The Bugaboo Donkey was my very first stroller. Before starting The Wise Baby, I registered for it and was so generously gifted it by my parents and in-laws. I have since used it for 2+ years and it dawned on my I haven’t written a review of it. For those that don’t know, the Bugaboo Donkey is a single stroller that converts to a side by side double stroller. Here’s how:
In single mode, known as “mono” there is a basket on the frame. Note the frame is no wider than singular Bugaboo, the Camelon 3 (both have a width of nearly 24 inches). When you are ready to add a second seat, the frame expands to accommodate another full size seat in “duo” mode (width of nearly 29 inches). That being said, this stroller is perfect for twins because it can accommodate two infant car seat adapters or two bassinets. It is also perfect for children of different ages as you can use a carseat adapter, bassinet, toddler seat in any combination or if using to toddler seats, both can face the same way or opposite ways.
The above is what made the Donkey the right stroller for us. We knew we wanted to have two little ones close together so we figured if we were making an investment as large as was required (more on that later) it made sense to have the option to continue to use it for two children. By the grace of God, we have been blessed with two little ladies 18 months apart. We used the stroller extensively in mono and duo mode.
Let’s start with an overview of the features:
What I love about this stroller is really the same in both mono and duo modes:
– the maneuverability of this stroller is the best of any stroller I have ever used. And by nature of having a blog that reviews baby products, I have used quite a few strollers. I can easily drive the Donkey through a tricky double door with ONE HAND. In both mono or duo mode. Seriously, it handles flawlessly.
– the air filled tires and all wheel suspension make for a super smooth ride. When you are navigating the crazy city sidewalks and bumpy park terrain that is a must. Again, one of the smoothest ride around. I have never had a wheel get stuck in a pothole or turned sideways while trying to get up a curb.
– the storage. Of course in mono you have the entire side basket which is great for urban lifestyles – where you may be walking to the grocery store or to run errands. However, the underneath storage basket is HUGE so you don’t really miss the basket once you pop out to duo mode. For our urban lifestyle good storage is an absolute must.
– seat features. I love the full size seat and three position reclines (upright, casual recline and full almost flat recline – note, I saw some places online that say 2 position recline but my Donkey and everyone I know with one has 3 positions). The canopy is ample but the downside is no mesh sides for airflow. Bugaboo does make a canopy with mesh sides but it is considered an “upgrade” and they must be purchased separately. I love, love that in duo mode both seats are full size and have the same canopies, recline options and configurations options (either front or back). This ensures both kids are comfortable and the toddler isn’t getting booted to a less than desirable seat.
– seat configurations. I mentioned you can use the Donkey in duo mode with two bassinets or two infant car seats (adapters additional purchase) but having two kids of different age, I love that I can have the seats both facing in or out or one in, one out, a toddler seat with a car seat adapter – you name it, you can configure it.
– overall functionality. If you combine the aforementioned features you have a really great, well functioning stroller. So much so I recommended it to one of my best friends and she is loving it for the very same reasons I did.
A quick note, the Donkey easily fits through a standard doorway in duo mode. As mentioned, it is about 29 inches wide once the frame is expanded. Standard doorways are 32 inches. I have never had any problems fitting through doorways. However, where anyone with a side by side double stroller has trouble is interior aisle ways in stores, restaurants, etc (this is no fault of the Donkey just worth mentioning).
Of course in two years of testing I have some bones to pick:
– the fold. I have to be honest that for the first year I had this stroller I didn’t fold it. I had another stroller (Britax B-Agile) that kept in my car so the Donkey was always parked in our front hall. However, when Margaux came along we didn’t want to buy a second double stroller right away so I started using this in my car i.e., folding it daily. Not ideal. To fold it easily, you have to remove both seats. From there the fold is pretty easy but because it is such a sturdy, smooth ride the frame is heavy and it doesn’t stay locked in place all the time. So you can be pulling it out of you car and it is opening on you. Not cool. Especially not in the winter when the wheels are covered in salt and dirt = you covered in salt and dirt. The fold makes this stroller not great for travel (can you imagine handing 2 seats and a frame to a gate check person?) or those that are in/out of their car frequently. If you rarely have to fold than this is a non issue. For example, in NYC we never fold this stroller but we do have a second stroller for travel (the Baby Jogger City Mini GT).
– accessories. The Donkey comes with one or two seats depending on how you purchase it. The seat that it comes with can be converted from a bassinet to a toddler seat. Which I actually like so you don’t have to store a bassinet once you are not using it. You will also get an air pump, rain cover, bumper bar and canopy wires (canvas covers usually are purchased separately – check with your retailer) but that is it. No cup holders, snack trays, foot muff, etc. This isn’t all that out of the ordinary to have to purchase these accessories however, for the price it is a tough pill to swallow to be spending extra money when you have already forked over so much. Also, if you buy the mono and later purchase the second seat (like we did) note that you will have to buy the second seat pieces individually and it will run you about $200+.
– drumroll please… THE PRICE. Since we purchased this stroller they have raised the price. The price for this stroller in mono mode is over $1,200 once you add the canopy covers. Crazy. Ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, there is so much to love about this stroller but I can’t suggest to anyone to spend $1,200+ on a stroller. If your financial situation is one in which cost is less of a concern than sure, consider it. If not, than there are plenty of fabulous strollers out there for half, if not more than half the cost.
Overall, I have really loved this stroller. It has been great for our lifestyle especially in cities where your stroller is basically your car. The Donkey is one of the best functioning and best built strollers I have used. If you can balance the downsides with the good, the good can outweigh the bad (if it fits into your budget).
Your thoughts on the Donkey or another Bugaboo stroller?