Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Eureka! Freedom Tent

Summer is rapidly upon us and those planning camping trips should know of the Eureka! Freedom tent! Several years ago at a National Recreaion and Parks Association conference in St. Louis, I met Diane Goodwin, the designer of the first camping tent designed with wheelchair users in mind. She was tweaking her final design of the new tent, which years later is still the main option on the market for people with mobility impairments.
Diane put some remarkable thought and innovative design into this product, which received the da Vinci award in 2006 for exceptional design that transcends mandated access requirements. The frame of the two-room rectangular dome tent is self-standing and can be set up by someone in a wheelchair from one side of the tent. The front door has an easy open flap system requiring little effort. The main entrance opens into a front vestibule that allows someone in a wheelchair to fully enter the tent before transferring into an adjacent sleeping area. This extra front room can also serve as a dressing room, dog sleeping area, or additional storage. The sleeping space has rear entry window-doors. Large door and window pulls on the interior make life much easier for campers with arthritis or limited hand mobility.
Blue Sky Designs, Diane's Minneapolis-based design business, teamed up with Eureka!, a well-known tent company, to make this excellent tent available to the public. Technically a two person tent, you can likely sleep at least one child in the front vestibule with a parked wheelchair. The Eureka! Freedom tent retails for $454, but can be found at lower prices online. It's well worth the investment if you are a serious camping couple or small family. The tent is such a great example of universal design that it comes highly recommended for anyone. New Englanders can check it out in person next month at the Adaptive Recreation Fair in Boston on June 9 at the Spaulding Adaptive Sports Center and CapeAble Adventures booth!

1 comment:

Marcy Marchello said...

Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers and CAPEable Adventures, Inc. have absolutely loved our Freedom Tents! Their thoughtful design accommodates wheelchair users in a way that eliminates many of the perceived barriers to camping such as having an enclosed area for dressing and daily personal maintenance. If you combine this tent with a high rise inflatable mattress, you can create a lateral transfer environment that is simple and safe - even for an independent camping experience!

-Mary Patstone