I've seen a lot of strollers in my time — from a stroller with a battery-operated folding mechanism to one that folds up small enough to fit under an airplane seat — but none can has done as much to impress me with its attention to parents' needs as the new Austlen stroller, which will make its debut in the US in early 2016.
Consider the Austlen Entourage the pack mule of strollers. It can haul up to 150 pounds of combined weight — meaning your child (or children) and all of their goods — and converts into more than 30 different configurations. It can be a single stroller, a double stroller (two car seats, a seat and a car seat, etc.), a stroller-and-a-half (similar to a traditional sit-and-stand), a laundry hauler, cargo transporter, and grocery cart, and on and on. It will truly be the most versatile stroller on the market.
But I know what you're thinking (because I was thinking it, too) — that's all great, but I don't want to spend all day transforming my stroller, and since it is such a beast, I won't be able to take it anywhere that I can't walk. Not so fast. The Entourage was developed by a former Dell product designer (and mom of twins) and a former engineer from Graco, Aprica, and Teutonia, so they know a lot about design and function. The seat telescopes out with the mere push of a button — no latches to undo, no extra hooks to add, just a simple push of a button on the strikingly beautiful leatherette handlebar. And the fold? Yeah, that's easier than you could possibly imagine. I mean, the frame is heavy and I wouldn't want to be carrying further than the ground to the car, but it folds compactly enough to fit into your trunk.
And here's the kicker. In an age when "cool" strollers tend to start over $1,000, the Entourage will have an entry price of $850. That will include the telescoping frame, the seat, the belly bar, and the expandable parent tote. A second seat will cost $170 and the combo jump seat/platform rider will retail for $180.
It's almost impossible to properly describe the how the stroller works — and all of its configurations, including the expandable market tote/diaper bag that comes with it — without seeing it in action. Read on to see exactly how it works and why its designer, Leslie Stiba, says she created it to prevent parents from being shut-ins once babies arrive.