What Kinds of Accessories Do You Recommend for Manual Wheelchairs?

There are a lot of wheelchair accessories, but many only work with specific types and styles of chair. For example this Etsy store sells many styles of bag, but they’re only meant for chairs with high back or arm rests.

I would look for accessories meant for bicycles instead of wheelchairs. Wheelchair frames are about the same diameter as a bicycle and there’s lot more accessories built for bicycles than wheelchairs.

You can see my exact gear list on my Gear page, but here’s a general breakdown of what to look for when buying wheelchair accessories.

Drop Bags

A drop bag is a bag with a large main pocket that you drop and retrieve items from. The difference between drop bags and other bag types is that, typically, drop bags are worn on your leg or thigh instead of across your back.

When choosing a drop bag, you want something that has enough pockets to carry what you need but doesn’t become uncomfortable when full. Most drop bags are designed to rest on your hip, so you want to make sure you get one that can be comfortably rest on your thigh when sitting.

Backpacks

When choosing a backpack, you want to choose something you can wear on your body as opposed to hang off the back of your chair. Having the bag move with your body instead of weighing down your chair will give you greater control over your speed and balance.

When choosing a style of bag, I prefer cycling messenger or sling style bags. These bags have a single strap across your chest instead of two straps across your shoulders. These bags are more stable because the bag doesn’t shift and move with your shoulders. The single‐strap style also allows you to cinch it against your body and keep it from moving while doing strenuous tasks like climbing hills.

Cup Holders and Other Accessories

I don’t use a cupholder on my chair. Instead, I keep a travel mug with me that clips to the back of my chair.

If I was going to recommend a cupholder style, I would stick to something like this that is meant for strollers and bikes, as well as wheelchairs.