Just before our second son was born, my husband and I traded in our single stroller for a double stroller side-by-side. We thought we were getting ahead of the game by having a place for our toddler and our infant to include snack trays, cup holders, space for the diaper bag, and the endless other necessities kids require. I could not have been more wrong about our stroller needs. My youngest was born at the end of October and we powered through with the double stroller to Halloween events, Thanksgiving parades, and Christmas light farms until I finally raised the white flag on hauling this side-by-side double stroller around.
The stroller is bulky, heavy, and wide. This makes it difficult to get in and out of the back of my SUV, and while recovering from c-section #2, I especially hated all the lifting. It required so much back strength because of how wide it is so I had to rely on my husband to get it in and out of the car mostly, which limited how I got both kids around by myself in public. My oldest son would mostly want out of the stroller because of the lack of mobility and sight from the 5 point harness (we rarely fought the get-strapped-in-battle honestly) and the sunshade which is extensive so as to provide the ultimate protection from the sun. All of these features are their top selling points, and I can see why, but they just didn’t work for our on-the-go family.
Thankfully, Christmas was on the horizon and I started researching wagons thinking that there had to be a better solution to wheeling two kids around in public. I instantly had sticker shock from the top wagon choices on the market. Some go for over $500 – for a wagon, people. My car note is less than $500, so I surely wasn’t splurging for the wagon. Defeated, I took to Facebook marketplace, my neighborhood mom groups, and any resale shop I could find to get a wagon. My requirements were minimal: long enough to fit two kids (including an infant carrier), four cup holders, durable all terrain wheels, cover, easy to clean, lightweight, and could fold flat so that it would fit in the back of my SUV when the third row is in use.
Nothing came up in resale groups that fit what I needed. I figured the $500 price tag was probably because they held their value, so I came this close to hitting purchase online when a targeted ad from Academy swooped in and saved the day. For $99 I checked every box on my list and hit add to cart before I could even blink. My husband and I decided this would be my son’s big Christmas gift thinking that it would encourage him to ride in it even more.
Our wagon rides with us everyday. It goes inside the grocery store, to the park, around the block, to festivals, on vacation, you name it and we have it along for the ride. At the most recent festival, my husband was pulling it with both boys in tow and I told him I loved this wagon so much that I could write a love letter to it. The wagon keeps me mobile and able to be versatile with how I keep up with my boys. It has four cup holders AND a table. Most people do comment on the lack of a canopy, and while I understand that sentiment, I am also not the parent to suffer for the sake of my kid’s entertainment. If it is hot enough to need a canopy for whatever activity we are doing then it is too hot to be there in the wagon. My skin is fair and pulling the wagon with no canopy of my own sounds like no fun to me.
Our oldest loves the freedom of the wagon. He can play with his brother face to face since he faces the infant carrier. He has the ability to jump in and out at any point (we do have rules, but because of the wagon size it makes it easy for him to do so). There is a built-in collapsible table for snacks, a holder for my phone, cup holders, baby wipes, and more. Our stroller is being saved for a rainy day (or canopy day) for now. I am sure one day we will return to it, but my love for our wagon runs deep and true.
Update :: Academy doesn’t sell the exact model anymore, but here is a link to a similar one on Amazon. My youngest just turned one and we are still just as much in love with our $99 wagon now as we were then. Our side-by-side double stroller is very loved as well, but the wagon was a lifesaver since my c-section recovery and even now for quick on the go activities.