How To Make Your RV Wheelchair Accessible (And Why You Should)

Josh SchukmanApril 9, 2024

How To Make Your RV Wheelchair Accessible (And Why You Should)

Did you know that one percent of all searchers on are looking for wheelchair-accessible RV rentals? 

While one percent might not sound like much, it packs a serious punch because of the sheer number of people searching for RV rentals. Plus, a guest who takes the action of turning on the ‘ADA-accessible’ search filter has what we like to call strong intent.

In other words, they know the type of rig they want and they’re ready to rent it. The only question remaining is: does your rig fit the bill

Let’s dig in to see some ways to offer an accessible RV rental. 

What Is An Accessible RV?

Before we dig into ways to make your RV more accessible, it’s important to note that there is a detailed standard for ADA accessibility (more on that in a moment). But even if your RV can’t match all these standards, there is still demand for RVs that are more accessible, even if they don’t check off all the boxes.

For example, someone using a walker for assistance might need a wider entry point such as a toy hauler garage or a campervan sliding door, but they may otherwise be okay to move about with narrower doorways as long as there are grab bars

The critical strategy here is to clearly communicate what you are offering in your listing description. If you indicate in your listing that your RV is ‘accessible’, it is vital that you express precisely what that entails in your unique case.

That way, a guest searching for an accessible rig can determine if your RV will meet their needs. Pre-confirmation communication is also key. When you get a booking request for an accessible rig, start communicating with your guest right away to ensure that everyone comes away happy. 

Wheelchair on highway

ADA Requirements for RVs

These are the features of a fully ADA-accessible RV:

(Note: You don’t need to meet all these requirements to show your listing as accessible but it’s important to account for them and explain any accessibility shortcomings in your listing description and conversations with guests).

-A ramp or lift — The most advanced wheelchair-accessible RVs feature lifts that elevate someone from the ground into the RV. This requires significant modification to your camper.

Alternatively, toy haulers feature a built-in ramp and portable wheelchair ramps can be used in situations where the entry door is wide enough (e.g. A campervan with a sliding door).

Wide doorways — The standard ADA measurement for door width is 32 inches, measured from inside the door frame. RV types like toy haulers and many campervans usually have an entry point that fits this bill.

But other interior RV doorways (e.g. the bathroom) usually fall short. That’s where you’ll need to decide if it’s better to do some serious renovations to your RV or to call out smaller doorways in your listing so guests can decide if they’ll be able to maneuver. 

Grab barsThese are a must for listing your RV as accessible. They can be easily installed in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and living spaces to add a layer of safety and mobility for your guests. 

Adjustable furniture — Adjustable tables, countertops (wherever possible), and seating areas are essential features to make your camper more accessible.

Accessible switches — Light switches and other control panels should be accessible from wheelchair height. 

Non-slip mats — Place these around the bathroom, in the shower, and anywhere else in your rig where slipping might otherwise occur.  

Kitchen accessibility — A general rule here is that the entire RV kitchen be usable at wheelchair height. Most RVs would require a serious renovation make that happen, but there are ways to make additions without bringing down the house.

For example, you could move all essential kitchen items down from any overhead storage to be accessible in lower drawers.

You could also add a folding adjustable side table to create accessible counter space.

And you could even explore ways to create more space for maneuvering in your RV kitchen (e.g. replacing your dining table with a portable table so it can be folded away to create more kitchen room while cooking). 

Kitchen sink — Your RV sink should be shallow enough that a seated individual could reach the bottom. Single-lever faucets are also easier to operate than the twisting faucet variety. 

-Safety features — Double-check that fire extinguishers and other safety equipment are within wheelchair reach. 

Bedroom accessibility — The bed, nightstands, and closet space should be accessible at wheelchair height. Add extra maneuverability space wherever possible.

Optional: Voice-activated systems — The dawn of Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant have contributed to accessibility by empowering our voices to control elements of our environment. WFCO Technologies also recently launched voice-activated control systems specifically for RVs. 

Adding voice-activated control systems to your camper is another way to make it more accessible to more renters. 

Bathroom Safety

This is one of the most important elements of accessibility that requires several dimensions of consideration:

Shower accessibilityRoll-in shower kits allow a wheelchair to enter a shower, but that generally requires a shower that’s wider than those of most RVs.

At minimum, your shower will need grab bars, a shower seat, a handheld shower head fastened at an accessible level, and an entry point wide enough for your guest’s needs.

Adequate space — Ideally, you’d have enough space for a wheelchair to make a 180-degree turn in your RV bathroom. In most cases, this requires significant modifications.

Other options include grab bars and portable seating in front of the vanity.  If you offer these alternatives, indicate that in your listing description.

-Toilet design — An accessible toilet should be tall enough to facilitate easy transfer from a wheelchair. Grab bars should also be installed around the toilet to facilitate its use.

Couple on the beach

Examples of Accessible RVs on Outdoorsy

Check out these examples for rent on Outdoorsy to see ways you could add accessibility to your listings:

This fully loaded Class A features a built-in wheelchair lift and full ADA accessibility throughout. Look to this rig as an example of ways to include all the features you could provide to increase accessibility.

-The story behind this 4×4 Mercedes Campervan is incredibly inspiring. The owner was paralyzed in 2012 but didn’t let that stop him. He crafted this campervan with a built-in lift, ample space for maneuverability, and even handicap driving controls.

He also designed the vehicle so that the handicap-accessible features don’t interfere with the normal operation of the vehicle, meaning this campervan is rentable to just about anyone. 

This fifth-wheel toy hauler is an example of an ‘in-between’ option where the owner states the following:

“Back door drops for easy access for wheelchairs. If you have any questions or requests, please send us a message.”

This owner’s description shows how wheelchairs can access the rig while leaving the door open (no pun intended 😀 for additional information to ensure the RV is a good fit for the inquiring guest.

You could even take this concept a step further by detailing in your listing how other areas of your RV may or may not be accessible to individuals with wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. 

This Class A is a great example of a luxury rig that provides built-in maneuverability because of its general spaciousness. Additionally, the owners provide a handicap lift upon request, making this listing an example of ways to provide accessibility options for guests even when they aren’t built in.  

Accessibility in the outdoors is more important than ever before. It’s also more feasible than ever before for RV owners like us to create accessibility for guests with mobility needs. Outdoorsy is with you when you do this. From our accessibility filter to promotional pages for accessible RVs near you, we’ve got your back. 

Reach out to us anytime or chime in on the Outdoorsy RV Host Community for ways we can help you create more accessibility in the outdoors.   

Josh and his wife traveled around the country in an '88 Airstream for 4+ years of full-time RVing. They made an unexpected pitstop in Montana in 2020 and haven't left since. That's because they got hooked on the glamping resort they run by Glacier National Park. Fittingly, they keep up their RVing love by renting out vintage Airstreams and other retro RVs to travelers hitting Montana.

Listo para empezar.

Sé el primero en acceder a inspiración sobre destinos y códigos de descuento.

Nos preocupamos por la seguridad de tus datos. Lee nuestra política de privacidad