Walking or hiking to a camp site can be tough if you have mobility issues. When it comes to MS heat sensitivity – dealing with a hot sun or a hot campfire can be too much for some. And is there any place more inconvenient to deal with bladder issues than the middle of the woods?
But just because you’re not a natural-born scout doesn’t mean you have to miss out on camping all together. Making a few adjustments to traditional camp activities can make it more appealing—even for the most urbanized city slickers among us.
The great backyard
If you have younger children or grandchildren who want to camp but don’t understand why it’s hard for you, a backyard camp out could be a nice compromise. They can still experience the magic of lying on their back and staring up at the stars, while you do it from the comfort of a backyard chair. (Plus, the bathroom and your own bed are just a quick walk away.)
S’more treats, less heat
Love s’mores but dread sitting close to open flames? Microwave technology to the rescue. (Assuming you’re doing the backyard camping approach.) Place your bottom cracker on a paper towel, top with marshmallow and chocolate, and zap for about 15 seconds. (Or until the marshmallow puffs.) Take it out, add top cracker and enjoy!
Access the right trails
Did you know many national preserves, recreation areas, and forests have accessible trails for people using wheelchairs or scooters? Even if you move without assistive devices, these trails can be easier to navigate for people with fatigue or mobility issues. The National Park Service website has more details on finding these walks.
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If sleeping bags aren’t your bag
If you are going to head out into the Great Outdoors for an overnight, creating a more comfortable sleeping environment should be a top priority. Some thoughts:
- Flocked air beds are more comfortable than hard ground. Many are self-inflating, so you don’t waste energy blowing them up with a foot pump, and they tend to be more durable and taller than a traditional air mattress, which can make them easier to get in and out of.
- Adjustable cots fit in most tents and can be even more comfortable than air beds for some because they tend to be at a higher height and feel sturdier, making it a little easier to get in and out of.
- Cabins and yurts are rentable at many campsites, many of which have cots or real beds already inside. Many cabins and/or campsites also contain bathrooms, taking some of the actual nature out of ‘when nature calls.’ If you like the sound of camping but tent life is a deal breaker, a rented cabin might be a great solution.
Don’t just look at campsites, talk about them
These days, all research starts online. But, once you find a camp spot that interests you, try booking the site over the phone. Talking to a person who works at the facility and sharing with them your needs and concerns may help them set you up with the right spot and may alleviate some nervousness you’re feeling about the trip.
Talk with your HCP to see if they have any additional suggestions on safe ways to enjoy the outdoors for patients with MS.