When you’re a parent of twins, nearly every outing can be made easier with a stroller… however, the hassle of lugging a cumbersome, heavy piece of equipment for every trip is enough to deter even the strongest from ever leaving home. Fear not, y’all! A double umbrella stroller may just be the answer to your prayers.
We are loving the Joovy’s TwinGroove Ultralight double umbrella stroller for its build quality, smart storage, large canopies, and attainable price. For city dwellers: the TwinGroove has a nice shoulder carry strap, which is great if you know you’ll have to take stairs to access subways and trains. It also meets Disneyland/Disney World size requirements.
The TwinGroove comes in modern colors — turquoise, charcoal, and black — and is made of high-quality, water resistant fabric.
Seats, Canopy, & Storage
With an almost-flat recline, the TwinGroove can be used from newborns up to 50 lbs (per seat), with a total weight capacity of 100 lbs. This means a fairly long lifespan, especially for twin parents.
Note about the seats: they aren’t terribly big (or tall for that matter) — about average for an umbrella stroller — so while it may technically hold 50 lbs (the weight limit on most is 35-40 lbs), you are still limited by the size of the seats. Translation: older, heavier kids might not actually fit very well, but…. it’s good to know they can squeeze in if they need to without breaking it, especially after a long day at Disney or after a late-night flight.
Each seat has an individual calf rest, so infants and young toddlers can lie flat. For newborns, you can whip out the “infant mesh boot” (shown below, left), which creates a safe, enclosed area for the smallest of babies.
The 5-point harness (below) is toddler proof but easily opened with one hand by an adult. The interior mesh pockets are great for those can’t-live-without toys or sippy cups (self service!). Start delegating those duties early, moms. You’ll thank me later.
The UPF 50 canopies are definitely on the larger side, especially for an umbrella; they are almost as large as those on the UPPAbaby G-Link, though not as large as on the newer Maclarens. Each canopy features a plastic peek-a-boo window with a Velcro closure.
As umbrellas go, the under storage baskets are pretty generous (below). I was able to shove my over-stuffed diaper bag on one side and a small cooler bag under the other. The baskets are only accessible from the rear, and there’s a 5-pound limit for each, though I’m fairly certain I’ve gone over that with no problem.
Bonus: anything extra can hang off the handles without risking a tip-over (unless your kids aren’t sitting in it—then all bets are off!).
What I really love are the storage pockets and cup holders on the back. Two zippered pockets can easily hold a large wallet or snacks (Mama gets hungry and thirsty too!), while the cup holders (one for the parent and one on the back of each seat) work great for keys, phones, toys, and water. It’s these conveniences that most umbrella strollers usually lack, especially the economy ones.
The handles are coated in foam and turned inward, so they are easy to grasp. Note: like all umbrella strollers, you’ll need two hands to push and steer it.
The seats can easily be reclined by pulling on the cord. However, the un-reclining is a bit more tedious, requiring two hands and a bit of finagling — definitely not our favorite in that regard.
Size, Weight, Wheels, & Fold
At 30″ wide, the TwinGroove fits through standard doorways and handicapped accessible aisles. It also has a very compact umbrella-style fold (measuring 15″ x 30″ x 13″). The carry strap is adjustable so your partner can get his large man-arms through it.
The weight of the stroller is 26 lbs, which is smack dab in the middle of the weight spectrum of other double umbrellas, and definitely far lighter than most regular (non-umbrella) double strollers. After all, that’s the beauty of the umbrella!
Ok, the wheels… the Twin Groove has three sets of wheels. This allows it to maneuver better than, say, the G-Link. On the downside, the back-middle wheels might impede the stride of a taller parent. The other downside to three sets of wheels is three. separate. brakes. Yes, you must engage them all separately (to be on the safe side). Not a deal-breaker, just an FYI.
The TwinGroove’s wheels have the option to lock or swivel, and all have suspension, which makes the stroller easier to maneuver on bumpy roads or sidewalks.
The TwinGroove has your typical umbrella “Maclaren-style” fold. First: lock all three wheels. Next: kick up the two locking levers at rear of the stroller. Next: step down on the folding mechanism on the side. Finally: push handles forward and down until stroller is locked shut. It’s a two-handed operation and takes about 15 seconds or so. This might not be the most “sandal or barefoot friendly” stroller to fold, but few umbrellas are.
If you lock the wheels, it’s easy to store this stroller upright against a wall (nope, it’s not self-standing).
Bottom line: The TwinGroove is verrrry similar to the high-quality Maclaren Twin Triumph and UPPAbaby G-Link strollers, but for about $150+ less (and it can sometimes be found on sale). It’s much lighter and less clunky than the Chicco Echo Twin. We love the storage, the seats, the build quality, the longevity of use, and the conveniences you don’t get with other umbrellas (all those cupholders and pockets!). We don’t love the un-reclining mechanism, the three separate brakes, or the wheels in the back that might impede the stride of a tall parent… But those are fairly minor points. Looking at the pricing and features compared to other double umbrellas, the TwinGroove Ultralight gives you a good bang for your buck and top-notch, U.S.-based customer service.