Tips for a Great Camping Experience
Call Ahead- Nothing will put a damper on your camping experience like showing up to the campground and not getting the site you need. It is very risky to just show up and hope that an accessible site will be available. With a lot of campers reserving spots a year in advance, calling to reserve an accessible site is a MUST. http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10366_41825—,00.html
Not all accessible sites are “accessible”- The best way to assure that the “accessible” camp site that you are reserving is actually wheelchair accessible is to do your research! Jump on the web and locate accessible state parks/campgrounds. Most state parks offer accessible camping sites, cabins, trails, picnic areas, and other features. Once you find an available site, look for photos of the campground and its amenities. If photos are unavailable make a list of questions and give them a call to inquire. Some good questions to keep in mind when you call may be:
- Are the trails paved?
- Are there wheelchair accessible bathrooms available? If so, how far from the camp site are they located?
- If there is beach or lake access, where is the accessible entrance?
- Do they offer beach chairs?
- Do the sites have electrical hookups?
- Does the cabin have a ramp?
- Ask for measurements of the door width to get in the cabin, and within the cabin itself.
- Does the cabin have an accessible bathroom?
- How tall are the beds?
*Ask the campground employee if they could snap some quick pictures to email*
Pack Smart – If you live in Michigan, you know the weather can be very unpredictable. Make sure you pack plenty of warm clothes, as well as your summer clothes, the nights can get pretty chilly. If you plan on camping often, purchasing a good cot or air mattress would be a great investment. This will help to prevent pressure sores, as well as sore muscles. Sore muscles aren’t the only thing that can turn a great camping trip into a bad one quickly. Don’t run out of catheters! It’s always a good idea to bring more catheters than you think you will need. Sitting out in the hot sun will make you thirsty, so drink up without having to worry about running out of catheters. Lastly, packing an extra set of tires and tubes is always a good idea. Getting a flat would make for a long day of finding a bike repair shop. Having your equipment on hand can save the day!
Charge Your Electronics – From power wheelchairs to cell phones, having your electronic devices fully charged is essential when you are camping. This is especially true if you are “roughing it” at a campground without electricity. Make sure your devices are fully charged before you leave your house, and consider purchasing a car charger for your phone and power wheelchair.