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Hands-on Gear Review
Baby Trend Navigator ReviewPrice: $230.00 List | $229.99 at Amazon
Pros: Easier to push and turn, lower price
Cons: Heavy, poor car seat attachment
Bottom line: Good maneuverability for the price but harder to use and very heavy
The Baby Trend Navigator is a side-by-side double jogging stroller. This unique four-wheeled jogger has a budget-friendly price and is easy to maneuver, but that is about all it has going for it, and another Baby Trend stroller is better at both. The Navigator is a cheap feeling double option with small canopies, hard to use recline feature and a storage bin with a surprisingly small maximum allowance of only 5 pounds. Unfortunately for the Navigator, other than accepting two infant car seats, it didn't score as high as the Baby Trend Expedition Double that is easier to push, much lighter, and about $60 less.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Double Strollers of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Baby Trend has been around for about 26 years designing and creating a variety of baby gear items from walkers and bouncers to strollers and car seats. The Baby Trend company goals include making safe and affordable products for parents and children. Baby Trend was the first manufacturer to create a Sit and Stand style stroller and their Diaper Champ diaper pail was the first diaper pail that didn't require brand refills.
This comparison chart shows the overall scores for the double strollers tested in this review.
The information included below details how the Navigator performed during testing for each metric.
Ease of Use
The Navigator earned a 5 of 10 for ease of use tying with the Baby Trend Expedition Double. This is just below average and two points below the Thule Urban Glide 2 and the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie, also jogging style strollers.
Fold and Unfold
The Navigator is a two-handed fold with what Baby Trend calls "trigger action" fold that requires pulling up on dual side release points at the same time. The fold is three steps, has a manual lock, and self-stands. Folding the Navigator is easy, and unfolding is about average compared to the competition. The overall size of the stroller could make unfolding harder for smaller users.
The brakes for this stroller are double action brakes and require pressing two pedals for full parking brake engagement. Setting the brakes is about average and releasing them is difficult. The pedals are very stiff and pulling them up is not sandal-friendly.
The Navigator has an under seat storage bin that spans the width of the stroller. The basket is large and fit our large diaper bag inside, but the maximum weight capacity is only 5 lbs, which means it may not hold supplies for two children. The bin has access from the back and sides, but both have frame bars that prevent unobstructed access.
This stroller also has pockets on the back of each seat, a parents console (above left) and child trays for both passengers (above right). The parent console has two cup holders and a covered center compartment. During testing, taller items did fall from the holders while strolling so parents should use caution when using the cup holders. The child trays both have two cup holders and a snack depression. The cup holders held most test items, but taller items are likely to topple out. Both trays swing out to the side for easy access to the seats.
The Navigator has smaller individual canopies for each seat that lock open and can ratchet forward to block the lower sun or the wind. Both shades have a medium size peek-a-boo window made of mesh with a hook and loop closure. The two canopies here are better than the one on the Baby Trend Expedition Double, but the smaller size is a disappointment compared to the large canopies on much of the competition. When fully open and upright the canopies only provide partial protection from the sun and do not cover to the knee like those found on the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie and the Thule Urban Glide 2.
Both seats have a 5-point harness with a rethread height adjustment that threads through two external loop straps sewn to the seat back for three possible height options. The harness is easy to get on, a little harder to get off, and better than average to adjust for size and height. The crotch strap has only one position, but the length is adjustable. The buckle buttons are stiff and take extra pressure to press, but the straps spring out on their own which is a plus.
Each seat moves independently of the other for individualized comfort, and unlike tandem style strollers each passenger has the same riding experience. The Navigator has a nicely padded leg rest, better than that on the Baby Trend Expedition Double, but it isn't adjustable, and there is a gap before the foot rest. The footrest is wider than the Expedition and made of hard plastic so it should be easy to clean. The seat backs recline using a plastic buckle with a one side adjustable strap length. Operating the buckle requires two hands to use and is stiff compared to the competition. The strap can be a struggle to move, and one hand has to hold the plastic end while the other moves the strap through the plastic threading. Both seats slope back, but not far enough to consider flat or perfect for napping.
Ease of Setup
The Navigator is hard to put together and took us over 15 minutes to assemble. The user manual is poor, and it requires two different tools to complete. You will need a crescent wrench and a Phillips head screwdriver unlike much of the competition that requires no tools. The front wheels are particularly complicated, and we wonder why more of it doesn't come pre-assembled. The manual directions are too simplified, and the illustrations are not that useful.
The Navigator earned a 7 of 10 for maneuverability. The Baby Trend Expedition Double earned an 8 and the other joggers, the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie and Thule Urban Glide 2 both earned 9s. While the Navigator has air-filled rubber tires, the four-wheel design and larger size seem to have hurt its turning capabilities.
This stroller is really wide, and we had trouble fitting it through a 32-inch doorway. It handles okay, but it isn't as nice as the three-wheeled Baby Trend Expedition Double, and the wider width caused trouble in tighter turns and crowded spaces. It is relatively easy to push over the grass and the gravel, but turning on these surfaces was harder than all the other jogging style options in this review. The front wheels will lock in place with the flip of a switch, which helps over uneven terrain and jogging, but it doesn't improve turning which is the real problem here. Going over curbs is also only okay as the heavier weight makes this harder than the lighter strollers we tested.
The Navigator has a stationary handlebar and two wheel front shocks. The sling style seat and padded seat bottom will provide some comfort for passengers, but the all-wheel suspension would really be ideal for comfort, and we think all joggers should offer it. This stroller probably isn't the most comfortable ride for passengers or pushers.
Weight and Folded Size
This Baby Trend stroller is the heaviest double stroller we tested at 39.7 lbs. Given that the Baby Trend Expedition Double is 10 lbs lighter, and both the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie and the Thule Urban Glide 2 are at least 5 lbs lighter, it is hard to justify the added weight that only makes pushing and carrying more challenging.
The Navigator measures at 32.9"W x 19"H x 34.8"L and 21,753 cubic inches when folded. These measurements make it the sixth largest folded product in the review. While neither the largest nor smallest stroller we tested, it does have a thick fold that may be difficult to fit in a standard car trunk.
The Navigator earned a 5 of 10 for quality. This score is better than the other Baby Trend strollers we tested in this review, which we would expect given the higher price tag. However, it isn't as high as other strollers with similar prices, so while the price is likely a factor, it isn't the whole story. The Joovy Scooter X2 is a similarly styled side-by-side stroller that earned a 6.
The materials used on the Navigator have a slight edge over those found on the Baby Trend Expedition Double; the fabric has a tighter weave, the piping is better, the stitching is nicer, and the padded is thicker. The overall fit and appearance are better with solid connections and less flex than the cheaper Expedition. However, it is evident in a side-by-side comparison that this stroller is only average compared to the competition.
Ease of Car Seat Attachment
The Navigator only works with Baby Trend brand car seats, but it will accept two infant seats at the same time. The car seats rely on the child trays for installation, and there are no other adapters available for seats from other brands. The Baby Trend compatible seats include the Flex-Loc, EZ Flex-Loc, EZ Flex-Loc 32, EZ Loc, Inertia, Secure Snap Tech 32 and 35. The seats lock into the tray cup holders with a click sound and face the back of the stroller seats. The stroller canopies can be used in conjunction with the car seats when you move the car seat handle all the way back over the head of the car seat. Installation of the seats also requires using an elastic strap on the sides as a secondary attachment, and we worry parents may forget or choose to skip this step.
The seats are below average for ease of attachment and removal thanks to the second step. Once connected, they don't feel very secure which is a disappointment for a native brand seat that in our opinion should feel like part of the stroller and not an afterthought.
The Navigator would work well for twins because it has equal seating for both children and accepts two infant car seats at the same time. However, this stroller did not score well overall in our tests, and we think there are better options available for most parents depending on their needs. While it is the only jogger that accepts two car seats, it is not advised to jog with children under eight months of age anyway, so it isn't as if you can jog with two infants on board. We think parents are better off choosing a higher scoring stroller even if it doesn't work with two car seats. Alternatives to two infant car seats include baby wearing and one car seat or combining a different double stroller with the Joovy Twin Roo+ car seat frame stroller that accepts a variety of different brand car seats and has a low cost of only $130.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
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