Camping tips for the disabled traveller

Added 16/09/2010

Man in wheelchair

If you are a disabled traveller, camping can pose a few problems. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sleeping in the great outdoors just like an able bodied traveller.

For wheelchair users, it can be difficult to get in and out of a tent - but not impossible. You’ll need an able bodied person to help you put up the tent, but once it’s up you’ve got the tricky task of figuring out how to get in and out of it. Try hammering a pole into the ground right by the door to give you something to grab onto when you are getting in and out of bed.

House style tents might be more suited to wheelchair users as you can take your wheelchair inside, which is handy not only for manoeuvrability, but for storage as well. House tents can accommodate raised camp beds making it easier for wheelchair users to get in and out of bed.

Trailer tents are also suitable for wheelchair users as they can have ramps leading up them. And one person can easily erect them if you are travelling as a couple with an able bodied partner.

Most campsites allow cars to be parked right next to your tent, which makes things a lot easier for disabled people. Some campsites are positioned on difficult terrain, so when you book your pitch, make sure it’s not at the top of a hill. The campsite may even have allocated disabled pitches.

Catering facilities at campsites can be minimal. Camping stoves are perfect for outdoor living, but they can be fiddly for a disabled traveller with little movement in their hands. Modern stoves are more user-friendly — find one that you are comfortable with and test it out before you go on holiday. Remember that you may need to stock up on groceries — ask the campsite owners if there is an accessible shop close to the campsite.

Facilities at campsites can be a little limiting for a disabled traveller, but there are campsites that offer disabled facilities. Check that the toilets and showers are accessible and that they meet your specific needs. There may not be allocated disabled toilets, but ordinary campsite toilets are often large enough to accommodate a wheelchair. It’s always a good idea to contact the campsite owners before you book to discuss your needs with them. If you are booking a pitch at a campsite abroad, remember that their idea of accessible might be different to yours, so be specific.