Story by Jennifer Longdon
Photo by Loren Worthington
For some wheelchair users, managing luggage while traveling solo is awkward. The Unstoppable gear bag by Phoenix Instinct was designed to address some of those challenges.
The bag, which retails for $373, features a quick-clip design to quickly hook to the back crossbar of a manual wheelchair. Omni-directional wheels allow the bag to nimbly move side-to-side as well as forward and backward. Extra handles positioned strategically along the top and sides allows for easier handling and straps attach the companion backpack to the gear bag for moving the pair as a single unit.
We asked Ernie Chun, member of Team USA wheelchair rugby team to check it out. Chun, an international traveler, uses a manual wheelchair and lives with a C6-7 incomplete spinal cord injury. He travels at least once a month for the team, sometimes for as long as two weeks at a time. He’s looking for sturdy bag he can check that will hold everything.
“It’s a great concept,” Chun said. “It is very well-made. I like the double stitching, the durable material and the re-enforcement straps on the sides. The separate pocket with top access is handy.”
The Unstoppable doesn’t work for everyone. Chun had to swap chairs in order for the quick-clip to work on his crossbar; additional adapter options would be helpful. Working the clip also takes some practice. If you drop the bag while attaching it to your chair, it’s difficult to pick-up when fully packed. Chun also noted that the wheels are unprotected and voiced concerns that they were at risk for damage during routine baggage handling, but offered a solution:
“If the bag were a bit wider and came out over the wheels like many other bags do, then a travel shower chair could also fit. Most guys on the team throw a lightweight shower chair in their bag.”
The Unstoppable is the brainchild of Andrew Slorance, a wheelchair user who also designed the Carbon Black wheelchair. The London-based company’s mission is to create products that advance independence through great design. More information can be found on the Phoenix Instinct website: PhoenixInstinct.com.
Editor’s note: Phoenix Instinct provided sample bag for LivAbility review.