Able to tackle all kinds of terrain, convert to a double buggy and become a travel system, the Phil and Teds Hammerhead is certainly one very capable buggy – and worthy of its “4WD” moniker.
The Hammerhead 4WD is the latest ATP (all-terrain pushchair) from the funky New Zealand buggy manufacturer Phil and Teds. It can be converted into an inline double, and is unique in that it's the first Phil and Teds inline to feature four wheels.
The Phil and Teds Hammerhead retains the majority of fab features found the current 3-wheeler Explorer, in that it has seven modes of use, taking you from a single newborn right through to two children, though as an ATP with four wheels, it's designed for even more extreme off-road conditions than the similar Explorer!
The Phil and Teds Hammerhead, like its sibling Explorer, has some design upgrades from Phil and Teds’ original 3-wheeler Sport buggy. It has a better brake (known as the flip-flop brake because you can work it with flip-flops on), improved harness, much larger sunhood, a new contoured and vented seat system, a one-hand fold mechanism, the ability to work as a travel system, and also the ability to convert to a two-seater inline when you have a second child (you need to purchase the doubles kit to do so).
As a single buggy, it’s £399.95, which sounds expensive until you remember that if you're aiming to have another child you'll only need to fork out an additional £70 to turn it into an double buggy. You can also get away with not buying the carrycot (known as the peanut bassinet, £122.95) or cocoon (£49.95), because the Hammerhead is suitable from birth, with its main seat able to be used for your newborn in lie-flat mode. And the Hammerhead, unlike most single buggies, is absolutely excellent in off-road conditions.
The Hammerhead 4WD sadly only comes in black and charcoal. However you can customise your Hammerhead to some extent by buying colourful seat liners or by purchasing a newborn cocoon in one of the many shades available.
What we love
The ability to cope with both pavement and mountain is amazing! Currently I switch buggies when I take my toddler into the countryside for a walk, but this is not practical if you don’t have the storage space. I purchased a cross-country running buggy (the Baby Jogger Performance Jogger) in addition to my urban stroller when Jack was 6 months, but had the Hammerhead 4WD existed back then I think I could've got away with owning just the Hammerhead. Phil and Teds has also indicated that it can cope with off-road snow, but I didn’t have chance to test this!
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 as it’s far less likely to tip sideways. The wheels swivel, which means it's also easy to turn, unlike many 4-wheeler buggies. All four wheels also feature mudguards, which if you’re going to take your baby off-road is a must for keeping the bottom of the buggy and basket free from splatters.
Getting on and off a train is also easy with the Hammerhead’s four wheel design - a common criticism of 3-wheelers is the way the front wheel gets stuck at the wrong angle just at the crucial disembarkation moment.
There’s also multi-position seating, from upright to lie-flat on the main seat. The seat is both long and wide, so my tester Jack (27 months) had loads of room. The seat was also easy to adjust with Jack inside. I’m eight months pregnant so it was a relief not to wrestle with the seat-adjuster on the when Jack wanted a snooze – it's a one-handed job.
The sunhood is brilliant. It's so large it even copes with the low-horizon sun that's common in the UK at certain times 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 unless your baby is going to be born at the beginning of the summer, when he would be lying flat throughout the summer months.
The one-handed fold mechanism is very easy to operate and means that the buggy is easy to collapse, so it takes up less space in my narrow hallway.
Being able to use the Hammerhead as a travel system, for example with a Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix car seat like I did, is brilliant. It means that while the buggy seat is not rear facing, there’s the option of having your newborn face you in his car seat. Adding the optional peanut bassinet also means your newborn can be parent facing, if this is what you’re after.
What to watch out for
This is a difficult buggy to criticise - Phil and Teds’ popularity proves it’s one of the best on the market when it comes to options that can transporting two kids. As a single ATP, there are other comparable pushchairs out there, but if you're thinking about having another child at a later stage, a Phil and Teds is the way to go.
The Hammerhead is heavy as a single buggy. Although it's easy to push, it isn't so easy to lug in and out of the car. However, I feel this is a slightly unfair criticism as the Hammerhead is so sturdy and built to last, that any compromise on weight could see these areas suffer. You only have to have a quick look on eBay to see how well Phil and Teds buggies retain their value after much use and abuse!
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. However, with practice this would become easier. 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 buggy best for?
First-time mums who want a one-stop solution that can take muddy and snowy walk as easily as it can handle a growing family size.
The Phil and Teds Hammerhead 4WD has excellent features. If you want the convenience of a buggy that folds relatively compactly into the boot of a family-sized car, but which can still handle pavement and mountain, mud and snow, this could be the buggy for you. The additional off-road benefits of four wheels instead of three are evident, and its travel system compatibility adds to the impressive list of things it can do. All this means it’s easy to overlook its weightiness.