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Burley Solstice Review: Rugged and Comfortable – ANITH
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Burley Solstice Review: Rugged and Comfortable

Burley Solstice Review: Rugged and Comfortable

When you have two toddlers, grocery shopping is a feat requiring the strength, courage, and dexterity of an Olympian. Can you push a shopping cart and a stroller at the same time? Can you tie a child on your back, or will he start screaming at the injustice? What if one of them rams a tiny kid’s cart into a display of stacked wine bottles? Do I really need to pick out bananas myself? Should we all just starve?

However, I have found the solution. The Burley Solstice is agile enough to steer with one hand around precarious piles of peaches. It’s so comfortable that my children fight over who gets to ride in it, which means that they’re not walking around and snatching items off the shelves. And it has an awe-inspiring amount of storage. The 55-liter cargo basket is large enough to fit an enormous Yeti bag, even if it didn’t have three additional mesh pockets for jackets, water bottles, and sunglasses.

At 29 pounds, it’s not particularly light, nor does it fold down into a very compact package for storage or transport. But those are easy for me to overlook when it comes to its maneuverability, ease of use, and comfort.

Safety Dance

Nearly forty years ago, Burley founder Alan Scholz started a bike bag company and named it after his wife, the bike racer “Burley Bev.” He soon branched out into making bike trailers and strollers for hauling his bags and young daughter around town.

Today, Burley is known for making bike trailers and jogging strollers that prioritize the safety of the kids and pets inside. All Burley products have been tested to exceed American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) safety standards, with UPF 50 fabric that also conforms to regulations on phthalates, lead, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Putting your child in a Burley jogging stroller means that they’ll be safe, even from lead poisoning, should they choose to gnaw on the sunshade. But it’s also important to note that no matter how safe a jogging stroller is, you shouldn’t be taking your kid at high speeds over rough terrain unless they have adequate head and neck control—so, around six months or so. If you’re just itching to get out with a newborn, the Solstice also has an optional car seat adapter, as well as a clear weather shield if you’re often out and about in rain or snow.

As I write this, the Solstice is drying out on the sunny deck beside me, after I hosed cracker crumbs and sand out of the seat. The fabric is made from an attractive, durable, water-repellent polyester weave that is smooth and plush, and easy to clean. It also has a removable, washable Spring Integrated Technology (S.I.T.) seat pad, which Velcros into place under the five-point harness.

It’s easy to figure out how to use the stroller. All the parts that are manipulable are in a bright canary yellow that stands out against the dark fabric and black fittings, so you’re not fumbling around trying to find the brake or the side-lock that automatically holds the stroller in place when it’s folded.

A strap on the back of the stroller reclines the seat if your child falls asleep, with a hidden mesh panel for additional airflow. The retractable sunshade has a clear panel to watch your kid (I’d suggest bringing a light blanket, however, if you want to make sure that your child’s legs are protected from the sun).

A simple knob on the front wheel lets you choose to either lock it or let it swivel freely, which makes it easier to maneuver it through our front gate or lock it into place for running on straightaways. Coil spring suspension and enormous, air-filled tires make for easy, smooth travel on the roughest and bumpiest of trails and on the beach.

It’s hard to test for durability when you only have a product for a few weeks. But we bumped it around single track trails and on the beach, running errands, and walking to the park. Even tossing it in and out of the back of my car, the Solstice hasn’t shown any discernible wear.

By far, the two best attributes of the Solstice are how comfortable it is, and how much stuff it can store. The S.I.T. pad is plush, and my tester model came with the optional drink holder and snack cup that easily click into the stroller frame. The seat is 16 inches wide, so my one-year-old was able to fit his entire lap keyboard in the seat with him.

You’ve never seen true luxury until you’ve seen a one-year-old cruising along at a cool eight miles per hour, waving at passersby, nibbling on cheese crackers, bopping and singing along to tinny Elmo jingles like a miniature Stevie Wonder. The seat also fit my three-year-old, and has a capacity for children of up to 75 pounds and 3.5 feet tall. In my family, that probably means that my children will be able to ride in it until they’re 23 years old.

And finally, the cargo basket is enormous. When I was running, handy interior mesh pockets were a convenient place to stow small water bottles and sunglasses. After years of trying to fit a single stuffed animal into a cargo basket without dislodging my child, it was a revelation to not worry about having enough space. I could walk to the farmer’s market and actually shop while I was there! And bring vegetables home!

Big and Tall

The Solstice has a few drawbacks. Both my six-foot-tall spouse and I (much shorter) found the telescoping handle to suit our height and stride length. But the handle only travels for a mere three inches up and back, and was not able to accommodate a six-foot-six dad acquaintance of ours. So, LeBron, this isn’t the stroller for you.

And then there’s the weight. 29 pounds is really heavy. You can close the stroller one-handed and it will lock automatically, but personally, I can’t haul both the stroller and a squirmy toddler up a flight of stairs simultaneously. Folded, it’s 40.5 inches long and 16 inches high. Even if the wheels do pop off very easily, it might not be the best choice if your family goes on a lot of road trips where trunk space is at a premium.

Still, if you have the room to store it, the Solstice is a great jogging stroller that converts pretty easily to an everyday one, especially if you live in a first-floor building and don’t drive very often. It’s easy to use and accessorize, and my kids been enjoying our daily trips to the park, beach, and neighborhood splash pad. Most importantly, I’m able to grocery shop with the Solstice, so we’re all able to eat after we get home.

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Anith Gopal
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