There is no other stroller like the Austlen Entourage.
When I first saw it at the 2015 Baby Show, I had many concerns. I couldn’t help but think it was trying to do too many things at once; it claimed to be a single and a double stroller, a sit n’ stand, fit babies (one, or twins!) in car seats… and hold cargo too?
The audacity, I tell you.
It looked heavy and cumbersome, and I kept wondering how on earth it would fold – it seemed so giant! I didn’t think anyone would be able to lift it, much less fit it in their trunk. I had concerns about the maneuverability because of the length. Would those tires roll well with all that weight? My list of concerns went on and on…
Certain it would be a dud, I waited to review it.
Then it won the 2015 JPMA Innovation Award for Best in Show, which is no easy feat.
They sent me a sample in the spring. Fine, I thought. I’ll give it a whirl.
…You should know that I take no greater pleasure than sparing my readers from products I think are dumb, overpriced and/or overrated. To the brands, I can sometimes be quite a pest.
So I put it together – it assembled like a breeze – and I gave it a test run. Sure, it pushed well with no kids in it. Pssh. Just wait until I weigh it down with kiddos.
First, I tested it with 6-month-old and 3-year-old weighted dummies. Then I tested it with my real 4- and 7-year-olds (gulp!). I pushed them around. They pushed each other around. I threw everything I had at it: cargo, groceries, luggage, heavy kids… kettlebells.
Much to my surprise, the thing performed!
I have reviewed over 40 double strollers in the past few years, so believe me when I say I know how it compares to others. Let me tell you: I’ve never seen anything like this stroller. Let me remind you that no one pays for reviews on Lucie’s List – these opinions are 100% authentic, grass-fed, organic and all of that.
I know I’ve spoiled the ending a bit, but…
Let us begin.
The basic Entourage comes as a single-kid stroller. You get the frame, the primary seat and the market tote. The main seat lies nearly flat and becomes a bassinet, of sorts, by pulling up a mesh boot and creating a cocoon. Thus, it’s suitable for a newborn without a car seat. The canopy is huge and has a magnetized peek-a-boo window in the back. Note: the main seat can only face forward, though the second seat is rear-facing (only).
The sweeeet leatherette handlebar rotates up and down to accommodate people short and tall.
One thing I haven’t mentioned is how attractive this stroller is. With leatherette handlebars and marle fabric, it’s super duper sleek and exactly what you would expect for this price tag (not all luxury strollers are worth their prices, just saying).
This is the highest weight-rated stroller on the market, with a total weight capacity of 150 lbs. Shizamm! The main seat holds up to 50 lbs, and you can add up to 100 more pounds of cargo + kiddo #2 (max of 65 lbs of cargo and 35 lbs in the second seat). Yes, this thing is a workhorse.
Come to think of it… [enter dream mode]…
If the UPPAbaby Vista and the Keenz Wagon had a one-night stand, the Austlen Entourage would be their love child.
That is all. Moving on…
As you might suspect, the Austlen Entourage is not lightweight. At 32 lbs in singles mode (and 37 lbs in doubles), it’s definitely on the heavier end of the spectrum.
No, this stroller is not for everyone. Meaning, it can’t do all those amazing things and still be lightweight. Specifically, it’s not for suburban parents looking for a stroller for frequent car outings. Ideally, this stroller is kept in the garage or at home and is used to get around the neighborhood.
Furthermore, I would not recommend this to someone with one child (who isn’t expecting another). In my opinion, the weight and capacity would be overkill for just a single child (unless you are someone who schleps a ton of gear around, and then… maybe).
The ideal user is someone who has two kids – or has a toddler and another on the way – and frequently walks to the neighborhood pool, park, sporting practices, farmer’s markets, and other events that require a lot of schlepping of kids’ stuff, food, gear, etc.
It Grows… and Shrinks
The coolest feature of the Austlen Entourage is the ability to add space…and take it away. It’s like the Bugaboo Donkey in this regard, except it gets longer instead of wider.
In its tightest, most compact mode, you get the best maneuverability. Because it’s a tandem, it fits easily through doorways and doesn’t hog up precious space on tight sidewalks. Granted, you’re not going to get the maneuverability you would from a side-by-side, but you do get a much narrower footprint. Let me tell you, pushing a side-by-side stroller into almost any small store or restaurant just feels… wrong, especially in an urban setting. If you can even get it through the door, that is.
Making it Grow
As you expand the stroller, the market tote expands like an accordion (below, right), giving you more space for small and medium-sized items.
The market tote, tho.
It’s a beautifully designed on-stroller diaper bag, of sorts, though it can be removed. It has two internal cup holders and small pockets for your phone and keys.
You could load it up at the market, put the whole thing on the conveyor belt to check out, and then be on your merry way. It’s SO freakin’ COOL!
Love the market tote!
Expanding the stroller also gives you space to add a second seat in the rear, or to make more room to recline one (or both!) seats. It allows you to add cargo, like luggage or picnic gear. A little known feature: expanding the stroller also makes space for an infant car seat (Nuna, Cybex and Maxi-Cosi only) — more on that in a sec.
You can purchase the Cargo Bag, which can hold things like laundry, balls and pool floaties (below). For laundry: fill the cargo bag with laundry, throw in your kid and head down to the laundromat to take care of business. I don’t know any other stroller that can do that.
Physics-wise, the longer you expand it, the harder it is to maneuver. BUT, even at the longest length, it’s really quite easy to steer (way easier than I originally thought, at least).
Seating and Riding Options
The second child options for this stroller are awesome. In the rear, you can add the following appurtenances:
- an infant car seat
- a full-size second seat
- a sit n’ stand seat/riding platform
The engineering of these components is superb. They don’t just work – they work beautifully.
Let’s expand on each (no pun intended), because this is where the real magic happens, IMO.
Infant Car Seat
With the stroller expanded, you can add an infant car seat up top (with adapter, sold separately) and facing rear, which is exactly where you want your baby to be (face-to-face with you!). Not surprisingly, the adapter currently fits only the higher end Euro seats — Nuna, Cybex and Maxi-Cosi. *Coming at the end of July 2017 – adapters for Chicco and Britax (rear adapter only, to start).
In most tandems, the infant seat goes down by your knees, or in the front of the stroller, so I love the placement of the rear infant seat on this stroller.
You can also add an infant seat up front, which allows it to be used for twins (below)!
The second seat can be bought separately for $169. It faces rear and holds up to 35 lbs, so it’s perfect for your littlest. When not in use, it folds out of the way. Furthermore, the stroller can fold with the second seat still attached, which we love! Removing seats to fold a stroller is a huge peeve of mine.
The second seat reclines about halfway – enough for a nap, but not enough for a newborn. For your newborn (0-6 months), you should either put him in the front seat (in fully reclined “bassinet mode”) or get a rear car seat attachment. The second seat comes with a canopy of its own, which is pretty rare for a back seat of a tandem stroller.
Yes, you can recline both seats at the same time in the fully expanded position. Say what? Two kids reclined in a tandem at the same time?? This is another rare and sought-after feature (below).
Sit N’ Stand
The jump seat/standing board is sold separately for $179 and is ideal for your older toddlers and preschoolers who are too cool to ride in a stroller seat, but still need an occasional lift on your longer outings.
The jump seat can be stowed or deployed with one easy motion, so just leave it attached and you won’t have to agonize over taking it on and off every time. Likewise, I love how the stroller folds with the sit n’ stand piece still attached.
The jump seat is for your kiddos who are trustworthy enough to ride in a 3-pt harness (usually around 2.5 or so), up to 50 lbs (roughly 6-years old).
The riding board is located a little off the ground, so you aren’t constantly kicking the back of it, like on most stroller-attached riding boards. It’s the little things like this they really nailed!
For those of you expecting your second, you may be surprised to see your oldest regain interest in being in/on the stroller once you’re strolling around with your baby. Once the baby comes, FOMO sets it and they don’t want to be left out of anything!
Yes, you can absolutely load it up with luggage + a kid in the front seat. In fact, for those of us who get stuck traveling alone with two kids, this stroller is a godsend. When traveling with two, I recommend you put your little one in a baby carrier and your bigger one in the stroller so everyone is contained. It’s like having a stroller + a luggage cart (I’ll spare you the lovechild graphic this time).
My hesitance is about checking a stroller this nice on an airplane, as strollers are “special items” that airlines take no responsibility for damaging, so just… be aware that it might be damaged. I would definitely gate-check it, if at all possible.
Be advised: you won’t be able to gate check this – or any other stroller over 20 lbs, for that matter – on American Airlines.
It doesn’t come with a travel bag, though I would highly recommend getting a generic one that will fit it.
This stroller rolls on 7.25-inch wheels in the front and 10.25-inch wheels in the back. Note: these are NOT all-terrain wheels, though they ride surprisingly well, thanks to shock-absorbing, dual suspension.
This stroller rolls best on paved surfaces, though the front wheels can be locked-out to give you a little more control when rolling over rough terrain. This is not the stroller for people who have gravel, brick, grass, or cobblestones to contend with. For that, you’ll want a legit all-terrain double stroller.
Shut the front door.
I would never recommend bringing a non all-terrain stroller onto the sand – it just doesn’t work with those wheels. But with the beach wheels ($59)… yes you can!! Note: with the beach wheels, you’ll be pulling it backward through the sand — and it’s not super easy… but it’s waaaay easier than most!
Folding and Carrying
The Entourage folds in three steps and definitely requires two hands, so it’s not going to be as convenient as the quick-fold strollers you might be used to. You also have to disconnect the market tote and store it in its “compressed” position to fold.
The folding and unfolding takes practice but, after a while, you’ll get it down pat. Given the size and capabilities of this stroller, the fold is really not that bad. Note: it can stand on its own (on its fenders) after being folded, which is cool. It folds down into a rectangular-shaped package (below)…
and takes up an average amount of space (for a double) in your trunk; you can optimize for space by putting it on its side (below). This is what it looks like in the trunk of my mid-size crossover (Toyota Venza).
Be advised that this is one of the harder strollers to heave into the trunk due to its weight. Thus, it may not be a favorite for petite/slight women or for older grandparents and such.
The easiest way to load this stroller into your trunk (hatchback as well as traditional sedans) is to stand the stroller on its fenders, lock the front wheels so they don’t swivel and wheel the stroller right into your vehicle. Check out the below video for reference.
Austlen Entourage: Bottom Line
This stroller surprised me in the best way. It’s an awesome stroller for active parents of two who need an incredible amount of storage, either for luggage or for recreational gear. It’s like a hybrid between a luggage cart (or wagon) and a luxury convertible stroller. The finishes and build quality are top notch. The options for toting items while shopping are also fantastic.
Because of the weight, it’s perfect for people keeping it at the house or in the garage, though it’s certainly possible to get it into the trunk. It’s not ideal for rough terrain, though it can be done if necessary. It’s great for travel (though not on AA) if you don’t mind the risk of damage.
With the optional second seat, “bassinet mode” in the front, sit n’ stand and dual car seat positions, the riding options are awesome for infants and older children alike, which means you’ll be able to realistically use this stroller for a very long time, which is something I can’t say for most double strollers.
All in all, I think Austlen hit one out of the park with their first stroller. For the price tag, you definitely get the quality you’d expect. Enjoy!
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