The Infamous Carabiner


We’re excited to introduce a new feature on our blog that is all about Life Hacks specific to us Paras, Quads, and Wheelchair users in general. We know all too well that there are many non-existent solutions (thus far) to the various unique issues we experience on a regular basis. But we’re nothing if not creative and crafty! Let’s put our heads together and create solutions ourselves! Whether one (or more) of us has discovered one on our own, or whether some issues have yet to be solved, we’re excited to create a forum for us and our peers to discuss common issues and our creative “hacks” we’ve discovered to deal with them.

I’d like to open our first hack discussion by mentioning a common gadget that may be underappreciated in our world, but actually has some great uses: the infamous Carabiner, which is commonly used along with rope-intensive activities like sports (e.g., harnessing for rock climbing), but also for construction (e.g., scary high-rised window-cleaning). They come in various sizes, and I happen to own the largest size I’ve ever seen – it’s about 6 inches long, and I keep it dangling off the back of my wheelchair.

I bought this massive carabiner on a whim at my local Home Depot. I think my idea was I could use it to dangle shopping bags off the back of my wheelchair when I had too much to carry. It works for that sometimes, but usually the bags end up dragging along the floor because they often hang too low. However, I found a far better use for it: Suitcases on wheels! (Well, anything on wheels, really)…

You may be able to do this by yourself, but otherwise, someone else can easily do it for you. Just angle your suitcase, retract the handle and loop it through the carabiner. Start rolling, and your suitcase will obediently follow! This has helped me so much when I am traveling alone and don’t really feel like asking an attendant for help. Also, when my bag is way too big to place on my lap, this provides another useful option. At the baggage claim, there’s always one or more people who are more than willing and enthusiastic to connect my bag to the carabiner for me, so that’s a plus.

Another thing I use a (smaller) carabiner for is as a key chain to keep my keys easily accessible – I either attach them to my bra strap (sorry, guys… that might not work for you) or I attach them to a purse strap (again, sorry, guys). A belt loop works too, of course, as well as various parts of your wheelchair.

Have any of you guys discovered other unique and novel wheelchair hacks for the humble carabiner? Sound off in the comments below.

Blog post by Julia Hodge


  1. Linda M Vanier Ms.
    March 8, 2017

    I use a carabiner to attach my dog’s leash to my electric wheelchair. I wouldn’t use it with a manual chair though unless you want to be taken for a wild ride . I also use it to attach a foldable dog’s water dish .

  2. Arthur
    March 9, 2017

    As an adaptive rock climber, far as I know one of the two paras in the world to lead climb, I’d mention that one should be very aware of the difference between ‘Real’ carabiners, and the ‘fake’ ones that may be a LOT lower quality… Real ‘biners will have a CE certification and dynamic load rating info on them. ‘Fakes’ MAY be marked ‘Not for climbing’ but aren’t always… The important thing is to be aware that fakes don’t have any definite testing / quality control so should NEVER be used for anything where a failure could result in significant loss or injury… That said, there are a lot of places where fakes can be appropriate and useful, it is just important to be aware of the difference, and to examine any fake for how well it’s made, and so on before trusting it…

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