Planned your nature therapy yet?Jun 01 06:35
Summer is finally here, the most accessible season of them all. And I’ve been having camping on the brain. This city girl misses the country. The last time I went camping - camping in an actual tent that is - was 2004. I was in Winnipeg for the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and had the time of my life. Even though I use a wheelchair, tent camping remains one of my favorite ways to de-stress.
How can you beat hearing the sounds of nature as you sleep, the fresh air, bonfires, the orgasmic campfire meals, the excitement you feel when you first set your tent up? Even if you think it seems like way too much work, especially if you can’t walk, you’d be wrong. Camping does require initial work, but it gets you out of your element - you get to lay on the Earth to sleep (many PWD bring an air mattress), you get to explore the woods, and most importantly, you get to feel at one with the Earth; and that is never easy when you’re in a wheelchair and never setting a foot on the ground. We can feel like we’re floating sometimes; disconnected.
Getting lost in the woods, rolling down a path you don’t know where it leads to, can be so refreshing. We need this experience in our modern, usually-same ’ol lives. You might think you have no childlike qualities left, but when you come across a butterfly or a rare blooming flower as you‘re lost in the woods, you‘ll feel something you haven‘t in a long time.
And I’m happy to report that tent camping in a wheelchair is now incredibly easy thanks to the Freedom tent from Eureka. This 5-pole rectangular tapered dome tent was made especially for wheelchair-users and has the headroom you need to get inside without ducking, and a zipperless easy-slide fan door for easy access (win). It costs $454. The EZ lock pin on my power chair always catches the bottom of a regular tent door every time I drive in, but not with this (expensive) baby. This tent sleeps two, and can be divided into 2 rooms.
While this tent is fab, the price isn’t. I have a feeling there are probably loads of gimps out there that have made their own accessible tents, long before Eureka got the idea. If you have any crazy awesome camping tips for PWD, please share. And remember, don’t forget to get your nature therapy session in this Summer. I promise you’ll feel rejuvenated.
For the best accessible outdoor adventures: Wilderness Inquiry
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1. ladybug2535 | Aug 07 12:08
I went camping a few years ago using a 10x10 EZ UP tent. Mind you, I can use my arms and I can stand up for limited periods, so I don't know how easy it would be if you can't raise out of your chair. I am very weak compared to the able-bodied and I had little difficulty. I think you'd need a partner to put it up if you are a full para- (but I'm not sure) and I know you'd need help if a quad, but I loved the easy in and out and all that space. Plenty of room for my wheelchair, crutches and camping gear.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.