Accidentally Adaptive: Zip-Up Puffer Poncho

I’m so excited to write this post – I’m hoping that I can turn it into a whole series of things that turn out to be adaptive products for me, even if they’re not specifically designed or marketed that way. First up today is this zip-up puffer poncho.

Winter, and the cold and snow that comes with it, is really hard for me. You know that scene in A Christmas Story where the boy’s arms keep springing up in the air to his side because of the puffy snowsuit he’s wearing? That’s almost what it’s like for me when I’m wearing winter coat. First – they’re incredibly hard for me even to get on – it’s like wrangling a small child into a winter jacket. I might be more cooperative, but it’s still difficult! And then once it’s on, it’s really hard for me to move my arms. My muscle strength is so limited that the extra weight and resistance from the coat makes it a challenge. So I wear a lot of cashmere and capes during the winter months, but I’m still cold a lot.

Heather, a white woman in a power wheelchair, is wearing a black dress and army green zip up puffer poncho / cape that's unzipped.

So when I came across an ad for a zip-up puffer poncho, I was instantly intrigued. It basically fills the void of what I’ve been needing – it has the shape of a cape, so it’s easy to get on and off, but the material of a (thin) puffer coat (plus a hood!) so it’s warm. I wasn’t exactly sure if it would work for me based on the pictures online, but decided it was worth a try. I’m SO glad that I decided to try it – it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!

The cape comes in a deep green and an ivory color – I do not trust myself around ivory things, so I went with the green. On the model online, you can see that it looks like the cape has (short) sleeves – that’s because there are actually snaps on both sides that you can leave snapped to create really loose sleeves, or you can un-snap to create more of a traditional cape / poncho. For me, sitting in my chair, unsnapped is the way to go – it lets me tuck in behind me without restricting the movement of my arms.

Obviously – it’s much, much longer on me than it is on the model. This is why it’s an accidentally adaptive product – it’s clearly not intended for a person that’s seated all the time. But I actually like the extra long length, because it helps keep me warmer! I also think that it will help keep the cape from blowing open if I leave it unzipped.

Heather's wearing the same zip up puffer poncho, but this time it's zipped up.

I was really impressed by how well it lays even though I’m sitting – it looks big, obviously, but not oversized or baggy. And the ability to zip it up for warmth is nice, too. Sometimes zippers bunch strangely since I’m sitting, but this still laid nice and flat. It didn’t feel uncomfortable or make it harder to move around in, either.

Again, Heather's wearing the same zip up puffer poncho, zipped and now draping over her armrests and wheelchair controller.

And as you can tell – if I want to be extra warm, I can pull my arms inside the cape and cover my armrests and controller completely. it might not be the most chic look, but it works!

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Christy N.

    Thanks for the review. I decided to order one and I’m so excited that I got next day shipping.

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