Summertime is the best weather for outdoor activities. Often times, individuals require accommodations in order to make activities such as camping, hiking, and other outdoor fun fully accessible. Luckily, there are so many accessibility options that make otherwise inaccessible outdoors activities more accessible and devices that make outdoor day-to-day just more comfortable, here is some AT to consider:
Before making reservations at a campsite, research is necessary to ensure the campsite is accessible. One place to start is by checking out the Guide to Adaptive Camping and Making the Outdoors Attainable Beyond ADA-Accessible Campgrounds for tips on accessible camping.
Consider purchasing a portable generator for camping or as a backup power source in case of emergency. There are many different sizes of generators with different battery lives.
Portable oxygen concentrators are great to have while traveling. It provides the option to travel while still receiving the oxygen one needs.
A tent with a vestibule is perfect for camping. The vestibule provides coverage to the separate, front room where people are still able to spend time in or can use as an space to take a break in and regulate body temperatures.
Cots might be a good option for those with limited mobility by limiting the distance one has to travel to their bed. It is sturdy enough to support an individual transferring in and out of the cot.
Hiking is arguably one of the best outdoor activities during the summer. Trails vary in difficult level and have features like ramps and wider paths to enable wheelchair users and individuals to explore nature. Accessible hiking ensures everyone can enjoy the wonders of the great outdoors.
Research is one of the most important first steps to accessible hiking. AllTrails is a great resource to search different trails in a desired city or location. Searches can be specified by different wants such as hiking trails, bike trails, dog friendly, and wheelchair friendly trails. AllTrails Disability Trails and Parks Guide explains more about what is considered a wheelchair friendly trail. AllTrails is available on the App Store and the Play Store. Also, check out our past blog, Everyone Out and Hitting the Trail!, for a lot more tips on all things accessible hiking.
GRIT Freedom Chair is a wheelchair built for hiking and beaches. The unique design is based off a manual wheelchair and a mountain bike. The detachable handle bars make it so that it requires less energy to push than a typical manual wheelchair.
Check out this TikTok by RJ Adapted while he shows us his first solo hike as a wheelchair user.
The Dakota Disk is a cane tip that helps those who are blind or have low vision to travel over snow, sand, grass, and pea gravel.
A walking cane with LED light and pivoting base can be the perfect tool for those that want extra support while hiking or walking on tough terrain. The 360 degrees pivoting base provides flexibility while walking.
Collapsible trekking poles are a great option for stability while hiking or walking. The collapsible option of these particular trekking pole makes it easy to store and travel with.
Check out this Ted Talk by Steve Wampler, the first person with Cerebral Palsy to climb El Capitan in Yosemite. He trained 5 hours a day, 6 days a week for 15 months. He started his climb on September 12, 2010, and made it to the top 6 days later. He climbed El Cap using a pull up situation. Each pull up took him up 2 to 6 inches.
Other Outdoor Activities
Creating Ability is an awesome company that creates adaptive kayaks and paddles. Some of the paddle adaptations include a hand adaptation that puts all the pressure on the arm instead of the wrist and an amputee adaptation where Creating Ability designs a paddle specific to your needs.
SpinLife sports wheelchairs have a great selection of wheelchairs for outdoor sports. They carry handcycles, a 3 wheeled bicycle that is controlled by pushing your arms in a circular motion. They also carry a variety of court chairs that are specifically tailored for sports such as tennis and basketball. And their racers come with different seat angles and wheel sizes, with each model maximizing different muscle groups.
The Oru Lake Kayak is a light weight kayak that is foldable so that it is able to fit in a small place like a trunk or backseat easily.
Wheel Blades are a great option for those that are going to the sand or snow. They are easy to install using an adjustable clamp. The blade compresses the snow beneath the wheel for an easy pass.
A lighted steel claw mechanical pick-up tool is perfect for picking up items that have fallen on the ground or are hard to reach. The light provides the user with a lighted path for the metal claws to pick up the item.
The Primos shooting stick can be used to stabilize a firearm while hunting. The shooting stick comes in mono-, duo-, and tri-leg configurations. This could be very helpful for those using wheelchairs or forearm crutches.
If you are traveling outside of California, a variety of terrain-adapted wheelchairs are available for rent through many different companies throughout the United States. In Utah, terrain wheelchairs can be rented at Ultimate Access LLC. In Santa Cruz, California, beach chair rentals can be rented at Shared Adventures Rentals. Other rental places include Minnesota , Michigan, and Kansas.
You can also rent equipment at REI Rental Gear. They have a variety of camping, hiking, and other outdoor equipment for rent. This is a great option if you are looking for low-cost, short-term loan options.
Accessible outdoors refers to creating inclusive and accommodating environments in natural spaces so that everyone can enjoy and appreciate nature and outdoor activities. In tandem with accessibility features that already exist in many spaces, such as wheelchair ramps, smooth paths, accessible parking, and braille signage, we hope to have been able to share some new AT that will help make nature even more enjoyable.