Camping is one of the most adventurous and fun outdoor activities you can engage in reasonably easily. You get to enjoy nature’s raw beauty and experience life away from the hustle and bustle of the city. As is the case with pretty much everything in life, camping has its risks. It is all the more challenging for wheelchair users with reduced mobility. But that is no reason to lose hope. There are several ways in which your camping trip can be customized for you or your friends who use wheelchairs. Here are a few tips on how you can make a camping trip wheelchair-friendly.
Choose the Campsite Wisely
The choice of a campsite is the first thing you need to keep in mind when arranging a wheelchair-friendly trip. Many sites are inaccessible and inconvenient for people with reduced mobility or those who are in wheelchairs. When choosing a campsite, there are a few essential points to consider:
- A person in a wheelchair might need assistance, or
- You might need assistance.
- Make sure the makeshift bathroom has space for two.
The access road must also be wheelchair-friendly. If it is too topsy-turvy and rough, the campsite is a definite no.
Use Tarps Instead of Tents
Instead of spending huge amounts on luxury tents where it may be difficult to roll in a wheelchair, you can opt for tarps. A tarp will give you the required security and keep out the natural elements. At the same time, a tarp can be arranged in various ways to provide you with different views of the natural beauty of the surroundings. If the tarps are set up correctly, it becomes very easy to roll the wheelchair in and out. However, first, you need to make sure that your campsite’s ground is suitable for a tarp.
Pick the Right Gear
Picking the right gear for your camping trip is very important, even more so when the camping trip is planned for people with reduced mobility. Some of the tools you are certainly going to need to include are knives, a heavy-duty flashlight, and a handheld emergency generator. If you can, bring a multi-functional tool, and you also need one of the hatchets perfect for camping that are lightweight and very convenient to use. When buying new tools and gear for your next camping trip, be sure to consult specialized online guides to make the right purchases.
Bring a Cot
A small cot used for sleeping makes it easier for the person to be transferred from the wheelchair to the cot and vice versa. Sleeping on the cot is definitely more comfortable for the wheelchair user. You could add a foam pad to make it more comfortable; the right travel cushions will ensure a good night’s sleep. If there is sufficient space, you can also use a queen size cot, which will give you more comfort and mobility.
Quilt Yourself Up
A sleeping bag can be very cumbersome and uncomfortable for people with reduced mobility. A backcountry quilt made of the same material will be more convenient and comfortable. There are no inconvenient zippers involved; instead, it has a pocket at the bottom for feet. These quilts are comfortable for all temperatures. If it becomes too hot, you can vent them out, and if it becomes too cold, you can tuck them around yourself. A high quality customized quilt costs almost as much as or even less than a good sleeping bag.
The Bucket Unit
Attending calls of nature is a basic necessity that can be difficult for people with reduced mobility, especially in the wilderness. If you have a bucket, a padded commode, and a privacy tent, it gives you access to a comfortable and convenient bathroom. You will need another bucket for your bathing and sponging needs.
Easy to Prepare Meals
If you plan your meals in advance with easy-to-use ingredients, cooking can be great fun and will save a lot of time. It will also give you increased independence around the camp. You could choose one ingredient in each food category from the list given below.
- Fats: nuts, olive oil, butter.
- Carbs: macaroni, instant rice, oatmeal.
- Proteins: beans, nuts, cheese, dry meat.
- Flavor: powdered cheese, sugar, dried fruit, and spices.
Choosing one from each of these categories will ensure a complete meal. Combining and adding these dry ingredients to a pot of boiling water will save cooking and cleaning time.
Avoid Open Fires
Usually, people cook on open flames when camping; this is not a very safe proposition for people with limited mobility. A simple all-in-one canister stove is a better alternative to cooking on an open fire. It comes with an igniter of its own and large, extended wire control. It is also inclusive of a pot for cooking and a snap-on lid with a handle. It has color indicators that change color when the boiling temperature is reached to add to the convenience.
For a person with reduced mobility, many other necessities are needed when traveling. Camping out in the open makes them all the more essential:
- A freewheel attached to the front wheel of your wheelchair can give you increased mobility over all kinds of terrain.
- An extra supply of any medications a person might be taking for one or two days will ensure that you don’t have to go without your medication, even for a single day, due to any delays in your schedule.
In this world of stress, troubles, and worries, people are always looking to escape from their routine. Spending time outdoors will give you the energy to tackle the daily monotony with renewed vigor. Just because someone uses a wheelchair does not imply that they can’t enjoy the outdoors and experience the joy that comes with it.
With the above tips in mind, nature enthusiasts with reduced mobility will be able to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.