Whether you'll be traipsing up hill, down dale or just popping to the local shops with your baby but prefer the sporty look of an all-terrain pushchair (ATP), we've picked out some of the best.
These rugged buggies are purpose-built to cope with rough ground, from muddy rural pathways to sand and snow. They're the 4x4s of the pushchair world and although, just like their car counterparts, they're not the most compact or cheapest choices, they do tend to be built to last and hold their value on the second hand market well.
Things to consider when shopping:
The larger air-filled wheels typical of ATPs can be prone to occasional puncturing – keep a small puncture kit and pump in the pushchair's shopping basket just in case.
Even the most hardened country hiker has to go into town sometimes. Check before buying that the pushchair is manoeuvrable through shops too – give it a test run around the nursery store. Some ATPs only have fixed rather than swivel wheels - watch out with these as they make turning in smaller spaces harder. The ideal is wheels which are lockable – you can choose swivel or fixed depending on where you are.
ATPs tend to be bigger than standard pushchairs so aren't ideal if your car boot is very compact (check it'll fit before handing over that credit card). This can be problematic too if you use public transport a lot (other passengers won't thank you when your 4x4 of a buggy is taking up the entire train or bus aisle...)
If you're a frequent car user perhaps look for a pushchair which you can attach a compatible car seat to. This means you can transfer your baby between car and buggy with minimal disturbance.
If you're buying for a newborn, you'll need a comfortable, supportive seat which reclines flat or nearly flat (unless you can add a carrycot instead). Even for older babies and toddlers ,a seat recline is valuable for naps.
Check there's enough storage space – some ATPs are short on this and don't have shopping baskets.
Look for handles which are either adjustable or at an appropriate height for you and your partner.
A decent, sturdy brake that's easy to engage is especially important here if you'll park the pushchair mid hill trek!
OutnAbout Nipper, single version £219.95, double £357.95, www.outnabout.com
One kid or two, the Nipper is our top pick among ATPs. Both the single and double versions are pleasingly lightweight, a doddle to push, and offer good levels of comfort for babies and toddlers alike, thanks to excellent suspension and supportive reclinable seats.
The double is especially impressive – pushing two children over uneven ground is not an easy task but the Nipper makes light work of it and is a fantastic all-rounder for parents with a baby and toddler or twins.
Good for: Pretty much everything!
Not so good for: Parents who'd prefer a carrycot for their newborn - this isn't an option but the seat does recline fully flat.
Mountain Buggy Swift, £400, www.mountainbuggy.com
New model for 2010 from respected New Zealand based all-terrain pushchair company Mountain Buggy. Like its predecessors, the Swift is extremely sturdy and well made. It weighs in at 9.5kg – quite good for a pushchair of this type – and is certainly manoeuvrable enough for use around town. It's also relatively narrow, making it easy to get through smaller spaces, be they gates on a country hike or shop aisles.
There's the option of adding a carrycot (although the seat does recline flat if you don't want to splash out extra for one), or a car seat so you can make up a travel system.
Good for: Town or country use and parents wanting a travel system ATP.
Not so good for: Those on a tight budget – it's not the cheapest to start with and accessories such as a raincover cost extra.
Phil &Teds Hammerhead, £399.95, www.philandteds.com
Even the name sounds tough – the Hammerhead is the latest pushchair from Phil&Teds, hitting the UK later this month. It follows the inline single/double formula the company is best known for but has four wheels rather than their usual three. Two large pneumatic ones at the rear combine with two at the front, creating a comfortable ride for your baby and manoeuvrability for you, no matter what terrain you're tackling.
The real stand out feature though is its flexibility – as with other Phil&Teds pushchairs, you can add the doubles kit when you have a second child, and then take it away again once your older one can walk full time.
Good for: Expanding families who like to venture off-road.
Not so good for: Curious babies who might not like the obscured view in the rear seat when it's in doubles mode. Also it weighs in at a hefty 12.5kg.
Micralite Superlite, £149.95, www.micralite.com
The Micralite is a bit like one of those small 4x4 cars - it's noticeably smaller and not for very serious off road use but it does still manage well on uneven paths, snow, mud or sand, especially if you tip it onto the two bigger wheels at the back. We've included it because it's an ideal compromise for parents who aren't going climbing mountains every weekend but need a pushchair with all-terrain capabilities now and then. And it's incredibly light at just 6kg, so perfect for travel too.
Good for: Parents wanting a lightweight pushchair for occasional 'off-road' use which doesn't cost an Everest-sized fortune.
Not so good for: Longer hiking trips. It's not for newborns either - the seat can be used for babies from three months onwards, although even then you might want to add a sheepskin for extra support and comfort.
Babyjogger City Elite, £379.99,
The name might include the word City but this is very much an ATP, thanks to cushioning suspension and three large air-filled wheels. The front one can be fixed in position to make tackling rough ground easier, or set to swivel for efficient turning.
It's well-thought out in other ways too, with everything a parent and baby needs – from the extra-supportive and padded reclining seat to the easy-to-use fold mechanism and adjustable height handlebars.
There's also plenty of storage space for stashing your and the baby's stuff - we love the optional 'parent console' at the back, complete with drinks holder.
Good for: Comfort for your little one - they won't feel every lump and bump they go over in this.
Not so good for: At nearly 12kg, it's heavier than some of its competitors.
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