Not everyone will need a double pram, but if you have two children close together, or indeed twins, they are a real lifesaver. Whether you're pregnant with twins, already have twins or plan to have two children (or more) close together, a double is one of the best investments you can make.
When my first baby Ava was just 6 months old I found out I was pregnant with my second baby, Sasha. At the time we had a Bugaboo Bee stroller which I did not want to part with, but realised pretty quickly into the pregnancy that I would also need a double pram. Sasha was due in September when Ava would only be 14 months old - still a baby herself - so it was an essential if I ever wanted to leave the house!
I decided almost immediately that I wanted to buy a side by side double pram. I didn't like the thought of either my newborn or my baby being underneath the other, and not being able to see each other. Some of the strollers I tried in baby shops looked as though the newborn would be so close to the ground, I knew I didn't want that.
Unfortunately though, all the side by side double strollers that I looked at were really wide, and I was afraid that if I bought one, it would restrict where I could go, and therefore my lifestyle. Living urban means that we like to walk most places, enjoy going to cafes and local shops when we can, however with a wide double pram, this wouldn't always be possible.
Thankfully not one but TWO new side by side double strollers were launched onto the market whilst I was pregnant, and both announced they would be available in Australia in September - the very month baby #2 was due. Unfortunately we were priced out of the Bugaboo Donkey market (starting at then $2800 it was not affordable) so the next best option was the Mountain Buggy Duet at well under $1000.
Mountain Buggy already had the Duo, but the Duet was a smaller, more narrow side by side. In fact, so narrow, it it the same width as the original Mountain Buggy single! Regarded as their Compact side by side it was applauded for being the first double side by side pram to fit through supermarket aisles. At only 63cm wide, I was sold! But as it wasn't launching until the same month Sasha was due, I had to buy it sight unseen. I couldn't even look at one in the shop - there were none in Australia.
So I read all the reviews I could find online, then put a deposit down.
Unbelievably, but thankfully, the stroller arrived in the shop the DAY Sasha was born (three days overdue). We arrived home at 6pm with our new Duet stroller and Sasha was born at 9:45pm!
We bought the stroller (with the two seats), as well as the additional carry cot for the newborn months, and couldn't have been happier.
It is a remarkably lightweight and easy to manoeuvre stroller given it's big enough to safely carry two children. I had always thought (and feared) a double would be so heavy, I wouldn't be able to push it. Not this one. With an aluminum frame it weighs just 15.5kgs so I could push the stroller AND turn it one-handed if I needed to, and given it's agility and weight it lifts just as easily up and down stairs, as well as going up and down curbs.
The tyres are 10inch air-filled so absorb so many bumps that it was a very comfortable ride for my girls. They never wanted to hop out! And in the 4 years of constant use I never had a puncture or an issue with the tyres, they were so reliable.
For the first six months I had my newborn Sasha in the carrycot, and toddler Ava in the seat next to her. We walked everywhere and they both loved it - Ava sat happily in the stroller for long periods and Sasha slept well in the carrycot, protected from the wind and sun. I loved it because she was facing me so I could keep an eye on her, and Ava was happy facing forwards but easily checked on through the viewing window.
If you are expecting twins, it would be the ideal double, because you can have the two carrycots facing you, then when they grow out of it you can have two seats either facing you or facing forwards, or one facing forwards. The seats and carrycots are very easy to clip on either side and are completely secure when in place correctly.
And I never intended on running with the stroller, but the few occasions that I did I found it handled really well, and wasn't too heavy. It's not a running stroller, but you can lock the front wheels in place so they don't swivvel if you want to run with it, and it was so manoeuvrable that pushing it while running wasn't difficult at all. With a baby, a toddler, a nappy bag and the stroller itself it was quite a workout, but did the job!
The sturdy frame and air-filled tyres meant the ride was so comfortable for my newborn and baby they would often sleep in the stroller. You can recline the seats using the straps at the back to nearly horizontal, and when both seats are attached they recline separately.
The storage basket holds a huge amount under the seats, and all your essentials sit nicely hidden underneath. The handle bar can easily be raised or lowered depending on who is pushing with just a push of a button, and there's a really deep bottle holder alongside as well which is really handy for your water bottle, or even mobile phone or sunglasses.
The comfortable handlebar is so sturdy and strong that when I used to push the girls to daycare in the stroller I could attach two nappy bags and my handbag to the handlebar, that enabled me to push it with both hands.
The double brake is really easy to clip on and flip off with just one foot, unlike a lot of strollers, which is so handy for crossing roads and stopping at traffic lights frequently. It just makes it feel that much safer and more reliable, and you don't realise how handy it is to flip off the brake on a stroller until you have to do it 20 times a day!
The sunhoods aren't very deep when the seats are reclined, so I found that I always used a baby wrap to give my girls more protection from the sunlight so they could sleep better, but the peek-a-boo flaps are handy for checking on your little ones through the viewing windows.
For a pram of it's size I found it quite simple to fold up and lift into the boot of the car. Conveniently when folded up all the fabrics are off the floor too, and it's quite slimline so can be stored in a cupboard or behind a door in a cafe or restaurant well out of the way.
In recent updates of the Duet, Mountain Buggy have improved the sunhoods to include flip out sun visors, offering more sun protection which is better for sleeping during daylight. And you can also purchase single or double sun covers to fit right over the seats.
The latest version of the Duet also offers a Joey Tote Bag, a basket that clips onto the stroller just like the seat and the carrycot do, so you can use the stroller as a single with a seat or the carrycot. It provides loads of extra storage (the Joey Tote holds 20kg!) and is great for storing your handbag and nappy bag or groceries.
This would be a very handy purchase if you are buying your first stroller and plan to have another child soon after, at which point you would purchase the carrycot or additional seat.
It also means you will still get use out of the stroller beyond the two children stage, as you could use it as a single stroller with the basket attached. In fact, you need never purchase a single stroller at all as the Duet can be used until 4 years of age, which is a huge cost saving!
Other accessories with the Duet you might want to look at include a conventional upright cup holder, clip-on storage bag and double storm cover for wet or windy weather, all sold separately. There's even a scooter that attaches to the stroller for a third older child.
And of course it also is compatible with infant car seats, so you can purchase the stroller as a travel system, for one or two newborns. There are lots of different bundle packages on offer which is so handy for families of all different stages; whether you're having twins, have one child and are planning another or have two children close together like I did.
The quality of the stroller is really hard to beat; it is so sturdy, comfortable and looked as good as new four years on as the day we bought it. The tyres, the seats, straps, the storage basket, fixtures, steering and the handlebar all are of excellent quality.
But I think the best thing about the Duet really was the ability to go anywhere with my girls sitting comfortably side by side. People would often say to me "oh you won't fit" or "do you need a hand lifting that?" then watch in surprise as I easily pushed through doorways, aisles, up stairs, or through walkways by myself, where other side by sides probably wouldn't have gone. At only 63cm wide it's surprisingly roomy for two little ones but slim enough for most doorways and walkways, making it a great choice.
If you are looking for a good quality, narrow and easily maneuverable stroller with great storage under $1000 then definitely look at the Duet, it has everything you could want in a double stroller.