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Hiking sticks (mainly for those who use one)!


Kabuthunk

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First off, let me begin by saying that this topic is by no means meant for people who need to walk with a hiking stick or a cane or whatnot. Not sure how many others there are out there like me, but I can walk perfectly fine on my own... but quite thoroughly prefer to go with a hiking stick. Keeps balance better, can kinda shove branches out of the way, and can poke at stuff. Yay for poking things! I dunno... I grew up in the country... blame that or something :ph34r:

 

That aside... for most cache-hunting that involved going through any wooded area or... pretty much anywhere there was sticks lying around, I'd fashion a 'temporary hiking stick', by means of grabbing any suitable dead branch off the ground, hiking with it to and from the cache, and pretty much dumping it in about the same place I got it on the way back. As you can assume, this led to quite often having them either break on me, get my hands filthy, or... yeah, various things associated with playing with dead random branches :ph34r:

A few weeks or so ago, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to have a more "permanant" hiking stick. By nice coincidence, a short time later I went to what is known as a 'farmer's market' here, where tons of various produce are sold by the farmers, as well as crafts and other things of the sort. One person was selling... you guessed it... hiking sticks. Basically either just relatively straight driftwood or poplar or other random wood sticks, nice and varnished, with a leather wrist-strap. However, the prices ranged from anywhere from 20 to 80 dollars (the 20 obviously being very plain and... yeah). As well, he painted various 'rings' around it in several places as some kind of adornment.

 

Now... this is just a personal preference, but if I was going to get a hiking stick, I'd just want a nice, unadorned hiking stick, varnished up to avoid rotting and cracking and the like. Not a single one of this shop's was unpainted, and they were brutal stupid expensive for someone finding a branch, painting it with rings for some reason, and slapping what looked like two coats of varnish on it.

 

 

Hence... we get to the point of the topic. I took it upon myself to make my OWN hiking stick. During a hunt to one of the caches in a nearby park, I found a really nice branch on the ground... good length, good width, brutal-strong, dry as a bone, and interesting natural designs on it. I hauled it home, stripped off the remaining bark (very little actually), scrubbed the tar out of it (looked awesome), and am now sitting at having four coats of varnish on it (got outdoor, extra-hard type stuff). I'll be doing about 6 to 8 coats on it (we'll see when I get to 6 if I want to continue) to ensure that it'll be really strong, and any scratches will be easily fixable without it directly scratching the wood. If it DOES get to the wood, I probably have worse problems to think about... such as that tree that fell on me or something :P

 

In either case... I'm quite proud of how it's looking so far (when it's done, I'll post a pic of it if this topic is still kicking around). Which brought me to the thought of wanting to see what other people use.

 

What type of hiking sticks to other people use? Homemade, bought-homemade, or those retractable aluminum (or fiberglass or whatever) ones?

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I'm a guy with good knee's and joints and I use two of them when hiking long distances. They are a great asset when walking on flat ground, love them more when going downhill and love them most when I use them to pull me uphill with a rucksack on. Love my poles! Mine are iron and bought in a shop though! :ph34r:

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I'm the guy that usually just finds one when I start down the trail.

 

I'm also the guy that keeps poking and prodding the campfire with his hiking stick at night....

Yep, I'm also a fire-poker. However, for that, methinks I'll pass on doing that with the varnished one and just grab me any dead branch nearby :ph34r:

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I use a pair of collapsible, aluminum trekking poles. I prefer trekking poles because they are lightweight, adjustable and collapsible. I can make them longer for downhills and stream crossings and shorter when walking up steeps. I can also collapse them and stick them inside my pack when I don't need them, or fit them in my suitcase when I'm travelling.

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I agree that I've never seen a wooden hiking stick for sale that I liked, and they are always overpriced. I've always just used what I could find and leve it when I'm done, but then sticks are plentyful here. About a month ago though I bought a pair of cheap collapsible aluminum ones from Wally world. Even though they won't hold much weight they are still very usefull, and easy to carry, I hardly leave the house without them anymore unless it's to work. (Boo, hiss, work) And if I want heavy duty I got the stick I fished out of the creek last summer, eight feet long and two+ inches thick, weighs a ton but I bet I could pole vault a ditch with it. :ph34r:

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I'm more of a hiking staff kinda guy. Sticks are just too short for my taste. I finally tired of the wood I could find in Florida, and decided to extend my search to the Internet, where I found Treeline USA, a woodcrafting company. They sell finished or unfinished staffs made from Aspen, Basswood, Cedar, Diamond Willow, Hickory, Iron Bamboo, Ocotillo Cactus, Saguaro Cactus, Sassafras, Sweet Gum and Yucca Cactus. I called them, and they were most accomodating in selling me a Diamond Willow and a Saguaro Cactus longer than what's listed. Pretty kewl wood!

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I usually get to busy talking or sight seeing, so I need all the help I can get to keep me on my feet. We know we haven't been on a caching trip if I haven't fell at least once. I use a store bought pole that is adjustable. Comes in handy to for poking around and looking caches and for removing those spider webs.

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Do an Ebay search for "Wilderness Walkers". Great service and Hickory Walking sticks, with your name.

Inexpensive. So inexpensive that I bought each one of the Texas Vikings one for Christmas last year.

I always take mine, tie wrapped a holster of pepper spray on it, as we some feral dogs around..

And of course, the gators....

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I'm more of a hiking staff kinda guy. Sticks are just too short for my taste. I finally tired of the wood I could find in Florida, and decided to extend my search to the Internet, where I found Treeline USA, a woodcrafting company. They sell finished or unfinished staffs made from Aspen, Basswood, Cedar, Diamond Willow, Hickory, Iron Bamboo, Ocotillo Cactus, Saguaro Cactus, Sassafras, Sweet Gum and Yucca Cactus. I called them, and they were most accomodating in selling me a Diamond Willow and a Saguaro Cactus longer than what's listed. Pretty kewl wood!

I made two Diamond Willow and a Yucca staff from their products. Stripping the bark off the Diamond Willow was the hardest part. They also have the hardware you need to complete the job. I think anyone could do it with a little patience. Great service!

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I'm curious why one strips the bark off of it and varnishes it? Mine is one I found in the woods and it is going on 2 years now. The bark has flaked off over about 30% of the stick. (I'm almost certain it is Red Birch, so it is fairly heavy but I like it that way.)

 

I've wrapped red and yellow tape around the top so I can find it when I put it down. The photo is about a year old. The top is all discolored know from bug spray and suntan loition. It is exceptionally smooth from being handled so much.

 

c716c056-9070-4319-96e5-753480d9e3a4.jpg

 

Paul

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The $10 - $15 Wal-Mart Hiking Sticks serve their purpose fine, but I found this one for not much more $$$. http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.aspx?...t=2,40725,45454

 

It is very sturdy and has a ton of little niceties. Of special note are the compass and thermometer on the hand strap. The one feature that this stick has that you will not find on the cheaper ones is the camera mount under the knob that turns this into a very nice monopod for taking stabilized photos.

 

Pretty hard to beat for $18.50 + shipping.

 

:ph34r:

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I'm curious why one strips the bark off of it and varnishes it?Paul

I think in most cases it's aesthetics. Bark on & bark off present two very different looks, each of which will appeal to some folks. I ordered my Diamond Willow with the bark stripped off cuz it looked very rough with it on... I got wimpy hands. :ph34r:

176-7121.jpg

My next staff will most likely be Ocotillo Cactus. I'm thinking of leaving the bark on, except where my hand would go. Maybe strip the bark in 6" increments, every foot or so? It looks like it'd make a neat contrast.

193-7221.jpg

Edited by Clan Riffster
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Do an Ebay search for "Wilderness Walkers". Great service and Hickory Walking sticks, with your name.

Inexpensive. So inexpensive that I bought each one of the Texas Vikings one for Christmas last year.

I always take mine, tie wrapped a holster of pepper spray on it, as we some feral dogs around..

And of course, the gators....

 

I bought one of those. Not only is a great walking stick, but it is also a Travel Bug.

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When I was in Colorado, I found I needed one. (And there were no good branches around) Went to a local sporting goods store and they only hade one collapsible trekking pole, so my wife got that. Wal mart didn't have anything in thier outdoor section, but I got a camera monopod from the electronics dept. That works fine, except that it will tend to collapse if I put alot of weight on it.

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e6b4c9fb-61f4-4387-8086-69fb5020601a.jpg

 

My hiking stick is a Shelaliegh that I made from a Buckthorn. It has a cast Grizzly bear claw lashed to the side as a "hanging handle" and I've carved the geocaching logo into the shaft. Check my website for more info.

Edited by rogheff
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Hmm... came upon a random idea... wondering if anyone else has tried it. I noticed on that 'treeline usa' site that they have various cane accessories... such as a coupler. Basically, sorta like those pool cues that you can unscrew to have them half-size for storage.

 

Has anyone ever tried to incorporate one of these into a wooden hiking stick? Anyone know how strong it would be, if it has a greater chance of breaking there (because you're drilling out the core of the stick to install the coupler), or anything like that. I'd make things a LOT easier to carry it around from place to place and get into the car easily and whatnot. In fact, if it doesn't cause much of a stability issue, I'd most likely keep the one I'm currently making as a backup (or sell it or something, who knows), and make a significantly longer one that can be taken in half.

 

The one I'm currently making is about 50 or so inches long. I'd prefer it to be closer to 60-70, but that would just make it very annoying to either take with me when biking or in the car. However, two 30-35" sticks I could easily make a strap for to carry on my back or something.

 

Hence... would anyone put much faith in these couplers? If I were to get it though, I'd probably get a real hard wood like the hickory mentioned on the site to make the rest of it.

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I agree that Wilderness Walkers (on eBay) sells great sticks. I have one and I love it. It lives in my truck full time and it has saved my butt from a few nasty falls as well as helping me with stability on a few tricky or muddy paths.

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Hmm... came upon a random idea... wondering if anyone else has tried it. I noticed on that 'treeline usa' site that they have various cane accessories... such as a coupler. Basically, sorta like those pool cues that you can unscrew to have them half-size for storage.

 

Has anyone ever tried to incorporate one of these into a wooden hiking stick? Anyone know how strong it would be, if it has a greater chance of breaking there (because you're drilling out the core of the stick to install the coupler), or anything like that. I'd make things a LOT easier to carry it around from place to place and get into the car easily and whatnot. In fact, if it doesn't cause much of a stability issue, I'd most likely keep the one I'm currently making as a backup (or sell it or something, who knows), and make a significantly longer one that can be taken in half.

 

The one I'm currently making is about 50 or so inches long. I'd prefer it to be closer to 60-70, but that would just make it very annoying to either take with me when biking or in the car. However, two 30-35" sticks I could easily make a strap for to carry on my back or something.

 

Hence... would anyone put much faith in these couplers? If I were to get it though, I'd probably get a real hard wood like the hickory mentioned on the site to make the rest of it.

 

these look like they would do the trick but im not 100% sure i would think that if you could manage to insert them firmly and securely you should have no problem, i mean they say that they were designed for this reason. as for the other question i ues a fiberglass pole that came from a gardening tool. it is extremly stable for its light weight of a few ounces its around an inch in diameter and easy to hold on to. these would easily link together with the proper sized dowell to put in the ends of it.

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Hmm... came upon a random idea... wondering if anyone else has tried it. I noticed on that 'treeline usa' site that they have various cane accessories... such as a coupler. Basically, sorta like those pool cues that you can unscrew to have them half-size for storage.

 

Has anyone ever tried to incorporate one of these into a wooden hiking stick? Anyone know how strong it would be, if it has a greater chance of breaking there (because you're drilling out the core of the stick to install the coupler), or anything like that. I'd make things a LOT easier to carry it around from place to place and get into the car easily and whatnot. In fact, if it doesn't cause much of a stability issue, I'd most likely keep the one I'm currently making as a backup (or sell it or something, who knows), and make a significantly longer one that can be taken in half.

 

The one I'm currently making is about 50 or so inches long. I'd prefer it to be closer to 60-70, but that would just make it very annoying to either take with me when biking or in the car. However, two 30-35" sticks I could easily make a strap for to carry on my back or something.

 

Hence... would anyone put much faith in these couplers? If I were to get it though, I'd probably get a real hard wood like the hickory mentioned on the site to make the rest of it.

 

I've had several request for breakdown hiking staffs and haven't tried it yet. I just ordered the couplings and will let you know in a week or so how it works out.

 

El Diablo

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I've used Leki trekking titanium poles for a couple of years now and really would not want to hike most places without them. Saves wear and tear and reduces the weight put on hips, knees, and ankles. I can hike longer and feel better using the them. I should have bought a pair 15 years ago. :anitongue:

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Do an Ebay search for "Wilderness Walkers". Great service and Hickory Walking sticks, with your name.

Inexpensive. So inexpensive that I bought each one of the Texas Vikings one for Christmas last year.

I always take mine, tie wrapped a holster of pepper spray on it, as we some feral dogs around..

And of course, the gators....

 

I bought one of those. Not only is a great walking stick, but it is also a Travel Bug.

 

:anitongue: I really like the walking stick TB Idea. I am inspired!!! :rolleyes:

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Hence... would anyone put much faith in these couplers? If I were to get it though, I'd probably get a real hard wood like the hickory mentioned on the site to make the rest of it.

 

I was looking at those and I doubt very seriously it would be sturdy enough for needs.

 

It looks like the threads are about 3/4" to maybe a full inch in length. I doubt that is enough to keep it from buckling.

 

However, when looking at the convertible tips and the couplers, I'm thinking if it's only the last couple of inches it should be sturdy enough. I'm not looking to break it down, but rather to make a replaceable tip.

 

See, I don't like rubber tips or anything similar that slips onto the end of the stick. What happens is when I'm pulling the stick through brush anything with a lip gets caught and tries to pull the stick out of my hand. No tip works very well in this regard plus is penetrates debris when probing for the cache. The downside is the tip wears.

 

In fact, during wear the tip mushrooms and I have to trim it or I get the same effect as the slip-on rubber tip.

 

A coupler, re-enforced with a metal sleeve, could let me experiment with different materials.

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Yeah, that's kinda what I was worried about... that it wouldn't go deep enough into the wood to be able to put much strain on it. I was contemplating how it would be possible to somehow extend the part that goes into the wood, but I couldn't come up with anything viable (only thing I could think of is to get another inch or so of threaded rod welded onto the end of what's currently there... but I don't have a welder, and don't really think it'd work all that well anyway).

I also contemplated some kind of metal sleeve over the wood by the coupler, but to get "good" strength out of it, the metal sleeve would have to be like... 2 or so inches over either side, thus covering up about 4 or more inches of the walking stick in general. I was hoping to avoid that, so I'll see what else I can come up with.

 

Hmm... perhaps I'll check out various pool-cue or cane-related stores around here and see if they can toss a suggestion in. Any other suggestions from this topic are still appreciated :anitongue:

Edited by Kabuthunk
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I don't like rubber tips or anything similar that slips onto the end of the stick. What happens is when I'm pulling the stick through brush anything with a lip gets caught and tries to pull the stick out of my hand.

I'm glad I'm not the only one with this problem. I swear I can find every ground vine in a 5 mile radius of the cache I'm hunting. Something I'm contemplating is one of their metal tips, like the one pictured. The lip would be so thin as to almost not be there, especially if I inlay it. Maybe?

213-7001.jpg

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I use a pair of Leki Aluminium collapsible trekking poles, they make your walking more effective as you are using your arms to propel yourself as well as your legs, provide balance over tricky ground and most importantly take alot of pressure off of your knees when walking downhill, did you know you knees are under 4 times as much pressure when walking downhill?

 

Using two poles means you have more points of contact with the ground when you need stability, also if you use just one your hips have a tendency to "rotate" aound the side that's holding one pole, using two keeps your walking gait straighter.

 

They're also useful for poking things you don't want to touch, holding brambles out the way when reaching for caches, and you can even get ones with camera screws on the top to use as camera stands.

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...perhaps I'll check out various pool-cue ... stores around here and see if they can toss a suggestion in.

 

Upon Googling "cue joints" I see some joints are much more substantial than what is pictured on that site. I've not seen any prices, but it looks like you're probably gonna pay a bit more--there's more metal, stainless steel, etc. bound to be more expensive.

 

...or you could experiment with some all-thread and coupler nuts.

 

I suppose the next biggest issue is to get the grain and center to line up at the joint.

 

I saw a tip/trick on getting something like that inserted into a hole. You'll have air and glue trapped in the hole and if the insert is tight in the hole the air and glue with not have a way to escape. So, instead of creating a larger hole they drill a tiny hole out the side. Afterwards, you can fill it with a small dowel or just leave the glue in it to seal it. Of course, we're talking about pool cues. Walking sticks and staffs don't necessarily need that kind of finish.

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I've used pool cue fasteners on several sticks. They're a bit beefier than the one shown above. I get them from a pool cue manufactorer near our Summer Camp. They are a bit small, but by glueing the wood to the coupler and then drilling and attaching a long screw they seem very secure.

 

I've also used the brass couplers used for collapsable flagpoles. They're a much larger scale. I believe the shaft size is nearing 2" diameter.

 

Either work well.

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I like hiking staffs rather than sticks. The little thin poles, even when they are good and strong, don't feel strong.

 

With a 2" thick, 6' long staff you can feel the heft. Going uphill you grasp it lower, going up you grip it higher along the staff.

 

Then there is the added bonus that if you run into a bear that doesn't take the hint when you stop and leave it alone you have a weapon to fend it off.

 

AR_kayaker

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The hiking stick I've got is a bit thinner than that. Around an inch and a half, in and around there.

 

On the plus side... it's done! 6 coats of varnish (let's see thorns scratch all the way through THAT. Having just said that, they probably will anyway :D), leather lanyard (although the leather strip is a tad thin... but that's easily replacable. That's all they had at the craft store near where I live), a rubber cane-bottom thing on the base to stop it from trying to break apart from whacking hard ground or rocks and whatnot (again, easily replaceable if I switch to the metal staff-tip someone posted above), and my signature chainmail ball kinda hiding the knot in the lanyard.:

 

hikingstick.jpg

 

The flash kinda made it look almost white inside those bug-eaten lines or whatever they are, but it's actually quite clear. Either that's dutch-elm bugs at work or something. Don't think termites dig trenches like that, but if they do... AND they survived god knows how much varnish... when a good coupler is found, I'll only be backup anyway :D

 

Anyone know what kind of wood this thing is anyway? I just found it on the ground while geocaching. Tons of types of trees there, so I'm clueless as to what it is.

Edited by Kabuthunk
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I have a 28 inch long piece of 1/2 inch diameter pipe that I call Clothahump's +5 Wand of Poking. Once I put on my backpack, it fits very easily between the pack and my back, and rides up over my right shoulder where it's easy to pull out.

 

I also have a 6 foot long staff that I dipped out of the inventory in my Taekwondo school, and it's Clothahump's +10 Staff of Poking. I'll bring it when I know I'm going out in the boonies after a cache, especially if hills are involved.

 

Both of them do double duty. I'm a 5th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and I teach both the long staff and the short stick weapons, so I'm reasonably well protected against anyone without a firearm and/or most critters.

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I also have a 6 foot long staff that I dipped out of the inventory in my Taekwondo school, and it's Clothahump's +10 Staff of Poking. I'll bring it when I know I'm going out in the boonies after a cache, especially if hills are involved.

So with this 6-foot staff (which would be approximately how tall I'd want mine to be), can it be separated in the middle somehow, or how do you carry it (well... if you carry it somehow other than just holding it at some point or another)? Do you have some method of strapping it to your back, or... yeah, what's your method of transportation if not just holding it?

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I had one a few years back, that I had made from some branch. I had skinned it, & left it to dry for about 6 months. Then, for "varnish", I used Kiwi boot polish, color black. This took literally hours to do, as I had to constantly rub it in, buff it, repeat. Several times. I used a whole can of kiwi for this. It took a good 2-3 weeks just to do the polish. When finished though, it was gorgeous. Unfortunately, it got lost in several moves.

The idea wasnt mine, as someone I know said that he had made one while in Viet Nam. His was smaller, and notched for every week he had left there. The pictures of his were beautiful (his was MUCH more decorative than mine). That kinda inspired me to do my old stick.

Now, I used hiking poles. Apparently, as I get older, I get less interesting :anibad:

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I made mine out of beech. It has a branch coming off so I can hang my camea or GPSr from when it it is leaning on a tree while at the cache area. That way they don't get stepped on from being on the ground. The top has a brass screw. The screw has a compass on it most of the time. That compass comes off and my camera can fit on for pictures. It makes a good "tri-pod" when jammed into the ground. On the bottom is a cane rubber tip.

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I received two collapsible aluminum walking sticks a few years back and I love them! I generally use them on long-distance backpacking trips but have occasionally used them on particularly brutal day hikes.

 

With the added weight of the backpack the sticks add stabilization and displace the weight from my tired old knees. I've also noticed that keeping my arms at right angles alleviates finger swelling.

 

Mine are nothing special, just run-of-the-mill REI poles but I love 'em!

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I use an aluminum pole; I've got several. For rough terrain there's the option to carry two of them. During deer season I've got one with a V-notch on top that makes a nice rest for a pistol. Any time, a hiking stick/pole is a great way to probe inside cavities or through vegetation that might conceal a cache, as most cache containers make a distinctively unnatural sound when thumped with a hiking pole.

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