In a Nutshell:
Traveler HD is a well-priced, competently engineered heavy-duty wheelchair meant for occasional use. It is recommended for people on a budget who don’t have a lot to spend on a backup chair and only need this one for occasional use.
- Overall Positive Impression
- Designed for Occasional Use
- Appropriate Backup and Travel Chair
- Competent Design
- Not Suitable for All-Day, Everyday Use
- Limited Ruggedness
- Specific Design Decisions
- Usage Depends on Individual Needs
Recommended For: People on a budget, who don’t have a lot to spend on a backup chair, and who only need this one for occasional use.
Are you heavier than the average user? In the market for an inexpensive chair that can serve as a viable backup, that’s light enough to take with you on trips and such?
If you answered yes to both of those questions, then you’re going to enjoy learning more about the Traveler HD offered by Everest & Jennings.
We’ll be quick to admit here in our Graham Field Traveler HD wheelchair review that this chair isn’t for everyone. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend buying this one at all if you’re looking for something that can stand up to the rigors of heavy daily use. That’s not this chair. There are better options available if that’s what you need.
On the other hand, if you only need something to use as a backup, for occasional use, and you don’t want to spend a fortune on it, this chair might be absolutely perfect for you.
Sure, it’s got its limitations, but it also gets a lot right. In the sections that follow, we’ll step you through everything this model gets right, and be sure you’re aware of its limitations. That way, you’ll have everything you need to decide if this is the model you’ve been searching for.
Sounds good? If so, let’s jump right in and take a closer look!
An Overview of the Everest & Jennings TravelerHD Wheelchair
The first thing you’ll notice about this chair is that there’s not much to notice. It is designed along purely conventional lines. That’s not a bad thing. While there are a few people who buy a chair as much for aesthetics as for what it does, those folks only represent a tiny fraction of the market.
For most of the rest of us, we’re a lot more interested in function over form. The design team at Everest & Jennings didn’t take any chances here. Other than being bigger and wider than your average wheelchair, it doesn’t really look any different than you might expect.
The company did make one small gesture toward aesthetics, outfitting the Traveler HD with sporty-looking mag wheels. That, combined with the all-black frame and upholstery, does give it a vaguely sporty undertone, but only in an understated sort of way.
Before we get into the particular features and functions this model brings to the table, let’s press pause for a moment here in our Graham Field Traveler HD wheelchair review to look at the core stats that define the model. Here’s a quick overview:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 28” (W) x 32” (D) x 37” (H)
- Seat Dimensions: 20” (W) x 18” (D) (Note: the company also offers a variant of this chair with 22” and 24” wide seats. The wide seat versions support the same amount of user weight)
- Chair Weight: 57 pounds
- Maximum Supported Weight: 500 pounds
Let’s talk about these numbers. There’s actually quite a lot to say. First and foremost, note that if you get the narrow version of this chair (20” seat), it will fit through a standard-sized doorway, but only just. You’ll probably have to give yourself a push, then bring your hands in as you sail through the doorway, which will take a bit of practice and finesse to get right.
On the other hand, the 24” seat variant is 4” wider. It simply will not fit through a standard-width doorway, which will present some challenges. Be sure to take a quick measurement, so you know which one is the optimal fit for you. If you can make the 20” seat work, then we recommend that because you’ll solve a fairly important problem you’ll have if you go with the wider seat.
The overall weight isn’t bad for a bariatric chair. Normally, we regard anything up to 40 pounds as being a good fit where travel is concerned, and anything over that line is not really optimal. Still, there are two exceptions to that: Reclining wheelchairs and bariatric chairs.
In both cases, you know going in that the chair you pick is going to tend to be a bit heavier than the norm, so the thinking is that you’ve already decided that’s okay. Even so, clearly, it’s not as easy or convenient to toss this chair into the back of your SUV, truck, or van and go somewhere as it would be if it only weighed 30 pounds or so. But then, if it only weighed thirty pounds, it almost certainly wouldn’t be able to support nearly as much weight.
And finally, the maximum supported weight limit is excellent! That’s what this chair is ultimately for, and with a 500-pound weight limit, it’s useful to some 98% of the market. Good stuff.
Adjustability and Comfort of Traveler HD Wheelchair
Where adjustability is concerned, the TravelerHD wheelchair has the basics covered. The seat height can be adjusted in a range between 18” and 20”, and the leg rests can be adjusted for length. Those two things give you quite a bit of flexibility to optimize your seating experience.
Note the height range for the seat, though. That’s firmly in the big and tall territory. If you’re shorter or if you have shorter legs, this probably isn’t the chair you want. It will simply sit higher off the ground than is comfortable for you, and you’ll wind up never using the higher seat settings at all.
In terms of comfort, it’s strictly okay. The armrests are fixed in their position, though they can be removed with the touch of a button, which makes transferring into and out of the chair a simpler proposition. They are also padded, which helps to enhance comfort.
It’s also worth mentioning that the armrests are desk length. While that doesn’t lend itself well to spending the better part of each day in the chair, it is very useful and versatile. If you want to work from the chair, you can roll up to your desk and do that. You won’t have to transfer out of the Traveler HD and into your office chair.
Similarly, if you want to enjoy dinner with family and friends, you can just roll right up to the dinner table and not have to worry about transferring into a dining chair.
The leg rests come with sturdy footrests and calf pads, both of which are good things. The leg rests also swing away and can be removed at your option, increasing the flexibility of the chair.
Where comfort is concerned, this model doesn’t fare well. Yes, the padded armrests and the calf pads help, but this chair is clad in leatherette, which is a vinyl/PU variant. It looks nice, but it’s not breathable at all, and the more time you spend in the chair, the hotter you’re apt to get.
It’s also not padded at all, and the leatherette doesn’t stand up well to the rigors of heavy daily use. You’re likely to see some cracking and peeling after about 18 months of regular use, which is one of the reasons we recommend this as a backup or occasional use chair.
In any event, if you do plan to spend more than 3 hours or so at a stretch sitting in the chair, you’re almost certain to want to invest in a memory foam seat pad and possibly some extra padding for the seatback. The good thing on that front is that since the chair is very low-priced, you’ll probably have enough extra funds to make those investments if and as needed.
Extras and Options of Graham Field Traveler HD
This is a genuine point of weakness for the Everest & Jennings Traveler HD wheelchair, although it’s really baked into the design philosophy behind the chair. It’s a budget offering. It’s not supposed to have anything in the way of extras, and sure enough, it doesn’t.
You won’t find any handy onboard storage or any safety features like anti-tippers or a safety belt.
That’s a pity, but that’s one of the tradeoffs when you’re looking at value-priced chairs. Corners have to be cut to keep the price low, and extras are usually the first thing on the chopping block.
On the other hand, there are a ton of extras you can pick up from third-party vendors, which gives you the opportunity to treat the chair a bit like a blank canvas. Use it in its base configuration for a while and figure out what you want to add or change, and then start attacking that, one piece at a time.
Portability & Ease of Use
We mentioned earlier that the Everest & Jennings Traveler HD heavy duty wheelchair doesn’t win high marks for portability, but again, that’s more of a design decision than a flaw. Even so, when folded, it presents a profile that’s 14” wide, which means that you can find a place to put it in just about any full-sized SUV, van, or trunk. It may or may not fit in the available trunk space of a full-sized sedan, so you’ll want to measure the space you’ve got if that’s what you’re driving.
In terms of air travel, that’s going to be hit or miss. Every airline is different, so you’ll need to check with the airline you’re flying with and be sure you understand their policies. Note, however, that most airlines charge by weight, so taking this on the plane with you is going to be more expensive than normal. That’s not necessarily a reason not to fly, but it does bear taking into consideration.
It handles well enough, though, once you get it out of storage and ready for use. Being 57 pounds, it will probably require a bit of an adjustment period if you’re not used to maneuvering with a chair of that weight.
The wheels that come standard with the Traveler HD have no tread and are optimized for handling flat, level surfaces. Basically, you’ll be fine on parking lots, sidewalks, shopping centers, and most indoor flooring surfaces. If you want to explore nature and take the chair over rougher terrain, you’ll definitely need to upgrade the wheels to something better suited to those types of adventures.
Pros & Cons of Everest and Jennings Traveler
We like almost everything about the Everest and Jennings Traveler wheelchair. Its shortcomings are not so much flaws as they are design decisions. The biggest thing to remember about this model is that it’s designed for occasional use. If you’re looking for a chair you can use all day every day and take on the road with you, this is not the model you want.
If you’re looking for a chair you can use as a backup and sometimes take on trips with you, but you’ve got another, more rugged chair for everyday use, it’s pretty awesome. Really, everything hinges on what your needs are and how you plan to use it.
It’s very well priced, though, and it has all the basics covered, so it’s perfectly functional and competently designed.
Graham Field Traveler HD Wheelchair Review Conclusion
For what it is, it’s a pretty good chair. When considering a purchase of something like this, it’s important to remember its limitations. As mentioned early on here in our Graham Field Traveler HD wheelchair review, this is not a chair designed for heavy daily use. If you try to use it in that manner, it will start breaking down on you much more quickly than you want, and you’ll have to replace it in short order.
Given that, we give this chair a provisional recommendation.
References & Resources:
- Graham Field, Official Brand Website
- Mobility Impairments Requiring the Use of a Wheelchair, Respect Ability
- Motor Learning Approach For Manual Wheelchair Users, ClinicalTrials.gov
- 8 Facts You Need to Know About Using a Wheelchair, aruma
- Why Are You Questioning My Need For a Wheelchair?, HuffPost