It’s no secret that we here at eMercedesBenz love winter and taking part in as many outdoor winter activities as we can, but as the father of a two year old (with another one on the way), I’ve come to learn that outside options for my son are somewhat limited. But as anyone that’s met my son knows, attempting to contain him to the indoors isn’t really an option. He has more energy than anyone I’ve ever met, and he constantly needs to either be playing or be in motion. He hates television; he’ll barely sit still long enough to read a 10-page book; but he loves to go on hikes in his pack; he loves being towed behind a bike; and he loves anything else that lets him see the world in motion. Because of this infatuation with activity, I knew I had to have an outlet that would allow me to take my son out in the winter months. At first, it seemed like a daunting task to take my son out in the freezing temps and heavy snow of the Midwest, but the truth is, it’s actually quite easy, provided you have the right plan of attack. For me, this meant figuring out how to involve my son in the activities I do on an almost daily basis outside – hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing – and as it turns out, the answer was quite simple, and it existed in the form of the Chariot CX 2 X-Country Child Carrier. How great is it you ask? Read on to find out.
The Chariot CX 2 X-Country Child Carrier is, in a nutshell, the most versatile, well-built child carrier on the planet. I’m already sounding overly complimentary, I know, but the truth is, there’s simply nothing else like it. In describing the Chariot CX 2 X-Country, it’s best to to look at it as a modular transportation system for kids. It quite simply does everything, acting as a normal stroller, a jogging stroller, a hiking stroller that you can tow behind you, a bike trailer, and in in the cold months, a winter carrier, all thanks to its modular CTS conversion system. But before I delve into its versatility, let’s first look at the Chariot CX 2 X-Country’s core element: its chassis.
Unlike most child carriers that feature an open design, the Chariot CX 2 X-Country features a unique enclosed cockpit that can convert from completely enclosed to completely open, depending on the weather. Think of it as a roadster for your kids. You can drive it with the top up in the winter, but when the weather is nice, you put the top down and enjoy the warm summer air. The Chariot is pretty much the same. In the winter, there’s an integrated 2-in-1 weather cover and zip-down PU front window that covers the child compartment, offering quick and easy access to your kids while providing complete snow and wind proofing. When the weather gets warmer, you have the option of rolling the front window up and letting your child enjoy the fresh air; however, there’s still a durable mesh shield in place to keep out the sun, bugs and debris (say, for instance, if you’re towing the Chariot behind your bike). And lastly, you also have the option to roll up the mesh protection, offering complete open air enjoyment that’s perfect for warm weather walks and jogs, with a sunshade that still offers protection from UV rays.
From a construction standpoint, the entire Chariot CX 2 X-Country is built absolutely superbly. It features a variety of fabrics including Touch-Tek reinforcement fabric, integrated premium Oxford nylon fabric, extra photo-luminescent Energlo fabric and 3M Scotchlite reflective material. I’m not an expert on fabric selection, but I can tell you that after extensive use in a variety of demanding conditions, it’s held up beautifully, and it still looks and functions like new. In dark conditions, the reflective materials clearly serve their purpose, as many areas of the Chariot seemingly glow in the dark. In addition to the fabric, the CX 2 X-Country features several other features that bear mentioning as well. The chassis itself features an external, mid-frame design thats both incredibly light and incredibly functional. Despite its ability to hold two, the entire Chariot weighs in at a mere 30 lbs., and thanks to two quick release locks in the rear, it boasts the ability to fold into a remarkably small surface area without any other disassembly. Another key advantage of the external frame design is the Chariot’s cockpit. Inside, because there’s no frame, children note a supremely spacious and open area that’s perfect for longer days on the road. Protecting your child, Chariot has implemented a unique 5-point padded harness system, and a removable padded seat and fleece-lined interior offer a fantastic level of comfort for your little ones. And what may be the best feature for new parents, Chariot has also developed a variety of interior appointments for new babies, including a baby bivy, an infant sling and a baby supporter, allowing you to take your child out in the Chariot from as young as a month onward (in a slower capacity, of course).
As fantastic as the Chariot CX 2 X-Country’s chassis is, it’s greatness is equally matched by the ingenuity of its CTS modular system. The concept is really quit simple – the CX 2 X-Country features a total of 4 attachment points (two in the front; two in the rear), and depending on what activity you’re about to undertake, you can attach different components via these points. So, for instance, if you’re about to go for a run, you simply attach the two 20-inch wheels in the rear along with the single-wheel running attachment up front. If you want to convert the Chariot into an everyday stroller, you simply swap the front running wheel with two individual stroller wheels. And if you want to take the Chariot out in the snow, you remove the front and back wheels, attach the two Rossignol skis in the rear attachment points, and you insert the aluminum tow bars into the front two attachment points. In total, you can choose from five conversion kits: the strolling kit, the jogging kit, the bicycle trailer kit, the hiking kit, and the cross-country skiing kit. Best of all, conversion to any new kit takes literally 30 seconds once you’ve done it before, and require no tools. You simply use the quick release buttons, and the rear axles and/or front attachments slide directly off. You can’t get any simpler.
How great is the Chariot CX 2 X-Country? I said it at the beginning of the article and I’ll say it again: it’s simply the most versatile, well-built child carrier on the planet. I’ve had my son in one since he was six months old, and he absolutely adores it. I’ve trained for a triathlon with him; I’ve ridden 100-miles with him; and I’ve gone on 20+ mile runs with him. No other child carrier can come close to this versatility and comfort for my son. Thanks to the ski attachment, I can finally take him out in the winter as well, which he loves equally as much. I’ve taken him cross country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking, and the Chariot has performed equally as flawlessly. It simply glides through the snow, and as you can see from the photos, I just had it out in a fresh 12-inches of powder. The design works brilliantly in the winter, because the clearance between the skis and the bottom of the chassis allows the snow to pass through. I had my son in the carrier for about an hour in 15-degree temps, and I could barely pull him out of the carrier when I was done, as he was having such a good time. If that’s not a testament to the greatness of the Chariot, I don’t know what is.
If you’re a parent and want to be active, you can’t get better than Chariot CX 2 X-Country. It’s the best at what it does, which is allow you to get outside with your children and take them places you never could have taken them otherwise. It’s one of those things that once you have it, you don’t know how you ever lived without it. Pricing for the Chariot CX 2 X-Country is set at about $950, and the various attachments are sold individually, allowing you to select the functionality for the specific activities you’re interested in. Also, it’s important to note that to note that everything I said pertaining to the Chariot CX 2 X-Country applies to the Chariot CX 1 X-Country as well – the only difference is the CX 1 is for one passenger, whereas the CX 2 is for two. The features of both are identical, so if you only have one child, the CX 1 X-Country is equally as great.
If you’d like to learn more about the Chariot CX X-Country and its full list of features and attachments, you can head over to the official Chariot Carrier website for the full details. If, on the other hand, you’re ready to take the plunge and buy your own, you can do so directly at REI.com, where they sell both the Chariot CX 1 X-Country and Chariot CX 2 X-Country.