When I have the choice of stroller or wagon, I choose the wagon every time. It’s the 4×4 of child transportation vehicles. You can pickup a nice Radio Flyer off the shelf (we like their products; Bash loves his RF trike), or pickup a utility wagon and with a few DIY mods convert it into the perfect kids’ all-terrain-wagon. The utility wagon is also more versatile: you can haul gear, groceries, and equipment, all without looking like you borrowed your child’s toy wagon. Costco has the best deal on these, but you can get them on Amazon as well, just slightly more expensive.
The utility wagon is well built. It’s a solid metal frame covered in a thick 600D polyester, and the front wheels are on casters for easy steering. Cup holders? Check! There are two external pouches for holding water bottles, conveniently located near the driver. Our favorite thing about this wagon is that it folds up flat. That’s a huge plus for us NYC residents where storage space is limited and the majority of that space is occupied by your wife’s clothes and shoes. 🙂
- Bike Pannier Bag (with shoulder straps) from IKEA
- Buckle strap used for seat belt
- Sport Umbrella
- And the Wagon of course
The wagon has plenty of interior space but since most of that will be occupied by the little one, I attached a bag on the back of the wagon to give us a little more storage space. The key is to use a bike pannier bag, a backpack and shoulder bag will not hang properly. Bike pannier bags have a sturdy back side and hooks meant to secure the bag to a frame. NOTE: The frame on the wagon is 3/4in thick so before running out and buying a bike pannier bag make sure the hooks can accommodate that width. Ours is from IKEA, and if you are able to pick one up, I recommend it.
I’m really surprised reflectors don’t come as standard equipment on strollers. Are strollers only meant to be used during the day? Here in NYC our primary mode of transportation is walking. With all the crazy drivers on the road, having a little more visibility makes sense. I added a few clip-on reflectors, also from IKEA, but wrapping the metal frame with a few strips of reflective tape would also work.
As with most 2-year olds, trying to keep them to sit still is nearly impossible. I think your chances of winning the lotto or getting struck by lightning are better. To keep them from jumping out of the wagon, seat belts are highly recommended. Safety first! Although there are no built-in seat belts in the utility wagon, it does have corner eyelets in the fabric cover. Using a quick release backpack strap, we were able feed the strap through the eyelets to make our own seat beat. TIP: To keep the strap in place, tie a knot in the strap after feeding it through the eyelets.
The last mod we did, was add a clip-on umbrella. They are relatively inexpensive and provide a nice bit of shade for the chauffeured passenger. TIP: It’s best to clip these on a vertical bar on the wagon frame, otherwise they tend to slowly fall back if clipped onto the horizontal bar.
Thanks! Going to try this. Wish IKEA was closer
Brad & Kelly
We will definitely be getting one of these! What a great product. Thanks for posting!
Thanks for sharing this idea! So excited to take my new wagon out for a spin. Found the pannier bags at Ikea today, and they were half off!
That’s great! I hope you enjoy it. Ours has served us well, we use it regularly even during winter!
My wagon doesnt have eyelets, and I really need to add a seatbelt, any ideas?
Hi Kary, it might be a little difficult depending on the material but I’d look into using a grommet kit such as this one: https://amzn.to/2t3ugyA
Also, I’d use at least a 1/2in grommet, anything smaller might make it too difficult to thread the seatbelt.
Hope that helps. Good luck!
Great post, I have been thinking about how to upgrade my utility wagon now that we have a baby! Love our stroller but need the wagon for farmers markets and outdoor flea markets. Also I have been wondering how this wagon would do on the beach? I’m thinking the wheels are a problem for sand. Any ideas?
Yes, the wagon is great for farmers markets, flea markets, and any place with solid ground, but the wheels are not made for beach use. They are too narrow. You are better off getting a beach wagon with the wide wheels if you want to take it on sand.
How does this wagon do in the snow
The wheels are too narrow on this wagon for snow (or sand). You are better off getting a beach wagon with the wider wheels. Or a wagon that converts to a sleigh wagon.
This is genius! Thank you so much I am going to do this all to my utility wagon I got from Costco! Question for you, ikea doesn’t seem to have the pannier anymore (or at least any in Canada), and recommendations on a close second?