How a Jogging Stroller Saved My Outdoor Life

Being a new parent is hard, but being able to share your favorite thing with your baby makes it a little easier.

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When I got pregnant, my parents warned me, “You won’t be able to do the outdoor activities you love anymore.” Maybe that was true for them in the ‘80s, but they didn’t have a Thule Chariot Cross.

Before we got our Chariot, when my son Sam was 8 months old, life in Missoula was somewhat housebound and isolated. I longed to get back into the wilds again—without the hassle of hiring a sitter or carrying a breast pump—to reconnect with the person I’d been before this Mom role took over my life.

Who knew a piece of parenting gear would answer my wish? From Sam’s first outing in the Chariot, I knew it was much more than a fancy kid-hauler. It was our ticket to escaping the treadmill of day-to-day baby care to get out on the trail again. It was freedom, pure and simple. No other method of child conveyance is as comfortable, tough, and capable as this stroller, which has attachments for running, cycling, and cross-country skiing modes.

The Chariot quickly became a central component of building meaningful family memories. One that stands out was a backcountry cabin trip in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest when Sam was 18 months old: We buckled him into the stroller, loaded the rest with food, and strapped a Pack ’n Play to the top for our ski in. After two days of mellow touring and snow angels, we woke to a foot of fresh snow. The Chariot plowed steadily through the powder—me pulling, my husband pushing—while Sam snoozed inside, wrapped in sleeping bags. The trip brought back all the familiar feelings of exhilaration and escape—but better, because I was sharing it with my son.

The Chariot facilitated navigating another new parent challenge, too. When Sam broke his femur, it was the only stroller wide enough to fit his body cast, or rugged enough to bump over the trail to a wildflower meadow that finally made him smile. Its burly suspension lets my husband mountain bike Sam up a 5,000-foot peak in town for a morning workout. And that’s on top of countless everyday farmers’ market jaunts, daycare drop-offs, and afternoon hikes in the hills.

Sam is 3 years old now, and ready for his own bike and skis. Just in time, too: Baby sister Eve is just about big enough to stake her own claim to the Chariot. Backpacker

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