The Best Bike Trailers for Towing Kids Announced by OutdoorGearLab

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Winners were chosen from a select group of bike trailers after nearly a year of testing by multiple families.

Bike trailers can either be single function or multi-function by converting into a stroller.

Standard trailers are better for younger children because they are kept safer in an enclosed space and allows them to be less engaged while riding.

OutdoorGearLab, a growing website known for its thorough tests of outdoor equipment, recently released a review of bike trailers for towing children and pets. This review analyzed four top-selling models from well-respected brands such as Burley and Thule. Additionally, two pedal trailers were tested. Trailers in this style are best for older children who get bored sitting in the enclosed space of a standard trailer, and allows them to contribute to the forward momentum by pedaling as well. The downside is that pedal trailers can only accommodate one child at a time whereas standard trailers can usually seat two children. Standard trailers are better for younger children because they are kept safer in an enclosed space and allows them to be less engaged while riding, and can even take a nap. Lead review editor Curtis Smith received feedback from several families who tested these trailers for almost a year during daily commutes and on fun rides with kids. He used this first-hand knowledge to rate each model on safety, ease of towing, ride quality, ease of use, and versatility. Smith noted how much room each one takes to store, how simple each one is to assemble, and which ones attach to bikes the easiest. Smith even timed himself setting up each trailer to assess how complicated the assembly processes are. With this data, Smith gave awards to the top three scoring models.

And the winners are:

Thule Chariot Cougar 2: Editors' Choice Award
Thule recently purchased the beloved brand Chariot, and began producing these popular strollers and bike trailers under the Thule name. Fortunately, the products are still made by the original company and the product design has not changed at all. The Chariot 2 earns accolades from Smith for its incredible ease of use and multi-function capability. With the appropriate add-on kits, it can serve as a trailer, a stroller, a jogging stroller, and a cross-country ski trailer. Smith notes that even though this is the most expensive model in his test, since it can serve multiple different functions, it can save money and storage space in the long run. Smith found this trailer to be safe and comfortable for children, easy to set-up, and one of the most aerodynamic designs, making towing a pleasure. The downside to this model is that it is bulky to store. Smith's favorite feature is the Versawing attachment, which allows you to tow the stroller wheels while it is in trailer mode so that it can quickly convert to a stroller once the user gets to a destination, and the tow bar then stashes into the stroller.

Burley Bee: Best Buy Award
As a single function trailer, the Burley Bee is less versatile that either the Chariot or the Burley D'lite, but is is also much more affordable. Smith found this to be the best option for families who either already have strollers, who would not use the multiple functions found on higher-end trailers, or who are on a tight budget. The company Burley is known for its incredibly safe designs, and the Bee is no exception. It exceeds the minimum safety standards for these types of products. The Bee lacks useful features like a parking brake, but shines in its simplicity.

Burley D'Lite: Top Pick Award for Commuters
Another high-end model, the Burey D'lite stands out for its roomy cargo space and incredible safety features. Exceeding minimum safety standards, the Burley comes complete with a roll-bar which helps protect children in the event of a crash or roll-over. Like the Thule Chairot, the D'lite is a multi-funtion trailer and with the appropriate accessories it can convert from a bike trailer to a two-wheeled stroller, a jogging stroller and a cross-country ski trailer. With elastomer suspension and 20” wheels, the Burley D'lite provides a safe and smooth ride for kids and an easy and fun towing experience for parents.

Smith's full review provides more details on each product and describes the plusses and minuses to pedal trailers. The review is accompanied by a Buying guide which highlights the important concerns for a consumer in the market for a trailer for towing children, and offers insights into what makes a high quality product.

OutdoorGearLab, LLC is a gear review website based in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The company's aim is to make purchasing decisions easier for consumers by creating the world’s best outdoor gear reviews, using comparison as the secret ingredient. The website,, is a free resource for outdoors enthusiasts and athletes and features reviews in the categories of men's and women's apparel, shoes and boots, camping and hiking, skiing, biking, and climbing, as well as general fitness. The review team performs detailed side-by-side tests of gear and writes up the results in clear and descriptive essays, complemented with photos and diagrams. Each product is scored across a range of weighted metrics, competing models are ranked, and awards are given to the best products in the test group. This analysis allows consumers to quickly and easily find the most suitable product in the category they are shopping for.

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Chris McNamara

Chris McNamara
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