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Paralympic Athlete Lives the Nomad Life in Custom-Made Camper Van

Living a nomadic life is an exciting adventure full of joys and freedom, but it also comes with plenty of challenges for most of us. More so if you are a wheelchair user, as converting a vehicle to meet the needs of a person with disabilities is not an easy feat.
Ford Transit is a wheelchair-accessible camper van 8 photos
This Ford Transit is a wheelchair-accessible camper vanThis Ford Transit is a wheelchair-accessible camper vanThis Ford Transit is a wheelchair-accessible camper vanThis Ford Transit is a wheelchair-accessible camper vanThis Ford Transit is a wheelchair-accessible camper vanThis Ford Transit is a wheelchair-accessible camper vanThis Ford Transit is a wheelchair-accessible camper van
Canadian Paralympic athlete Lisa Franks managed to build a functional wheelchair-accessible camper van and make it functional to fulfill her nomad dream.

Though Lisa confesses that she’s relatively new to the camper van lifestyle, the result of her work is a thoroughly thought-out home on wheels that would serve as inspiration for people with impaired mobility who are also dreaming of embracing a nomad lifestyle and don’t know how to pull it off.

Lisa initially started this journey in a modified Honda Element, which she used for several months in 2020 before acquiring a Ford Transit van in 2021. She got to the final design after a trial phase in which she lived in the van without any cabinets to figure out just how much space would be necessary to easily maneuver her wheelchair.

Despite the limited space inside the Ford Transit, a few tweaks made it possible to fit in all the essentials for a comfortable life on the road.

The entire camper design was built around the owner’s mountain bike, which is stored underneath the queen-sized bed at the rear of the van. This means the bed is relatively high to accommodate the bike, but that’s not an issue as a bench fitted with a lift gets her into the raised bed easily.

The kitchen area of the camper van includes a sink with a cutout underneath for Lisa to slide her wheelchair in that space when she needs to wash the dishes, for instance. Next to the sink, there is a slide-out butcher block that can also be used as a table. For cooking, the van has been fitted with a slide-out two-burner induction cooktop that allows her to place the wheelchair underneath and easily access the burners.

A separate Superarm wheelchair lift system gets her safely in and out of the van and solves the parking issue, as its compact design means it doesn’t need extra space next to the van when she’s loading or unloading. It also keeps the sliding door free of obstructions.

At the back, there is a bike rack holding the wheelchair Lisa needs to play basketball, an outdoor shower is fitted on the cargo doors, and the cargo area holds a 32-gallon water tank and the camper van’s electronics.

The world needs more people like this inspiring paralympic athlete to prove to us nothing is impossible.



 
 
 
 
 

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