• Sue Lamoree

Camping In A Tent As A Quadriplegic

I’ve always enjoyed camping. In our early twenties, my friend and I spent four months traveling through Europe with only a backpack, cook stove, sleeping bag and pup tent as travel necessities. We had a blast!

So. . . when Guy and I met, I insisted we go camping. Needless to say, with my disability he was hesitant at first, but eventually succumbed to my constant pleading. Armed with new camping equipment, we started off by camping on his parent’s lake property in Shelton.

Aside, from freezing to death (October), the experiment was successful. We then gained the courage to camp in a designated campground (with fully equipped restrooms) in the North Cascades. Another successful weekend camping trip.

We were now prepared to camp next to the river in the North Cascades, in a less designated campsite (at least it had an outhouse close by). Our site was beautiful!

What Not To Do While Camping In A Tent

As a quadriplegic, one of my requirements for camping in a tent, was to sleep on an air mattress. Not just for luxury purposes. The added height allowed Guy to lift me off the ground a little easier. With my poor circulation, it also protected me from the cold and hip sores. I have to admit, the queen-sized mattress was pretty comfy, though. We also determined that using the outhouse in the middle of the night would be virtually impossible. The solution, place a commode in the far corner of the four-man tent. Now this was MY kind of camping! No late-night rendezvous with a stinky outhouse. Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner?

In the middle of the night, we discovered why. Let’s just say, make sure to check your commode bucket for leaks before using. Arghh!!! At least the disaster was isolated to the other side of the tent. Unfortunately, that was just the first disaster. While Guy was lifting me from my cozy mattress, he stumbled and landed right on my ankle. That was it for that trip! My ankle was quite swollen and very painful. But I’m afraid we weren’t going home just yet.

Apparently, blowing-up my nice cushy air mattress the night before, had depleted our car battery. We were stuck in the mountains with a dead battery and no cell phone reception–and an injured ankle. There was nothing to be done, but elevate my leg and wait for someone to drive past.

It was a beautiful fall day, so it wasn’t long before we were rescued by a group of hikers heading home. A quick jump and we were on our way.

A Must For Camping In A Tent

  1. If using a commode–make sure there are NO holes in the bucket.

  2. Always carry a battery starter–especially when driving in isolated areas

  3. HAVE FUN!!!!

For more information about accessible camping check out http://www.spinalpedia.com

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