I'm Liz, 35 year old mum to 3. Lily-Sue (Munch) is 5, Rosie (Beastie) is 2 and Charlie (Plum) just turned a year old. Their dad works full time, and therefore, during the day, I am responsible for travel and transportation when it comes to the little people! I don't drive, so comfort and practicality is very important to me and the children. Although there is just short of 18 months age difference between the youngest two, I have never had a double pushchair and since Plum was a newborn, I relied on a single for Beastie and a carrier for Plum. This became tricky on busy mornings as Munch started school, and so the opportunity to 'road test' the Phil & Teds Vibe with double kit came at a perfect time! We walk a lot, we use Public Transport and we are in and out of the house several times a day. We are looking forward to seeing how the Vibe makes our life different and are keen to share our experiences with you all.
Beastie was very excited when our Phil and Ted's Vibe with Double Kit arrived. She hugged the boxes through happy cries of "new buggy!" Once she let go, I was able to start unboxing it ready to use. The main box was very heavy, but I was sure I'd have no issues putting it together myself.
The phil&teds vibe comes complete in one box, and the double kit is in a separate box.
The pushchair was very well packed, each part being suitably protected from other pieces with paper, bubble wrap and other coverings. The box is heavy, but it is clear that a great deal of the weight comes from the wheels!
The information that is immediately obvious is impressive. You can see at a glance that the vibe offers a notable 23 riding options as a complete system. It took me around 10 minutes to put the pushchair together, and I was really impressed yet not surprised at the great quality. I know that phil&teds are built to last, and the vibe feels substantial, sturdy and safe.
At this point, a number of features impressed me ...
The spacious shopping basket, which seemed hard wearing and strong, was easily accessible from the rear of the pushchair.
The 5 point harness is adjustable, well padded and looked comfortable.
The seat cushion is a lovely fabric and looked nicely padded and as though it was secure in the seat and unlikely to slip.
The seat unit is large and the footrest is sturdy. I had no concerns of its ability to hold Beastie safely!
The air-filled tyres are of the great quality you would expect from Phil & Teds and I am confident that the ride would be smooth and that the wheels would absorb a large amount of the impact taken from lumps and bumps on the ground.
The free-turning front wheel means turning corners should be a breeze, even with the extra weight of two children!
The hood is huge too and covers the seat nicely, which will shield Beastie and Plum from the sun.
The handlebar is easily adjustable. The angle is moved simply by pressing two buttons on the handle, making it perfect to push by me (4' 10") and The Man (6' 0")The brake is controlled by a button on the handlebar too. I love this function! A gentle press of the button applies the break, whilst it is released by operating a different button.
Although the vibe is heavy, the opening and closing mechanism is good. Pushing a lever will unfold the pushchair and closing a clip on each side holds it open securely, whilst re-opening these clips and pushing a lever will fold it again. It doesn't seem like the most compact folding system, but I wouldn't expect that from such a large sized, substantial model.
The double kit came from the box and attached to the main frame very easily, and has 3 positions when in place. The recline adjustment on the secondary seat is simple and can be controlled safely with one hand, by operating a clip on the top of the seat. I love the fact that the second seat comes with the same seat cushion as the main seat, as well as the same, secure, comfortable 5 point harness.Finally, as far as my first impressions of the phil&teds vibe go, I really like the matte finish on the silver frame and the wheel guards look like they are the perfect size, as I was concerned about Plum being seated so close to the wheels and them being within his reach. I also love the fact that both seats are nice and open, meaning that both children can see everything around them without having to pull themselves forward or them trying to wriggle out of their harnesses.
We will see how the phil&teds vibe manages in various situations over the coming weeks.*******************************************
Usually when I unbox a pushchair, one of the first things I see is a neatly folded, compactly tucked away rain cover. However, this accessory is separate, and I have to say I really like the way it is presented!
Both the storm cover and the mesh cover come in their own handy little bags. The bags haveVelcro straps meaning they can attach to the handle of the chassis. This way, they take up none of the (often valuable) room in the shopping basket. Still packed tightly so they'll take up minimal space, these convenient little pouches have a double function.
Originally, they hold the pushchair covers for compact, tidy storage. But when empty, they can remain attached to the handlebar, providing a 'close-to-hand' place to store a spare dummy, packet of wipes or any other little essentials you want to keep nearby!
Today, we checked out the storm cover. Well packaged and great quality, but I am so glad I opened it for the first time at home and not in the middle of a downpour. The rain cover is wrapped incredibly well and has been folded perfectly and compactly. Therefore, every fold of the storm cover is separated by a sheet of tissue paper, meaning the plastic of the cover doesn't stick to itself (as rain covers do). This made quite a difference to the ease of unfolding it, but I was left with lots of sheets of tissue paper. Although this was no problem for us, as all the paper went straight into the recycling, it could have been messy had I been opening it for the first time in the middle of the street having been caught out in an unexpected rain shower.
Man works full time and, therefore, I am the one who ferries the little people about and the one who uses the pushchair the most. However, it
is still important to me that whatever pushchair we use is suitable for
everyone. I am 4'10" and The Man is over a foot taller than me. Munch
walks everywhere but likes to stay near to me whilst we're walking (99%
of the time!), Beastie is a wriggler who is at that age where short
walks are manageable, but the peace of mind of knowing that the haven of
the pushchair is there for when her legs (inevitably) give up on her is
still very essential, and Plum is a curious little thing who is happy
in the pushchair as long as he can see that I am there. So finding a
pushchair that suits us all is often tricky.
July the 10th 2015
As I mentioned earlier, there is around a foot height difference between myself and The Man which often means he leaves the pushchair navigation to me as we normally use a pushchair that is just right for my height. However, with the Vibe, he has no excuse! The handlebar is a 'one piece' design, rather than two separate handles, and the height of the handlebar is easily adjustable. The press of the two buttons on the inside of the handle releases the bar, allowing it to be moved up and down as required.
Munch walks everywhere, but as I mentioned, she is one that likes to walk by my side and is especially cautious around busy roads. She likes to be able to hold on to the pushchair whilst she's walking. However, some pushchair designs mean that she has limited options of where she can hold on comfortably and safely and she's sometimes forced to walk further forward than she is comfortable with. However, with the adjustable handlebar, I've found myself lowering it for her so she can hold on to that. This means it is still comfortable for me to push (as long as we're not climbing any steep hills!) but she is right by my side and safe. She also likes to hold on to the wrist strap that is attached to the handle.
July the 29th 2015
Plum wants to see the world, as long as I'm visible in every single blink! Put him in a world facing pushchair and he's constantly twisting and turning to make sure I am still there and haven't allowed his ride to be hijacked by a random passer-by. Put him in a parent facing and he's fighting to see what is passing him by and the excitement he is missing. With the vibe, I was a little concerned about how he would feel about sitting in the secondary seat. I was worried he might not be able to see enough and would get frustrated easily. However, I was pleasantly surprised as he can see me by simply looking up, but seems more than happy with the amount he can see around him. The sides of his seat aren't too deep, so he does not have to pull himself forward in order to look around.
Out and about with the Vibe
One of the reasons Beastie still likes to have the option of using a pushchair is we do a lot of walking. At only 2 years old, her legs get ever so tired and it is not long before she's asking to be carried. Carrying her in my arms is not an ideal situation, as Plum does need the pushchair, and trying to navigate both successfully and comfortably is not an easy task!
I don't drive, and therefore, to get around we rely on walking and on public transport. The school run requires us to take the bus to the next town, and so I wanted to look at how the phil&teds vibe with Double Kit affected our lives during the busiest parts of our day.
We leave the house at 7.50am, and this sometimes means I have had to wake Beastie in order for us to be fed, dressed and out in time. She is therefore, more often than not, very sluggish and quite unco-operative in the mornings. The bus we catch is the only one we can get, and so it is very important we leave the house on time.
the vibe arrived, our mornings have become easier and much less
stressful! Beastie is much happier having the ride at that time of the
morning, and it means that Munch gets more of my much needed attention
as we make sure we have everything we need for her school day. On the
days when she is particularly tired, she likes to make use of the easy
recline on her seat, meaning she doesn't even really need to wake up
fully and can finish off her sleep on the school run! The recline is
really simple to operate too. With just a clip to release on the back of
the seat, it lays back quite nicely.
Whilst Plum is still so little, the
front seat laying back doesn't affect him at all and he doesn't seem
bothered by the fact that the back of the front seat is closer to him.
The secondary seat also has a simple recline. Unlike the front seat
though, this seat has 3 positions which can be adjusted easily with a
handle on the top of the seat. Lifting the handle allows you to select
any of three positions from sitting relatively upright to a more
use our local bus service every day. We use it for both the morning and
the afternoon school runs, as well as for anything else that we may
plan for the day. As mentioned before, I do not drive and therefore rely
heavily on public transport. My main concern was how well I would cope
on the bus with the vibe double - especially during the morning school
run. In the mornings on the way to school, the bus has a tendency to get
quite busy. People travelling to work, the train station and to various
schools and colleges along the way made me a little worried that we
would cause too much of an obstruction amongst other commuters, but
these bus journeys were an essential part of our day, so I wanted to see
how we would handle it with the phil&teds vibe.
we board the bus very early on his route, so it is usually relatively
empty when it reaches us. This meant that it is normally very easy to
board and to claim a space in the pushchair area without having to
disturb anybody. I am always conscious of the amount of space that we
occupy. The vibe with double kit does stand across the space that would
normally accommodate 2 regular sized single pushchairs. However, it is a
double pushchair and it still takes up less room than a side-by-side
model does. It is also more versatile than a side-by-side in as far as
it can be manoeuvered around in the space until it is positioned at a
suitable angle, and we have found that we are still often able to make
room for other pushchairs without causing an obstruction to other
I had previously heard that the vibe double is not particularly stable on the bus, and naturally, this worried me a little. However, I have to disagree with the warning, as with the two children in the pushchair, I have found no issues with its stability. Of course, I will always keep a hand on the handlebar whilst the bus is in motion as I believe that any pushchair is at risk of tipping if the bus driver applies the brakes sharply or takes a sharp corner faster than a couple of miles an hour, but I have not at any point been concerned that my children were in a dangerous position whist using the bus. I feel it appropriate to add here that the phil&teds vibe has a very secure brake system which is extremely easy to apply. With the press of a button on the handlebar, the brake is on. And to release the brake, you just need to press the larger button, also located on the handlebar. I am finding the handlebar brake really useful. Especially when I am on the bus. Sometimes, I find myself with restricted space as I squeeze in around other passengers, and the handlebar brake means that I no longer need to fumble around with my foot, looking for the brake before the bus starts moving again. I really do like this feature!
Overall, I am happy to use the phil&teds Vibe with double kit on public transport. Yes, it occupies quite a large portion of the allocated pushchair/wheelchair space, but it is a double pushchair, and I feel it still takes less space than a side-by-side.
Being a non-driver, and solely responsible for the children each day whilst The Man is at work, I rely heavily on a versatile pushchair. One that suits a whole host of situations. Since being a mum to 3, I tend to do our main weekly shopping online. Although I miss being able to wander around the supermarket, making my weekly meal decisions at leisure, supermarkets just aren't equipped for us parents with pushchairs. One particular supermarket I used to use regularly had 'lockers' for the pushchair, so your child could sit in a trolley whilst you did the shopping, then you could load your bags onto the pushchair, secure your child and go home. Unfortunately, I no longer live near this supermarket, so I cannot do a large shop unless I use an online service.
However, during the week, there are always the little things that need getting, and I need a pushchair that makes these convenience trips a little easier. One that I can manoeuvre around the shop with a fair amount of ease, safe in the knowledge that I can control (to an extent!) the items that are being removed from the shelves by small, curious fingers and that has enough space to carry the small amounts of shopping home again. The vibe ticked these boxes.
Ok, so the vibe is quite large, but the size is in the length rather than in the width. This makes it easier to pass through shop doorways than a side-by-side would be, it takes up less space in a narrow shop aisle meaning I don't have to shop like I'm competing in a round of Supermarket Sweep and can actually stop mid-aisle and not cause a complete obstruction. I can also pay at any till without having to find an extra wide till point to accommodate an extra wide pushchair.
phil&teds are known for having large shopping baskets. The vibe is no exception. The shopping basket is very large, very deep and extremely robust. Perfect for a substantial trip to the shops. However, it is worth noting that, with the double kit intact, the shopping basket area is reduced quite a bit. With Plum's little legs resting just inside this area, I have to be very aware of what is going into the basket and how it is sitting. Anything fragile would probably make it home in several pieces and anything heavy could squash his feet. But as long as I'm conscious of this, it doesn't cause a problem.
For our mid-week shopping trips, the vibe with double kit does the job perfectly! The little people are happy, I'm less frazzled and the shopping gets done and transported home with considerable ease. I'd say that's another box ticked!
September the 10th 2015
Cutting a very very long story short, we've had to move home. Our house was flooded and deemed unfit for purpose, so we've had to uproot and move home. My reason for mentioning this here is, with the vibe being our main pushchair, it is kept out to make it easily accessible on a daily basis. This unfortunately mean't it was caught up right in the middle of the flooding. Thankfully, its large wheels, robust frame and excellent quality prevented it from being damaged by the water. A less substantial pushchair would not have survived and would have been affected badly.
September the 19th 2015
At the park with the Vibe:
On days that Beastie does not have nursery (or 'mummy days' as she calls them!) we quite often like to walk through our local park once we have dropped Munch at school. It's quiet, and Beastie likes to watch the dogs playing fetch with their owners as a group of pensioners meet there most mornings. There is a path that runs through the middle of the park and we used to stick to this as the grassy areas are quite bumpy and uneven.
When Plum takes the front seat!
This week, Beastie requested we take the Vibe on both nursery runs of the week. She has been very tired and a bit of a struggle to get to nursery recently, so, as I mentioned previously, taking the Vibe really helps us reach our destinations on time when we have school and nursery runs to do. It also means she can take her whole menagerie of stuffed animals with her for the ride, because they 'need' the fresh air. Taking them all on foot would just get messy!
Keeping it clean ...Whilst
trying to avoid sounding like a snob (I'm not, honestly!) I have to say
that one thing I've always hated with a passion is getting food on the
fabrics of a pushchair. I speak from bitter experience of kneeling next
to a pushchair with a bowl of warm, soapy water, trying, unsuccessfully,
to remove food, drink (and worse!) stains from pushchair seats and
However, so far, there has not been a a single dirty mark that hasn't disappeared with a bit of warm water. The bumper bar also has a removable cover which just unzips for easy cleaning.