5 Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Adaptive Equipment

Modern innovation has allowed people with a variety of abilities to access activities they couldn't in the past. But with so much technology to choose from, how do you decide what's for you? We've put together this handy guide to help you through the process.


1) Activity

Deciding on what you want to do is the first step in narrowing down the best equipment options for you. What activity do you want to primarily participate in? Doing 5Ks or marathons in the city? A hand cycle might help you get the miles you are itching for. Do you want to ski? Seated mono-skis are a great way to hit the slopes. Looking to spend time in nature hunting, fishing, and hiking? Maybe an all terrain wheelchair is what you are looking for. Figuring out what interests you the most will help you prioritize what equipment you need to get the most out of your activity.

Bennie Jose Perez tackles a muddy trail to complete the Brazos Bend 100 Marathon in his GRIT Freedom Chair.

Bennie Jose Perez tackles a muddy trail to complete the Brazos Bend 100 Marathon in his GRIT Freedom Chair.


2) Terrain

The second step in your quest for the right adaptive equipment is deciding where you want to go. What terrain do you expect to be encountering the most in these areas? If you are headed for the mountains, you might expect to traverse rocky trails and differing inclines. Is a beach vacation in your summer plans? Then you'll want something to tackle lots of sand and mud. Perhaps you are hoping to be able to do as much as possible with a single versatile piece of equipment. Knowing the answers to these questions will help direct your search.

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3) Physical Ability

Although she has a high level spinal cord injury, Ellie uses a combination of Active Hands Grip Aids and a chest strap to allow her to operate the GRIT Freedom Chair safely and independently.

Although she has a high level spinal cord injury, Ellie uses a combination of Active Hands Grip Aids and a chest strap to allow her to operate the GRIT Freedom Chair safely and independently.

Something to keep in mind when you are researching adaptive equipment is your own ability. If you have hand strength or dexterity challenges, that might help direct you towards equipment that will maximize your experience. Do you need to make sure your core is supported, or do you need to keep your shoulder health in mind? A lot of gear is engineered to accommodate these needs. If you can determine what your most important physical requirements are, you’ll find the perfect equipment for you!


4) Transportation/Storage

This is perhaps one of the most important things to think about when obtaining new adaptive equipment. If you can’t transport it independently, you may need to find a friend or family member willing to help, or one that has a vehicle that can accommodate your gear. When the gear is not in use, where will it be stored? Is there room in your house or garage? If you live in an apartment building, is there storage space available? You might have to rent a small storage unit somewhere, or leave it at a friend’s house. Understanding your storage and transportation needs can help you get the most out of the adaptive equipment you choose to bring into your life.

Some equipment, like the GRIT Freedom Chair, disassembles for easy storage and transportation.

Some equipment, like the GRIT Freedom Chair, disassembles for easy storage and transportation.


5) Budget/Funding

Keith successfully crowdfunded his adaptive equipment.

Keith successfully crowdfunded his adaptive equipment.

Once you have decided on the perfect equipment for you, it’s time to get it! If you are unable to purchase it outright from your own budget, there are many options out there. Depending on your situation, you might qualify for a grant to pay for your gear. Some companies offer financing plans to pay off the item over time. Could you crowdfund using GoFundMe, or hold a community fundraiser like an auction or raffle? The important thing is not to let the price tag keep you from pursing your dream of a more active lifestyle with your adaptive equipment. Where there is a will, there is a way!