Camping for Wheelchair Users

Blog: Camping for Wheelchair Users

When the weather’s hot, being out in the forest is one of the best places to commune with nature. In fact, says Wild Learning, “the shade provided by trees can reduce our physiologically equivalent temperature between 7 and 15°C, depending on our latitude.”

That’s just one reason why July is a great month to take a camping trip. Other reasons include reduced levels of stress, depression and anxiety; improved mood and sense of wellbeing; lower blood pressure; better immune function; heart and lung health; and the chance to unplug from electronics and your regular routines.

Being a wheelchair user shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the joys of camping. With a little pre-trip planning, a vacation in the great outdoors is in your future!

1. Location, location, location
Location is always key to a successful vacation. But when you use a wheelchair, it’s even more important. While the Americans with Disabilities Act has made many campgrounds accessible to individuals with disabilities, not every accessible campground is created equal. If you’re interested in camping in a national park, check out individual park websites to learn about each one’s accessibility. For further reference, this blogpost from BraunAbility provides a list of the 9 most accessible campgrounds.

 2. Get an Access Pass
An access pass from the National Park Service permits free lifetime access to national parks and other federally managed national forests and grasslands. The pass also provides discounts on camping fees, tours and boating. For more information, visit

3. Choose the right tent
A tent that is roomy enough to store your wheelchair and has a wide and flat entryway is critical to a comfortable, safe and restful trip. There are also tents especially designed for wheelchair users. For example, check out the Eureka Freedom Tent.

4. Sleep comfortably
Sleeping under the stars doesn’t have to be a dream, with the right set-up. Consider sleeping on a cot rather than roughing it on the ground. This will make it easier to transfer from your wheelchair and will likely be more comfortable – especially if you bring along a mattress pad. Likewise, a backpacking quilt without cumbersome zippers is lighter than a sleeping bag. See these top backpacking quilts to find one that best suits your needs.

5. Have a backup plan for hygiene
Most likely, you’ve chosen a campground with ADA compliant rest rooms and showers. But you never know what you will find once you reach your destination. Be on the safe side by packing a privacy tent, portable shower and fold-up commode.

6. Be prepared for unexpected medical needs
You’ll feel more confident knowing where you can go in the event of a medical emergency. Before you set out, know where the nearest hospital and urgent care clinic is located. Likewise, bring extra medication and medical supplies.

 7. Don’t forget to bring:
High SPF sunscreen, heavy duty bug spray, flashlights and extra batteries, maps, spare phone charger, and clothing for rain and unexpectedly cold temperatures.

Have a blast!

Products mentioned in this article are the results of our own research. We’re not endorsing any product, nor do we have any relationship with their manufacturers, nor do we profit from the sales of any of the products mentioned in this article.