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How to Carry Things in a Wheelchair (Guide & Useful Tips)

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Wheelchairs seldom come with places to put personal belongings, medication, or refreshments.

It is common to question where you would put these things in your wheelchair.

Adding accessories to your wheelchair will help you be hands-free in your wheelchair. 

Let’s look at straightforward ways to carry things in a wheelchair.

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Check: Best Heavy Duty Wheelchair

How Can You Carry Daily Items in Your Wheelchair? 

Here are a few common problems you could face when figuring out how to carry daily items in their wheelchairs.

MUST READ: When Were Wheelchairs Invented?

How Do You Carry Groceries?

old man doing groceries on a wheelchair

When you’re shopping, it’s better to place a basket on your lap rather than push a cart. You can use the basket to carry your bags to the car instead of trying to carry bags individually.

It’s easier to use the self-check line because of these reasons:

  • The counter is lower;
  • The credit card machine is lower;
  • Cashier aisles can be too narrow. 

It’s challenging to carry groceries once you’re home, but you can take as many trips as needed to get them all inside. 

After shopping, you can place your basket inside the car, and once you are home, you can place it on your lap and carry it inside.

ALSO READ: Wheelchair Cleaning Tips For You

How Do You Carry a Bag?

pushing a wheelchair while carrying a bag

You can have reusable shopping bags that can be closed, which you place on your push handle. What’s great is that you can carry multiple bags easily. 

It’s perfect for carrying mail, packages, or other everyday items.

You can also store it under your seat with a sling basket, which will be touched on more in a minute.

If needed, you can sling the handles of the bag over your neck, but only do this if you regularly need to access your bag for a short period and if it is lightweight.

Ensure that your bag is not causing any pain [1], and if it does, change the way of carrying it.

How Do You Carry Large Items?

When carrying large items, a wheelchair attachment is the best solution.

For example, if you are looking for a solution to carrying a cello in a wheelchair. Consider using the TiLite Luggage Carrier [2] attachment, which supports the front of the wheelchair to carry large items.

Suppose you are required by your doctor to carry large medical equipment, such as an NG tube or oxygen tank. It’s best to purchase an appropriately sized bag and drape it over the handles for ease of use.

How Do Students Carry School Supplies?

Backpacks for wheelchairs are a great way to keep everything together. Take it everywhere you go on campus, so you won’t be stuck without a way to carry things back home with you.

Sling your backpack behind your wheelchair on the handles. It’s easier to access and is kept out of your way while pushing the wheels.

How Do You Walk a Dog? 

man in a wheelchair walking a dog

You must train your dog to stroll; this will help you control them and your wheelchair simultaneously. 

Find a hands-free leash or wrist attachment [3], so you can push your wheelchair and walk your dog simultaneously; that will keep you safe in case your dog pulls on the leash.

Another option is to repurpose a bicycle attachment to fit your wheelchair. It’s a convenient option for training your dog to keep a distance from the tires and reduce sudden pulls to the side.

You can find small bags to attach to the leash to store poo bags or treats. There are many carrying options for walking a dog.

Considerations When Deciding How to Carry Things in a Wheelchair

Let’s talk about a few more things an active wheelchair user should consider. 

Get Creative

It’s essential to get creative when figuring out how to carry things in a manual wheelchair. There’s limited space on a wheelchair, but there are several accessories that make the most of what you have.

Check out this helpful video of 6 Must-Have Wheelchair Accessories from Daniellability. 

She recommends that is especially helpful is a storage sling that goes under the chair. Danielle mentions that she keeps everyday items in there, such as:

  • Gloves (in the winter);
  • Tools to adjust anything on her chair;
  • Lunch bag for work;
  • Wallet;
  • Keys;
  • A cup holder.

Danielle said the sling is super easy to access, even when her feet are on the footplate. As a bonus, the sling helps keep her feet secure.

It’s the perfect accessory for manual wheelchair users. 

Stability Comes First

Wheelchairs were originally designed to support stability, especially when riding up and down wheelchair ramps. The goal of a wheelchair is to balance the risk of tipping and the user’s mobility desire [4]. 

Adding extra accessories or weight could throw off the stability and make the wheelchair harder to navigate; be mindful of what accessories you’re adding to your chair.

FAQs

How do you pack your bag as a wheelchair user going camping?

First, make sure you purchase a good bag with a lot of pockets. You’ll want to pack it with all of the chair’s necessary gear and extra items to prepare for the weather; it’s better to overprepare!

Can you put a backpack in a wheelchair?

Yep! Just drape the backpack handles over the wheelchair handles.

How do you carry a cup?

A cup holder attachment or bottle holder is perfect for carrying cups, thermoses, or a bottle of water.

How do you keep items safe while using public transportation?

Personal or everyday items can be kept on your person or under your seat. If something is stored on the back of your wheelchair, try to back up to a wall so no one is behind you.

Conclusion

Knowing how to carry things in a wheelchair can be difficult but not impossible. There are many accessories and attachments available that make carrying everyday items easier. 

Try a few different accessories to carry your everyday items, and see what works best for you and your daily life. You got this!

*You assume all risks of damages or injury by performing this action.

bag in a wheelchair

Let us know in the comment section below if you have your methods when carrying things in a wheelchair!

References

  • 1. Lamothe C. Is Your Bag Causing Neck and Back Pain? Here’s How to Fix It [Internet]. Healthline. 2018 [cited 2022 Apr 5]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/neck-pain/heavy-purse-bag-effects#four-harmful-habits
  • 2. TiLite Parts & Accessories | TiLite Luggage Carrier [Internet]. DMEHUB.NET. [cited 2022 Apr 5]. Available from: https://www.dmehub.net/TiLite-Luggage-Carrier-p/TIL-LUGCAR.htm?_vsrefdom=adwords&gclid=CjwKCAjw4ZTqBRBZEiwAHHxpfjfL0NKXCt4yPAgDLdM7WFdBt4wOepQ2Mgi1pqe5b5adtIlbBEkIdxoCNbMQAvD_BwE
  • 3. Liberty Wristband. Hands Free Wristband Leash Holder For All Size Dog Leashes [Internet]. Liberty Wristband. [cited 2022 Apr 5]. Available from: https://www.libertywristband.com/
  • 4. Moody L, Woodcock A, Heelis M, Chichi C, Fielden S, Stefanov D. Improving wheelchair prescription: an analysis of user needs and existing tools. Work. 2012;41:1980–4.
About Liliane

Lilian Wamaitha is a passionate writer and avid cyclist with over 4 years of experience in blogging. As a lifelong learner, she is driven by her curiosity to discover and learn new things. This curiosity and passion eventually sparked a love for the senior writing niche. She has written countless articles to help seniors find their footing in this world through healthy and holistic living. She’s passionate about seeing the seniors in society live a more fulfilling life to the end. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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