In a Nutshell:
Traveler SE is a very well-designed and versatile wheelchair, suitable for a variety of purposes. It is recommended for anyone weighing up to 300 pounds. This is a fantastic, general-purpose wheelchair.
- Overall Quality
- Calf Pads on Leg Rests
- High-Value Extras
- Comparison to L4 Model
- Possibly Not the Best Fit
- Subjective Comparison
Have you recently suffered from some type of mobility issue that sees you spending at least part of each day in a wheelchair? Or perhaps you’ve used a wheelchair for a while now, but it’s time to replace your current ride?
Either way, you’ll like what you read in this Traveler SE review. The Traveler SE, offered by Everest & Jennings, is an extremely solid design. Although, in our view, it’s not quite as good as the exceptional Traveler 4, by the same company. Still, it does offer one improvement in a significant area, and all by itself, that makes it worth talking about and definitely makes it worth a closer look.
Is this the right chair for you? The short answer is that it may well be! In the sections that follow, we’ll tell you everything this model gets right (And it gets quite a bit right), and we won’t pull any punches when it comes to describing this chair’s shortcomings and limitations.
That way, you’ll have all the information at your fingertips and can decide for yourself if this is the model you’ve been searching for. Let’s take a closer look.
An Overview of the Everest and Jennings Traveler SE Wheelchair
As with the other members of the Traveler family of wheelchairs, this model sticks pretty close to the convention. Jet black with a few silver accents, the chair might not be flashy or showy, but the mag wheels it is outfitted with do give it a vaguely sporty look.
Even so, few people will gravitate to this model for aesthetic reasons. It’s not ugly, but it won’t win any beauty contests either.
Mostly, it’s function over form. Honestly, that’s what most people are looking for in the world of wheelchairs.
Before we talk about anything other than simple aesthetics in this section of our Traveler SE review, now is a good time to do a quick look at the basic stats that define the model so we can get a better sense of what sort of chair this is and what we’re working with here. Here are the basics:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 28.5” (W) x 31.5” (D) x 35.5” (H)
- Seat Dimensions: 20” (W) x 18” (D) (see below for a discussion of the other seat size options available for this chair)
- Chair Weight: 40 pounds
- Maximum Supported Weight: 300 pounds
There’s actually a lot to talk about where these numbers are concerned. If you decide you want one of these, like the Traveler L4, you’ll find that there are a number of configuration options available.
Although the model we referenced above sports a 20” wide and 18” deep seat, the company also offers this chair with an 18” x 18” seat and a 16” x 18” seat. If you opt for one of these, the total width of the chair is correspondingly less.
In addition to that, the company also offers this model with a 16” wide, 16” deep seat, an 18” x 16” and a 20” x 16.” If you opt for any of the seat configuration options that are only 16” deep, be aware that your chair will only support a maximum of 250 pounds.
This is seriously an excellent design in our book. The smaller seat sizes cater to smaller people with slighter builds, so the reduction in maximum supported weight is almost never a problem.
At the same time, though, the fact that the company offers those alternate seat size configurations doesn’t shrink the market for the chair because the base model supports a standard 300-pound capacity. Kudos to Everest & Jennings for offering such a versatile chair!
By the numbers, this model isn’t terribly large, either. Even with the widest seat available in this design, it will still fit through a standard-width doorframe. Although if you get the 20” wide seat, you won’t have much room to spare, so mind your knuckles as you’re passing through the doorway.
The variants with the narrower seat configurations will, of course, have an even easier time.
All in all, we’re impressed with these numbers. We love the fact that although this chair is very modestly priced, there are so many configuration options available. It does mean, however, that you’ll need to take some measurements so you can make sure you’re getting the seat size that’s the best fit for you.
Adjustability and Comfort of Graham Field Traveler SE
The Everest and Jennings Traveler SE wheelchair offers the basics in terms of adjustability. The seat height can be set to either 18” or 20” depending on your preference, and the length of the leg rests can be adjusted to taste. Taken together, this gives you quite a lot of flexibility in terms of optimizing your seating experience.
Comfort-wise, we have to admit we’re not as impressed with this model as we are with the L4. The SE is clad in leatherette, which we readily admit looks pretty. Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems with it.
The first problem is that it’s not very durable. If you mean to use this chair on a regular basis for several hours each day, your pretty leatherette is going to start peeling and cracking after about 18 months; at which point, it won’t look so pretty anymore.
You can extend its useful life by investing in a pad for the seat and/or seatback, but then, you’re covering up the pretty leatherette in the name of preserving it and added comfort so – it’s a tradeoff.
The second problem is that leatherette isn’t at all breathable. That’s okay if you live in a colder climate, or if you only plan to sit in the chair for short periods of time. But, if the goal is to buy a chair you can spend several hours a day in, that non-breathable material is going to start getting hot and make you sweaty after a few hours.
The solution is to invest in padding, but then you’re back to that tradeoff of covering up the pretty leatherette in exchange for more comfort.
In the introduction, we mentioned that this chair did represent a significant improvement in one area over the Traveler L4. That improvement takes the form of the leg rests found here. They feature calf pads, which provide better support for your legs and make the chair more comfortable for sitting for long periods.
We love that, and it’s a very good addition indeed.
Note, too, that if you decide you want one of these, in addition to being able to specify your seat size, you get to pick either swing-away or elevating leg rests.
Which one you select is largely a function of how you see yourself using the chair. You’ll probably be better off with the elevating leg rests, if you want a chair you can kick back and relax in for extended periods.
If, on the other hand, you want a chair you can use for work, get the swing-away leg rests for reasons we’ll talk about in just a moment.
Before we do that, we need to talk about the armrests. Unfortunately, they’re not height adjustable, but they are padded, which enhances the comfort of the chair. As with the leg rests, if you decide you want one of these when you place your order, you’ll be able to select either full-length or desk-length arms.
Full-length arms are a great pairing with elevating leg rests as both provide greater comfort when you’re sitting in the chair for extended periods.
Desk-length arms are a good match with swing-away leg rests because the combination of the two allows you to wheel right up to your work desk, push the leg rests out of the way, and get work done without having to transfer to your office chair.
In a similar vein, you can roll right up to the dinner table and enjoy a meal with family and friends without having to transfer out of the wheelchair and into a dining chair. Very handy and convenient. Again, you’ll want to sit down and really think about how you plan to use the chair before you make your selections.
Extras and Options of Traveler SE Plus Wheelchair
Unlike many of Everest & Jennings’ lower-priced chairs, the Graham Field Traveler SE comes with a number of optional pieces of equipment you can buy direct from the company to enhance your chair. These include:
- A wheel lock lever extension
- Anti-tippers (18” or 20” options available)
- An anti-fold bar
- An 02 holder
- An O2/IV combination pole
In addition to those options, the chair comes with a chart pocket on the back of the seat. We love the fact that many of Everest & Jennings’ chairs come with some built-in storage. Granted, you’ll still probably want to invest in additional storage, but the fact that there’s some present right out the gate is awesome in our book.
Then, of course, there’s the aftermarket. There are dozens of companies that make all sorts of enhancements for and attachments to your wheelchair, so the sky’s the limit where customization options are concerned. We definitely recommend spending some money on padding, though!
Portability & Ease of Use
The Traveler SE Plus wheelchair is average to slightly above average in this regard. In our book, any chair that weighs 40 pounds or less is a good traveling chair. This model clocks in right on the line, at 40 pounds.
It’s not at all difficult to find other chairs that are comparably priced and lighter (in fact, the Traveler 4 we keep mentioning weighs less and is cheaper too!), but 40 pounds certainly isn’t excessive. You’ll find that this does indeed make a good traveling chair.
When folded, it’s only 12” wide and will fit easily enough into an SUV, van, truck, or hatchback. In most cases, it’ll even fit with relative ease into the trunk of a full-sized sedan. If that’s what you’re driving, it pays to measure your available trunk space to be sure.
Where this chair begins to falter, though, is air travel. Weight really matters when you’re traveling by air, and you want your chair to be as light as possible. If you’re a frequent flier, it pays to look at some of the lighter models this and other companies offer. It’s not impossible to fly with this chair. Since it weighs 40 pounds, it will be more expensive and relatively less convenient, which is something to keep in mind.
In terms of handling, the wheels on this model are optimized for flat, level surfaces, which include most indoor flooring, parking lots, sidewalks, shopping centers, and the like.
If you’re more of a nature lover and are looking to take this chair to parks and on hiking trails, you’ll definitely want to upgrade the wheels before you do any of that.
Pros & Cons of Traveler SE Wheelchair
No matter how you slice it, this is a really good chair. In our view, however, it falls slightly short of the L4 offered by the same company.
We do love the fact that the leg rests on this model include calf pads, though, and there are a number of high-value extras that are made for this chair. If those things are of great import to you, this one is an excellent choice.
Otherwise, you may want to take a closer look at the L4 and see if it’s a better fit.
Traveler SE Review Conclusion
As mentioned early on here in our Traveler SE review, this is a good chair that falls just short of greatness. Ultimately, we feel this model is eclipsed by the L4, despite the fact that this one has a few options and features that the L4 doesn’t. Even so, it’s a rock-solid design and a very well-rounded chair. We recommend it.
References & Resources:
- Graham Field, Official Brand Website.
- Everest & Jennings Traveler SE Wheelchair User Manual
- I Was Nervous to Try Mobility Devices – and Uncovered My Own Ableism in the Process, Healthline.
- Testing Out Sound Transit’s Light Rail in a Wheelchair, sci.washington.edu.
- Prescribing Manual Wheelchair With Propulsion Assist Devices, Agency For Clinical Innovation.