For wheelchair users, going outside and experiencing the freedom of the great outdoors is a major goal. However, exploring the wonderful natural landscapes across the UK requires a wheelchair designed specifically to handle everything that mother nature has to offer. From muddy trails to bumpy pavements, having the optimal outdoor wheelchair is crucial for safety, comfort and enjoyment.
This article will examine the key features and components that make up a fully-capable outdoor wheelchair. Topics covered will include: cushioning technologies to absorb jolts and bumps; tread types and tire materials to traverse diverse terrains; weatherproofing considerations like water-resistant fabrics; customizable frames and adjustable axles to switch between environments; accessories that enhance stability and control; comparisons of basic transport versus heavy-duty sport models and much more.
We will show you some of the top rated highest rated outdoor wheelchairs available in the UK marketplace. Whether you are looking for a daily commuter wheelchair tough enough for neighbourhood strolls or an advanced sports chair ready to take on steep hills and rugged trails, there are excellent options made domestically and abroad. Brands covered will include well-known British manufacturers as well as imported varieties popular for their innovative engineering and durability.
By the end of this comprehensive guide, UK wheelchair users will have the knowledge to select the ideal chair to boost their independence and confidence in the great outdoors. The aim is to provide all the details necessary to find the perfect equipment and accessories to fully enjoy nature and live life to the fullest. Keep reading to learn how to upgrade your mobility and tackle whatever the outdoors throws your way!
List of the Best Wheelchair for outdoor use in the UK
Days Escape Lite Self Propelled Wheelchair – Lightweight Aluminium Folding Wheelchair with Attendant Brakes – Suitable for Indoor and Outdoor Use (Standard, Purple)
Elite Care Voyager All Terrain Outdoor Folding Self Propel Wheelchair
Lightweight Aluminium Folding self Propel Wheelchair with handbrakes and Quick Release Rear Wheels Free to Be Mobility Equipment
MobiQuip All Terrain, Lightweight, Folding, Manual Self Propelled Aluminium Wheelchair, Quick Release Wheels, Black Frame, 18 inch Seat.
Days Escape Lite Wheelchair, Attendant Propelled Lightweight Aluminium with Folding Frame, Mobility Aid, Comfy and Sturdy, Portable Transit Travel Chair, Removable Footrests, Narrow, Racing Green
MobiQuip All Terrain Mini Children’s Wheelchair for Kids, Small Adults, Lightweight, Folding, Manual Self Propelled Aluminium Wheelchair, Quick Release Wheels, 14'' Seat. Black Frame
DRIVE DEVILBISS HEALTHCARE Self Propel Silver Sport Wheelchair, 18 Inch Seat Width, Black
Stylish Black Sport Self - Propelled Lightweight Folding Wheelchair - 18"/20" Seat Width (Fast Delivery!) (AMW0046BF)
Things to consider while going to a Wheelchair for outdoor use in the UK
The way you plan to use your wheelchair outdoors should guide your selection. Will you need a wheelchair for daily commute and errands around town? Or are you an adventurous wheelchair user looking to go off-roading and tackling more rugged terrain? Wheelchairs designed for everyday outdoor use around towns and cities offer smooth rides thanks to suspension and larger wheels. They’re ideal for maneuvering along pavements, ramps and moderately rough or uneven ground.
For exploring parks, woodland trails and very uneven ground, you’ll want a more heavy-duty wheelchair with thicker tires and superior suspension. Cross-country models allow you to traverse gravel, grass, hills and bumps with greater stability and control. Think about the types of activities and environments you want your wheelchair to handle.
Comfort is essential if you’ll be spending extended time outdoors and covering longer distances in your wheelchair. Padded, adjustable seats and backrests allow you to dial in the right fit and support for your body. Breathable, moisture-wicking upholstery also helps you stay cool and dry.
Larger wheel sizes – 20”, 22”, and 24” – add stability and the ability to roll over objects with ease. However, the trade-off is they can require more effort to propel yourself over long stretches. Front casters with suspension and rear anti-tip wheels also absorb shock for a smoother feel.
The best outdoor wheelchairs have adjustable features to accommodate your needs and preferences. This includes adjustable seat heights and angles, footrests, center-of-gravity and wheel camber. You want the ability to tweak the wheelchair’s setup for optimal maneuverability, safety and efficiency over varied terrain.
You’ll also want to consider options like movable/removable armrests and interchangeable backrests to support transfers and adjustable body positions. Customizing the wheelchair to your abilities, activities and comfort gives you the flexibility to take it wherever your adventures lead.
Wheelchairs designed for regular outdoor use need to stand up to the elements – rain, mud, dust and everything in between. Choose puncture-proof tires to avoid flats. Opt for water-resistant casings and anti-corrosion components so moisture won’t lead to rust and damage.
Check the wheelchair’s weight capacity to ensure it can support you, especially if carrying gear. Also look at the frame material. Heavy-duty aluminum or steel frames can handle more wear-and-tear from daily use and bumpy rides off pavement. Avoid wheelchairs made with cheaper, weaker materials prone to breaking.
The right wheelchair minimizes maintenance needs so you can focus on enjoying the outdoors. Solid, sealed wheel bearings require less frequent lubrication. Quick-release rear wheels make it easy to change or repair tires. Anti-tip wheels are simple to adjust as you modify the balance and center-of-gravity.
Easy to clean upholstery is a must after going places wheels can’t like beaches, parks and muddy trails. Quick assembly without tools also helps with transporting and storing the wheelchair when not in use. Opt for minimal maintenance features that maximize your independence.
A wheelchair’s weight affects its portability and your ability to transport it. Folding transport wheelchairs are the lightest at around 15-25lbs. They compact down for storing in a car and many are FAA approved for flying. However, their small wheels aren’t ideal for extensive outdoor use.
For regular outdoor use, aim for the lightest chair that still meets your needs in terms of size, durability and performance features. Narrowing your selection to wheelchairs between 25-35lbs makes them easier to lift in and out of a car. Past 40lbs can become difficult to transport independently.
Make sure to select an outdoor wheelchair with an appropriate weight capacity for your needs. Standard chairs accommodate 220-250lbs which covers many users’ needs. Bariatric models are available supporting up to 700lbs if required. Measure your weight with any items you routinely carry to determine the right capacity. This ensures the wheelchair’s longevity and safety.
Outdoor wheelchairs span a wide range of budgets from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds. Setting a budget helps narrow choices. Less expensive models still offer good performance if you don’t need advanced features. Investing more provides greater customization and durability for frequent use.
Weigh options at different price points based on your priorities. You can also save by looking at used chairs or seeing if any self-funded accessories could be covered by insurance, disability grants or other programs. Having a budget helps balance costs with your ideal features.
Accessorizing your outdoor wheelchair expands its capabilities. Must-have accessories include a adjustable, breathable cushion to ease pressure and ventilation. A solid back and chest strap adds important postural support and safety. Fenders keep you dry in wet conditions. Bags and pouches allow you to take gear and personal items on the go.
Also consider a wheelchair rain cover, customizable push handles, drink holder, mobile phone holder, oxygen tank carrier, crutch/walking stick holder, and reflective safety markings for low light visibility. Choose accessories that enable you to stay comfortable, supported and self-sufficient during outdoor adventures.
Out If possible, thoroughly test drive any wheelchair you’re considering for outdoor use. Testing helps you assess the chair’s comfort, maneuverability and usability. Try pushing it across different outdoor surfaces – pavement, gravel, grass, packed dirt, hills. Does it feel stable and easy to control?
Make adjustments to the settings like seat angle and height. How customizable is it for dialing in the right fit and feel? Notice any pressure points that could become uncomfortable over longer use. Testing a wheelchair before purchasing can prevent disappointments and ensure it’s optimized for your environment.
Maintenance & Support
Selecting a wheelchair from a reputable company gives you access to continued maintenance assistance and customer service. Many offer free at-home annual safety checks and tune-ups. They can also service and repair your wheelchair as needed so it’s always ready for outdoor exploring.
Choose a brand that offers replacement parts available for purchase if anything needs fixing. Having excellent maintenance and support services provides added value and peace of mind with such an important investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What attributes should I prioritize when selecting an outdoor wheelchair?
A: Focus on finding a sturdy, durable wheelchair frame constructed from robust materials like aviation-grade aluminum, steel or titanium. These can withstand the elements. Seek puncture-resistant tires with dependable traction. Suspension is key for absorbing jolts on uneven ground. Other useful aspects are adjustable seats, removable armrests and back support for outdoor comfort. Water-resistant cushions are sensible too.
Q: What are the different outdoor wheelchair varieties?
A: There are various styles based on your mobility and intended activities. Manual chairs with large back wheels allow self-propulsion. Electric chairs utilize batteries and motors to power movement. Hybrid types have manual rear wheels and front casters with small motors. Sports chairs optimize performance with angled wheels and low seating. Choose the category suiting your needs.
Q: Which tire types perform best outdoors?
A: Air-filled tires better absorb shocks but can puncture. Solid polyurethane tires prevent punctures and provide traction, although shock absorption is reduced. Airless honeycomb insert tires balance traction, shock absorption and puncture resistance well. Larger treaded tires are ideal for rolling over rough terrain as they better handle impacts and avoid getting stuck.
Q: How do I transport an outdoor wheelchair?
A: A hitch or in-vehicle wheelchair carrier is best. Carefully check the carrier’s size and weight limits compared to your chair model. Measure door openings to confirm fit. Roof attachments or trunk lifts work for lighter chairs. Always firmly fasten the chair when transporting.
Q: What maintenance is needed?
A: Regularly inspect tire tread and pressure, wheel/pivot bolt tightness, brakes, movable components, cushions etc. Clean with mild soap and water to prevent dirt buildup. Avoid power washing. Store in a clean, dry place. Recharge batteries as required to extend lifespan. Fold transport chairs when not using. Follow all manufacturer maintenance recommendations.
Q: What is the cost range?
A: Prices vary considerably based on the wheelchair type, features and customization. Manual chairs range from £100 for basic transport up to £2,000+ for high-end sports models. Electric foldable portable versions start around £850 but heavy duty motorized chairs with full seating can cost £6,500 to £12,500. Compare options to find chairs meeting your outdoor access needs.