Hey! We are back after some lengthy summer travel to tell you about the awesome lightweight double stroller that hauled our toddler and baby through four packed airports, tons of city sights, a barely-paved walking trail, a sandy beach, countless restaurants and everything in between – the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite (Amazon.com link).
Note: Like all products we review here on HomeUpgraded, our Joovy double is something we bought ourselves and have put through extensive use before writing about it. Everything in this article is our own research and opinions.
Joovy Caboose double stroller at a glance
The Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite is a lightweight (22 lbs), compact double stroller that seats two children. Our kids are two years apart and this stroller was perfect for us.
The forward-facing kid (our 10 month old baby, in our case) gets a snack tray and padded seat with a 5-point harness. The rear-facing kid (our almost-3-year-old toddler) can either sit on a padded seat with a 3-point seatbelt or stand on the platform.
Note: Our kid only likes to sit, but if your kid prefers to stand note that the padded seat slides out of the way to use the platform.
A double stroller that feels like a single
When I say compact, I mean, like, a lot of people were surprised to see we had two kids in this stroller. It’s just that small! The TSA agent who checked our IDs on the way to the security line glanced at the stroller and asked where our second child passenger was – this thing is that good at packing your kids in together.
The Joovy Caboose is only about as wide as the adult pushing it, which is great news any time you have to line up, go through a door, enter an elevator, or squeeze through a crowd. I would absolutely choose this “tandem” style over the wide kind that seats two kids side-by-side.
As a point of comparison, my singleton stroller is a three-year-old Graco Verb model that you can see in the photo below. The Verb is still my go-to if I only have one kid with me because its lack of a standing platform allows for a slightly longer stride (I’m 5’8″ and tend to power-walk), but the Joovy is a very close second in terms of maneuverability and mobility. Even with the weight of two kids in it, the Joovy is agile and takes corners well.
Other standout Joovy features
The Joovy Caboose has a good-size cargo basket underneath the two seats, a detachable canopy that expands large enough to cover both kids, a stretchy cup-holder accessory that did a good job of holding my water bottle in place (no bouncing out on bumpy terrain), and an easy-to-operate brake that can be applied with either foot. The front seat can be made to recline, though it does not go flat. Furthermore, when the front seat is reclining, the other kid can still use the platform but loses access to their seat.
At 22 lbs the stroller is lightweight enough for anyone who can lift a baby to fold up and toss into a car. It is very compact when folded, but we had to remove the canopy (it snaps off easily) to fit the stroller into the 2018 Subaru Outback we borrowed for the trip.
Fortunately, there was still plenty of room in the hatch for all the other stuff we traveled with:
Curiously, the Joovy Caboose fits fine in our own 2016 Subaru Forester – no canopy removal required.
Navigating the airport with two kids in the Joovy Caboose double stroller
We bought our Joovy Caboose stroller specifically for this trip. Early in our trip planning we realized that flying with two children under the age of 3 would be a lot easier if we could put both kids in one stroller and keep them both in it until the moment we boarded the aircraft.
You can totally do that, too – you can show up at the airport with a stroller and keep your kids in it through security and all the way to the aircraft itself. You leave the stroller (collapsed and locked) at the door to the aircraft as you board. This is called “gate checking” and it was free of charge. The stroller was waiting just outside the aircraft door when we arrived.
Side note: We flew on Alaska Airlines between two major United States airports. Be sure to check with your airline and airport because stroller and gate checking policies likely vary.
Another side note: we had car seats with us on this trip but we checked them as soon as we arrived at the airport. If you need a car seat on the plane, we recommend this excellent car seat travel cart. It turns your car seat into a wheeling, portable ride for your baby. When kiddo #1 was a baby we flew with her in her own seat (buckled into a car seat in the aircraft) and this travel cart system worked perfectly.
I cannot overstate how helpful it was to strap our kids into a stroller while navigating an airport.
With both kids strapped into the stroller, we (the adults) were free to print boarding passes, drop off checked luggage, and disrobe for security without having to manage our kids at the same time.
Did we really need a stroller for our walking, talking kid?
Our older kid is independent and energetic and was coming off a multi-month stroller boycott, so I was initially on the fence about buying a stroller with a seat for her. I really didn’t think she’d want to sit in it, and I thought we could make do with the singleton stroller for the baby and let out toddler walk through the airport, hand-in-hand with us (her parents).
That was crazy.
I was wrong to ever consider having her walk through the airport with us. I was overlooking so many distractions and hazards that I forgot even existed until I was actually at the airport. Everywhere we turned there were people running, giant airport trams beep beeping their way through crowds, luggage carts, people in scooters and other mobility devices with limited ability to stop on a dime, dogs, people not watching where they are going – yikes.
She might’ve been up to the walking, but she certainly wasn’t ready to stand calmly in an airport security line, get on/off an airport tram, walk all the way to a gate, wait her turn to get in an elevator, or stay a safe distance away from hazards like the luggage carousel.
For these reasons, I decided she needed to be in a stroller – but she didn’t have to be in it all the time, you know? She just needed to be in it at crucial moments, like going through security and while waiting for our shuttle.
This is why the hop-on-hop-off nature of the Joovy was absolutely perfect for our toddler. At 38 lbs, it’s no fun to lift her and place her in a stroller anymore but at almost 3 years old she was capable of exploring (within limits).
The Joovy Caboose made it easy for her to get in and out of her seat all by herself, but only after we unbuckled her so we still had control over when she was allowed to run free. This let her easily take breaks from the stroller to explore the airport, which kept her (and us) a lot happier than we would’ve been in a traditional stroller having to lift her in and out each time. I think had we brought a traditional stroller we’d have been a lot more reluctant to lift her out of it.
Our baby was pretty happy to just ride in her front-facing seat the whole time. She doesn’t like “baby-wearing” devices of any kind so those were out of the question to begin with, but I’m glad we didn’t try to make one work. Having an adult’s body free to wear a backpack and a duffel proved helpful for lugging all the toys and snacks we needed for entertaining them on the flight.
Airport security with the Joovy Caboose double stroller
Our airports (SEA-TAC in Seattle and O’Hare in Chicago) allowed us to take the stroller through the security. This was excellent and a huge contributor to our trip’s success. Our kids hate waiting in lines, but a steady stream of snacks kept them happy while we waited our turn at the security checkpoint.
When it was our turn to go through, we (the adults) unloaded our stuff onto the conveyor belt before taking the kids out of the stroller. We then folded and locked the Joovy stroller and sent it through the scanner on the conveyor belt as if it were a piece of luggage. Our toddler was able to walk through the scanner on her own, and I carried the baby through. This part was easy and drama-free.
On the other side of the scanner, where everything is a mad rush to re-assemble ourselves and get out of the way, the Joovy Caboose was easy to unlock with one hand and pop open. We put both kids back in it before putting our own clothes and shoes back on.
Our gate required a tram ride, so I was extra grateful to just keep my kids in the stroller for that. It was easy-on/easy-off thanks to the Joovy.
Gate checking the Joovy stroller
Our airline allowed us to keep our kids in the stroller up until the moment before we stepped into the aircraft. Once at the aircraft, we took the kids out of the stroller and bagged it up in one of these protective gate check bags and left it in the walkway with all the other mobility devices left by passengers.
Side note: Our aircraft boarded from a walkway, not the tarmac, so this may not work with smaller flights. We had flown this route on this airline before, so we knew what to expect in terms of boarding.
When we deplaned, the stroller was waiting in the walkway for us. We were pretty encumbered with carry-on bags and our two exhausted children by this point so it was a relief to find the stroller waiting exactly where we needed it.
More Joovy perks
We bought it for travel but quickly discovered that the Joovy is just an awesome, all-around “everyday” stroller, too.
- You can store stuff on the canopy! Sure, it’s not an “official” use of the canopy, but it’s broad and big and great for holding a few extra things.
- Rolls great on all kinds of terrain – boardwalks, grass, dirt, gravel, slopes, and more. We took it everywhere with us from city sidewalks to walking trails, and the stroller did fine on everything.
- It’s narrow enough to take into restaurants and stores – a few places let us bring the stroller right up to the table, but most wanted us to leave it somewhere up front. We didn’t have to fold it or leave it outside the establishment.
- A carrier adapter is included for younger babies! Our baby was done with her carrier-style car seat by the time we got the Joovy, but had we bought it a bit sooner we’d have gotten a lot of use out of the included car-seat adapter (shown below).
The bottom line
The Joovy Caboose is a great stroller for families with a baby and a toddler. We bought ours specifically to help us through a trip with multiple flights, but it quickly became our everyday kid hauler thanks to its compact size, light weight, comfy seating, and hop-on/hop-off capabilities for our toddler. We use it daily for walks around the block and anytime we need to take both kids somewhere.
Before picking this stroller, we spent a lot of time at local retailers trying out different tandem and side-by-side strollers. All of them were bulkier and heavier than the Joovy Caboose, and many of them were more expensive to boot! We think the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite found the perfect balance between size, weight, overall usefulness, and value for our money.
If you’re on the fence about whether your older kid even needs to be in a stroller, I still think it’s worth it to give them a place to sit – waking up early, going to airports and travelling are overwhelming even for the most energetic kid.
I highly recommend the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite double stroller and think it is the best double stroller for traveling with a baby and a toddler on the market today.
Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite
Compact double stroller for toddler and baby
This compact stroller-for-two carries a toddler and a baby with ease through airports, beaches, and walks around the neighborhood.
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