Owing to the fast growth of air pollution, biking is gaining popularity these days. Apart from zero-emission, biking offers good maneuverability in urban areas. If you happen to have toddlers, it may not always be possible to leave your child at home (although for safety reasons, it is advisable to) when you have to go out for biking. Bike trailers for cycling with children can be one of the most useful cycling accessories available in this scenario.
Given the number of options available, it can be overwhelming sometimes to pick the right one on your budget. The trailer components like adjustable suspensions, frame, wheel’s size, and positioning will make a whole lot of differences when it’s the question about the comfort of the passenger. So, let’s dig in to find the best bike trailer to suit your little travel companion.
What to Consider When Buying Bike Trailer For Kids
Apart from standard bike trailers, there are convertible type strollers which can be turned into 3 or 4 wheeled strollers, joggers, and even ski strollers. Such trailers with options for upgrading can serve different purposes when needed. Be pragmatic about the activities of your trailer when planning to purchase.
Do You Need a Single Trailer Or Double Trailer?
Now, the size and accommodation of the trailer is the primary concern of many parents. If you have a single child but plan to have another soon then you should buy the double trailer because you can always carry a single kid in a double trailer.
But one thing should be considered here is the fact that extra room of a double trailer comes at a cost of steering capability of the trailer. Besides, the maximum weight capacity of a double trailer may not be sufficient for transporting both of your children. Expensive trailers may have 45 KG maximum weight capacity where cheaper ones may have 36 KG.
For maximum comfort, a true bench-type seat firmly attached to the frame of the trailer is preferable. It offers leg-room to stretch. The cheap trailers provide hammock-style seats where a thick piece of fabric is suspended across the frame with no room for leg stretching. When you have two passengers, a double trailer with a bench-type seat is highly recommended. But those trailers are expensive.
Do You Want To Use The Trailer For More Than Just Biking?
Some parents want to use their trailers as joggers as well. You can choose a trailer which suits both activities. Some trailers offer more options like cross country skiing and fat biking. But you shouldn’t get carried away by those options as they will cost you extra. So, if the standard trailer is sufficient for you then stick to it.
How Much Storage Space Do You Need?
When you are commuting with your trailer, little extra storage will come in handy. As parents, you have to carry additional things like diapers, toys, napkins, snacks and many more…! Within the permissible maximum weight capacity, you can carry other stuff like groceries too. But as mentioned earlier, the bigger the trailer, the harder to maneuver.
Do You Plan To Ride In Inclement Weather?
If you are regularly riding in unpleasant weather, invest some extra time and attention inspecting the trailer you have planned to buy. There are a lot of companies claiming their product to be weatherproof but the end result can be disappointing sometimes. Also, the bottom of the trailer is important because mud splashing from the road will wet it if it is made of fabric like canvas.
Rain is not your only enemy when you are on the trail. Long exposure to sunny weather can be troublesome for a toddler. The UPF window, sunshade, and mesh-covered ventilation window will help this situation.
Are You Going To Be Riding Up Hills?
The terrain you plan to ride through with your bike is crucial for the trailer as well as the bike itself. If the bumpy and difficult mountain trail is in your mind, don’t forget to evaluate the suspension system for the road. The built-in suspension system will be much easier for you to tow and your baby will get a smooth, comfortable ride. The leaf suspension system is not suitable for mountain roads.
The correct size of the trailer’s wheel is also vital. The smaller the wheel, the bumpier the ride. The wheels with 20- inch diameter will be the best fit. To improve the performance over sand or snow, some models offer additional accessory wheel kits. In order to securely attach the trailer to your bike on rough terrain, a hitch adapter is the only thing to do the job and hence make sure it is strong enough for the task to avoid accidents. Normally this is not much of an issue, but if you have any doubts consult an expert.
A good mountain bike trailer is lightweight but strong and can be fitted to any bike, regardless of axle type or width and has low rolling resistance. It has to be stable too.
But if you are less adventurous and want occasional commuting on a paved road in an urban area, a suspension system is not very important but it will make the journey more comfortable for sure. If you reside in a hilly area where roads are paved, the weight of the trailer can be problematic during going up in serious incline. A lightweight and durable trailer is the solution.
How Old Is Your Child or Baby?
It is not safe to ride the bike trailer for the child less than 1 year. Before that period, the infant’s neck does not grow strong enough to handle the vibration of the trailer. Although, the trailer can be safely used as a stroller for a baby as young as 6 weeks old. A baby insert is required for such cases and it can be used until your child is 6 months old. Not all the models are fashioned with baby insert. If you have one then it can be used as a stroller and a bike trailer later on.
Most of the trailers are designed for children under 2 years. For a child, over 2 years extra interior space would be needed. Some models offer larger storage than others.
As mentioned earlier, sunshades and rain covers are quite essential accessories for the bike trailer. Although, it is not wise to move outside in bad weather conditions, there is always a chance that you might get caught in the rain, no matter how good the weather was when you started. Besides, you might enjoy a little bit of sunshine but it could be intolerable for a young child. A mesh cover will keep the insects away.
Easy to fold trailer can be rather convenient for transporting the trailer to the trails you want to explore. You can put it inside your car without much trouble. It will save a little more space in your storage space, too. But even after folding; they will occupy a large space. Nonetheless, it’s a nice option for the people living in a small apartment
The fact about wheels is that the wheel with a short diameter will lurch more than the wheel with a long diameter. The width of the wheel is also important. The wider wheels will provide extra grip over sand or gravel trails or forest service roads. Although it will be harder to pull a large wide wheel, it is essential for mountain or beach areas.
Ideal wheels for mountain bike trailers would be of 20 inch diameter and have metal rims and spokes. Some budget trailers have plastic wheels and you should avoid them.
What’s Your Budget?
If you have started to explore the market already, you will find that there is a huge price difference among the trailers and it’s obvious that their quality will also differ. For the top range product, you have to spend more. But there is a middle ground where you can utilize your budget more efficiently by carefully identifying your requirements. You will be able to save some cash then.
The price range would vary from something like $100 to over $1,000. The cheaper trailers are available with plastic wheels but they won’t last long. You will lose money rather than saving if your trailer breaks apart after a few weeks from purchase. Besides, there are safety concerns and surely you don’t want to have an accident while you are riding with your youngster.
You can’t expect much durability or comfort from $100 trailers. But if you occasionally ride with your child on a paved bike path then those trailers should suffice.
For high-end trailers, all the desirable features like suspensions, durable fabrics, good ventilation, large storage, and other perks are available. For most of the parents, the products lying in the middle of this price spectrum are preferable.
If you are an enthusiast then it’s likely that you will be tempted to purchase accessories such as conversion kits (i.e. ski conversion kit), lights, storage covers, and other upgrades. For experiencing the true versatility of a high-end trailer sometimes it is justified.
But your expenditure over a pricey trailer won’t be justified if you throw it away after 1 or 2 years. You should try to sell it in good condition to another family or use it as a bicycle carrier when your kids have no use for it. So, it’s important to plan ahead for how long you are going to use it and then invest in it. There are plenty of options available you can choose from.
Best Bike Trailer For Kids
Thule Chariot Cross Sport Stroller
If money isn’t an issue and you want the best, this is the thing for you. The Thule Chariot Cross costs over $1000 and it comes with all the exciting and practical conversion kits and options for upgrading to intrigue an outdoor enthusiast. It is custom-designed for four activities: biking, jogging, strolling, and skiing.
The biking and strolling kits are included with the new trailer and you have to purchase the rest of them. The adjustable leaf spring suspension can be adjusted according to the weight of the passenger for a smooth ride. The padded seat is one-handed reclining for on the go sleep, comfortable and completely removable for cleaning purposes. The Versa wing technology allows you to turn it from stroller to trailer quickly and easily. You can also fold it for storing purposes.
Other accessories available for upgrading are cup holder, single stroller organizer, infant sling and sleeping bag. It’s proven to be completely waterproof with its rain cover and side covers give UPF 50 sun protection. For safety, there are battery operated rear lights, a toll orange flag and reflectors.
- Maximum comfort ensured by spring suspension and reclining seat.
- Weatherproof (for both rain and sun)
- Multiple utility
- Added safety features
- Various practical accessories
- Padded and reclining seat
- Weatherproof (for both rain and sun)
- With the rain cover on, the temperature increases inside
- During strolling, the front wheel gets stuck occasionally
Burley Design Bee, 2 Seat, Lightweight, Kids Bike-Only Trailer
The Burley Bee is a simple, single-function trailer but it is worth every penny it costs. It is the best trailer for you if you are tight on budget. The hitch of the trailer is rather easy to attach to your bike. The Bee bike trailer is essential for family adventure and the great thing is it won’t hurt your pocket. It’s tough and includes all the primary safety features like wheel guard protection, safety flag, and five-point harness system. The generous interior space is fashioned with interior pockets. The tinted side windows protect your child from UV lights and seat fabric is waterproof. The rain cover keeps the inside dry. It’s super light-weight, large cargo space and it comes with a rain cover which functions well.
There is not much padding in the seat and harness. As it’s designed to perform only as a trailer, there is no additional attachment. The foot resting area is prone to damage. However, it’s a solid trailer.
- Enormous interior space
- Large interior space
- Wheel kit available for snow, sand, and gravel
- No attachment
- Minimum padding in seats
- Single functionality
- Footrest area gets damaged easily
Schwinn Joyrider, Echo, and Trailblazer Child Bike Trailer
Another great choice for frugal parents. This company has been around for a long time and probably you had a Schwinn trailer as a kid. The trailer has a unique and pragmatic design for a stroller or a trailer when needed. There are universal couplers for easy attachment, five-point harnesses with shoulder patch, the rear window for ventilation, bug screen and weather shield option, and safety flag. The most satisfying thing is its wheels which are metal made and tough. This is very rare in this price range. For a double trailer, the maximum weight capacity is 36 kg for passengers and 5 kg for extra luggage. The frame can be collapsed and wheels can be removed for easy storage.
- Metal wheel
- Weight capacity
- Folding option
- Stroller option
- Plastic smell when unwrapped. Put it in the open air before riding for the first time
- No suspension
Instep Quick-N-EZ Double Tow Behind Bike Trailer, Converts to Stroller/Jogger
Instep Quick-N-EZ Double Tow Behind Bike Trailer: This is one of the cheapest yet functional for the parents with limited activity in mind. The wheel rim and spokes are made of plastic. Inside, there is a lot of space that can easily accommodate two kids with extra luggage. It can also be used as a jogger stroller. The suspension system is not available and the bench type seats tend to sag toward the middle.
- Spacious interior
- No suspension
- Weather shield is not waterproof
- Plastic wheel is failure-prone
- Seats are not comfortable
Allen Sports Deluxe Steel Child Trailer
Allen Sports Deluxe Steel: it’s one of the classic trailers that won’t cost you much. With a large opening in the front and two side windows, the ventilation inside the trailer is pretty well. It’s very lightweight and hence it’s very easy to pull. Allen sport is a jogger stroller, too.
Despite being cheap, it has metal wheels of 20-inch diameter. When folded, it becomes very compact. The trailer includes removable rain and bug shield along with a footbar to protect the feet of your children. Because of its universal coupler, it’s simple and quick to install it to the rear of your bicycle.
There are also lots of safety features like reflectors, flag with a flag pole and five-point safety harnesses
- Less weight
- Safety features
- Easy to install
- Good ventilation
- Metal wheel
- Less cargo space
- Less padding on the seat
- No suspension
Burley Honey Bee, 2 Seat Kids Bike Trailer & Stroller
This is another stroller cum trailer for two kids from Burley Bee. you don’t have to change anything whether you use it as a trailer or stroller. But be sure to remove the safety flag pole, when you are using it as a stroller because it might hurt your face. The handlebar for pushing is adjustable. The cargo space is on the rear side of the trailer. It is collapsible and has the wheel bumper guides to absorb impact force.
- Adjustable stroller arm
- Sizable inside space
- Backside cargo space for extra luggage
- Seat belt buckle is hard to reach
- Adjustable handle slips sometimes
- Plastic front wheel can be noisy
Thule Coaster XT Cycle-Stroll Trailer
This Thule trailer is an inexpensive version. It comes with a bicycle and a stroller kit. The trailer is attached to the bike by its patented ez Hitch. For strolling mode, the adjustable handle is convenient. During trailer mode, the front wheel can be stored onboard easily. The maximum weight capacity is like 45 kg and there is plenty of space inside. It can be folded to a compact size.
- Can be converted from stroller to trailer easily
- Secure hitch joint
- Adjustable stroller handle
- High weight capacity
- Sunshade is basic and no UPF rating
- No suspension
- Sometimes ventilation can be inadequate
Instep Bike Trailer for Kids, Single and Double Seat
This tow-behind bike trailer is highly economic. Enough space and maximum weight capacity of 36 kg makes it ideal for a double trailer. The folding frame design and quick-release wheel are very convenient features in order to assemble, storing or transporting the trailer. The wheels are made of plastic and pneumatic tires. The 2-in-1 canopy protects the passenger from both bugs and weather. This trailer is designed for only the bike with a wheel size of 26-inch or smaller.
- Easy to attach to the bike
- Enough room
- Plastic wheels
- No suspension
- Not suitable for all bikes
Is a Trailer The Best Option For Your Family?
The trailer is not the only option to accompany your youngster while you are riding. A bike seat or a cargo bike is worth considering depending on your priorities. Let’s discuss the issue elaborately on the following paragraphs
- Trailers vs Bike Seats: although the trailers are safer options, some parents prefer bike seats (especially the front-mounted one) over a trailer. It is because a parent can interact with the child while riding. The bike seat is also lighter than the trailer. You can more easily maneuver with a bike seat rather than a trailer behind your bike.
But the trailers are more likely to protect your baby in case of an accident as it acts like a roll-cage where bike seats offer no protection. In some models, hitch joints prevent the trailer from tipping over when the bike falls on the ground Also, it’s rather inconvenient for both passengers and the rider if the passenger starts to doze. During that, the child leans to the comfortable side and you lose the balance.
- Trailer vs Cargo Bike: it’s another awesome alternative to the trailer. But it tends to be more extravagant than the trailer. If you are a regular commuter and can afford it, you should go for it.
Bike Trailer Pros:
- Convertible trailers can be used as a skiing
- Cheaper than the cargo bike
- Can accommodate more than one child
- Can carry gears and other necessary stuffs in addition to child
- Relatively safe for children in case of an accident.
Bike Trailer Cons:
- The weight of the trailer can be hard to tow in a difficult terrain
- Costly (bike seats are more affordable)
- Hard to watch or communicate with your kid while you are paddling looking in front.
Frequently Ask Question on Bike Trailer For Kids
What Age Can a child goes in a bike trailer?
At least a one-year-old child should ride a trailer. Although some trailers have baby inserts, it still is not safe for a younger kid whose neck is not fully developed.
Are Kid Bike trailers safe?
Generally speaking, yes. There is no major threat to an age-appropriate child riding a trailer.
Do kids need helmets in bike trailers?
Although the trailers have seat belts, it is better to put a helmet over your kid’s head.
What is a safer bike trailer or child seat?
The Bike trailer is a safer option. Because, when the parent tips over, the bike trailer will protect the child. On the other hand, if the parent crashes, the passenger on the bike seat will fall, too and there is no safety other than the helmet.
Is vibration safe for babies?
For a child less than 1 year, it is not safe. But more mature children are safe unless there is any special pre-existing medical condition.
How do kid’s bike trailers attach to bikes?
The hitch joints are used to attach the trailer to the bike. But not every hitch will work with every bike. The steel hitch adapter is clamped to the rear quick-release skewer and for that, it needs a flat surface large enough on the bike’s frame dropout area. The bike with flat dropout is more compatible than the one with a Breezer type dropout that has a protruding hood.
It’s a nice plan to go out with your kid on a sunny day and a bike trailer can make those memories more interesting. Biking is also a healthier choice for yourself. But you should keep in mind that choosing the appropriate trailer can be the difference between enchanting family memories and a strong predicament.
There are competitors for nearly every budget and requirements and it can be advantageous if you are patient and meticulous about what you need. The common things to consider are: the nature of your trail, your desired activities, the frequency of your travel and for how long you want to use it. However, this is about your family, not some hardcore business deal. So, whatever makes you and your kids smile and keep them safe, go for it.
Additional Resources: Best Front Baby Bike Seat For Your Baby or Child