Seth McBrideLet’s talk about wheelchair bags. Typical options kind of suck. Style? Lacking. Features? Meh. Quality? Variable tending toward poor. They’re rarely great and usually make you look like you just got out of rehab.

But as a wheelchair user, I need to carry stuff, sometimes lots of stuff. An under-chair bag for daily use and a good backpack for travel and taking my laptop to a coffee shop are things that I need on the regular. Over the years, after going through a lot of different bags, I’ve found a setup that works perfectly for me, and without breaking the bank. My personal preference is for bags made by outdoors companies. I like the style, durability and features of these types of bags. But whatever your personal style, you can follow some simple guidelines to make all sorts of bags function well with a wheelchair.

Chop the Extras

With any bag that you’re going to use on a wheelchair, you need to be merciless with strap chopping. You’re setting the bag up for you, not someone who walks. Things like shoulder, hip, and sternum straps don’t apply. With a backpack, shoulder straps just get in the way. Chop ’em off. The same with hip straps. It’s a constant annoyance to have to fiddle to get straps tucked just the right way so they’re not making the baseball-card-in-the-spokes sound and g