A Guide To Winter In A Wheelchair | Winter is Coming

No, this is not a blog about GoT. This a making use of the good old House of Stark mantra to prepare you for winter in a wheelchair.

Lets be clear now – preparation for winter in a wheelchair is not this:


Or indeed this –


But when it starts to get snowy, windy and wet – life for your average active wheelchair user can be pretty tough. So what can you do about it.

Love The Steam

For many active wheelchair users keeping warm in the winter can be a real challenge. If you experience spasticity, your muscle tone will go up and down like a yoyo. I find that it is really important to make sure you have regular hot showers/bath – the steam is really good for just relaxing any tension in your body.

Clothing For Winter In A Wheelchair

Clothing is really important during winter in a wheelchair.

What You Put On – The golden rule here is that it easier to take layers off than it is to put them on. If you’re unsure about whether to put T-shirt underneath a jumper/jacket combo – you have to think that you can always take it off later. Staying warm is important but you still need to be able to get around in your wheelchair – so even though you have to stay warm, don’t sacrifice your mobility.


Items like this Berghaus fleece are ideal if you ask me. It’s light and won’t encroach on to your wheels and get all mucked up. You can buy it here.

The winter in the UK means you’re going to see fair amount of rain. If you are in a wheelchair, umbrella’s are not really a option. This means that having some reliable waterproofs on hand can be really important. Something like this lightweight Kagool can be a real good option – as you can always stash it in a bag or leave it to dry.

If you do get yourself damp – I’ve found that it really handy to have what I call wet zone inside your backpack. This means that you can always take off damp layers and stash them out of the way. Winter in a wheelchair can often be damp – don’t get caught out.

Gloves Or Not?

Many people wear gloves when they are pushing manual wheelchair. It is a personal choice in many cases, I do not wear gloves because I lose too much grip (mostly because I do not have a lot to begin with). However, there are many nights in the depths of winter, when I wish that I did!

If you do want to wear gloves – then these are a good option.

So How About Getting Around In The Winter?

If you stick with your regular summer setup for your manual wheelchair in winter – you’re not going to get very far! But fear not! There are some options that can augment your old faithful into a winter warrior.

Option 1

FreeWheel - for winter in a wheelchair

The good guys over a Spokz have a great off-road wheelchair pack, which  is great for winter in a wheelchair. It includes a FreeWheel (pictured above) and a 2 off road wheels. FreeWheels clip onto the front of your footplate and lift those pesky front wheels right out of the snow or other debris. At £575, you save £70 on the outdoor wheels and the FreeWheel. You can buy it here.

Option 2

Hand cycle attachments can transform your manual wheelchair in seconds. If you need a little extra power for your wheelchair in the winter – a Team Hybrid hand cycle could be just what you need. If you want more information – please see our guide to hand cycles for the disabled.

I hope you have found this guide to winter in a wheelchair helpful – I had a lot of fun writing it. Please post comments or queries down below. Or if you want some advice – you can email: info@ethosdisability.com.

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