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Having just decided to get rid of my Phil & Ted Vibe uptown stroller, I decided I have enough to say about the double pushchair and so I thought I should share my opinion.
There is only 2 years difference between my two daughters so when my second daughter came along I knew I would need some kind of double pushchair. After a visit to Mothercare it was obvious that the only option was the Phil & Ted. They aren't cheap, and this particular model (The Vibe) will set you back £430 at the cheapest online retailer. I think we paid a hefty £475 but it has been worth its weight in gold. Transporting 2 children, especially when they are just 2 and a newborn is a difficult challenge for any busy mum (or dad) and so getting the right pushchair no matter the price, is extremely important. You simply cannot put a price on a pushchair which is comfortable to use and easy to fold away when you have two screaming children on your hands!
What will I get for my money?
Well for the £430 not actually that much. You will get the basic buggy but this is a single buggy and you will need the doubles pack to make it into a double buggy. This will set you back around £50. This is obviously essential if you are wanting to transport two children, but depending on how you want to actually transport them, this is where the 'extras' come in. The cocoon is like a flat carry bag with handles that transports a newborn in. This slides in and out of the doubles kit which is attached to the back of the pushchair (rather securely so no need to worry about safety issues). The cocoon can be used for babies up to around 3 to 4 months old, so you aren't going to get masses of use out of it, but it is so handy. When my daughter fell asleep while feeding, etc, I would put her in the cocoon during the day. This meant that if we needed to go out, she was effectively already in her part of the buggy and all that I had to do would be to put the cocoon in the pushchair and clip it in. This obviously didn't apply if we were going in the car first, but the cocoon is really handy for round the house too. The one thing I will say about the cocoon though is how unbelievably warm it gets inside. For everyday kind of use, in the park, round and about etc, it's fine. But we found if we went in shops and she already had a coat on, plus the padding from the cocoon meant she used to get very warm very quickly. You can fold the cover back on the cocoon but it is worth weighing this up with the pros and cons. You can also expect to see pushchair liners (effectively padded cushions for added comfort) in the accessories section when thinking of buying this. One other extra I would say you have to buy is the bag which attaches to the base of the pushchair. This is essential as storage on the system is poor and this sealed bag allows for a stash of emergency bottles, nappies, etc. This is priced at about £30. There are also a raincover and a sun mesh which zip into the hood - these are also extras.
How can I use it?
This is where the value of the system really shows. It can be used singularly to transport one child, add the doubles pack and you can transport a newborn and a toddler, or change the fit of the doubles kit and it transports two toddlers. Also, I think this is one of the only systems where you can transport the baby lying down and the toddler in the upright position. The three wheels on the buggy means it is perfect for off roading. Sounds a bit much for a pushchair transporting a newborn baby, but on walks in forests, etc, the bumpy paths really don't matter with the Phil & Ted. The tyres are effectively made from bike tyres and so it is even fairly easy to push on sand! I didn't ever have a problem with a flat tyre but you do get a pump just in case.
Folding? Easy or throw a tantrum in public difficult?
Surprisingly easy. It does take a short time to get used to, but this is the case with every single pushchair I have ever used. I can remember borrowing my mums pushchair once which she told me was 'super easy' to put away, and after bursting into tears in mothercare car park because I couldn't do it, I actually drove home (rather awkwardly) with it still assembles ready for a child to sit in!!! Safe to say that there are no such problems with this model, but like I say it will take you a couple of times to get 'the nack of it'. We actually took it on holiday with us, and getting on and off the plane was a breeze. If you do take it abroad with you, you'll be pleased to know it comes with a handy travel bag which zips around the buggy to keep it free from scratches and dirt. The aluminium frame makes it light to use (surprisingly light for a double), and the ergonomic spongy handle makes it comfortable to push.
Any other thoughts?
When I used this system you didn't see Phil & Ted buggys as often as you do now, so I did get the occasional strange look when people saw I had a newborn lying down in the back, but they are much more popular now so this probably won't apply.
Most of the buggy comes away so it can be put in the washing machine and washes really easily. The parts that can't easily wash down.
It is worth mentioning that my friend who is quite tall (nearly 6 foot) has this system and she found it quite difficult to use as it didn't adjust effectively for tall people. It does adjust for height, but she found this part quite awkward and it just didn't feel right.
Weight and Dimension:
Dimensions of the Phil & Teds Vibe:
Width 64cm folded
5 point safety harnesses.
Front bumper bar is removable.
Available in a choice of colours, it's perfect for girls and boys or a more unisex colour if you have one of each.
I have found the Phil & Teds Vibe to be a good purchase. It is a sturdy and good looking pushchair. It is extremely easy to put up and down and although fairly heavy, it is still easy to lift in and out of the car.
This push chair is extremely maneuverable and light on steering. The seat of the push chair can be adjusted in two separate ways, by zip and to release it further using the strap at the back, meaning your child can lay completely flat. The actual seat of the pushchair is suspended from the frame, meaning that it moves gently whilst the push chair is in motion - this definitely assists as a sleeping aid!
We are both about 6ft tall and found this to be the best pushchair, as it has handles at the right level for us - many, many other pushchairs appeared to have very low handles, causing back pain on longer journeys. This model has an adjustable handle, with two heights, which suited us perfectly.
The pushchair is easy to clean and the silver frame has remained unscratched, even after two years of heavy use. We purchased the doubles kit (only an additional £60 ish - just in case we decided to expand our family further) This was a cheap option ensuring that we could continue to use the pushchair in the future, to save us buying a whole new double system!
All in all this product is a good design, with well thought out accessories such as the double kit, sun shade, rain cover etc
After weeks of online research I decided to go for the Phil and Ted's Vibe buggy. I do not have a car and therefore do a lot of walking. I thought that a side-by-side buggy would be too wide to get into smaller shops and I felt that a one-behind-the-other buggy was too long. I do not think there is such a thing as the perfect buggy but the Vibe seemed the best choice for me. I considered that the Vibe looked more sturdy and roomy than the Phil and Teds' Sport model. At the time of purchase I had a new born and an eighteen month old child. Overall, I am pleased with my purchase and I would buy it again but wish it wasn't quite so wide at the back. It cost around £450 from Mothercare which included the raincover and the 2nd seat. However, I believe I will get a good price for it when I no longer need it. After 14 months of use my thoughts are as follows:
It looks good
The front seat is large and comfortable (well it looks comfortable)
It is easy to manouvere and get up kerbs
I like the convenience of having a brake on the handlebar although you have to be careful not to accidentally push it when walking along!
It folds up easily - I remove the 2nd seat first though, I haven't tried to fold it with it on although you are supposed to be able to do this
The wheels are easy to remove when needed
It has a large and adjustable hood which is great for the child in front on a sunny day. The child in the 2nd seat is slightly shaded by the main seat but a sun hat or a sunshade is probably the answer.
Lightweight for a buggy of its size
Relatively easy to keep clean
2nd seat clips in easily
When used for a newborn and a toddler, the sling (front seat led flat, 2nd smaller seat clips on front for older child) is comfy for a newborn - rocks them to sleep and protects from the elements. You may wish to purchase a Phil and Teds' carrycot though.
It will fit through most single shop doors although the back is quite wide so not great for small shops or narrow aisles
It is a considered purchase, it comes with no extras (eg 2nd seat, raincover, cup holder etc) and accessories are expensive.
The front wheel wobbles sometimes
Not much storage space when the 2nd seat is in use, difficult to get the rain cover out if back seat is occupied. You can buy pannier bags but I use heavy duty handlebar clips (I bought mine from JoJo Maman Bebe) and hang my bags on these.
When used for a newborn and toddler, the toddler uses the 2nd seat which clips on the front. This isn't very tall and my toddler's head rested against the top bar of the seat - I overcame this by buying a cushioned headrest from Mothercare
You will need a large(ish) car boot to fit it in and space at home to store it - I store it in the shed unfolded (needed to widen the door!) but of course you can fold it to store, I'm just lazy and like the convenience.
Have to be careful about weight distribution, i.e. take lighter child out of 2nd seat first
Slightly awkward to remove child from 2nd seat (when at the back)
Some people are concerned that the child at the back cannot see much or that they touch the wheels whilst the buggy is in motion. I have not found this.As with all pneumatic tyres, you will need to periodically check the tyres for wear as punctures will be more likely if the tyre is worn. I got mine repaired at a local bike shop.