Anyway, we have used it a bit now and I thought a personal review might be of interest to anyone who is looking at one of these double buggies.
We had a look at a number of doubles, from side by sides through to the ones where it looks like one of your children has just been shoved into the shopping basket. None we liked. We wanted a very easily manoeuvred 3-wheeler that we could use off-road too. Having scanned the Internet, we decided on the Out 'n' About 360. We had tried out numerous doubles before in shops but nothing seemed quite right. This one looked perfect we thought so we ordered it from Boots. Huge mistake :(
The day of delivery arrived and we excitedly put the pushchair together. It looked nice and the toddler liked it and jumped straight in with teddy for a ride :)
The 360 is very easy to use one handed and 'turns on a sixpence' (if you happen to have such an old coin still). The wheels are sturdy and the braking system is excellent, if not exceedingly simple. The hood is a lovely size and provides excellent coverage for your children and the rain cover (part of the kit) is a great size and easy to put on and off. It fits though most doorways unlike a standard side-by-side double. There is a great strap to put around your wrist to stop it running away from you downhill too (not that I've lost a pushchair yet like that!). It opens and collapses OK but I'd be pushed to tell you it was not a fiddle at times. And that's where the good stuff ends I'm afraid.
We have encountered a number of things that make this pushchair severly lacking:
- The weight is mostly at the back. Therefore, if you hang (as most mums do) a changing bag onto the handle (provided you have one with a very long strap!), it pretty much tips the whole pushchair over backwards! Disaster! We had bought some 'hangers' to put shopping on the handle but instantly converted those into weight hooks by putting on some of hubbys free weights and clipping to the front under the seats (see picture). That is the only way it won't tip up. A serious (and dangerous) design flaw.
- The shopping bag area is just at the back of each seat. With no storage at all, you need to ideally have one bag filled (yes, it does completely fill it) with the rain cover as you can never trust the British weather! Therefore you only have one small net to put anything in. Remember you can't hang anything on the handles either due to tipping.
- I looked into obtaining a further (string) shopping bag that is slung beneath the 360. Would you believe that the manufacturers charge £18.95 for this fancy bit of string and, to add insult to injury, charge £8 P&P!? I decided to telephone their main supplier around here, Daniel in Windsor, and was shocked that even they pass on the delivery cost to the customer even though you need to go in to the shop to collect the bag. There seems to be something fundamentally wrong with the fact that the supplier says they have to place a £400 order to get it for free delivery and they never need enough to do this. Yes, I was told this on the telephone by the lady I spoke to without having to ask about it at all. A bit too much freedom of information from Daniel's sales assistant. So, no string bag then.
- The footplate is fine - for babies! The toddler struggles to keep her feet on it as we go along due to the angle. She can put her feet on if she sits with her legs curled to one side. Not comfy.
- The handle covering has started to fall apart. It is a black 'sponge' type covering and within 6 months of hardly any use (around 12-15 times it's been out I would guess), great lumps have fallen off of it. When I think about the 360 compared to the Mothercare Urban Detour travel system we bought for toddler, and is now used for baby, there has hardly been any damage to the 'sponge' on that after almost 3 years of use. Poor quality then on the part of the 360.
- The seats are adjusted by a sliding strap. You unclip it completely to lay them flat. Well, by flat that means that baby has her feet kind of in the air as they don't really go properly flat. You can adjust them up to a sitting position but, again, this fails too. At maximum tightness, the seat is still rather inclined backwards so for toddler to get the same effect as her other pushchair, you need to wedge a cushion behind her or between the strap and the chair. With the kind of mechanism employed by the 360, it really should be better as it's hardly rocket science!
- Folding isn't easy. There are strong clips on the side with an added 'pin clip' for safety which is excellent but you have to kind of push the seats all the way forward so they are kind of hanging out before you can fold it. There is a 'catch' to keep it shut but it simply does not work. It is a red, plastic piece and is not strong enough. Having said that, I often cannot close the pushchair enough for the catch to get anywhere near the piece of metal it is supposed to hook onto so, again, fairly pointless. When it does hook on, the minute you pick the pushchair up, it releases and you end up with the pushchair opening up on you which I can confirm causes bruised shins!
I have, as you can imagine, complained to Boots about all of these things very soon after giving the pushchair its first outing. They were less than interested and offered nothing in terms of answers or options.
Take my advice, if you need a double, make sure you go check EVERY one you like the look of. If the shop won't get it in stock for you (as Boots wouldn't) to check, don't buy it!