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Thread: Travel:This Little Para Went Camping

  1. #1

    Travel:This Little Para Went Camping

    It took some convincing but my friends planted the idea in my head a month before Memorial Day weekend and it turns out they were right - I was able to camp with them for 5 days.
    Before my injury a year ago I enjoyed long distance motorcyle rides to camping rallies. I couldn't see how to do it again, but my friends could. First they set up a cot for me just inside one of the large floor to ceiling dual zippered doors in their tent so I'd have help if I needed it. I used my power chair instead of my manual one and was able to park it next to the cot, just outside the door and transfer to the cot using a board. I brought my canvas pull-up rope and had it tied to the foot of the cot so I could sit up independently. I stashed supplies within reach under the cot and was able to self cath thru the night. I would carry what needed to be emptied/cleaned to the restroom in the a.m. using a plastic grocery bag hanging from one arm of my chair. I took half an hour out of each afternoon to stretch out on the cot and do some range of motion exercises. Friends had packed my Activeaid raised toilet seat for b.p. days and we used that in a shower stall as well. This was not a facility set up for accessibility and it was especially thrilling to have met the challenges on my first trip away from home in a year. I hope this encourages you to face the challenge.

    As for my next challenge, I'm still trying to figure out how to work things out in a hotel room - without all the help from friends and without having to pack the cumbersome Activeaid seat. Any tips other than buy the expense and redundant folding "travel" version?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Amarillo TX
    That is very cool! I have traveled several times this year with my wife and daughter for volleyball tournaments but we have stayed in hotels. We have to take the travel version of the shower chair. I'm not brave enough to do the camping thing yet though.


  3. #3
    Senior Member ohiochica's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Youngstown Ohio usa
    379 bf is a t1,t2 and travels with nothing but the basics such as clothes. he struggled at first with bp, but by the second day it was fairly easy for him. he transfers to teh toilet using teh bars on teh walls, na dplaces his chair next to him, leans on it and does his bp that way. as for teh shower, he just transfers to the shower bench and showers. he does wear water shoes though or his feet spasm from teh cold floor.

    now our next trip is camping! what brand of tent did you use?

  4. #4
    Senior Member ~Patrick~'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    heres a link to a post I did on camping. It is alot of fun.

    camping post

    T-10 complete

  5. #5
    fotogrl, great job!

    It's awesome when members stretch their abilities outside their normal routines.

    The confidence gained then makes new challenges seem much less daunting.

    Glad you had such a great time and experience. Believe it or not your story will inspire others to push their boundaries - perceived or not.

    Again, thanks for sharing.

  6. #6
    Patrick -thanks for the link. You contribute a heck of alot more to the work involved in camping than I do -very impressive. I'm guessing from the photo showing the layout inside the tent you wheeled inside - how did you deal with the dirt tracked in and how would you deal with rain/mud? Since I am solo my first concern is to cut down on the amount of work I make for others. Rapid- you have done the hotel thing I fear more than camping- Bravo! Camping will be no more difficult but a hell of alot more rewarding when you roll out into the woods for that morning cup of coffee! Chris you are right on the money - I only shared the camping trip to help someone else along as this site has already done for me. Ohiochica-I left my camping buddies a voicemail when I read your question about what kind of tent they own and there must not be any cell service in the mountains where they are camping again this weekend!
    In the meantime, here's my $.02 about choosing a tent. Back in my motorcycing days, my requirements were similar to those of a backpacker. Gear needed to be light and pack small. I also slept on a thermarest on the ground. Thermarest = Varilite. I still sleep on the thermarest, but on a cot similar to the one shown in Patrick's photo which friends bought at (of all places)an Agri Supply store. It too is 18" off the ground -perfect for transfers. I am only 5' tall so cot length is shorter - and therefore my "door" requirements are less. I did not want to drive my electric chair with dirt and mud packed wheels into their tent so my cot stretched across one door opening for transfers from just outside the tent. Therefore, for me, a vestibule is mandatory - and naturally the hardest thing to find with a tent (one big enough to park the chair in). Vestibules are integrated into the rainfly which makes for a 3-season tent that I strongly recommend for the extra warmth we now need. Better tents come with plenty of windows that can remain screen-only under a rainfly, providing necessary circulation.
    Sierra Designs makes a Bedouin and Nomad 5 that would work. Kelty's Valhalla 5 and Mantra 5 or 6 look good. Eureka makes a Blue Mesa 11, Equinox 6 and Kachuna that look great. EMS makes a Venture 6 and North Face makes a Trailhead 4 and 6 that would also work. When looking for a tent, skip over the backpacking category and go right to Family. Lightweight fabric, and few telescoping poles make all these easy (for someone else)to set up and take down. After the vestibule (or cover the chair under a separate entrance tarp as Patrick shows), the door is the next key feature. The wall the door is on needs to be vertical so we can reach the zipper above our heads-compact tents have walls that slope to the center which eliminates standing room for others. Look for a minimum of 5' interior height for them. Make sure the door is on the longer side of the tent and will accomodate placement of cot. Look for a design with 2nd door for others if you use my idea of not wheeling onto tent floor. As an ambulatory camper, I'd wear socks inside the tent and never track in dirt/rain.
    In addition to searching by tent manufacturer, try looking at, for ideas, and then spend less at my favorite site!
    I had to be a fanatic about "less is more" when camping on the bike and that hasn't changed a bit being in a chair. I did a pretty good job of figuring out most of what I'd need before I camped but I perfected my list afterward. I'd be glad to share whatever I've figured out so far with anyone interested.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    I am building one of these little guys at the moment. The plan is to have the bed /floor at chair level and transfer straight in leaving my chair ousude under a cover.

    The Lake District UK

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Covington, Georgia

    Thank you so very much for sharing your camping experience with us!! Last summer I spent I don't know HOW MUCH money on camping equipment and had a ball using it. I hadn't been camping since I was younger. I have done nothing but think of camping this year. I've been dying to go, but was very nervous about it. I am a walking quad now-I use forearm crutches to get around-but I was still very worried about cathing and the bp. Reading your post has convinced me that I CAN do it!! I am going to start talking to friends to see if I can get some together to go for a weekend now. I think I'll probably have to bring my chair for long distances but around the campsite I should be ok with just my crutches. Thanks again for sharing and motivating me to go for it too!!

    C5-C7 Walking Quad

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