Monday, October 29, 2012

Road Test :: Steelcraft Strider Compact

*Disclaimer: Steelcraft kindly offered us the Strider Compact Pram as a travel pram when they became aware of our family trip overseas to Asia. There was no money exchanged & these honest thoughts are my very own. *

A family holiday overseas is like a wedding. It takes months of planning and when you least expect it, it rolls around and then you’re back home, stuck in the laundry washing tacky $5 souvenir T-shirts. Although l wouldn’t be washing T-Shirts after a wedding, instead l would be getting my gown dry-cleaned. Well you get the general gist!  

I’m rambling already aren’t l? I miss my pool bar.

But enough daydreaming about the pool bar, I’m here to share with you our adventures we had in Hong Kong and Vietnam. 

We weren’t alone in our travels, there was Mr Bambini, Mr 2, Mr 4, Gramps, Granny, yours truly and the Steelcraft Strider Compact. Yes the pram gets a mention as the 7th family member, but only because l spent so much time fussing over it like a small child, hauling it in and out of planes, trains and automobiles, making sure it was safe and sound.

{Mr 2 at Hoi An Market}

In a word – it’s not a travel pram. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fabulous pram for parents who like to go to the park, the supermarket or even on a short day trip. But for lugging around busy airports, hotels, tour buses and train stations it’s not the best thing to have around.

First here are some basics. This pram suits all stages of a child’s growth and development. Optional accessories include a Bassinet, InfantCarrier and a Second seat. We only used the one seat as Mr 4 likes to walk and we only needed the pram for Mr 2 for the big walks. 

The pram actually clips apart in two pieces. There is the sturdy frame that folds down, then the stroller seat is easily released from the frame, thus making two. The pram will not fold down while the stroller seat is still attached. It must be removed. Let me go through the PROS and CONS of our overall experience with the Steelcraft Strider Compact.

{Mr 4 at Hong Kong Disney Land}

PRO:: The stroller seat can face both ways – front and back. Your child can either choose to sleep facing in or face out. Mr 2 mainly faced out, he loves watching the world go by when he is having some down time while on the move.

CON:: That stroller seat was my new BFF. It couldn’t be checked under the plane and was included in my carry on because it wasn’t attached to the pram. So along with the nappy bag, my handbag, the kids backpack l now had one more thing to carry, as well as watch the kids. Although it was fun to use the stroller seat to poke the children with if they weren’t moving fast enough to get to their seat on the plane.

CON:: The stroller frame and the accessory bag had to be placed in giant plastic bags when checked as luggage. This took up extra time with a feeling of the unknown, will we see you at the other end dear pram? Again with the fussing.

PRO :: The stroller seat did fit in the above overhead locker. Yippee!

{Over Head Locker :: Flight from Ho Chi Minh}

PRO :: Loved that the wheels can easily clip off when you need to put it into a small Hong Kong taxi 

CON :: Hated that we had to put one piece of the pram in one taxi and another piece in granny’s taxi. I don’t know if the word compact immediately came to mind in this situation.

PRO :: The pram is FANTASTIC for sleepy children. We loved that the seat has THREE backrest adjustments with pillow and full leg support. The kids really slept soundly while we were out and about.

{Mr 2 having a Catnap!}

CON:: Hated that while Mr 2 was asleep l couldn’t get the pram onto a Hong Kong Peak Tram because it was too big to fit into the carriage. I had to wait at the bottom while everyone went to the view point to take in the Hong Kong scenery. And just a word – there are A LOT of stairs in Hong Kong. A lot…..

PRO :: We loved that the Steelcraft had a sturdy frame. We especially loved it more when Mr 2 got T-Boned by a crazy Vietnamese Cyclist. The frame took a really good beating and didn’t bend or bow. No one was injured. Maybe my pride more than anything, l was the one driving the pram. 

CON :: In Hong Kong they don’t allow prams on the escalators, therefore we had to seek out every lift in town just to get around. If we had a smaller pram we may have been cheeky and risked the escalator.

PRO :: We loved the accessory bag storage system which sat under the pram. We stashed all our sunscreen, bug spray, water and shopping with ease. See picture below. 

{Ready for the day - nappy bag all packed}

CON:: Who ever invented the buckle up system on this pram needs a good talking too! There are 4 separate harness straps with buckles that have to be placed into one giant buckle. This is NOT an ideal system when trying to restrain a back arching, tantrum throwing 2 year old.

CON :: The Steelcraft Strider is not good for using around the streets of Vietnam. The footpaths are non-existent or jammed with bikes or junk, and the option of walking on the road is just too dangerous. A much smaller and lighter pram would have been better to use. But that’s just in my opinion.

PRO :: The pram is the perfect height for wheeling up to tables in restaurants. We hardly asked for a high chair as the pram doubled as one. Yay!

{Walking on the road in Hoi An - footpath not wide enough for us!}

In a nutshell it was hard work lugging around such a large pram. 

I hated checking it in at the airport as it was too big to take through to the boarding gate. It was also hard work getting it into taxi’s and buses and it was just another thing to juggle along with two very excited children. 

It’s not the pram’s fault, it’s just that it’s not suitable for this location. On the flip side it was GREAT for the kids to sleep in and for storing their bits and pieces. 

I won’t take this travelling again but l will use it to walk up to the shops and maybe pop into a cafĂ©, although like l said, the frame is rather large and not suitable for small spaces.

{Take me home...}

 **We never used the arm bar, rain cover, mesh sun shield or boot cover – it was just more stuff to carry in my mind. I’m sure these extras will come in handy when we are just cruising around our neighbourhood.**


  1. Totally agree. I have a Compact and personally "Compact" is not the name i would give it. Its still quick heavy and big. I love that it feel strong and it steers nicely & is good for shopping and naps, but is terrible to get in and out of cafes and restaurants etc coz its just so damn big. I have a big car and because you have to seperate the two parts it takes up my whole boot. And the buckle is just dumb!
    The capsule attachment is handy but forget ever putting another adult in the front seat of your car because the capsule is so deep that you have to slide the front seat almost all the way forward just to fit the capsule in!
    The other thing i dont like is that Steelcraft havent brought out any accessories for it (ie snack tray for kids, drink holder for parents, padded wheeled travel bag etc).
    I like it, but i'm unsure if i'd buy the same pram if i had my time again.

  2. Hello,
    The above described steelcraft strider compact is too good in quality and is very appropriate for all the babies. Thank you for sharing this awesome article.

  3. Thanks for the review, I found it while searching for a travel bag for the pram (is there one out there?) I have a compact pram and you are right the name is not correct, but I still love it. The hood is its best feature, so large everyone is jealous. The pram does fold down as one unit though, you do not have to split it into two.



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