Some of the greatest icons of the streets of Paris are les dames d’un certain âge pulling their grocery trolleys down the sidewalk. In my mind, theirs always seem to be rickety things, giant wire baskets on cheap plastic wheels all holding a tarp-like bag into which they can put wine, cheese, leeks, and baguettes. Trolleys are supremely practical, particularly if you are on foot or even in the Métro, but thanks to a touch of modernization, they may be ready to make the leap across the pond.


Spanish trolley manufacturer Rolser is leading that charge. The company sells a full line of trolleys, including my favorite, the Wallaby Tweed 2 Wheel Foldable Shopping Trolley. First, and kinda crucially, it’s good-looking, trading the rattling basket for a folding tubular frame with a 40-liter bag that, at roughly 7.5 inches deep, 13 inches wide, and 26 inches tall, looks a bit like a giant, fold-flat pannier. That sturdy fabric allows the bag to have sharp corners, and it’s rubberized to keep your Cheerios from getting soggy if you get caught in the rain. Combine that with fat-toothed zippers nestled in natty contrasting tape and the whole thing has a surprising hipness. Plus, big wheels with a 6.5-inch diameter and a bit of squish help smooth out bumps in the pavement.

I love using my trolley because it allows me to make a full grocery run without having to lug heavy bags all over my neighborhood, but what I immediately noticed about my Wallaby once I started using it was how many compliments I got every time I hit the street with it. A nice lady at the Mexican grocery down the block switched from admiring its practicality to making sure she knew the make and model before I left the store. Two other people on that same outing went out of their way to ask about it. At the grocery store, I came to appreciate a feature on this model where you fold it in half and then use a row of plastic hooks to clamp the empty trolley to the grocery cart while you shop. At the register, you want to make sure you load heavy stuff in first to keep from crushing more delicate or more delicate items, and there’s a large zipper that runs down most of the outer panel, making loading and unloading a bit easier. While other models have a cinch with a flap at the top, this one just has a stiff flap that gets in the way a bit when it’s time to load it. However, there are also a few well-placed pockets, both on the top flap and inside the bag for items like pens, keys, and produce bags. As someone who frequently marches around the supermarket with the grocery list on a clipboard, I like the large pouch on the back of the bag that accommodates it nicely.

Out of the sidewalk, it functions surprisingly well under load. Rolser has both a recommended load limit of 55 pounds and a “maximum load” of 88 pounds. For months, I’ve pushed mine toward what feels like it could be the limit, stuffing it with a few six packs, a big jug of kombucha, milk, and other heavy groceries to fill the bag. With its fairly large wheels and sturdy frame, it handles just fine. One day, I loaded it about two-thirds full with a fat stack of cookbooks to donate to the Seattle Public Library and, while the tires felt a little splashy on the way over to the Columbia Branch, the multi-block walk was still pretty easy. If you happen to have extra totes, those can be hung over the main bag, helping you free up a hand for waving to your jealous neighbors.


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