7 Ways to Have the Best Accessible Camping Experience
It’s been a summer of outdoor adventure at Pride Mobility. With the launch of the new Baja Mobility lineup, we’re obsessed with finding new ways to explore the natural world.
The latest in mobility technology makes spending more time outside possible, and perhaps the shining star of the new collection is the Baja Wrangler 2. Its rugged design, powerful handling and suspension technology give you access to the deepest destinations.
With summer winding down, you might be looking for some last opportunities to squeeze in a camping trip before the kids go back to school and the nights get chilly again.
1. Find a wheelchair-accessible campground
The website The Manual published a great master list last year for the best wheelchair-accessible campgrounds in the country. Check that out here.
If none of those are close to you, or if you want other options, franchise campgrounds like Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park and KOA offer a pretty standardized experience. KOA parks typically have great reviews and awesome amenities, while Jellystone Parks are usually better for kids with scheduled activities. Many Jellystone campgrounds have water parks.
State parks — a mainstay for the casual camper — must make accommodations for campers with disabilities by federal law, though some places may offer a bare minimum like accessible restrooms. So it may still feel like roughing it, but for most campers, that’s the idea!
If the thought of roughing it for a few nights just sparked your imagination, walk-in campsites offer the most rugged, unplugged experience.
They’re typically away from the parking lot with lots of space between you and other campers and no traffic passing by.
We recommend calling the park office first to inquire about trail conditions for walk-in camping. Depending on the park, you might actually need an all-terrain mobility device like the Baja Wrangler 2 since you’ll have to navigate a trail to get there.
2. Pick a tent with a screen room so you can park your wheelchair or scooter
Depending on your level of mobility you at least want a tent with space to keep your battery-powered mobility scooter or power wheelchair out of the wind and rain.
We checked out the Coleman WeatherMaster 6-person tent, available on Amazon. The screened-in area will keep the rain off your gear while you sleep, and also offer some shade and protection from bugs while you relax outside. Any good survivalist will advise you to pick gear that has multiple uses, and the WeatherMaster definitely checks more than one box.
If you need to get your wheelchair or scooter inside the tent — or have trouble stepping over obstacles — watch out for tents that have a high bottom lip at the door. Most tent door flaps start a few inches off the ground to prevent water and critters from getting inside.
That could make it more challenging to enter your tent if you have limited mobility or if you need to drive your scooter or wheel into the tent.
You likely won’t find one without a lip, but look for one with a lower, wider lip and, if necessary, flop a heavy door mat over it to press it down.
3. Pack a cot
Overpacking can quickly make a fun camping trip feel like a chore, but, you probably need certain items to make it enjoyable
If you have to splurge on one bulky item, make it the cot. GearLab has an exhaustive and up-to-date review of camping cots to help inform your decision. Most are under $100 and worth every penny because they make going to bed much simpler.
A bad night’s sleep on the hard earth can really spoil a camping trip, so make sure you’re going to be comfortable and get enough Zs.
4. Figure out how much privacy you’ll need while camping
Privacy while camping is important, so shopping around for something that will fit your needs requires taking many things into consideration like rooms, windows, doors, etc.
Some tents have room dividers. If yours doesn’t, you might try a changing tent like this one we found on Amazon. It’s relatively inexpensive and it could make the difference between some awkward moments and discreet comfort while camping.
5. Plan accessible activities for the day
Getting to your campsite, setting up and settling in is fun, but then what happens?
Some parks have activities all day that will give you lots to do. Others have nearby attractions. Pick one or two things to try each day but don’t overdo it.
Camping gives you the chance to slow down and soak up nature. That’s easier to do when you don’t pack your days full of activities.
6. Make sure you can charge your mobility device
If you head out with a full charge on your Baja Wrangler 2, you should have plenty of power to get through a one-night camping trip with your power wheelchair or mobility scooter. The Wrangler 2, after all, has a max 24.2-mile capacity per charge.
However, if you plan on staying out in the wild longer, or have a scooter with a lower per-charge capacity, you’ll want to do some sleuthing beforehand and find a suitable place to plug in to get a full charge.
7. Start slow
Camping, especially tent camping, takes adjusting because we’re so accustomed to our own routines, our own beds and our own bathrooms.
Sleeping outside exposes us to new bumps and noises in the dark. You’re out there with all the bugs and animals and, perhaps most intimidating, other campers. There’s wind and (hopefully not too much) rain to consider.
You’re out in the unfiltered natural world, which some people find exhilarating while others would rather do anything else.
Plan a one-night camping trip at a park nearby to see how you like it. If you find yourself champing at the bit to do more camping, try a two-night weekend next.
Pride scooters — your passport to camping fun!
We talked a lot about the Baja Wrangler 2, but plenty of other Pride Mobility scooters can carry you out to the wilderness.
The Go-Go Sport 4-Wheel and Zero Turn 10 4-Wheel scooters both offer beefy tires and suspension systems that handle gravelly or grassy paths easily. If you’re shopping for a new mobility device to start new adventures, call your local Pride dealer today and make sure they know you plan to try camping and exploring