If you are in a wheelchair, you may think that the RV lifestyle couldn’t possibly be for you.
You probably associate camper vans with narrow, cluttered spaces and steps up to doorways.
There are options for wheelchair-accessible camper vans, though, which opens up a world of possibilities to people who never imagined themselves living the van life.
Although most camper vans aren’t designed with wheelchair users in mind, specialist conversion companies will custom design a van conversion to the customer’s specifications.
We’ve found 2 great custom camper van conversion companies that can design a camper van with wheelchair access:
1. Sportsmobile Custom Camper Vans
The folks at Sportsmobile really know what they are doing when it comes to camper van conversions.
The company has been converting vans since 1961 and has become a reliable and expert resource for anyone looking for a custom camper van.
Sportsmobile will work on many different van chassis, including Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Dodge ProMaster, Ford E vans, and many more.
Anyone looking for a wheelchair-accessible camper van should consider working with Sportsmobile, who will be happy to help build a custom van.
Support rails are installed in all Sportsmobile wheelchair-accessible vans.
The rails can be placed wherever the customer will need them and are intended to be used not only for mobility but also for exercise.
The support rails are designed to support several hundred pounds.
Camper van bathrooms are usually very cramped and are definitely unsuitable for wheelchair users.
Sportsmobile can provide a camper van bathroom that is bigger and more easily accessible than usual.
The bathroom can have bi-fold doors which fully open, allowing plenty of space for a transfer seat. The bathroom in a wheelchair-accessible camper van is built bigger, too, which means there’s valuable extra space for maneuvering.
The sink cabinet can be designed for easy access, and a flip-up extension is available for added counter space.
Support rails are added to the bathroom, and the toilet can be lifted. The floor can be made level and barrier-free.
Sleeping Options & Accessibility:
Sportsmobile provides multiple options for sleeping platforms, and some great sleeping platforms can be lowered to make them wheelchair-accessible.
Sportsmobile can design under-bed storage solutions that are easily accessible to wheelchair users. The bed platform can also slide, providing easy access to the rear storage, which also houses the solar setup, inverter, and more.
An important feature of a wheelchair-accessible camper van is lowered and centrally located switches and power outlets. Sportsmobile can also provide remote controls for the air conditioner, roof fan, TV, and optional electric sliding door.
A wheelchair-accessible camper van has to have a ramp, and Sportsmobile can install an extendable access ramp that fits under the sliding side door and stays out of the way when not in use.
The access ramp is fully enclosed, meaning it’s always clean and dry when it needs to be used.
2. Tourig Custom Van Builds
Tourig Custom Van Builds is another company that specializes in camper van conversions, with a focus on Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit vans.
Tourig built their first wheelchair-accessible conversion in 2017 on a Sprinter chassis, and the company considered this conversion to be a great success.
The controls for the light dimmer, heater, and all electronic switches are centralized and located in the main living area of the wheelchair-accessible van.
Tourig designed remote controlled battery switches so that the power can be started from anywhere in the wheelchair-accessible camper van when needed. It also has a custom-designed layout that allows for the wheelchair to be parked and securely stored by the driver’s seat or rear.
The company also designed a cushioned platform that lies flat against the wall and can be converted to a couch or a bed.
Another cool feature of the Tourig wheelchair-accessible camper van is the auxiliary solar plug located on the front of the van for easy-to-reach access.
Customization & Features:
Tourig creates beautiful van conversions, and the wheelchair-accessible camper van conversions are no exception.
The company offers customized seating options and custom-tailored mattresses that guarantee a good night’s sleep.
The comforts of home are all available, including induction cooktops, hot water, and showers. Tourig can design a wheelchair-accessible bathroom that is bigger and more open.
Aside from the convertible cushioned platform, a variety of bed configurations are available at various heights, many of which will be wheelchair-accessible.
Custom storage is also available and only really limited by the customer’s imagination. Van cabinets, in-wall or in-floor anchor options, and custom storage boxes are all options that Tourig offers for their custom camper vans.
What Makes a Camper Van Wheelchair-Accessible?
A camper van is an excellent choice for wheelchair users.
You’re always at home, and you’re close to a clean and wheelchair-accessible bathroom at all times. If you’re tired, you can lie down whenever you want, and you don’t have to worry about booking a wheelchair-accessible hotel room.
These are the things that make a camper van wheelchair-accessible:
A powered ramp or lift is an essential part of a wheelchair-accessible camper van, as it allows access to the vehicle.
This is crucial and great for ease of access camping.
2. Open Floor Plan
Often, RVs and camper vans can feel cramped or cluttered, so a wheelchair-accessible camper van needs to offer an open floor plan.
Without an open floor plan, much of the RV can become inaccessible or difficult to navigate.
3. Height Adjustments
The heights should be lowered for countertops, tabletops, appliances, and switches so that they can all be accessed from a seating position.
This is necessary for users to be able to function well within the RV.
4. Roll-in Shower/Wet Bath
Most RV bathrooms have a shower with a lip to prevent flooding.
Wheelchair-accessible bathrooms also need to offer a roll-in shower and an assist bar.
Some wheelchair-accessible camper van bathrooms even have space for a transfer seat or a shower bench.
5. Wider Doorways
All doorways, both interior, and exterior need to be wider in a wheelchair-accessible camper van.
Another thing to consider is that the main sliding door should be wide open, without blocking part of the entry.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.