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Hiking Staffs

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Go to ebay and do a search for trekking poles. That's where I picked up the sets that DH and I use. We used them first for backpacking and when we started geocaching/hiking a couple of months ago, they just seemed like a natural to bring along.


THey have wrist straps so I can let go and not lose them to check the GPSr or whatnot.

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You've never held one of mine. I normally use Poplar that can hold the most stought person and yet at the same time weigh less than a pound.

I'm definitely looking forward to mine...the wooden broom handle I currently have is OK, but I really want one that's made for hiking...

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Whenever I leave mine behind, especially if the hunt is on rough terrain, I regret it. I have joint wear and also lack in dexterity. I really appreciate having the extra support especially when climbing up or down a hill, or stepping over a log or large stones. The staff is a must when crossing a stream rock by rock or on a log. I use a Folstaf fly fishermans staff, it has a belt holster, 3/4 inch aluminum in sections that snap together with sturdy shock cords, mine has a compass on top. If a fisherman can trust it in a fast moving stream it is good enough for me on dry land. It can be a bit difficult to breakdown after agressive use but than I am back at the truck and a wack or two on the bumper helps.

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Ok, I'm sold! Can we get some more recommendations? Wood versus Metal etc..

I saw a telescoping, aluminum one collapse last weekend and the cacher took a face-plant into the beach (missing the rocks, thankfully)...


I'll stick with wood...and the pun is unintentional. :anitongue:

Not that I'm admitting anything but the pole didn't collapse it sank about 18" into the sand. In retrospect using the pointy stick to step down onto a sandy beach wasn't the best idea. Put enough weight behind them and those pointy aluminum sticks sink into the sand real good. :anitongue:

I have bad knees and the walking stick is a must for me for anything past a flat surface. Mine has a cork knob that screws off & then can be used as a monopod for the camera.

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What a nice thread as I was thanking myself for getting one a while back. I had picked up a pair of collapsible ones but found that they tended to do just that, and not when I wanted them to. Picked up a walking stick at a local festival, but it was really too big and not well balanced. Would work for fighting off a bear or mountian lion for my cache, but was almost as heavy as a backpack.


There isn't much around here to use as native wood, and so while shopping at my local Walmart for toothpaste, found one in the camping section for $9.95. Have been using the heck out of it, for snakes, spiders, balance, the good fight against bugs, and best of all, avoid poison oak which is abundant here.


I would like to pick one up from someone that makes them rather than the Walmart store, with some suttle style, yet light and strong as I am weak and heavy.


Suggestions appreciated.


Mystery Ink




Edited by Mystery Ink
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Trekking poles are a must on many trails in the Pacific Northwest.

I disagree. I don't use trekking poles and get around just fine. I prefer to keep my hands free. I used (borrowed) poles on one backpacking trip three years ago. Found them to be primarily excess weight (says the guy who totes 35 pounds of camera gear on his week long hikes :/ ).


Of course, it helps to be otherwise well prepared. If you're going to talk "must have" for backpacking in the Northwest, top your list with good boots.



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I haven't gotten into the habit of using one yet, but a lasting impression was made a few years ago on a day hike: a senior member of our group (retired and very fit) had a pair of trekking poles and used them like a skier going at a fast steady pace down a narrow, steep, muddy section. The rest of the group - most MUCH younger - got to the bottom a good 30 mintues later. :ph34r::laughing:


Watching the guy power down the track with the poles made me think seriously about getting some!

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We have a hand made walking stick that we take caching with us, it has a travelbug tag on it and is logged in and out of all our caches. It is called PWS Travelbug (personal walking stick) anyone one who meets us on the trail or at cache meets can log it. One time a 5 year old spotted it on the trail and whispered "Dad that stick has a TB tag on it", made us laugh. We also have another that we called 50 foot walking stick travelbug that was hidden within a 50 foot radius of a cache. The finder could keep it and log it in and out of their caches, so far 2 cachers have used it and it is still in ones possession, it is fun seeing where the STICK goes! When they don't want to log it any more all they have to do is hide it within a 50' radius of a cache. It is fun seeing where the Stick goes, more then we do! My first stick is retired I had a permanent sharpie pen and wrote the name of every cache I visited on it and the date, it got filled, so it was retired. :ph34r:

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I saw a telescoping, aluminum one collapse last weekend and the cacher took a face-plant into the beach (missing the rocks, thankfully)...


I'll stick with wood...and the pun is unintentional.

You can say the same for both. Todd Fredrickson used a wooden staff on a hike to Necklace Valley last month. It busted half way through the hike. He had to return, down some very rugged terrain, without support.


I just found a very good looking set of trekking poles. Black Diamond makes two pair with some very sturdy locking devices. The lower locks squeeze to unlock, and the upper lock is a lever cam lock. Like those found on bicycles. Both of these locks would be easier to operate with wet hands.

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Looks to be a ram mount. We have them on our bikes - real nice.


OT I only carry a hiking pole when I think I may be log balancing over water. Sure is nice then. Otherwise, in Florida I think it's just extra weight. I can always pick up a stick for checking palmettos for ammo cans. In mountainous terrain, I expect I'd carry one always, maybe even go with the two hand ski approach - I've seen that on hiking trails in NC and it looks like a great way to take the knee strain out of descents.

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In the Pacific Northwest (a very wet place), a hiking staff is handy for a number of things: keeping yourself from sliding downhill on muddy trails, giving yourself a boost up muddy trails, poking bits of scree to see if they're safe to put your weight on, beating devil's club down, prodding inside rotten logs hoping for a telltale 'thunk'...the list goes on. I happen to prefer telescoping trekking poles because they can be lengthened when you're heading downhill or shortened when you're going up. Depending on terrain, sometimes I carry one, sometimes I carry two.

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i like it! is that a handlebar mount?

That's not my picture but I do have it on my Leki telecoping pole. Yes it's a Ram mount with handle bar clamp. I had the suction cup setup on my windshield so when I left the car I just switched the GPS to the pole. I don't use it anymore as it makes the pole a little imbalanced. On the positive side, when you're in the woods, you can "stab" the ground and get a steady position for regaining satellites reception. ALso it's in a good position for keeping the locks on the sats and you can always see where you're going. Alan

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I used to use a variety of wooden staffs (or should that be 'staves'?) that I'd picked up along the trail and cleaned up. I liked the feel of them, but they were heavy and awkward. Recently, I got one of those collapsible hiking poles, and I LOVE it. It's extremely lightweight and strong, and I can change the height as needed...or collapse it all the way and hang it from my pack. Wouldn't dream of doing anything but a paved trail without it (and I'd use it for paved, too, if I could find one of those rubber dinguses they put at the bottom of walking sticks).


Today, I suddenly found myself in a marshy bit of trail. Up-over-the-boot-tops marshy, but you couldn't tell what clumps of sphagnum moss were firm and which were wet. So you stand in place, poke with the stick for the next footing, stand in place, poke with the stick.


Then I used it to walk around the outside of a puddle that had a narrow margin; stick goes in the puddle for balance while I walk at an angle around the edge. Then I used it to help lower myself to a seated position on a rock too high to jump off of (yeah, the knees only have a forty-year warranty). Then the cache turned out to be near a rock wall. Poke, step, poke, step.


I'd feel lost without it.

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i inherited this stick from my grandparents house, as no one else had likely seen it in years. i've been going through the old camping photos trying to find a rough estimate for how long it's been around, no luck yet!




no idea what kind of wood, but it's comfortable on either hand, just rotate until it fits. height is about right, but i'm apprehensive to use it on anything strenuous because i know i'd bust it...


so, i'd like to buy some aluminum collapsible ones, as my knees are already starting to feel some of my excursions a bit more than they should..

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Is there a purpose to a hiking staff or is it a pretty prize for wizard wannabes? Seems to me, the less you drag into the woods, the better. To have a hand constantly encumbered seems pointless.


Not trying to start a fight here, I'm genuinely unenlightened in this matter.

My only consession to caring about the number of caches I find is that i use a dremmel tool and cut a small notch in my hiking staff for every find we log.



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I'm the local scout leader and have had the same stick since I started in 99. Last year I drug it on our 50 miler in a wilderness area. Saved me twice, once from getting wet. I couldn't image hiking w/o one. The one I have is made of poplar, nice and strong, light weight, and hard as a rock. Every time we have done a long camp or major hike I have carved the name of where we were it in it. It also has a perfect spot for my hand. First thing I did after cutting it was striped the bark and left it to dry standing up for a month, then it was good to go. Mine is about as tall as my shoulder, with the hand hold about mid-bicep, perfect position for me when walking. It's also about 1 1/4" in diameter. Great for encouraging snakes off the trail!

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We split a set of Leki titanium collapsible trekking poles, so we each have one. Yesterday, when we went on a hike of a few miles with several hundred feet of elevation gain, we both said that after the GPSr, the hiking sticks were the best geocaching investment we'd made. They make going up hills easier, and going down hills less slippery. They keep me from getting my feet wet when I try to rock-hop across streams (I'd fall in without something to help me keep my balance). They help us find the cache at the end of hike -- there have been some totally concealed caches that were only found because of The Thump. Our sticks feel practically weightless -- the reduction in fatigue from using them far outweighs the effort of carrying them along. Whenever we leave them behind in the car (it's only a 1/1, let's not bother digging in the trunk!), we find ourselves regretting it (a bit misrated, some of those 1/1s...).


What I would recommend is going to a store with a good selection of hiking sticks and trying them all out. That's how we found out that we wanted sticks without anti-shock mechanisms (the mechanism adds significant weight, and the click at every step would drive me nuts), and that we didn't like the cork OR rubber grips, but liked the ones with foam on them. We got to experience firsthand a range of weights and collapsible sizes, and in the end we found sticks that were Just Right. If all you've ever hiked with is a stick picked up from the side of the trail, a hiking staff or trekking pole is a much better experience.

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My problem is my knees and ankels. I often have trouble navigating through wooded areas that have lots of little dips and holes. So my son cut me a maple pole that has a little jog in it in just the right place for my hand. I haven't debarked it yet, but I will probably have to soon. It isn't too heavy and very strong and had helped me along through the woods many times. I never go caching without it. :angry:

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We prefer the telescoping aluminum kind, they are easy to travel with. An added extra bonus is that the top cap screws off and it acts as a monopod for our cameras. We screw the camera on to it and stick it in the ground and use the remote or timer for a "cheesy" group picture. The one we bought from Cabelas also has a handy elastic sling that allows you to carry the stick on your back (great when crawling up a wet concrete spillway as we found out this weekend!)We like the look of wooden ones, and in a pinch grab a branch off the forest floor to use as a hiking staff when we wrongly assumed we didn't need our hiking sticks for a 1/1 cache :angry:

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We take the telescoping hiking sticks on longer hikes. It helps me for climbing and descending when carrying my daughter on my shoulders. And the fact that they telescope means we can all share the same stick. If you tighten the telescoping portion correctly there is no issue with collapsing, and I can put a lot of weight on them too.


But the best reason to carry a hiking stick according to our daughter: "Making little holes so the ants can hide".



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I spent some time hiking in the Bavarian Alps. I did not have a hiking staff, or hiking poles, or any of that. What I learned from watching the Germans that were 30 years older than me pass me like I was standing still going up steep, rocky terrain: Get hiking poles.


Every single local had them...and they seemed to be doing a lot better than me.

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One of the locals here had a copperhead strike his hiking stick and there was a fair amount of venom on the stick. Better the stick than the hand that would have been going for the cache, don't you think? They're also great for clearing out cob webs, parting holly bushes, lifting up pine branches, etc. . .

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It's been mentioned but not emphasized, three legs are better than two -- a tripod is more stable than a biped. Some folks, including me, have more problems with balance as they get older. Irregular ground is more of a problem - it threatens a fall and things break easier. Balance is my number one reason I always have a stick on uneven terrain. It really helps going up or down steep inclines of lumpy ground. Also, the stick is important to us old codgers who can't climb, stoop, bend, squat and kneel like younger folks.


The second most common use has been mentioned -- to knock down spiders and spiderwebs. Around here we have a l o t s of spiders.



The third most common use is to poke at places where cache boxes may be without having to stoop down and stick my hand in ever possible place. A while back we were FTF on a cache that was hidden in a pile of pine needles. The clever owner had hidden it in a place with many natural piles of needles about the same size as his pile. And, they were in around and under many shrubs – some thorny. The stick made short work of thrusting for the “clunk,” that would have otherwise been tedious, time consuming and prickly.


Edited to add:


Oh yes. My stick is a 2cm square yard stick with a hole near one end for a wrist strap. It's very light and sturdy, and I can let it hang from my wrist to have both hands free if I need to.

Edited by Thot
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Holding the staff vertically in front of your face as you're walking down a trail like this saves a lot of "Bleh, ptooey, blech, bleh, ptoo" :D

LOL! That is *so* me!


Here's a page that claims:

Hiking staffs make the perfect hiking accessories by providing better balance, traction and stability while walking or hiking. Reducing up to 25% of body weight from knees, feet and lower back allows for a longer more enjoyable hiking experience. Breathing efficiency and posture are greatly improved by involving the upper body.


Personally, I carry a 'Shroom Stick. It has a tiny mag compass in it that I thought was stupid at first, but I actually use it 'caching to get moving in the right direction when I'm standing still and my GPSr can't know what direction I'm facing, just what bearing I need to head in.

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They give you more stability, and for geocaching you get the bonus of having a cache poking device. Handy for not getting bit by the unseen denizens of a potential cache spot.


They are also great to leave behind. That way you know you will face a climb that way. Being able to predict how hard your cache hunt helps plan the day. "Did I forgt my hicking stick?. uh oh...."

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As Sluggo taught me always have your pokey stick near by. It has many uses other than just for hiking up and down those steep trails.

  • Save skin when cache is hid in brambles or Juniper bushes.
  • great snake whacker
  • gotta love the thud of it finding the cache
  • gets the attention of the person hiking in front of you
  • makes cool designs in the sand
  • goes where no fingers or hands want to go

Do I take a pokey stick with me? :D You bet!

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What is a snow basket?



You've probably seen them more often on ski poles. They're at the bottom of the pole where you contact the ground and when there is snow, they help distribute the weight on the surface for stability (like a snowshoe).



But, what is SNOW ?????


Is that like hard rain ???



Seriously, I have a staff, bought it from Wilderness Walkers, on ebay.. great. I was so impressed that I got one for each of the Texas Vikings for Xmas.

:rolleyes: Had a ball wrapping them!

I have used it for spider webs and to check out holes for snakes or gators. Also listen for the "thunk" of an ammo box.


I recently added, using cable ties, a canister of pepper spray. I have run into feral or wild dogs, twice and glad I had the staff. Now, a little spray of pepper, is much easier on the animal than a thunk on the head or nose.


I am, however, old, so the staff is nice to have in the woods.


...."I may grow old, but I refuse to grow up !" :anitongue:

Edited by One of the Texas Vikings
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I use mine all the time. I have some pretty good back, hip and knee problems and my doctor sugessted walking to build up the muscles. Since I already had a GPS'r I took up caching. I do really badly on any king of smooth surface like pavement or packed trails. My staff, a telescoping aluminium job, takes a lot of the pressure off on the trip back to the car.


After I got hurt and started hiking, spring of last year, I could only do a mile or so. After I got the staff I doubled the distance and am now able to do 15 miles without a problem (Rimrock/Morrison trails at the Allegheny national forest, plus a walk to the overlook.)


I won't hike or cache without my staff. Aside from being more stable 3 (or 4) legs intead of 2, they get your upper body into the workout and take some of the weight off your legs, letting you go farther.

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