I remember when I was pregnant with Miss Cub (my second and last child as far as I was concerned), and I debated whether we needed to upgrade to a double stroller. My son would be 3 when his sister arrived, so in the end I decided that our single stroller and a baby carrier would meet our on-the-go needs just fine.
Not long after having Miss Cub, we secretly decided that our family wasn’t complete: there would be a third and final cub. And when that double line appeared on my pregnancy test last summer, I again concluded a double stroller wouldn’t be necessary: Miss Cub would be almost 3 when the new baby arrived, and our single stroller and a baby carrier would once again suffice.
Alas, the universe really wanted me to have a double stroller.
Mama’s got a new set of wheels, folks, and it turns heads everywhere we go. It might not be the Volkswagen Passat I dreamed of as a teenager (don’t ask me why … that’s the car I really wanted), but it definitely gets us where we need to go.
And where we need to go is to my son’s school bus stop or to the playground. At least, that’s as far as we’ve ventured so far with our Valco Tri Mode X Duo stroller. (And frankly, whenever I leave the house with all four kids, I want a standing ovation, so that’s far enough.)
The Tri Mode X Duo has a panoply of features that make me love it, not the least of which is the fact that I can attach a toddler seat to the front so Miss Cub can ride in style. The toddler seat can accommodate children up to 45 lb, starting at about 6 months old or when the child is able to sit independently. It’s easy to click in and out, although it’s not something you’d carry around “just in case” as it is too large to be toted in the stroller’s basket.
Miss Cub loves riding up high on her throne. After refusing to ride in the single stroller for many months, I was concerned she would also shun the toddler seat, and I would be stuck dragging her by the hand while pushing the twins. But the novelty of being so high up and also being able to ride with “her” babies seems to please her greatly.
If you can believe it, I can actually push all four of my children in this stroller by also adding the Hitch Hiker. This wheeled platform allows a child to ride standing up between you and the stroller. I thought it would be awkward to push the stroller this way, but I have nice long arms clearly designed for this purpose! You just have to get used to walking with it in front of your toes …
I’m not going to be pushing all four kids up any hills, but for flat surfaces it’s not unpleasant or overly arduous to push the whole gaggle of them. Both my almost-six-year-old and my almost-three-year-old can use the Hitch Hiker (one at a time). It’s the perfect solution when someone’s legs become too tired to carry on, and no amount of bribery seems to get them to function.
Sometimes Miss Cub wants to ride next to one of her brothers, and that’s what I love about this stroller—so many options! It’s super easy to adjust one of the seats to fit Miss Cub, so she can hop in if I put one of the twins in the carrier. Each seat reclines independently, and both my 28-lb almost 3-year-old and her 11-lb almost 3-month-old brothers can use this stroller comfortably. (The weight limit for each seat is 20 kg or 44 lb.)
Because the Tri Mode’s seats recline completely, you can use this stroller with newborns without using their car seat. The stroller can accommodate ONE infant car seat (Nuna, Maxi Cosi or Cybex) with the purchase of an adapter, so this would be an option if you have a singleton and a toddler, and you want the convenience of keeping the baby in the car seat.
Since we are usually loading the twins in the Tri Mode straight from home (rather than from the car), the fact that it doesn’t accommodate two infant seats doesn’t matter to me. Ideally, newborns shouldn’t spend too long in their car seat, so for long walks I would suggest placing them directly in a fully reclined stroller or bassinet anyway.
The canopies on the Tri Mode are nothing short of epic. They can extend to completely cover baby, and a UV-mesh panel ensures air circulation when the canopy is fully extended. They also fold independently, so if one rider wants sun and the other wants shade, it’s no problem.
The Tri Mode’s handle can be adjusted to the height of whoever is pushing—even my kindergartener. (Although he can’t quite see over the top …) It’s possible to push this stroller one-handed, which means I can hydrate without having to stop.
The storage basket is generous and sturdy. You can cram a lot of stuff in there, and for us it’s typically the stuff the big kids insist they want to bring to the park but then are suddenly too exhausted to carry themselves.
Looks can be deceiving: this stroller may look like it won’t pass through a standard doorway (my husband was convinced it wouldn’t), but it absolutely does! (Otherwise how would you ever go anywhere?!) I can easily wheel it out our front door and bump it backwards down our steps and onto our walkway.
It handles curbs like a dream (even with the Hitch Hiker attached), but every time I’m faced with a curb with no cut out or a few steps and no ramp, I think of how difficult it is to navigate most cities in a wheelchair. (Side note: I’ve started paying a lot of attention to how accessible various places are. If I can’t access a location with my twins in their stroller, I can’t help but think about the fact that it must be that much more difficult for a wheelchair rider.)
Being that we live in Calgary, it’s important for us to have a stroller that can handle snow. I wanted to be sure to test this before writing my review, and there was plenty of snow to be found during my pregnancy. I pushed the Tri Mode to the school bus stop with Miss Cub and her dolly as my test passengers, and I’m happy to report the Tri Mode handled the snowy sidewalks just fine.
What I love most about our Tri Mode X Duo stroller:
- Transports three children if needed (or four if you attach the Hitch Hiker)
- Reclines fully to safely accommodate newborns or napping big kids
- Easy to manoeuvre, even one-handed
- Can be bumped up and down short flights of stairs
- Fits through standard doorways
- Full canopies that adjust independently
- Large storage basket
- Adjustable handlebar
- Pneumatic tires for a smooth all-terrain ride
- Solid and built to last
What I love less about our Tri Mode X Duo Stroller:
- Weight: at 16.5 kg, this is a massive stroller and not something I’d want to lift in and out of my car on a daily basis
- 5-point harness is tricky to lengthen and shorten
- Canopies cannot fully extend when the toddler seat is attached (I don’t see a work-around for this but it’s certainly not a deal-breaker)
- Accommodates only one infant car seat (and very limited brands)
- High price tag
With regard to the higher price of this stroller, I think it’s important to factor in the resale value of a such a high-quality and durable product. When pregnant with my first, I initially balked at the high price tag of the single stroller we wanted. A full six years later, we were able to sell it for 50% of what we paid after using it for two children. A less expensive, cheaply built stroller would’ve been on the curb and replaced by baby #2.
This stroller is a heavyweight for sure, but its heft is also what makes it sturdy and suitable on rugged terrain and snow. The Tri Mode X Duo is best suited for the family that walks and hikes a lot. It’s not my top choice for a stroller to keep in the car to run errands with. (Take a look at Valco’s Snap Duo for a lighter weight option.)
Being able to push my four kids all at once is both a workout (Why is my neighbourhood so hilly?!) and a huge sanity saver. Our Tri Mode X Duo makes the gargantuan task of getting everyone out of the house and to our destination possible.