Standard wheelchairs, manual or powered, are a marvel of uninspired design. With the exception of technical sports chairs, the great body of modern wheelchairs seems purpose-built for times long past. Functionally speaking, they roll. Great. For whatever reason, Big Medical Supply has shown minimal interest in making any substantial improvements either in basic design or function over, say, the last four decades.
So it happens that individual humans find themselves rolling into the breach. There’s a whole underground world of frustrated people who use wheelchairs, or who care about people who use wheelchairs, and those people are not waiting around for BMS to do something about getting people into worlds where standard chairs founder.
Which brings us to the strange and wonderful TankChair, daring, as it does, to go where no manual, and few power, chairs, dare to go. Invented by a guy who was driven nuts by the complications of moving his wife’s wheelchair over a campgrgound, it seems to vanquish rough terrain, snow and curb-type heights with aplomb, and TankChair Guy has the videos to prove it.
First, though, he was driven nuts trying to design the thing:
It took me 2 years and I tried everything I could think of. Pneumatic tires, bigger wheels, stronger motors, and my favorite, a hellish jet ski/snowmobile looking thing with wheels. The last one was ugly, expensive, and will make someone a strong anchor. My father-in-law was in my garage one day and I was complaining about my latest plight and he said, “Wouldn’t it be neat if you could put some tracks on it? Like a tank?”
That was the answer. The TankChair is essentially a single-seat open-air tank, with drive tracks, appropriately enough, instead of wheels. According to the website, the TankChair can
. . . go anywhere outdoors. Conquers Streams, Mud, Snow, Sand, and Gravel, allowing you to get back to nature, and can also climb up and down stairs.
It’s humongous — definitely not a power chair for the family van. But if you had the means to haul it, and a passion for the great outdoors, this beast could provide four seasons of joy year after year.
TankChair Guy says he’s customizing models for the general public now. Take that, BMS.