Huh, a wheelchair accessible campervan? Not long ago, I couldn’t imagine going on a trip in a campervan. But last summer, it really happened. This article is about my adventure with Road Trip for Life’s campervan that’s wheelchair accessible. We took it to Switzerland for a cool road trip during the summer.
‘Get the most out of life!’ – Road Trip for Life
We went on the trip with the campervan named Sydney, a modified Mercedes Sprinter that has been made entirely wheelchair accessible. The campervan was built by Joost and Michiel, two best friends who love traveling. However, Michiel has Duchenne’s disease, and air travel has become more challenging for him. So, the campervan was built for and by someone with a physical disability, making most conveniences available.
Your first step for the adventure is to enter your (temporary) mobile home, which is made effortless by the cassette lift. Conveniently located on the right side of the bus and neatly stored under the sliding door, the lift ensures easy accessibility. Operating the lift is easy with the user-friendly remote control, and it can handle a maximum load capacity of 300 kg/660 lbs. Upon entering the campervan, you’ll find the essential safety tie-downs – two for the front and two for the back of your chair.
The campervan has three seats, including the driver’s seat. The other seat, located behind the driver, is removable to create additional space. There is also a designated place for a wheelchair user, situated next to the driver. Sitting next to the driver was a new experience for me, and I truly felt like a passenger princess. It also has 2 beds, including one fixed bed with an electric adjustable base. The other bed is foldable, creating space for caregiving activities.
A special feature of this campervan is the ceiling hoist, making transfers from the wheelchair to the bed relatively easy. The advantage of this is that a ceiling hoist takes up relatively little space, which is important in a campervan where space is limited.
The fixed bed is quite high, which makes caregiving more comfortable. Getting into the bed with the hoist was a challenge because of the maximum height of the hoist, but we managed. It’s best to use a sling with short straps, so you’ll be lifted higher and the transfer will be more comfortable. Even without being connected to electricity, you can still use the ceiling hoist (depending on the battery), the electric adjustable bed, and any breathing equipment you might have. There is a 150Ah battery that charges while driving.
If you need a portable hoist for outside activities like showering while camping, you can use the Molift Smart 150 that’s stored in the campervan. This is a unique advantage that provides more freedom. Oh, and in the same spot, you can find a foldable ramp!
The campervan comes with hot water (when connected to electricity), a chemical toilet for the full camping experience, a kitchenette with a gas stove, plenty of storage space, spotlighting, and an extendable shade. Besides being fully wheelchair accessible, the campervan is comfortable enough for camping—both on a campsite and in the wild.
An essential item for winter travel is a heater, especially during the cold months. The built-in diesel heater ensures comfort even without an electricity connection. However, if you have access to electricity, it’s advisable to use a small electric heater.
We didn’t stay long at campgrounds, only when we needed to charge our stuff. We used the Park4Night app to find beautiful places to park by the roadside, near rivers, or with mountain views. Want to know where these spots are? Check out the map below to see where we spent our nights.