Camping with a Wheelchair

Discussion in 'Camping for the Medically/Physically Challenged' started by tantsits, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. tantsits

    tantsits New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Hello all. I am new to this site and wanted to post a question. Does anyone here camp with a child in a wheelchair. My son is in a wheelchair and even though he can get around very well in his chair, I was wondering if there is information that would benefit me when I start to bring him camping. I am not too worried about having him move around the pup, but more if he will be bored because he cannot hike or do some other things. Anyone else dealing with this?

    Thanks,

    JT
     
  2. jtbeck

    jtbeck New Member

    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Sorry, I don't have any tips for you, but I wanted to commend you for taking your child camping even though it might not be the easiest thing for you to do.

    I think it would be all too simple for someone in your situation to just say, "The heck with it, let's find something that doesn't require this sort of effort."

    I would bet that he will have the time of his life because he will be spending time with you and making wonderful memories that you will both enjoy for the rest of your lives.

    I know my favorite thing about camping is hanging around the camp site and messing with the fire and eating things that really, I shouldn't eat, and not even caring about it. My family enjoys just relaxing and doing things (even small things) that we don't do in our day-to-day lives.

    I don't know about a replacement for hikes, except maybe you could rent a golf cart and zip around the campground?

    Rest assured you will hear, "I'm bored." But you get that from any kid. Enjoy your time with your son!

    www.jeffbeckdesigns.com

    Me (69), DW (69), DD (95), DS (00), DS (01) and Tucker the camping fox terrier (08)
    '02 Explorer Limited V8, 95 Fleetwood Utah
     
  3. Digger

    Digger Foothills of Central Virginia

    Messages:
    2,806
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Location:
    Foothills of Central Virginia
    Welcome to the Portal, James!

    A lot depends on the level of disability your son has, and the type of chair he is required to use. I use a chair for 99% of my mobility needs (I am able to use crutches for short distances).

    The chair I use is a heavy duty electric scooter. Take a look at these pics. My chair has large wheels, high ground clearance, and a powerful motor/transaxle. It has allowed me to have a tremendous level of independence. As you can see in the pics, I take it places that a standard chair dare not tread.

    If you have any questions about the chair, send me a Private Message, and I'll share the details.

    and as JTBeck stated....many kudos for getting him out there where he can enjoy the great outdoors.

    ~Cheers~ <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_beer.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Cold Beer"> Ðigger
    '04 Fleetwood Westlake (StonyBlue)/'02 Ford E-150
    2008 nights camping: PUP - 25
     
  4. Yooperwannabe

    Yooperwannabe Active Member

    Messages:
    1,976
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Location:
    Clinton, Illinois
    Most camprounds have handicap accessable sites which would allow the use of a wheelchair while at the site. Some state parks/campgrounds have accessable trails, which is something I look for when researching campgrounds.

    Robin

    Me 1955, DH 1958, DD 1986
    DGS 1999,2000,2001,2005
     
  5. LynnAllen02

    LynnAllen02 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,098
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    My son has cerebral palsy which affects his mobility though he does not require braces or a wheelchair and he is legally blind which also affects his mobility.

    He loves to camp in the PUP, he hates that wavery 1/8 inch of nylon that he can't see or judge properly to get into the tent!

    We have some issues regarding taking him on hikes and such that he is really unable to do...we have to remember to check it out first...and then take him with us.

    I think he gets so tired doing the things we think are nothing that he enjoys just relaxing around the campsite.

    The accessible sites at the national and state campgrounds seem excellent for wheelchair accessibility...hiking not so great always...so do something else like fishing or boating...

    Regards, and welcome!

    Lynn

    2006 Pony 283*2008 Liberty* Reserved 2008: 16 days Camped: 7 nights
     
  6. freepopup

    freepopup New Member

    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Hi
    I took my Autistic son on my last camping trip it was alot of fun. Its hard on you as a perent but I would not trade one moment with him and sleeping with him in the bunkend haveing him ask me over and over "whats that noise" (repeditive quuestions are part of his disorder)We saw stars and and chipmonks as well as deer. I was months ago but he still loves to look at the pictures.

    1996 GMC Jimmy <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 1983 Coleman <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">
    1 wife <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Smile"> 2 kids <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Smile"> <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Smile">
     
  7. LynnAllen02

    LynnAllen02 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,098
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Freepopup:

    Put the pix in your screensaver, you will find your son hanging around the computer, I do! "And there goes me up the mountain"(we practically had to carry him down) "and there goes me out in the kayak" we tow a Coleman inflatable single kayak behind our tandem kayak.

    Regards,
    Lynn

    2006 Pony 283*2008 Liberty* Reserved 2008: 16 days Camped: 7 nights
     
  8. cabinlady

    cabinlady Member

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Check out your state and federal campgrounds. In Utah, we have many " accessable " trails that are wider and not too steep, fishing docks,ect. Since we hosted the 2002 winter Olympics and Paralympics, the outdoor sports and recreation for all has been marketly improved. My son even plays sled hockey every week.There is alot available, but you have to dig to find it. We are camping with a group that sponsers a few camps a year for families with any disabled children.It's been a great way to get started camping and now we are hooked. Good luck and don't turn back.

    1988 Dodge Ram 50,1978 Coleman Concord
    Salt Lake City,UT-BB,TJ,AB & mutt
     
  9. kmh1596

    kmh1596 Wilbraham, MA

    Messages:
    5,362
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Location:
    Western MA
    JT, as one childn out of a 9-child family, 5 of which with varying disabilities (both physically and mentally), and having had many special needs foster children in the house through the years , I can say check your state parks for accessible sites. Although I'm not saying to put a price on your son's happiness, a lot of states have a pass system that will give him discounted (often free) access to those parks. This may help you better afford to bring him camping and enjoy the parks your state has. Good Luck!

    *Kevin*
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> 2004 Rockwood 1940 LTD, <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 96 Cherokee 2dr 5spd, <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_canoe.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Canoe"> ~16' Old Town Canoe
    Nights Booked 08: 48, Camped so far: 44
     
  10. cabinlady

    cabinlady Member

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    In a addition to discount passes for state parks, there is a federal program as well-sometimes every little bit helps. Most of all- have fun!

    1988 Dodge Ram 50,1978 Coleman Concord
    Salt Lake City,UT-BB,TJ,AB & mutt
     
  11. flakeyspam

    flakeyspam New Member

    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    My grandson is 7 and he has cerebral palsy. He is in a wheelchair to and his parents carry him in and out of the popup and with his power chair he is able to get anyplace he wants to and some we don't want him to. He fishes with the one hand he can somewhat use and loves to go out in a hunting blind with his dad and watch for deer. His dream is to go on a real hunt and we hope to do that this year. He loves to camp and anything related to the outdoors. He is my hero and when I had my back surgery I carried his picture into the the operating room and kept it by me the whole time to inspire me as he is amazing he just doesn't have bad days and doesn't know the word can't

    Pam
    dh
    ds
    buddy the golden
    dizzy the border collie
     
  12. Chaplain Kent

    Chaplain Kent New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    I am a campground host and have also been confined to a wheel chair for a length of time. All of the state parks in Wisconsin have a disabled spot which is wheel chair friendly. Along with a level site close to an accessible bathroom you will find specially designed picnic tables.
    Now for my pet-peeve. Those who take these spots when they do not need them. We have had people in the park using wheel chairs on regular spots while perfectly able people camp in the disabled spot. Privacy laws prohibit us from asking what disability they have. Often these spoiled campers will tell me they just like the concrete pad. One lady said she uses it so she can have a key to the accessible bathroom because she is too big to fit in the regular showers. Please folks if you do not need these special sites stay out of them. there are many families who need and can only camp on these sites.

    See my travel and recipe page:
    http://travelswithchummy.blogspot.com/
     
  13. scoutermom

    scoutermom New Member

    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Look into family camping accessability at church and youth camps in your area.

    For many years my son and I camped at a christain campground (Timberlee, in Mukwanago, WI) that had many, many places and activities for various levels of handicapps. They were a huge facility that ran summer camps, confirmation camps for churches, adult conferences, day activities - all sorts of things.

    Some things that were accessable that normally weren't in other campgrounds -

    farm petting zoo - llamas, goats, calves, and always kittens and rabbits and chickens and ducks.
    Horses and ponies that were extrememly gentle and trained to work with handicapped kids (they ran a burn camp every year and other special camps, too.)

    docks that were wheelchair accessble for swiming and fishing.

    a leathercraft shop, and other crafts

    a state of the art nature/ science center with HUGE aquariums and live animals.

    any kind of sports field or activity you could think of - hayrides, mini-golf, biking.

    and most important - most of these kinds of campgrounds have staff that WANT to make things happen for disabled kids; their attitude is 'how can we make this work?" not 'we can't'.

    Timberlee also provided meals if you wished - they ran a big mess hall, where families could sign up for meals for their stay and not cook if they wanted to - giving them more time to DO things rather than having mom cook all the time.

    They also ran 'themed' weekends - like a halloween weekend, or appple picking festival, or 4th of July, etc where there were group activities you could choose to join (or not) and potlucks.

    1973 Starcraft starmaster 6 - a work in progress - http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/558473066XXMupb
     
  14. flakeyspam

    flakeyspam New Member

    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Chaplain just because you cannot see a handicap do not assume one does not exist. I have to use handicap showers as I cannot stand well and must have the railings. Also I am limited on walking sometimes to. I do not always look handicapped and by the way I was offered a wheelchair but per my earlier post I have a 7 year old gc in wheelchair and my thought is as long as I can walk at all I will not give up until the end. It bothers me more to see people ride the chairs and then stand up and walk a few feet.

    Pam
    dh
    ds
    buddy the golden
    dizzy the border collie
     
  15. IV Nurse

    IV Nurse New Member

    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Maryland
    Chaplain, don't be so quick to judge. Not all handicaps are visible. My husband and I are both handicapped. He has trouble walking, but mine is lung-related. On a good day I may appear fine, but that can change to a life-threatening situation in the blink of an eye. Other times I'm struggling, but refuse to give in to my illness. We enjoy camping and make whatever accomodations needed to continue to go including reserving a handicapped site.

    Me '58, DH '54, DD '82, DD '86
    2009 Coleman Avalon <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle">2007 Dodge Ram 2500
     
  16. LynnAllen02

    LynnAllen02 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,098
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    In New York they sometimes have "universal" sites at the state parks, perfect for the disabled, but allowed to be used by whomever reserves them.

    I always thought that was unfair, but then the "handicapped" not universal spots are often empty on a Holiday weekend.

    Many of the people I know with Handicapped kids think I am crazy to take my son camping!

    Accessible yeah! they say. Often what other people think is accessible is Not!

    Lynn
     
  17. storys5

    storys5 New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    I agree we shouldn't be too quick to judge. My 11 year old has a wheel chair to use as needed. She does not always need it. But as someone else says at the drop of a hat, especially with pollen, smoke, and other lung irritants out and about she could be lifeless and on her oxygen, unable to walk 6ft without utter exaustion. so many days she looks as if she is fine, most she looks pale, is short of breath, and is unable to muster up much strength. She has the scars on her chest from open heart surgery and scars in her lungs from colapses, pneumonia's, asthma attacks, and other illness. Just because someone does not have an obvious mobility issue does not mean they do not need a handicapped site.
     
  18. dcj070454

    dcj070454 New Member

    Messages:
    446
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Location:
    Canton, Ohio
    I would contact the ADA, they may very well have a list of CG's with folks that are disabled.
     
  19. PattieAM

    PattieAM New Member

    Messages:
    915
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    I too say - don't be too quick to judge! My handicap is not always apparent. I had a broken leg/surgery and to help my mental healing, I took my PUP on 3 "I can do-it" trips. One of these I did utilize a handicapped campsite. I had my walker with me, but, I tried not to use it unless absolutely necessary. It's been 2 years and I'm still limping around. I bring crutches to take the pressure off my back.

    Frustrating things about mobility and campsites are primarily tree roots! The darn things catch wheel chairs, walkers and even crutches!
     
  20. scottie0719

    scottie0719 "the Rubber Duckie"

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Location:
    Bowling Green, KY
    I don't have any experience camping with a child in a wheelchair, but I do have experience camping with bored children. You didn't specifiy your son's handicap nor its severity or his age, but perhaps a good pair of binoculars and a few books about the birds, plants, trees, etc. in your area would be an acceptable activity to him. He could even keep a notebook about what he's discovered at various campgrounds. I bought several pairs of small binoculars for my grandchildren to use while camping, so they won't fight over using mine!! [;)]
     

Share This Page