Spotlight Product Review: phil&teds Explorer

The explorer is a new upgraded version of the popular phil&teds sport buggy with additional fun and fabulous features for mom and baby.  As a matter of fact, the explorer is replacing the sport buggy.  The sport is out.  The explorer is in! 

Phil&teds led the way with their introduction of their original inline stroller 14 years ago.  This inline stroller started the current popularity and craze for single strollers that turn into a double with the addition of a second seat either in front or back of the stroller to create a slim stroller for two.

The seat is roomy measuring 11 1/2″ wide at the front of the seat (it is 13” wide at the back of the seat) with a very tall seatback of 24″.  Plus with a 29″ seatback to canopy measurement, our taller children fit in the seat with absolutely no problem. The seat has a 44 lb weight capacity so that even our 5 year old tester could hop in for a ride.  A big thing to mention is that the sling-seat from their sport buggy is gone and a seat with more support and more ventilation is in.  The seat has a great ventilating Seat Performance System that will keep your child cooler in the summer. 

The explorer sports a padded, 5-point harness. The harness is not only adjustable to grow with your child but has a great buckle with safety buttons that makes it nearly impossible for your child to undo. Our testers tried and tried but couldn’t figure out how to get the buckle undone so they had no choice but to stay in their seat. We love that!! The only thing we don’t love about the harness is that the shoulder pads come off very easy.  Too easy!

The seat also sports a removable baby bumper bar (it isn’t a swing-away bar though!) but there is no parent or baby tray, as well as, no cup holders. There is a spot for a cup holder to attach but you have to buy the cup holder separately. 

There is a strap recline that is easy to recline the seat with one hand to any position including flat for newborns. That’s right – FLAT – making the explorer a great stroller to use from the time you take your baby home from the hospital! On the back of the seat you will find little clips that you may not know what their purpose is (and you won’t find it in the manual!).  If the seat is completely upright and you fold the top of the seat canvas back behind the seat, you will find the other part of the clips.  Attach the clips together and this keeps the seat pretty much in place.  Why would you want to do that?  Well, it prevents your little rider from launching themselves forward or in doubles mode from the rear kid kicking the front child too much forward. Our video review shows this very well!  There is also a non-adjustable, easy to clean, plastic footrest for your child.

The explorer has a large sun canopy with a flip-out sun visor.  We love that the canopy is a floating/pivoting canopy that folds all the way to the bumper bar to follow the sun. Another great feature of the canopy is that you can actually attach it farther up the frame to accommodate the tallest of children.  (Just in case 29” isn’t enough!)  The canopy does not have a peek-a-boo window but since it doesn’t actually connect to the back of the seat, you can still peek on your child through the space between the seatback and canopy back.  A minor complaint about the canopy is that it does not attach to the back of the seat with a large flap of fabric like on other strollers.  So when the seat is fully reclined, you may not be able to avoid the sun from shining in on your laying child when the sun is at certain angles. 

The explorer sports an adjustable handle bar (up and down but not telescoping) that adjusts from 29” to 43” from ground to handlebar which is great for taller and shorter parents. It’s easy to operate with two push buttons on the sides.  The handlebar also has a run-away strap to keep the stroller attached to mom or dad.  The large basket underneath the seat will hold a very large diaper bag or other baby essentials.

The explorer has two air-filled, 12-inch rear tires providing a very smooth ride for your little passenger. There is also a rear, flip-flop friendly footbrake that locks both wheels at the same time (a new feature for phil&teds!). In front, there is one 12-inch air-filled, lockable front wheel that swivels 360 degrees that provides fabulous maneuverability. We can maneuver the swift easily on grass, playground mulch, and gravel with no problem. Even with a larger child aboard, you are going to be able to maneuver this baby around the tightest corners with one hand! In doubles mode, you will probably need two hands though.  Plus, the frame is very narrow (24 inches across at the widest point) – so this stroller will fit down the narrowest aisles. We found with the sturdy frame, lockable front wheel, and the large, air-filled tires, we even had no problem taking it for a light jog.  The white-wall tires also give the stroller a sporty look.

One very minor complaint about the stroller is that it does not come with a tire pump. Not too big of a deal because you can purchase one for about $7-$10 but, of course, an included tire pump would be greatly appreciated!

Now, one of the stand-out features of this new phil&teds stroller is hands-down the easy, one-handed fold.  It’s so easy to do and can really be done with one-hand whether you are right or left handed.  The entire stroller folds compactly and there is even an automatic lock to keep the stroller closed. And if that isn’t enough, the explorer has a standing fold and can be pulled behind you like luggage for easy traveling.  The folded stroller is a rather compact package that can fit in small trunks with ease. The rear wheels also pop off easily for an even more compact unit.  Weighing in at 26 lbs, the explorer is totally manageable to get in and out of your trunk.  And if you are frequent traveler (or even occasional), we highly recommend the explorer travel bag.  The bag allows the stroller wheels to be attached to the outside of the bag, keeping the stroller packed up while it is super easy to transport! 

Looking for a pram?  Add the phil&teds peanut bassinet to turn your explorer into a rolling pram for your baby. 

Looking for a travel system?  The explorer can do that too!  There are individual car seat adapters for Graco, Chicco, Peg Perego and Evenflo that are sold separately.  And a little birdie also told us that they are bringing an adapter out for the Britax soon. 

Now, the stroller sounds great as a single, doesn’t it?  And it is.  But what’s better, and what phil&teds is known for, is the stroller’s ability to turn into an inline double stroller with the double kit seat attachment sold separately. So, now when baby #2 comes along, you don’t have to retire your single stroller for a huge double stroller!

The double kit seat is a rigid seat (not a sling-seat!) and since it doesn’t recline, it is recommended from 6+ months up to 33 lbs. It’s actually quite a roomy seat that is 15” wide with a 19” seatback.  The double kit seat is super easy to attach and sports an adjustable, 5 point harness with the same great phil&teds hard-to-do buckle.  No lousy 3-point harnesses on this seat!!!  And what’s great (and new!) for the double kit seat is that it now comes with a canopy.   Plus, we love that the canopy can be placed anywhere on the double kit seat frame so it will really grow with your child.  Because of this feature, your child will max out the weight capacity way before they are too tall for the seat.

The double kit seat has two places that it can attach.  The first position is what we like to call “back seating”.   It attaches to the back of the stroller by the basket.  Your second rider’s legs will actually be in the basket in this position.  With a seat in the basket position, your basket will have limited use.  You will probably end up carrying your diaper bag because you can’t hang it from the handlebars since the double kit seat would be in the way and your rider’s legs take up much of the basket. 

The double kit seat in the rear position sits very low to the ground making it easy for a toddler to climb in on their own, but a little trickier to get your smaller child in and out of the seat. Also, considering the double kit seat is right next to the wheels, the stroller sports rear wheel guards.  If you have a naughty one like I do, you may need to teach your rear rider not to try and touch the wheels because it is easy for your toddler to reach around the wheel guards.  They aren’t toddler-proof!  

While some moms expressed concern for the rear rider not being able to see their surroundings, our little testers never complained.  They actually asked to sit in the back seat and they can see out the sides. 

The second position for the double kit seat is on top of the main seat.  You will attach the double kit seat to the adapters that the baby bumper bar would normally go in.  This position can only be used when the main seat is fully reclined.  So, this is a set-up for a newborn in the main seat fully-reclined and an older baby or toddler in the top seat.  Another reason this is a set up for newborn only is because the top seat will completely block any view of the main seat rider. 

You can also accommodate a newborn in doubles mode by adding the car seat adapter up front and the double kit seat in the rear position.  It’s important to note that the stroller can be folded with the second seat on the front, but will need to be removed before folding when attached to the back.  It’s so easy to remove that it isn’t a problem but know that you have to do it. 

A feature that is worth mentioning (and that phil&teds fixed since their original inline strollers!) is that the stroller remains completely stable with the double kit seat attached in the rear. Sure, phil&teds recommends that you always put your child in the main seat first before putting your toddler in the second seat. But many of us have those mischievous toddlers who want to climb in on their own when we turn our back without concern if there is another child in the main stroller seat. What used to happen years ago with the original P&Ts in this situation, is the entire stroller would flip on our little testers.  Not anymore!!!  Our 35 lb tester (yep, he exceeds the weight limit!) full of mischief, raced to get in the double kit seat on his own as soon as we set it up. We are happy to report the stroller didn’t budge! Even though we don’t recommend this – he was able to get in the seat on his own without the stroller toppling over on top of him without a child in the main seat. Plus, in those cases that you forget and take the child out of the main seat first, the stroller doesn’t flip over with your rider in the double kit seat!  This is HUGE for us!

Overall, we love the phil&teds explorer stroller.  It’s a stroller stocked with features for both mom and baby plus has the versatility of changing from a single to a slim, inline double back to a single.

To watch our full video review of the phil&teds explorer, click on the video link below:

SHOP phil&teds Explorer at

*Thanks to phil&teds for sending us the explorer to review!


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Baby Gizmo founder Hollie Schultz is the proud mom of three adorable kids. This certified CPS (Child Passenger Safety) Tech and baby gear expert is the host of the Baby Gizmo video reviews giving moms the inside look at baby products before they purchase them. Hollie is also the co-author of The Baby Gizmo Buying Guide. A former resident of Los Angeles, she and her family now live in North Carolina where she is having a blast designing and decorating her new home.

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Hi Hollie, Thank you so much for your great reviews. I’m a little torn and I’m hoping you can help me out. I’ve always loved the Phil and Teds and I eventually bought the Vibe. I’ve been unhappy with the push/maneuverability and the size. It just isn’t as compact as the E3/Sport. I’m currently looking to trade it in. I was going to get an Explorer, but then I chanced upon some other carriages that seem to do the same thing as the Phil and Teds (in terms of the second seat). Some of the ones I’ve looked at are… Read more »