Bugging Out

My Love For My Bugaboo Frog Strollerbugaboo-4

  • What: Bugaboo Frog Stroller
  • Why: Easy one handed push, excellent on all terrain
  • Where: Secondhand, unless you want to pay full price

I’m one of those people, who walked by Bugaboo strollers for sale outside stores and thought, “Who on earth pays that much for a stroller?” Who indeed? Now that I own a Bugaboo, I almost understand.

I’ve been on a quest for the perfect stroller since I was pregnant with my first child. I constantly oogled any and all strollers I spotted when out and about, and ran home and looked them up. I haunted craigslist in hopes of finding some of my favorites for less than retail price. And one day, I drove to check out a secondhand Bugaboo Frog.

Bugaboo doesn’t even make the Frog model anymore. It’s been replaced by the extremely popular Cameleon. I’ve never owned or used a Cameleon, so I can’t be one hundred percent certain, but I think the major difference was the Frog featured a two-wheel mode for improved snow or sand handling.

The Frog I went to see was orange and navy – which just happened to be the colors I’d chosen for the nursery. When we collapsed it and removed the wheels, it not only fit into the trunk of my New Beetle, but also into the practically non-existent trunk of my husband’s convertible. Sold. That had been my main requirement back before my first child was born, as I had high hopes of using my front seat for an actual person instead of a stroller and even umbrella strollers were too long to fit into my trunk.

I bought it for about half the retail price, including an extra fabric frame. If you’re not familiar with the Bugaboo brand, the stroller comes with the wheel base, a fabric frame, fabric shade, bassinet fabric, bumper bar, and seat fabric. The fabric hangs from the fabric frame, so the added benefit to an extra fabric frame is that you don’t have to remove the bassinet to install the seat and vice versa. The previous owner purchased new seat fabric and an additional new sunshade to sell the stroller, so everything was in excellent condition.

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My Bugaboo Frog in bassinet mode

She had also purchased the Bugaboo used, so this one stroller has been through at least five kids now (the original owner, the person I purchased it from, and my three kids). It’s still going strong, and I suspect I could easily sell it for at least half of what I paid six plus years ago, especially since we’ve added a travel bag for airline travel, as well as a rain cover (which I never actually used despite our extremely rainy weather – see my thoughts on the blanket shade combo instead).

I love the Frog’s handling of any terrain. I wanted a stroller that wouldn’t get stuck on every tiny bump in the sidewalk, and I got a stroller that can handle snow and in a pinch, sand. (My husband tried it once just to see.) With the additional of our Bugaboo ride on board (which I also got secondhand but only at a $5 discount of retail price), it has carried my first two children for four years and now my third and one other child (it varies who rides on the board – they still fight over it at ages six and four) for two more years.

The Frog handles so well with one hand, and has such great shocks for any terrain that it has almost ruined me on other strollers that don’t handle as well. I can’t stand a stroller that requires me to push with both hands. Even back in the day when I hauled only one child through the airport, I needed my other hand for bags and suitcases and opening doors. Unfortunately, most reviews and descriptions don’t include how well a stroller handles with one hand, so you have to find a model in the store to test drive or go try it out secondhand to know.

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My Bugaboo Frog in seat mode

The seat has three set positions for reclining: upright, reclined, and flat. It’s super simple to switch between the positions even with a sleeping child inside, without disturbing the child. The sun shade is good enough that with the addition of a blanket I don’t need any additional weather protection, but the big thing it’s missing? A peek-a-boo window so I can see my child when the seat faces the front.

I love the switching handle bar, which means without removing my child I can go from the big air-filled tires in the back to the the air-filled tires in the front. You can also attach the seat and the bassinet in either direction: facing you or facing out. I loved walking with my oldest facing me. I could hear him better and we had more conversations about what we saw during our walks. Switching the handle easily means that regardless of where the sun shines, I can make sure it isn’t in my child’s eyes. Switching the seat direction, however, requires you to remove your child first.

The Frog came with a bag hook that slides onto the continuous handlebar. Depending on your preference, the continuous handlebar could be an issue. I bought my stroller first so I made sure my diaper bags had straps or hooks that worked with the handlebar. I find the bag hook so useful I’ve considered getting a second one, but never actually did that. I invested in the Toogli hooks that fit all strollers instead.

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My Bugaboo Frog on super bumpy terrain in the middle of a field

I also use the included cup holder for sippy cups regularly. I put the cup holder inside the stroller wheel base bar, because otherwise it bumped into some narrow doorways. But in that position you can’t recline the seat, so I end up switching it whenever I want to recline the seat, which doesn’t happen often. But it’s a fast switch without a lot of effort. You will also have to adjust the angle of the cup holder regardless of which side it hangs off (inside or out) if you want to reverse the handlebar direction.

What I don’t love about the Frog is folding it. Bugaboo has a two-piece system, the wheel base and the seat or bassinet that clicks into place. While attaching the seat or bassinet to the wheel base is super easy, folding the wheel base itself gets more complicated. (The fabric frame is a flat two dimensional rounded rectangular shape, so there’s no need to fold the seat or bassinet – both just compress the cloth flat). I can rarely fold the wheels without dumping the storage basket, which irritates me.

For our extra small non-family car trunk space, as well as airline travel, we generally had to remove the tires as well. It’s super easy to remove and attach the wheels,but you end up with four different pieces: the wheel base, fabric frame with seat attached, and two wheels.

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Out and about with my Bugaboo Frog

Speaking of storage, I can cram a lot of things underneath because of the long cloth sides that come up and cinch, but it’s nowhere near the capacity of some strollers.

The hand brake is another issue for me. It’s easy enough to use once you know how, but it’s not at all intuitive for anyone who’s ever used my stroller, including me. I almost broke the brake beyond repair trying to figure out how to release it.

Bugaboo now makes a bassinet stand for their Cameleon model, which didn’t exist for my Frog. That means you can use the bassinet without the wheels, increasing the value. I would have definitely used that instead of my Moses basket stand with my second and third kids, so I wish it had been an option then.

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My Bugaboo Frog with Child Seat Facing Me

The Bugaboo does not offer any additional child-carrying capacity beyond the ride on board, so you can’t add an extra seat down the road once your family grows. You can add the board, which comes with a seat now, but I still would’ve liked the option to expand the stroller itself without upgrading to the ridiculously wide and expensive Donkey side-by-side model.

If you’re looking for a stroller you don’t need to fold often but can handle all terrains, both rural and urban, the Bugaboo Frog (and now Cameleon) provides a great option, especially if you can score one below retail price. But looking back, I think there are better choices, including the Uppa Baby Vista, which is comparable but has more expanding rider capacity as well as a lower starting price. When I shopped secondhand, Uppa Baby had very few used models out there because of the newness of the brand, which is no longer the case.

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