The Hammerhead 4WD Inline Double is the latest design from New Zealand’s outdoor-loving buggy maker Phil and Teds. While Phil and Teds is best known for its all-terrain single-to-double 3-wheelers, the Hammerhead has bucked the trend and boasts four wheels.
The Hammerhead 4WD Inline Double is similar to the current 3-wheeler Phil and Teds Explorer Inline Double in that it has seven modes of use. Firstly, as a single buggy (£399.95) for your newborn, it can be used as a lie-flat buggy with or without the cocoon carrycot (this costs an extra £49.95), with the peanut bassinet (an extra £122.95), or with a car seat as a travel system. It can then be used as a single buggy for your toddler. Then, when you need a double buggy, the doubles kit with sunhood (£69.95 of the total price show here), can be attached to the front or to the back, or you can have a car seat attached so your toddler has the rear seat and your newborn has a travel system at the front.
The Hammerhead 4WD Inline Double can handle a child up to the weight of 20kg on the front (roughly 4 years) and 15kg on the back (about 3 years). In common with other Phil and Teds Inline Double buggies you’ll need to dig fairly deep to buy the extras required, as they’re not included in the basic price. The raincover is £21.95, and there are other options such as the UV cover (£26.95), to name just two.
The Hammerhead, like inline or tandem buggies in general, is a great alternative to a twin (side-by-side) buggy. It’s no longer or wider than many single options, so can save space at home and get through shop doorways and along pavements. It’s also far easier to manoeuvre than a side-by-side double, as it turns easily in far less space. This also means you’ll probably annoy fewer people in the street when you’re out and about!
The Hammerhead 4WD Inline Double has a better brake than older models of Phil and Teds. It’s known as the flip-flop brake because you can work it with flip-slops on! The Hammerhead also boasts an improved harness, larger sunhood, a new seat system that’s contoured and vented, and a one-handed folding mechanism. But best of all has to be that ability to work as a travel system and carry a second child at the same time. To do this, you’ll need to buy the £24.95 car seat adaptors, which will allow you to add the Phil and Teds bebe, Phil and Teds bebe HS or Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix car seats.
The Hammerhead 4WD sadly only comes in black and charcoal. You could customise your Hammerhead to some extent by buying colourful seat liners or a newborn cocoon in one of the many shades available.
I tried out the buggy with two toddlers, Jack, 27 months, and Minnie, 18 months.
What we love
Having two wheels, as opposed to one, at the front of the buggy means it’s much more stable when going round a tight bend and it’s far less likely to tip sideways. This is probably not a consideration on city streets, but if you’re aiming to take the Hammerhead 4WD Inline Double off-road, it’s very useful.
Getting on and off a train is also easy – a common criticism of 3-wheelers is the way the front wheel gets stuck at the wrong angle just at the crucial disembarkation moment.
The wheels swivel, so the Hammerhead 4WD Inline Double is still easy to turn, unlike many other 4-wheeler buggies. All four wheels also feature mudguards, which are brilliant for keeping the toddler in the rear seat mud-free. Most importantly, these stop your little angel from running his/her fingers along the back wheels as you go along!
The multi-recline seats are also handy. You can go from an upright position to lie-flat on the main seat, and the rear additional seat now reclines to 60 degrees, which means two toddlers could have a snooze on the move.
The sunhood is brilliant. It’s so large it even copes with the low-horizon sun that’s common in the UK at this time of year. It has a zip on the outer edge, which gives you the option to buy and attach the full UV cover, but I don’t feel this would be necessary. The included sunhood on the doubles kit is also welcome.
The one-handed fold mechanism is very easy to operate, and the buggy is easy to collapse. This in turn means it takes up less space in my narrow hallway.
At first glance the second seat looks a bit small, but Jack is a wide lad and he fitted in it perfectly even though he did smear the shopping basket with mud from his feet! Unlike the Explorer model, the footrest in the front seat is fabric not plastic, but this is not a problem.
Pushing two toddlers together is easy. I found that both pavement and park paths equally possible. The suspension is good as all four wheels are pneumatic, making for a comfortable ride. I also compared the Hammerhead 4WD’s performance on muddy grass with that of the 3-wheeler Explorer. I found the Hammerhead 4WD much easier to push – the front wheels do not jam at awkward angles. Phil and Teds has indicated that the Hammerhead 4WD would also be much better to push off-road in the snow, but I haven’t had the chance to test this!
Being able to use an Inline Double buggy as a travel system – such as with a Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix like I did – is brilliant. It means that while neither of the seats is rear facing, there’s the option of having your newborn face you in his car seat. All seats (including car seats) attach to the buggy with very simple ball-and-hole fittings – you just push the little balls in and slide the seat on until it clicks into place.
With Jack (the heavier toddler) in the doubles seat at the back, and Minnie (the lighter child) in the front main seat, I expected the Hammerhead 4WD to tip if Minnie got out first (this is what I’ve found with the Explorer). However, the additional wheel at the front and the extra bit of frame required for this seems to have solved this problem.
As a 4-wheeler ATP for one child, this buggy also offers a lot – see the review of the Phil and Teds Hammerhead 4WD single for details.
What to watch out for
This is a difficult buggy to criticise. Phil and Teds’ very popularity proves it’s one of the best on the market for transporting two kids. However, it is very difficult to get into the shopping basket when you have two toddlers on board – and Jack insisted on pushing his feet into my bread and milk! You can get round this problem by buying panniers, though these cost extra.
And boy, is it heavy! Although easy to push, it isn’t so easy to lug in and out of the car boot. However, this is a slightly unfair criticism as the Hammerhead 4WD is so sturdy and built to last, that any compromise on weight would either make it far more likely to break or would push the price up massively if a more hi-tech, lightweight frame were used.
In common with most raincovers that come in neat little bags, trying to get it back in as it came out from the factory is a struggle. I found that warming the raincover in the airing cupboard after a wet walk made it softer and therefore far easier!
Who is the Phil and Teds Hammerhead 4WD Inline Double buggy best for?
Parents-of-two who head off the beaten path, in need a buggy that’ll fold to fit the boot of the family car.
The Phil and Teds Hammerhead 4WD Inline Double is packed with top features and flexibility. The additional off-road benefit of four wheels instead of three is evident, and its sturdiness and weight don’t affect the easy with which it can be pushed. Just watch the price – it can add up if you splash out on for all those accessories.