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camping/road trips with sci

lauragracebecklauragracebeck Moderator Posts: 12 Moderator
10 Comments 5 Awesomes 5 Likes Name Dropper
Hello all!
my husband and i are avid adventurers. we love traveling and exploring. last november we did a road trip to 12 different states! we camped the whole last week of it. we are plannng to drive to yellowstone this april! 
we catheterize with intermittent cath and i get a sensation in my head when i have to go. we get onto the shoulder, cath me and then continue our journey. 
mae do the bowel program the same, just inside our tent every other day.
i heard from another quad, they do it with a camping chair with a hole cut in it and dig a hole in the ground underneath the chair!
what are some ways you guys make road trips and camping work?


  • EmmsEmms Member Posts: 37 ✭✭
    10 Comments 5 Awesomes 5 Likes Name Dropper
    edited February 2019
    I loved adventure racing and ultralight backpacking before my accident probably for my obsession with tents and stoves and all things small! I grew up in the army with my parents taking us out melting snow and sleeping under a tarp. I've always been that way since! We do car camp too, with a bigger tent.. and a bigger stove.. etc etc.. not much bigger mind! lol

    For cathing, I've used reusable caths since I was injured 22 years years ago. I know many fear them perhaps, but I've not had a UTI in over ten years. I've had two in total in 22 years. That's how it was done back then, and plenty of countries still prefer this method, and plenty of old schoolers still do too. I can't personally imagine my bin full of caths! Or my bag for that matter. We all used to have an ice-cream tub of alcohol with soaking caths in our bathrooms. Dry them out on sheets of paper. I know people that have been injured in recent years can't imagine it.. it used to be orange floppy caths, alcohol and betadine! I went from orange, to PVC, to stainless, to silver. I have had boxes of coloplasts speedicath, the compact cath.. my continence nurse used to bring round all sorts. I like how I do it. I don't have a cupboard of stuff. 

    I use a silver metal catheter I've had for 13 years that I keep in a pen tube. I clean it by soaking it and the case in a bottle of isopropyl alcohol 70% then letting it dry in the case. I wash my hands, I dip catheter end in Betadine gel for a lubricant, use it lol,  run the cath through with warm water for a good 30 seconds, then pop it back in the bottle to soak, then pop it back in its case to dry out. If I've run out of alcohol, I use chlorohexidine or hydrogen peroxide. I run the cath though my pressure canner using it as an autoclave too every now and then to give it the ultimate clean. When it reaches 15 PSI, the steam inside is 121c.  Most bacteria, thermal death at this temperature and pressure is 15 minutes. I've had the same catheter for 13 years. I cath in my chair, either into a bottle, or if I'm in shrubbery, I erm, use the leaves to direct it. If thats not an option I use bit of my tubing from my bowel kit. lol I have slightly differing cleaning procedures for home and away use, depending on my environment, but I'm incredibly clean OCD about keeping it clean. Very clean. It is never in my bag, it is always on my person on my chair too. No chance of this thing ever being apart from me. ;) I have a selection of reusable caths, stainless ones, silicone ones. I did have some Emteva biodigradeable caths at one point made of cornstarch that were reusable for a certain time, then they went on the compost heap or in the wormery.

    For bowel care in my tent, on one chair, I made up a new chair sling/seat canvas and cut a hole in the canvas of my chair and made a flap with another piece of nylon sew on and Velcro'ed. I put a bag going up through the hole and around the sides.. It can also be done with the back wheels off if there's not much room in the tent, depending on how low your camber tube is from your seat. If I'm in the middle of no where.. I use the ground with my trusty trowel. ;) I have tried kneeling with stuff wedged in-between my legs for more access off the ground.. it sort of works, but I wouldn't like to do it often. 
    My best solution is folding back the seat sling, and folding the backrest up keeping it in place with my calf strap. Wheels on or off it just depends. I always look for ways of not carrying anything additional, I like to keep my pack very light. 

    I will use any public resources where I can if I'm in such a place, even if its not an accessible toilet as such, I'll make it work if there is a toilet! lol  I've used an irrigation system since 2005 when I was in the persiteen trials. I've since and have adapted a Qufora set to also be completely reusable, easy to clean and lightweight. I've been using the same system as it is now for three years, the parts I kept from the prescribed kit were the pump and a cone, which I have reused all this time. I've got 14 more cones in the bag it came with that will probably never get used.

    It might not suit everyone I realise all this reusable stuff!
    When I travel solo, just my dog and I, I like my backpack to weight 11 pounds or less depending on the season, so these things make a real difference to me. 
    Contents of my bag from my last trip.... 126 miles in 6 days through Norfolk in the UK. Minus my bowel kit, as it wasn't exactly picture fit for the backpacking group I'm in! lol 

    How I set my chair up with my packs... the one underneath is always food and water. The one one the back is my gear. As the food goes down I empty parts of my gear into the bag underneath. I keep the pack on the back 11lbs/5kg or less. No need for any more. I calculate food calories for every day of journey based on topograghic maps and distance etc.. with obvious extras! 

     I had an RGK wheel on loan for that trip instead of using my freewheel as they wanted me to trial it. 
    In this little tent, I have my chair outside.. and in the UK, that pretty much always requires a cover.. either for heavy dew, or rain! If I want to hide it a bit more, I just take the wheels off and pop them onto of the chair, then cover it. The cover is a piece of polycro. It weighs about 12 grams. The tent is pegged down if I leave the wheels on. This is on a campsite.. bowel day ;) Got a camp site as I was nearing more residential places. lol 

    While I make use of the facilities I dry my gear out! Yes thats an umbrella ;) I carry that on the length of my bottom frame tube held on a loose cable tie. It's useful when its pouring down with rain and theres no shelter.I can peg it down next to the entrance of my tent for wind shelter when cooking.. privacy... lol.  

    Found a nice spot in the forest here. Perfectly dark and quiet, no one around, all you could hear were the trees and the owls and my rustling to find my chocolate bars. 

    This has been a great little tent. It's under a kilo in weight, is easy to get dressed in. Can use it without the inner as a tarp-tent with a groundsheet. You only need to reach the two short sides to put it up. It takes about 3 minutes out of the bag. Its outer and inner in one if you choose, so if its raining the inner is dry to get into . You lay it down, push the single pole through its tube, peg down one end, go to the other end pull tight and peg down. Done. Guy rope if needed.  ;) I like this style of tent, but my favourite tent is one of my oldest tents which a Golite Hex3. It's a pyramid style tent, I have an outer only. You can wheel in.. keep the chair inside.. intact.. I've camped with another wheelchair user and two dogs in that tent. its cosy for two plus chairs.. lol but perfect for 2 with one chair and a dog! Stoves.. lol I love stoves. The smaller and lighter the better.. thats another conversation!

    I love backpacking and cycle touring! lol If you have any questions on gear with or without its practical elements for wheelchair/handbike use, I'll very very happily converse!!! :) 

    “Inhale the future. Exhale the past.”

  • BrookeUBrookeU Moderator Posts: 176 Moderator
    100 Comments 25 Awesomes 25 Likes Photogenic
    @Emms, my brother (C6-7 level SCI) has recently expressed a desire to go hiking. What's your best advice on that? Thanks!
  • EmmsEmms Member Posts: 37 ✭✭
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    @BrookeU I'm not so experienced in quad hiking to be honest, I'm T12 myself, so some things might be quite different. I think maybe another avid hiker @lauragracebeck might be the one to ask about this! Hope you don't mind @lauragracebeck ! :) x
    “Inhale the future. Exhale the past.”

  • lauragracebecklauragracebeck Moderator Posts: 12 Moderator
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    @BrookeU We LOVE hiking. the biggest problem is making sure you have someone strong enough to get you over roots and rocks and also up hills. i have been on all kinds of trails. Even one that was super technical to a waterfall, but we had 4 able people helping carry the chair, two manning me, carrying me etc. I would look up a flat trail on roots rated first! My husband is working on building an app so that disabled outdoor lovers can rate accessibility of trails etc. 
    where do you guys live???

  • BrookeUBrookeU Moderator Posts: 176 Moderator
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    @lauragracebeck, please keep me updated on that app! My brother is in Savannah. I'm not sure what kinds of trails are there, but it's a pretty flat area in general! Next time I visit maybe he and I can get a group together to make it happen. Thanks for your advice!
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