Urban Cripple’s Wheelchair Gear and Accessories
If you want suggestions on what kind of gear you should get for your wheelchair, check out this list.
- Wheelchair Tools
- Every Day Carry (EDC)
- In the Kitchen
- Around the House
- Bags and Carrying Cases
- Food and Fuel
I don’t carry a ton of gear with me when I go out, but what I do have is super critical to staying safe and mobile while rolling through god‐knows‐what in the streets. Most of this stuff falls in the “Oh shit!” category. You won’t need it every day, but you’ll be glad you have it when you do.
Most wheelchair components are held together with either with some kind of hex screw. If something goes wrong, you’re going to need a set of wrenches to fix it.
I like this particular set because it comes with both metric and standard wrenches and folds so it can lay flat in your bag or tool wrap.
Don’t let their size fool you: these are great tire levers. What I love most about these things is the fact that they come in pairs and are designed to wrap around a spoke so you can keep one in place while using the other to remove the tire.
When not in use, they snap together and can easily be tossed in a bag or stashed under your chair.
If you realize your tires are dangerously low after leaving the house or you pop a tube and need to reinflate the replacement, you’ll need a C02 inflator.
Make sure you always keep a couple of spare cartridges on you and remember to never store a fresh C02 cartridge in the inflator: it’ll just be flat by the time you need it.
For regular tire maintenance, I really love this air compressor. It’s powerful enough to fill a standard wheelchair tire but small enough to travel in a vehicle. It can even be powered by your car’s DC outlet.
Every Day Carry
This is the stuff I keep with me and use every day.
It’s a ridiculous piece of plastic and aluminum, but it fits in your wallet and actually works really well to hold your phone up. I use it when doing video calls with coworkers so I don’t have to move my laptop, open it up and plug in my wired headphones.
By far, gloves are the most important piece of gear for your chair. City streets are super gross and full of hazards that can stain, cut, or bruise your hands. A good pair of gloves should offer you plenty of protection from hazards while allowing you to maintain your grip, dexterity, and the ability to use touch‐sensitive devices like a smartphone.
That’s why I love these weightlifting gloves from Harbinger. They have enough padding in the palms to protect from dirt, grime, and heat (gripping your tires while going down hill can burn your hands) while the fingerless design lets you keep your dexterity and use a smartphone.
I know we all usually use our phones when we need a flashlight, but I find a dedicated flashlight to be a lot more effective (and a lot less expensive if you drop it.)
These flashlights are small, light, and crazy bright. They also come with various modes including strobe and S.O.S.
The only way you can safely carry a hot beverage while pushing a wheelchair is by keeping it in an airtight container. I really like this mug because it’s insulated and has a clip. The clip is great because you can easily attach it to your bag or to the back of your chair (I use the backrest release bar). Because it seals so well, you don’t have to worry about it spilling.
I like this knife because it’s small, sharp, and easy to carry. Just don’t accidentally leave it in your jeans for the TSA to find (true story).
Fun fact: lightning cables are super cheap if you get them from anywhere except Apple.
These things are great for taking all the small stuff that usually ends up rolling around in your bag and keeping it in one place.
Having your phone die is terrifying. This thing will charge your phone and tablet several times over. However, it does take a long time to charge the battery itself.
It won’t charge your device as fast or as many times, but it won’t take up nearly as much room in your bag as the other battery.
In the Kitchen
Cooking while everything that is boiling or on fire is at face‐level can be a bit daunting. Here’s some stuff that’ll make it safer and easier.
These meal prep containers are microwave/dishwasher safe and they stack. It’s a great way to prep meals and save yourself some time and energy.
These trays are great for freezing stews and sauces and such. I do a lot of large batch cooking and these are waaay easier than trying to portion stuff out into ziplock bags. The lids make it easy to move it around one handed (what wheelchair user hasn’t gotten wet trying to refill an ice cube tray?)
These things are a life saver in the kitchen. Basically, if you use them, you’ll never have to clean a baking sheet/pan ever again.
When sitting in a wheelchair and using the stove top, it can be really tough to reach both the temperature dials and anything sitting on the back burner. These super long tongs let you easily reach and turn the knobs on your stove and anything that might be sizzling away on your back burners.
These things are machine washable and can withstand up to 540 degrees of temperature. They grip well and make it easy to get stuff in and out of the oven. In a pinch, they’ll even double as a makeshift pot holder.
If you’re looking for a cocktail shaker that doesn’t freeze your hands off, won’t burst open, and can be operated with one hand, you should get this one. I make a lot of cocktails at home and I really hate cocktail shakers. Your standard Boston style shaker has a tendency to break open on you if you don’t seal it right (and that means your chair gets covered in booze) and it’s a pain to open if you seal it too tightly. This cocktail shaker has a really straight‐forward design. The top is screw-on, it has a simple push button in the lid for pouring and sealing, and it can pour from any direction. I highly recommend it for folks who wanna mix drinks at home but don’t wanna risk wearing their beverage.
Around the House
This is the stuff I keep around specifically because it makes daily life easier for me when I’m at home.
For folks trying to keep their place clean while avoiding using up too many cleaning wipes or paper towels, I’ve found that having a stack of cheap microfiber cloths on hand plus a mix of water and vinegar in a spray bottle really helps keep things sparkly while cutting down on waste.
This dolly is great if you need to move something that’s too big or too heavy to carry on your lap. It can be configured in multiple ways and folds up easily for storage.
Walking your dog with a standard leash can be tough if you’re in a wheelchair. I use a retractable dog leash with my dog so that I can easily adjust the amount of slack I need to keep her under control while not getting the leash tangled in my chair. In addition, the size of the handle lets me easily loop it through the buckle of my Grab‐It Pack, which means I can securely hold onto the dog while pushing my chair with both hands.
Bags and Carrying Cases
All of the various bags and slings I use to carry stuff when I’m out of the house.
This bag is small and doesn’t have a ton of storage, but I wanted something that I could wear constantly and had just enough room to hold my backup charging cables and small tools so that I could go out without having to have as much physically strapped to me. If you need something with more storage, they have a bunch of different sizes that are meant to hold more stuff.
This isn’t the exact bag I use day‐to‐day but it is the correct style. I really like the sling style bags: they’re light enough to not restrict my movement and the single strap means it won’t shift around as I push my chair.
Food and Fuel
This is the stuff I carry with me in case I’m too busy to pack a proper meal.
It’s always a good idea to keep some kind of portable snack in your bag if you think you’re going to be out and about for an extended period of time. I like to keep a couple of these ThinkThin bars in my bag just in case I’m stuck between meal times. They don’t taste like death or cardboard and they’re not just a glorified candy bar.