Camping Gear Checklist for Wheelchair Users

a yellow tent with boots sitting outside of the zipper door at night

Did you know the being in nature can reduce fear and stress, contribute to physical wellbeing, and may even reduce mortality?

Health benefits aside, camping is an affordable and accessible getaway. That is if you know about the must-have camping gear for wheelchair users.

Camping in a wheelchair is a lot easier if you have the right tools. A checklist that outlines the most important things you need to consider will make your trip run smoothly from beginning to end.

Read on to find out what you need to make your camping trip successful and comfortable.

1. An Accessible Site

If you're looking to get into the backcountry sites, then you'll really need to do your research. Start by narrowing down where you want to camp and then confirming your dates.

When you call the campground, you'll want to ask about more than just the dates you're planning to go. If you're driving a wheelchair-accessible RV, for example, you'll need to make sure you have an RV site.

You should also ask about the restrooms on the campground. Make sure that they're wheelchair accessible. You might also consider getting a site located as close to it as possible.

Be sure to ask about accessibility in the showers. And, if you're not sure about just how accessible they'll be, just make sure to bring your own shower chair for your safety and comfort.

2. A Car Inspection

On any road trip, long or short, you'll want to be sure your vehicle is in working order. Check the oil, coolant, lights, wheels, and wipers.

To be absolutely sure that everything is working as well as it should, take your car to a mechanic. Have them check your wheelchair lift to make sure it's functioning as it should, that way you avoid any problems when you arrive. 

3. Cots Over Air Mattress

Air mattresses can take some time to set up. They're also prone to springing leaks, which will make your sleep uncomfortable, to say the least. Investing in a cot can change all of that.

If you have space for a queen-sized cot, you'll have a lot more mobility. It will also make it easier to transfer between your chair and your bed, and they're far better for protecting your skin.

While we’re talking about bedding, you might also consider switching out your sleeping bag for backcountry quilt. It's easy for someone with limited mobility to get stuck in a sleeping bad. But a backcountry quilt is just as warm as a sleeping bag, with none of the zippers or pockets for your feet. 

4. A FreeWheel

There are many campgrounds around the US that make wheelchair camping accessible and easy. But if you choose something a little less popular, then you'll want to make sure you can get around with just as much convenience.

The FreeWheel is a wheelchair attachment that will help you do exactly that. An extra wheel for the front of manual wheelchairs, it helps navigate over terrains like rocks, dirt, sand, and even snow.

5. Spare Parts

If you have spare parts for your wheelchair, consider making room for them. If something breaks while you're camping, it will be a lot easier to fix on your site than finding a shop that carries them.

Spare parts you might consider bringing include:

  • Washer and screws
  • Repair kits for tires
  • Tire tubes
  • Armrests and footrest (and corresponding parts)

Don't forget to bring along your instructions manual, too. Without it or the know-how to fix your chair, you'll end up having to look for that shop.

More Travel and Must-Have Camping Gear

Must-have camping gear isn't limited to flashlights and a place to cook your food. When camping in a wheelchair, you have to consider everything from your site to what you're sleeping in. Keeping these items in mind will ensure you have a stress-free camping trip that's comfortable and convenient.

And for more tips on travel and camping with your wheelchair, be sure to check out our article library.

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