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Hiking Sticks; Do You Use One?


tirediron
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I know there have been a few threads on this topic before anyone reminds me! :laughing: Anyway, what I am curious about is: How many peopel use hiking sticks and what/when? That is, do you always have it with you, only for rural 'caches, or ???? Do you use it strictly as a prop for walking more for poking in holes, swatting spiderwebs, or??? And finally, what do you have have? Wood, metal, or ??? What is your preference? Why?

 

I have a 3-section collapsible metal with impact springs built in. It's great for walking as it's nice and light, and it's also ideal for poking into holes, clearing 'things' away from the path et cetera. A few 'caches ago, I was traversing some typical west-coast terrain (Heavy sallal undergrowth, dense canopy, lots of fallen trees et cetera). Coming down off a long, I hit a really soft bit of another log and started to go over. My hiking stick saved me from going over, and likely ****ing my ankle in a big way.

 

Unfortunately, in the process, the bottom 6 or so inches got slightly bent and it doesn't collapse any more. No biggie, but it got me thinking, that wouldn't have happened with s solid wood stick (Like others I'm sure, I was too slow calling El Diablo for one of his awesome hiking sticks... :yikes: ) but is the added weight and the fact that you can't collapse it worthwhile? Thoughts?

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I'm one of the lucky ones to win a unique El Diablo staff. I've been using it mainly when searching rural caches where I have known in advance that there'll be some kind of a hike ahead. I have no experience whatsoever of these hi-tech metal sticks, but I've noticed that I actually move faster (if I want to) on a forest trail when wielding a wooden staff.

 

Last summer I spent wonderful 2 and a half weeks driving through several Central European Alpine countries and looking for caches that sometimes demanded hours of hiking on steep mountain trails. Man, did I wish I had my staff with me, but since we flew cheap airline, which would have charged too much extra for a 'special sized item', I had to leave it home. :yikes:

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Last summer I spent wonderful 2 and a half weeks driving through several Central European Alpine countries and looking for caches that sometimes demanded hours of hiking on steep mountain trails. Man, did I wish I had my staff with me, but since we flew cheap airline, which would have charged too much extra for a 'special sized item', I had to leave it home. :yikes:

Sounds like me. I have a burled dogwood staff that I LOVE, but it doesn't travel well. I've taken to leaving a pair of "guide gear" poles from The Sportsman's Guide in the car. Cheap, and they do help my poor knees on the uphill/downhill!

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Is there any special treatment for the wood used in walking sticks (curing etc..)? What wood works the best? Is there a website that someon has bookmarked that might give some useful info?

 

The reason I'm asking...My Grandpa is gettin' on up there. He had a quaddruple bi-pass earlier this year, he barely made it...then a cople of weeks ago he had his knee replaced. He's a tough old fart but he is starting to fall a lot and is using a cane right now. He wants a walking stick, he says they are better for balancing than canes are. I wanted to make him one for Christmas but I want to do it right. Anyone have any suggestions?

 

Thanks :yikes:

Kobi/Spiritnip

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I do not own a 'hiking stick' but have always wanted one. It's just one of those conveniences that I keep forgetting to acquire. I would go with the wooden sticks so I could add the hiking stick medallions that you see in scouting stores and many of the cool outdoor places that have gift shops.

I use one of these and it is great. Every time I obtain a new scouting reank, or visit a new place, I always add a sheild to my stick. The stick is also very usefull for poking around at possible cache locations.

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I have a 3-section collapsible metal with impact springs built in.

 

This is really interesting to me. I could have really used it in some recent descents, especially on smooth pebbly covered slope.

So do the collapsable ones support any serious weight?

Are these sticks in general helpful to you in going uphill too?

Any good makes or ones to avoid?

 

I've been told they're great for scaring off snakes but I'm mostly concerned about saving my knees (and a**) a bit more than I have been.

 

-t-

Edited by twilliams
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i have bad knees. i have to use pole for any hike over a quarter mile or i pay for it. likewise any hike that involves a downhill for more than a few steps.

 

i use a pair of very nice collapsible poles wth shocks. collapsible is important because it allows you to adjust the height or the poles in order to get best support for the terrain.

 

they're handy for poking into things and for tapping fro "box-sound".

 

if i have to use a stick or any other thing i miss the balanced swing of a good pair of poles. i use 'em for skiing, snowshoeing and in my later years, walking.

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I have two sticks: Mister Stick, and my Second Best Stick. Both of them are sticks that I picked up while walking in the woods and then realized they were pretty good sticks in height and weight and general coolness.

 

The downside of "found" sticks like this is that they weren't dried properly (that is, very slowly, with the cut ends sealed so they don't lose moisture too fast), so they always have splits and cracks. But the splits are more about aesthetics than strength. I seal the cracks with a spackling compound, stain the stick and give it a few coats of gloss urethane. The fact that they aren't precious means you don't mind giving them rough duty, as necessary.

 

I only use a stick for the woods, but I use it for everything. Maintaining my balance while I climb rocks or tread the edges of a pool of water. Knocking water off branches before I come through. Waving away spiderwebs. Waving away branches. Poking under rocks at the cache site.

 

I stuck my head under a rock at a cache site once, and something went "G-R-R-R-R!!" at me. And I didn't even have a stick! I realized then that even a stick makes you feel better when something goes "G-R-R-R-R!!" at you. Whenever I've neglected to bring a stick into the woods, I've been sorry.

 

Don't tell Mister Stick, but I think my Second Best Stick is really the better stick.

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I have a 3-section collapsible metal with impact springs built in.

 

This is really interesting to me. I could have really used it in some recent descents, especially on smooth pebbly covered slope.

So do the collapsable ones support any serious weight?

Are these sticks in general helpful to you in going uphill too?

Any good makes or ones to avoid?

 

I've been told they're great for scaring off snakes but I'm mostly concerned about saving my knees (and a**) a bit more than I have been.

 

-t-

The only downside to the collapsible poles that I have seen so far is that they bend easily. The problem with mine occurred when the bottom few inches were trapped in a hole, and I leaned against the very top... I have put my whole weight (190#) on it pushing more or less straight down without any problems.

 

I really like the springs, as they take a lot of the impact out when walking on hard surfaces...

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I use a cherry wood stick I bought several years ago, and hate caching without it (except for those Walmart micros, of course)! I also attached a small hook onto the leather thong at the top, and have a magnet on a carabiner that I can clip on. Both are great for finding and retrieving metal containers from places I'd rather not stick my hands!

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Is there any special treatment for the wood used in walking sticks (curing etc..)? What wood works the best? Is there a website that someon has bookmarked that might give some useful info?

 

The reason I'm asking...My Grandpa is gettin' on up there. He had a quaddruple bi-pass earlier this year, he barely made it...then a cople of weeks ago he had his knee replaced. He's a tough old fart but he is starting to fall a lot and is using a cane right now. He wants a walking stick, he says they are better for balancing than canes are. I wanted to make him one for Christmas but I want to do it right. Anyone have any suggestions?

 

Thanks :laughing:

Kobi/Spiritnip

If you do a search in the forums you'll find a thread in there that I started about making your own staff. If you need more help just give me a yell. I've talked a dozen people through the process.

 

I'll try to redo those instructions in an up comming issue of Today's Cacher soon.

 

El Diablo

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The only downside to the collapsible poles that I have seen so far is that they bend easily.

 

I've yet to bend one, but I lose them. Not sure where they go, but over the past few years I've purchased 8 matching sets of poles and have one left and a pair of unmatching poles, plus one in the trunk for company. I started using them for snowshoeing and hiking in the snow, but have become very dependent upon them. They are great for crossing streams, moving spider webs out of the way and for keeping your footing when walking downhill, especially now with all the wet, slippery leaves on the ground. They also come in handy for poking around dark spots for caches.

 

I prefer the collapsible trekkng poles because I can use them for hiking, skiing and snow shoeing and also fold 'em um and put them in my pack when they are in the way. They also fit nicely in my suitcase when I'm travelling.

Edited by briansnat
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I prefer the collapsible trekkng poles because I can use the for hiking, skiing and snow shoeing and also fold 'em um and put them in my pack when they are in the way. They also fit nicely in my suitcase when I'm travelling.

Amen brother. I've got a Leki/LL Bean that fits into my carry-on bag. If I think I can squeeze in a little caching on a business trip, the stick goes with me.

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I have a nice wood walking stick that my wife won at a cache event. It was made by Spameisters and I love it. I'm 52 and not as agile as I used to be. When I do rural caches involving a lot of up and down walking it comes in very handy. No old codger should be without one.

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We use old ski poles. They are fairly light weight and I can get them for nothing as they seem to be thrown out at the local transfer station on a regular basis. Guess skiers buy new ones often.

They work great for poking in places you may not want to place your hand. Also the sharp point is great for picking up trash on the trails.

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I had one of the collapsible poles, and it broke when I used it to push some briars aside. I didn't buy another. I have 2 poles, that I use interchangeably. One is a one-piece aluminum staff that I bought at Academy, a local sporting goods store. The other is a thick mop handle that I found lying on the ground on a caching trip. I cut it to length, bought a rubber cane tip for the end, sprayed it with several coats of lacquer, installed the strap from the broken collapsible pole, and it's very sturdy, but heavier than the aluminum staff. I now carry one of them all the time, since I had to use one to convince a large rattlesnake to go around me to get to his den, which was under the cache I was hunting. I didn't sign that log, but it did convince me to take a staff with me every time. That cache was less than 50 feet from the parking spot, and I almost didn't bother, but I took it thinking I might need to move some briars and thorns aside. It works for that, too.

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I always, always carry a walking stick. (I got an LL Bean/Leki 3 section last Christmas). Going up a steep muddy hill is like having a tree to hang on to and down hill is like finding your footing before stepping down.

On a flat surface they say it reduces foot impact (by 24%?) and I have to agree.

 

Now some people might find them a bit cumbersome to carry (and it is if I have too many things in my hands), but if I break this one I'll immediately buy another.

 

So yes, I recommend getting one.

 

Oh yeah, they are great for pushing aside sticker bushes and poking under logs.

 

120dbf39-e3f1-4ae9-b0ad-49a73dfef7af.jpg

Edited by BlueDeuce
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I've used a variety of staves over the years, from good sticks found in the woods, to good sticks left at trailheads by other considerate hikers, to a great hand-made wooden one (which unfortunately broke but saved a broken leg) and now, I use a collapsible Leki pole which also doubles as one of my cross-country ski poles in the winter. Great for all reasons -- clearing spiderwebs and poking in holes, crossing streams, resting on for the uphills and assisting on the downhills... a tripod is always more stable than a bipod...

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I recieved a three piece Komperdell pole last year for Xmas from the family.

 

It has supported my 240 + pound frame several times, and saved me from taking a mud bath more times than I can count.

 

Lifetime warranty covers bending too, as far as I am told anyway. If I ever manage to bend mine, I guess I'll find out... So far so good.

 

Helps my bad knees both up and down. I don't use it for urban caching.. but if I am going far enough for a water bladder, pole comes with me.

 

Scott

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Ugh. Just told my wife all the great things you've all said about using hiking/trekking sticks and how I would have saved my knees on the last few hikes and well.... I don't think anyone has made fun of me so cruely since jr. highschool. :-(

 

Now I HAVE to get one, don't I? 4pc - Komperdell looks like I could even fit it in my pack!

 

-t-

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I'm going to attempt snowshoeing this winter with some borrowed equipment and if I like it, I'll be buying at least one collapsable pole. Collapsable poles can be tucked away and attached to my omnipresent backpack and it's light and nice to have available when I need it but out of the way when I don't.

 

There have been several times that I wish that i had had one with me. Especially when caching in the fall and there are lots of leaves in the ground. Leaf piles are good to hide caches under. They are also good to hide animal traps under (legal or not), so I would much rather lose a pole than a leg or hand...

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i highly recommend the use of a good metal hiking pole. on at least 4 occassions mine has prevented me from getting a broken ankle and falling down a very steep hill. the one i have was purchased on ebay. it came from japan and is expandible and retractable. it is made of steel. hiking poles are also good probes for testing the density and depth of holes, crevices, and bogs.

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I needed a hiking staff, but being impatient as I am, didn't want to create a wood one by hand and wait for it to cure, etc. I live in TX and on a summer trip to Denver, CO, I went to a local ski shop to see if I could find used poles. I was able to buy a set of aluminum Leki poles with wrist straps (great for preventing losing the pole should I let go) for $24 - off-season clearance price. Boy, I got wierd looks asking for ski poles in the summer!

 

The poles are very light weight and don't have to worry about them collapsing since they are a solid piece. Best of all, I have a set - two identical poles, not bad for $12 each. I kept the cage on them and it has prevented the poles from sinking deep into soft ground. I can strap one to the back of my pack and not even know it's there since they are so light. May sprained and broken body parts have been prevented thanks to these poles. :)

 

Acer0001

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My stick is in my avatar pic and you can purchase your own here:

 

 

Wood Carving Store

 

I use it all the time. It's not exactly light but it is sooooo cool I just don't care. It's got a compass in the top as well!

 

I've been on the trail many times and have heard people comment after they pass me by. I feel a bit like "Grizzly Adams" with this thing. It's great for digging around and searching. It really helped me the summer on a descent of Camels Hump in Vermont.

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I use an El Diablo (paid for, not a prize) made of wood, with a brass tip on one end and a brass compass on the other.

 

It is a stout stick, as I broke my West African stick geocaching.

 

I use it to walk with, climb with, control a descent, check for nasties in holes, probe for caches, and the list goes on....

hmmm, interesting. I hear those Diablo brass tipped ones attract lightning.

 

Good luck with that.

Edited by BlueDeuce
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I use an El Diablo (paid for, not a prize) made of wood, with a brass tip on one end and a brass compass on the other.

 

It is a stout stick, as I broke my West African stick geocaching.

 

I use it to walk with, climb with, control a descent, check for nasties in holes, probe for caches, and the list goes on....

hmmm, interesting. I hear those Diablo brass tipped ones attract lightning.

 

Good luck with that.

Dustyjacket owns the only brass tipped staff I ever made. His brass tip is a lot smaller target than a metal trekking pole! ;)

 

El Diablo

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I'm never without mine. I have made a half dozen or so and they all have a Turks Head knott tied around them. I like to tie that knott because so few people do anymore. I even have a mini Mag Lite that I tied one around. The sticks I use are those I have picked up in the desert of the forrests of Southern California. My digital camera was stolen Monday so I can't post a photo. <_<;)

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...

 

i use a pair of very nice collapsible poles wth shocks. collapsible is important because it allows you to adjust the height or the poles in order to get best support for the terrain.

 

they're handy for poking into things and for tapping fro "box-sound".

 

...

I also have a 3-piece collapsible pole ... with a spring ( or whatever ). Because it's collapsible I was able to easily fit it in my suitcase last weekend when I went to California.

 

I've found it VERY helpful going downhill when there's snow or moisture on the ground. And when going uphill I seem to really be able to hump it up there with the extra grip of a pole. Also, with the pole I use my arms more and it seems to make it easier on my back.

Edited by nicolo
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I use a pair of Leki trekking poles for backpacking but they just didn't seem right for geocaching so I made a single hiking stick for caching.

 

I bought a 4 ft. hardwood dowel at Home Depot for $1.86. Next I got a pair of bicycle handlebar grips for $3 (on sale) at the local bike shop. A rubber cane tip for $1.50 and a scrap piece of nylon webbing rounded out the hardware.

 

I put three coats of spar varnish on the dowel. Next, I cut a slot near the top of the handlebar grip for the nylon webbing. A sheet metal screw in the end of the dowel keeps the webbing in place. The hanglebar grip and rubber cane tip are both very snug and don't move at all.

 

The stick has proven itself to be an extremely useful piece of gear and I'd never leave home without it.

 

Stick.jpg

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