Camping With Loved Ones Who Have Challenges

Many sites are wheelchair accessible
Camping can be a challenge for some, and some challenged campers do better than young and/or fit campers. Everyone is different.

Ever wish someone you love with health issues could go camping with you? Or perhaps that someone doesn’t have serious health concerns, but they are a senior, and never having camped before (or for many years), they hesitate to say they’ll go.  Or maybe–

It’s you that has never tried camping, and health issues or other challenges or reservations have prevented you from doing so.

Whatever the challenge, here’s a few tips and ideas to help anyone who has concerns about his or hers ability to make one’s way around a campsite make first camping trip a success:

Sleeping arrangements.

Make sure he or she has a cot, as opposed to sleeping on the ground, even on an air mattress. Arthritis and other conditions make it difficult for some to get up from a lying down position on the ground, and a good cot can help solve that problem.  My sister, who has back pain, bought this one and she’s never regretted it. It doesn’t fix her back pain, but she can swing her legs out of bed and stand, something she wouldn’t be able to do if she was sleeping on the ground.

The Proper Tent.

A tent big enough to stand upright in increases the comfort level for anybody.  I bought an Outbound Instant Tent for 10 the year before last and so far I’ve been really happy with it. It’s only me, but it sleeps more than four comfortably, since it can take two queen sized mattresses (more about the 8-person-sleeps-4 rule here.) with a little extra room to spare. However, if I was to buy another one, it would probably be this one. The Outbound doesn’t have a divider for two rooms and it doesn’t have a rain fly; this one has both.

A Couple of Extras.

A small but sturdy folding chair with a firm back.  This little item doesn’t take up much room, either in the car or a good-sized tent, and being able to sit down to tie my shoes or do some work on my laptop at a small folding table is so nice! The small folding table also holds camera, prescription glasses, and anything else one might want at hand. Make sure the table you get has knee space, in case you do want to work at your laptop, or write in your journal.

Kitchen Help.

A table for your camp kitchen is also a good idea. People who find it difficult to bend down or kneel will find it much more convenient to have a food preparation work space they can stand at. If your loved one must stay in a sitting position, try a folding table with adjustable height. It makes food preparation and serving easier all around.

Staying Clean.

Those with mobility or health problems find it difficult to make their way down to the river to wash up.  For some, a shower they can stand in helps a great deal. A shower tent is an excellent solution.  If a shower a bit tricky, there is an increasingly popular product called shower wipes, or body wipes. They’re handy disposable wipes that act like a washcloth with cleanser built in–one is good for a whole-body clean.

Outhouse In-House.

Those of us with health or mobility issues also hate the thought of having to leave the tent at night to use the restroom. This is where a larger tent comes in handy.  In one corner you can set up a portable toilet, such as the Luggableloo. And for those who don’t want to bother others with emptying a bucket, there are Double Doodie bags . These handy bags can be used with the Luggableloo, for easy no-mess waste disposal.

Food Awareness.

Some people have specific food allergies or diet restrictions.  Camping doesn’t interfere with this at all. There are loads of recipes and menus for vegetarians, gluten-free and others. Those with celiac disease or who need a gluten and dairy-free food menu, can find great variety online.  All kinds of food restrictions can be accomodated these days.Camping food and recipes are no longer just chili and hot dogs, though there are a zillion recipes that take even those to the next level when camping.

Well Supplied.

Make sure they have adequate food and clothing for where you are going.  Let them know what the weather will be like. In addition it might be a good idea to bring extra stuff for them, just in case they have forgotten it. Items like blankets, pillow, towel, etc. if you can fit it in to your camping gear. Or print out our checklist for them to go over.

First Aid and Medicine.

Do they have any medication that they need to take?  If you are driving them, it might be an idea to ask them about their medication before they go. Otherwise, keep a phone number and address of the nearest pharmacy and/or their care provider. Knowing the location of the nearest emergency medical help is always a good idea. If they have severe allergies, make sure they have their epi pen with them.

Check Us Out Before Camping.

Finally, encourage them to visit this site!  It’s full of great info for the beginner camper as well as the experienced.  And if they have a question, we will do our best to answer it right away!

Camping is an experience everyone should have an opportunity to enjoy.  It benefits them and those they camp with. If you have any questions regarding camping with loved ones who have health concerns, contact us. We’ll do our best to answer them as well.