good indicator of the quality of a multi-sport trailer is the floor of the cabin/cockpit where the children will be placing their feet. The Hamax Outback models offer a sturdy rubber flooring that is easy to clean when little boots leave a mess.
Some trailers will only offer mesh windows and sides, while others are made of clear plastic. Many trailers compromise between fresh air and the possibility of rain by having roll-up plastic rain covers that create a front window/rain shield for the occupants. And when the weather is better, the Outback models offer a bug screen mesh cover and sunshade that easily roll down for warm-weather protection! This allows you to easily transition from season to season without giving up outdoor activities.
Hamax Outback models also offer rain and storage cover accessories. The transparent rain cover fits over the entire carriage, covering the fabric components as well, keeping your child and cargo nice and dry during the ride. The storage cover offers protection from dirt and dust and will keep your trailer in tip-top shape for years to come.
Some multi-sport trailer models offer inserts for smaller children and babies that help to support their heads and necks. Please note that most baby carriers are meant only for use with a stroller configuration and not for the bike trailer configuration.
Five-point harnesses in the child seats are a must when using a bike trailer or stroller. Adjustable shoulder straps will ensure an appropriate fit.
Reflective gear on the outside of the trailer is a must-have upgrade as it greatly improves visibility. To have it seamlessly blend into the design is a bonus. Some even come with an attachable safety flag that really helps catch the eye of fellow travelers on the road.
All multi-sport trailer models should follow the guidelines covered by ATSM F1975. You should still check the trailer for the certification. It should be found on the manufacturer’s tag with other safety warnings.