I hate “this thing”:http://www.philandteds.com/dash_index.htm! The only good things I can say about it is that 1) it has inflatable tires which are more comfortable on streets, 2) it carries two kids in a narrow footprint and 3) has a small turning radius. Surprisingly, those 3 things beat out every other double stroller on the market – it doesn’t take much! That’s all the thought that was put into this because everything else about it is annoying. Their instructions are so terse (and try so hard to be cute and clever) and it is next to impossible to fold the thing without hurting yourself in one way or the other. If you’re not pinching your fingers in the locking mechanism, you’re banging your shins with a steel bar. And when folding it, you scratch both the bottom and the handle on the sidewalk because it’s impossible to fold without the footpad smacking the pavement and then to lock the front wheel assembly down, you have to rest it on the handle. So when you unfold it to push it, you grab a scuffed and dirty handle; a handle that is sure to be worn out in no time and require replacement.

If I didn’t hate this thing enough, I was about to explore new depths in hatred for this product and its designers…

We bought their travel bag to pack it up to take on airplanes. Gay told me that she read reviews of it that recommended practicing it several times because it’s so tricky to put in the bag. I thought “How hard can it be to put something in a bag?!” I wisely took her advice and tried it today. It doesn’t come with any instructions which must mean that it’s simple. After 15 minutes of trying, I couldn’t figure it out. I gave up and took a break. Maybe staring at it for 30 minutes will make it obvious. I imagined hearing “Final boarding for flight 1234” as I struggle with this contraption at the airport. I tried again without luck. The best I could do was to take the front wheel off and fold the handle all the way down to the wheel-locking position. If I do that, I can pull and tug at the bag and stretch the zipper to its maximum and it fits, barely. But when I said “wheel-locking position” I meant it. The wheels were then locked so the wheels don’t turn, so you have to drag the bag through the airport rather than roll it. Could this possibly be correct?

Fortunately, no. I went to their web site but couldn’t find any information about how to use this bag properly. They think they’re such great designers that their products don’t need instructions, I guess. But they’re wrong – it has to be the first time in human history that a bag needs operating instructions!! I then Googled thinking someone must have figured this out and has documented it. I didn’t find anyone explain how to do it, but I did find the phrase “How come I can’t wheel my dash buggy in the travel bag?” in Google’s results. Yeah, good question! I wonder who asked it? Why Phil & Ted themselves asked it and answered it – that link went way into “their own FAQ”:http://www.philandteds.com/faqs/faqbuggy.htm#16:

bq. How come I can’t wheel my dash buggy in the travel bag?

bq. When the dash buggy is folded as normal for placement in the travel bag, the brakes will engage. To resolve this, you simply need to reverse the two rear wheels: take each rear wheel and axle off, using the push pins as normal. Turn each wheel around so the brake holder now faces away from the buggy, and put the wheels back on in this position, using the axles. You can now trundle your travel bag along.

Ah hah! Why, of course, who wouldn’t instantly realize that you should reverse the way the wheels are installed?!?

When you take off the wheels, you get your hands dirty with grease. So you get to sit on an airplane for hours with grease on your hands. When you land, you get to reverse the whole process, getting more grease on your hands.

Check out how difficult it is to remove the axle… first, you push the axle in which releases it from the stroller:

Why I hate the Phil & Ted's Dash Stroller

Then you have to push the axle in two more times to get it off the wheel. You do this by holding the axle and pushing the end in. That only gets it half way out of the wheel, so you have to do it again to get it all the way out:

Why I hate the Phil & Ted's Dash Stroller

Then you have grease on your hands:

Why I hate the Phil & Ted's Dash Stroller

And again, you have to reverse the wheels, so the left goes on the right and the right goes on the left. Easy and obvious, eh? This reversal requirement means that you can’t pop a wheel off (even if it were that easy) and immediately put it back on and doing the same to the other. You have to remove both first and then switch them. Imagine yourself in the airport luggage area with your wheel-less stroller, two wheels and two axles sprawled all over the floor. I don’t know why they required this and for the life of me, I can’t even figure out how they prevented the axle and wheels from going back into the same side in the stroller. The axles and wheels are identical, why can’t the wheel just flip over and go into the same side?! It’s as if they intentionally designed it to require the wheels be swapped!

You will probably want to carry grease with you on vacation because it won’t take long until the axle has no more grease on it and the wheels stop turning easily and/or you ruin the axle. But realistically, once you’ve done this once, you will prefer to avoid this hassle and leave the wheels on backwards. This is dangerous because you lose the ability to put a brake on the wheels. It’s a classic example of idiotic design by designers who just don’t think (or don’t think well).

The thing is that if the bag was only slightly larger, you could put it in without putting the handle in the wheel-locking position and then you wouldn’t need to take the wheels off and put them on backwards. This torture device and its bag were designed this way to save them 10 or 20 square inches of material in the travel bag that costs $60. For crying out loud, Phil & Ted, charge $61 for the bag, use the extra pennies to make it a tiny bit bigger and make your customers not hate you for your lousy design. Or allow the handle to the stroller to stick out of the bag, which wouldn’t add anything to the cost of the bag. In fact, it’d be less expensive because you wouldn’t need to put that extra handle on the bag.

Phil and Ted, assuming someone named Phil and someone named Ted were stupid enough to put their real names on this poorly-designed thing, deserve one of Dante’s Inferno punishments. My suggestion is they be put at an airport gate minutes before their flight leaves and forced to collapse and un-collapse their product and put it in this bag over and over for eternity.