Bike trailers are a great option for parents and children. They can be used for fun trips to local parks, to run errands around town, or to even to train for a triathlon. Bike trailers provide a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get outdoors and allow parents to get a little exercise while creating a stimulating and fun experience for children.
Picking the right trailer is crucial for ensuring the experience is enjoyable and safe for parents and children alike. With so many options, choosing the right trailer can be frustrating and overwhelming. This guide is intended to help families of all types choose the right trailer for their children. Whether you are an exercise enthusiast looking to take your child on long rides, or just looking for a fun way to get your child a few blocks to the local park, we’ll help you make the right choice. Read on to learn about all the features that make a bike trailer unique and see our recommendations based on our in-depth research.
Our Top Picks: Summary
- Best Overall: Thule Chariot Cross Sport
- Budget Pick: Burley Bee
- Best Multi-Sport Trailer: Hamax Outback
- Best Double Bike Trailer: WIKE Premium Double Trailer
- Best All-Terrain Trailer: Burley D’Lite X
Best Overall: Thule Chariot Cross Sport
Thule Chariot Cross Sport
Well built and compact, the Thule will is great for biking, jogging and more.
Why We Picked It
Thule is a well respected brand in the sport stroller business with a reputation for delivering a quality, top of the line product that don’t skimp anywhere. The Chariot Cross Sport is a four-sport stroller, meaning it can be used with a bike, then detached and used for walking or jogging, and skis can be attached for some wintertime adventures. The stroller folds down into a compact 34.2 x 25.6 x 15 in, which should fit into the trunk of most cars. It has four-season weather protection to keep your child safe and cozy and the adjustable suspension will keep them comfortable on a quick ride to the store or on an all afternoon ride on rough trails.
The seat can recline for nap time and is padded, giving your child the best seat on the trail. The seat cover can also be removed and thrown in the laundry, a surprisingly rare feature among bike trailers. Another bonus of the Thule Chariot Cross (and other Thule products) is it’s simple assembly out of the box. There are little windows beside assembly points that flash from red to green when a piece is fully seated.
Keep in Mind
The Thule Chariot Cross Sport sacrifices a little on weight, coming in at just over 30 lbs, but you will hardly notice the weight because of the smooth operation of this high end bike trailer.
In a Nutshell
- Multi-sport functionality
- Waterproof, adjustable suspension and ventilation
- Available as a single or double sized stroller
Budget Pick: Burley Bee
Easy to use, affordable, and comfortable for kids to ride in.
Why We Picked It
If the multi-sport option isn’t something you are looking for, consider the Burley Bee. This trailer does one thing, and does it well. The Burley Bee doesn’t have the adjustable suspension like the Thule, however the 20-inch wheels will provide a smooth ride over most terrain and the hammock style seat will also keep your child comfortable over chattery trails. The Burley Bee has an ASTM-certified 6000 series aluminum alloy frame that will keep kids safe, giving you the confidence to take it anywhere. The hitch is very user friendly and can be easily switched between multiple bikes without having to remove any parts from either bike. The Burley Bee doesn’t have the same level of ventilation options as some high end strollers but the addition of a stroller fan will allow your kids to keep riding in the hottest weather.
Keep in Mind
This is a great stroller for the price that will give your kid a comfortable, safe ride but doesn’t have a lot of extra bells and whistles.
In a Nutshell
- Single sport stroller
- Rigid suspension with 20-inch wheels and hammock style seat
- ASTM-certified internal aluminum roll cage
Best Multi-Sport: Hamax Outback
Easily transitions from bike trailer to jogging stroller, and has room for two kids.
Why We Picked It
If you see yourself and your family going on lots of different types of adventures, consider the Hamax Outback. The ease with which you can transition between strolling, jogging and skiing set this model apart. Likewise, padded seats with a water resistant shell will keep your child dry and comfortable in any environment and on long or short rides. The Hamax has front corner ventilation slots and rear mesh panels to keep air circulating, and UV protective windows and a sunshade will keep your children covered in warm weather. This model comes in a single or double seater; one of the advantages of the Hamax is that the double seater still has a thin profile that can fit through doorways and around tight corners. The Hamax is easy to connect and the double-lock with safety indicator hitch will give you confidence that the trailer is secure, whether you plan on pulling this trailer behind a fat tire bike or a BMX bike with 20-inch wheels.
Keep in Mind
This is a multi-sport trailer with a thin profile and nimble handles, but it’s heavy and has a weight limit of 88 pounds for the double seater, which is a little lower than other comparable products.
In a Nutshell
- Simple one-click transition between sport kits
- Adjustable suspension and push bar
- Ample interior storage space
Best Double: WIKE Premium Double Trailer
WIKE Premium Double Trailer
Room for two kids with tons of onboard storage space.
Why We Picked It
If storage space is what you’re looking for, then consider the WIKE Premium Double Trailer. This trailer has a comfortable 24-inch bench seat for two children with some room to spare, or one child and plenty of storage space. The bench seats are unique and make this a comfortable ride for two kids. This trailer has the highest internal seating capacity of any of the reviewed trailers, making it perfect for older children, or just to give your little one’s a bit more room. One thing to note: because of the height of the stroller, it is a bit more challenging for younger kids to climb in and out without assistance. The WIKE has a plastic hitch, which works fine, but the manufacturer recommends replacement every three years. The trailer has a smooth, pleasant ride, but on account of the plastic hitch we wouldn’t recommend this trailer if you plan on riding across rough terrain. The ride is smooth and the hard plastic floor is a nice feature not found on other trailers. The bottom line? The WIKE gives you the most space and a great ride, making it the best choice for seating and towing two children on smoother terrain.
Keep in Mind
The WIKE performs well on paved pathways, but isn’t going to be as durable on rougher terrain.
In a Nutshell
- Lots of room for one or two kids and older children as well
- Hard plastic floor allows for easy cleaning
- Works as a bike trailer and jogging/walking stroller
Best All-Terrain: Burley D’Lite X
Adjustable suspension and 20″ wheels provide a smoother ride on rough terrain.
Why We Picked It
Let’s be honest, if you purchase a bike trailer you’re probably looking to get out of the house and go on some adventures for yourself, not just to entertain your children. Enter the best all-terrain model. The Burley D’Lite X will give you confidence in tackling any terrain and keep your children safe and comfortable on dirt trails, over roots and bumpy patches, down gravel roads and through streams and puddles. The seats in the Burley D’Lite X independently recline to three positions so your child can sit up and pay attention to the white knuckle switchbacks, recline back with a good book, or lay down for a nap while you get out and tackle your favorite trails. The 5-point adjustable suspension gives you the option to adapt the trailer to whatever terrain you’re faced with for the day. If you happen to push the trailer a little too hard a break something, Burley offers a five year warranty on all plastic and metal parts.
Keep in Mind
This trailer can take you anywhere and do anything, but you’ll have to buy the ski conversion kits separately.
In a Nutshell
- Multi-sport trailer with removable seats so it can be used to haul pets or other gear
- Adjustable suspension provides a smooth ride regardless of terrain
- Padded reclining seats to keep your children comfortable on long rides
How We Chose the Best Bike Trailers
The best bike trailers, whether on the more expensive side or budget friendly, will offer a comfortable ride for your child with good suspension, provide protection from elements like wind, rain and sun, pull smoothly and easily behind a bike, and attach to the bike quickly and intuitively. The more expensive the bike trailer, the more features it will have, including extra storage capacity, drink holders, and roomier seating for children. However, spending a lot of money isn’t necessary depending on the type of adventure you are looking to have. So don’t think the size of the price tag determines the value of the trailer. There are other factors to consider such as:
- Versatility: Some strollers can be used with a bike and converted into a push or jogging stroller. Others have the option of adding skies and being used in the snow. We looked for strollers that were either truly excellent at one thing, or could ideally be used for multiple sports.
- Ease of Set-up: No one wants to spend their time struggling to set up the trailer. We reviewed each stroller for the ease of this process. Users with limited space to store the stroller appreciate a trailer that is easy to collapse and save space.
- Safety Features: This is every parents number one priority and we took time to ensure all the trailers we recommended had the best safety features available to protect children.
- Value: Simply put, we looked at bike trailers that give you the best bang for your buck. Regardless of the price, we wanted to be sure the stroller was worth the money. There are budget strollers that ride really well and then there are expensive strollers that just don’t deliver. t’s easy to rank the strollers by price, but we want to be sure you are getting what you expect for your money.
How to Choose a Bike Trailer
A bike trailer is a gateway to adventure for your family. Shopping for a trailer should be exciting too! There are a few broad concepts to consider before making a purchase that will help you know how different features create a different ride for you and your little one, and how to pick the right one. Buying the right trailer, whether on a budget or as a high end purchase, will mean a more enjoyable experience for you and your child. The main factors to consider when purchasing the best bike trailer for your family are listed below.
Climate and Terrain
The most important question to answer before shopping for your first bike trailer is to determine what type of traveling will you do most often. Knowing an answer to this will really help narrow which trailer is right for you. As part of answering this question consider the following: Are you going short or long distances? Will you be riding on smooth or rough surfaces? Will you need to carry a lot of extra gear or just one or two kiddos? Are you and your child going to be riding through inclement weather, or is it an activity you will save for sunny nice days?
Some bike trailers are multi-sport. This means they can be used on the bike with wheels or skis for the snow and the trailer can be detached from the bike and used for jogging or walking. However, not all bike strollers have this capacity. So if you are looking to do more than pull the trailer with a bike, be sure to purchase a multi-sport trailer.
There are a few things to consider when deciding what size trailer is best for you. For instance, do you need a single, or double bike trailer? If you are only hauling one kid this question might seem obvious, but the extra seat can also be used for groceries, pool toys or other types of useful storage. A family with two children might think they need a double trailer, but a single seat trailer can go faster and is generally more maneuverable. If the goal is to go on long rides together the single-seater might be the right choice. You can even get two – one for each parent and child.
Another thing to consider about size is storage. Some trailers are designed to break-down into a small package that can be tucked away in a closet. Others are more difficult to fold down and are better left assembled and ready to ride out of your driveway.
Features and Options
The different features and options can really make a difference in the experience your child has in the trailer. For example, some trailers are fully waterproof while others are just water resistant. If you are one just looking to take your kids out for a nice easy Sunday ride, the full waterproofing might be excessive. However, if you are going to be using the trailer to haul your kids to and from school and you live in a rainy region, the full waterproofing is essential. Adjustable suspension is another feature that you can shop for depending on the riding you want to do with your family. A standard suspension will work just fine on pavement and hard packed trails, but if you are looking to leave the beaten path, an adjustable suspension package will allow you to pull the trailer more efficiently and give your child a more comfortable ride.
Also, when considering features, it is important to pay attention to what is included in the purchase. Some trailers might be multi-sport but sell all the pieces for other sports separately. Don’t get surprised by buying the trailer expecting to hook it on your bike and be able to go for a jog right out of the box. You might have to purchase the jogging kit separately. Some trailers do include all the sport attachments, so just check to see what exactly comes in the box.
Keep in mind that it isn’t necessary to buy a high-end product to have fun and be safe. All the trailers we recommend, and all the trailers you can purchase from a reputable retailer, are safe and functional. You can buy a budget trailer if you are just looking to dip your toe into the fantastic fun to be had once you hitch the trailer up and pedal off.
How to Safely Use a Bike Trailer
For many people, learning to ride a bike is a seminal moment in childhood. A bike trailer is a great way to introduce your kid to the thrill and freedom a bike has to offer and also the personal responsibility one needs to assume to keep safe. Here are a few basic principles to keep in mind to ensure you and your child are operating the trailer in a fun and safe way:
Always Wear a Helmet
This should be the first thing you do when going for a ride. Bike trailers come with roll cages that will offer your little one extra protection in a crash but a helmet is still necessary. Be sure to model this important behavior for your children by wearing a helmet yourself. Building this behavior from an early age will get your children used to the process, and you’ll be glad when they are ready to go riding alone. Make wearing a helmet a habit for everyone.
Use the Safety Harness
The harness is critical for keeping your child safe, not only in the event of a crash but also to keep your child seated while moving. Without being properly strapped in a child could fall out or get tangled in the moving parts of the trailer. Always use the harness – be sure it fits snuggly and is adjusted to your child’s height. An added bonus of the harness is that it keeps the child in a comfortable position to nap even when sitting upright.
Follow the Rules of the Road
If you are riding on the shoulder of a road with motor vehicles, always follow the rules of the road. Use hand signals to help drivers anticipate where you are going. It might not seem as important, but use the safety flag that comes with the trailer. Because trailers are low to the ground and harder to see than you are on the bike, especially for taller vehicles, the flag gives motorists ample warning. Be sure you know how the trailer makes your bike ride differently. You’ll need to take wide turns and need more lead time to stop. A busy road is not the best place to figure these things out.
Properly Inflate Tires
Do an overall safety check before every ride. Be sure your tires are inflated and there is no damage to the frame of your trailer. Carry a spare tube and tire changing equipment on every ride.
Check the Hitch
Make sure the trailer is properly connected to your bike. Pay attention while connecting the bike to ensure everything is properly seated and attached. Newer trailers come with indicator windows that will change from red to green when the connection is set.
Protect Your Child from the Elements
Be sure to use the wind and weather protection on the trailer and dress your child appropriately. It can be difficult to hear your child while they are behind you in the trailer so you need to anticipate what they need for protection from sun, wind, rain, and more. Always have sunscreen and water for your child too.
For more information on staying active and getting outdoors with your child, take a look at our related guides: