Do you use a staff or walking stick in the woods?

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by TheDoctorWho, Sep 5, 2013.

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What do you carry(in your hands) bushcrafting?

Poll closed Sep 15, 2013.
  1. Walking stick or staff

    133 vote(s)
    73.9%
  2. Machete or axe

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Firearm

    8 vote(s)
    4.4%
  4. Something else

    5 vote(s)
    2.8%
  5. I like to keep my hands free!

    34 vote(s)
    18.9%
  1. TheDoctorWho

    TheDoctorWho Scout

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    I like to carry my walking staff. I keep my sidearm and knife in quick reach just in case. However most of the time I like to have that third point of contact. Also I have modded my walking staff to accept an old bayonet so I can use it for poking things if need be. It is also, as I found out last year, good for getting high apples out of trees! Bonus!
     
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  2. Creaky Bones

    Creaky Bones Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I love walking with a stick. I've made and given away about 4 dozen. My favorite is my osage orange one, followed closely by the black locust one in this pic. I'm not sure why anyone would hike around in the woods without one. falls with stick.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  3. Bax 40

    Bax 40 Supporter Supporter

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    A stick here in the rocky Ozarks is really a savior from falls and near falls as you are always on a hillside, almost always have one.
    I like to use a long enough one to catch the spyder webs instead of getting them in the face.


    Larry
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
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  4. Aggieoutdoorsman

    Aggieoutdoorsman Scout

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  5. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    If I am not hunting I normally have my walking stick; and if I am fishing I would have my folding wading staff.
     
  6. BigFootSurvival

    BigFootSurvival Guide

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    I use a pair of Black Diamond trekking poles.
     
  7. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I voted that I like to keep my hands free, but it really depends on what I am doing and where I am. If I get into steeper terrain I will find a staff, hunting I carry a gun, fairly well worn path I usually don't have anything. joe
     
  8. perdidochas

    perdidochas Guide

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    While not as ritzy as Bigfoot, I use Outdoor Products (wal-mart) trekking poles. They fold up to fit into the car or the pack, and they work to help keep me from falling.
     
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  9. outdoorsintx

    outdoorsintx Scout Bushclass I

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    If I remember to bring them I use a pair of trekking poles I purchased at Walmart. However, my wife will attest to the fact that I often forget them and resort to picking up and carving out a staff in the bush. The problem is I sit and carve on them and then I develop an attachment to it and it ends up in the corner at home. My wife now says I can't bring another one home without getting rid of one. There are six in the corner now and six family members so that is plenty. That just means I have to find scouts in my troop to give the orphans to.
     
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  10. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Bushmaster

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    if i wan to stay upright, i use a stick ... :)
     
  11. Ralph

    Ralph Scout

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    Staff in the hand as some one else said three points of contact, that is the rule in climbing; it would seem to be good rule for hiking and walking on uneven surfaces. Knife, firearm, even Machete or axe on the belt or side of pack.
     
  12. Grits

    Grits Guide

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    I like a good stout staff, about 5'6" tall or thereabouts.
    Helps me push bushes, spiderwebs, and critters like snakes out of the way.
    Stabilizes me when the walking is rough, or when crossing a stream.
    Helps me measure distances for hammock camping.
    Just feels right to have a staff in my hand. Other things are in my pack, at hand if i need them.
     
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  13. freebirdfb

    freebirdfb Guide

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    I drive my wife nuts by collecting potential branches for walking sticks. Somtimes its nice to have a third leg while traveling through the woods such as steep banks, crossing logs, and whatnot. The one that I use most often is elm and is about armpit height.
     
  14. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Kinda depends on the purpose of the trip...

    If it's just walking, then a hiking staff (which is how I voted). Good for spider webs too (as mentioned). Even though my local terrain is really flat, there's a lot of downed timber I have to step over, and the staff helps keep me from hurting myself.

    If I'm looking for a deer I've shot, or bushwhacking, then a machete.

    If I'm hunting, then a rifle.
     
  15. mboyce

    mboyce Scout

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    While i like using a walking stick, usually about elbow to shoulder height, I am beginning to have problems with them. My hand starts to go numb. I have started trying a walking cane height stick and have had better results.
     
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  16. RawToxic

    RawToxic Tracker

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    Walking/Hiking staffs are near invaluable when traveling in the woods. When backpacking, I prefer to use trekking poles for stability but when not backpacking I almost always have a hiking staff with me. They serve many purposes. They can be used to judge the depth of a river you may have to wade across, held up over your head to make you look taller to aggressive black bears (don't dare try this with a grizzly!!), used to move a snake, reach out to someone you are trying to rescue, combined with someone else's walking stick to make a quick stretcher, etc. I take one with me so often, I feel almost naked if I don't bring it with me. I usually don't take it when hunting though, although I still look for it when I go to hike back out.
     
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  17. SEB1981

    SEB1981 Scout

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    I am a big fan of walking sticks. I made one out of a sturdy push broom stick. Put a hook on the end for picking things ( like apples) high up. And other uses. Hash marks for measurements, a nice bit of fishing line and a paracord wrapped handle. The bottom tapers down perfectly to accept a Gigging, or fishing spear which I carry when backpacking. I also carry a gun and typically a knife. But I like to walk hilly terrain so the stick adds some stability. ImageUploadedByTapatalk1378429252.056054.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1378429268.202407.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1378429289.769192.jpg

    The shorter one belongs to my daughter. She wanted one like daddy's.
     
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  18. Bush Otter

    Bush Otter Guide

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    Staff primarily for balance and support but also just nice for poking around.
     
  19. Dustin_J

    Dustin_J Tracker

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    Yep, I like one unless I'm hunting. We have a lot of hills, rocks, wet ground, etc., and it's awfully easy to take a spill so it's good to have a third point of contact.
     
  20. coldwaterboys

    coldwaterboys Banned Member Banned

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    I've been working on a few nice cedar ones for the wife and I. Walking sticks are kind of an obsession for me in the woods.
     
  21. x39

    x39 Bushmaster

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    I think my avatar pic answers that question.... :)
     
  22. FavioR

    FavioR Tracker

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    Cane height has been working best for me lately.
     
  23. bocephus223

    bocephus223 Guide

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    I use a walking stick around 5' tall. It is myrtle wood(?) and was a gift from a good friend. I wrapped the hand area with some paracord and made a small pouch for it. Not sure I like having the pouch swing to and fro while walking though.
     
  24. dryheat

    dryheat Tracker

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    I love walking sticks. I tell myself it might help me beat away attacking mountain lions. And also make me feel gandalf-like.
     
  25. slysir

    slysir Guide

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    I hike in sub-tropical jungle. The staff is essential for clearing the trail of webs and low hanging vines. It's saved me from bad falls when vines wrap around my ankles. I always use it to tap on the far side of an object I have to step over...we have some pretty big Eastern Diamondbacks here!! Not to mention pythons!!

    John
     

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  26. snapper

    snapper Guide

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    At this point in my life I use Leki hiking poles when doing any walking with a pack. I'm still able to amble about without the poles when in my campsite, etc. but if weight is on my back, my hiking poles are in my hands while moving. Mostly this is the result of having had bad knees for over 40 years now; think high school football & lacrosse. I do believe it's a small price to pay for being out in the woods in all kinds of weather so I'll take it.

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.

    snapper
     
  27. wooly bugger

    wooly bugger I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.

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    Rifle or staff, depending on the season.
     
  28. Bacpacker

    Bacpacker Tracker

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    Normally a staff. I like mine 6 to 6 1/2' long. I'm 6-4 and when crossing deep water I like to be able to find the bottom before I step in.
     
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  29. Ironwood

    Ironwood Guide

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    Cool thread and neat sticks everyone.

    I almost voted something else or other. I use what is similar to a tending stick. Herders all over the world use them. Europe and Africa come to mind. Covering many miles a day the herders seem to have chosen a lighter more flexible stick to walk with, using it to make course corrections or steering the sheep or goats. Also it is tough enough if held reverse mid point to beat off attackers or evil doers. Like a polyeurathane or ethelyene police batton. Flexible and resilient. Hurts like a bugger too.

    I use it to tap the dogs on the hind quarter to break their attention. Not in a striking or mean spirited way but rather lean it against them and push, to break their prey scent drive. It helps me keep them ahead of me.

    I have found a real heavy stick is not always necessary. We generally oversize the stick to what we need. A stick that flexes a bit under its load will return energy back to the user, like a canoe paddle flexes through some of the power stroke easing paddle fatigue and adding more power to the stroke. I usually hold my stick with two fingers and my thumb. Instead of the whole hand wrapping around the stick. It swings very weightlessly and still provides plenty of support. After some use I have found the sweet spot and balance point and it teeters back and forth effortlessly with each step.

    She ain't much to look at but it's one of the best sticks I have ever used. If it makes it through a couple seasons I'm happy. When I find a perfect sample I will give it the VIP treatment and put a copper collar around it and a lanyard.
    B1F4AF5C-43A5-4382-9B61-F3F4F7F3EB66-1678-000002E390DFC116_zpsc6b9fe84[1].jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
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  30. Skotelawe

    Skotelawe Guide

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    I agree, but one requirement I have when I'm off the beaten path is that a walking stick be able to support my entire weight safely. It doesn't happen often, but there have been times when my stick/poles have had to just that. Having a stick break in those situations would have been catastrophic...even if I didn't end up impaled upon it.

    That being said I do think your approach would be fantastic for rambling across more even terrain.
     
  31. Ironwood

    Ironwood Guide

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    Your point is good. My needs are different and I take a more liberal approach in that I hope the stick will, more times than not, prevent me from being in a dyer situation than saving me from one.
    Also the further the stick is out in relation to your body when leaning on it, the less weight it takes to keep you upright. Good to know in times of need.
     
  32. VtBlackDog

    VtBlackDog Supporter Supporter

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    We are a more progressive bunch than I thought; I voted "empty hands" and was surprised to see the majority carry a staff.....guess I'll have to try one.
     
  33. Skotelawe

    Skotelawe Guide

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    That is one thing I love about the outdoors, there is rarely just one right way to do things.

    Progressive? Bah, walking sticks are the very definition of old school.

    [​IMG]

    Luckily it's a cheap thing to add to your kit. A Crawford Survival Staff is only $300 (internet special)!

    [​IMG]

    Comes with a built in dagger & blowgun! :16:

    On a more serious note.....

    If you are looking for something to try right away without the time involved in preparing the perfect piece of found wood, your local hardware store should have a stock of 60" long hardwood dowels, 3/4 to 1" diamater. You'll be able to pick them up for a couple of dollars.

    Stain/seal to suit, use a prusik knot to attach a lanyard & pop a rubber walking cane ferrule on the bottom & you're all set.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
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  34. Creaky Bones

    Creaky Bones Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I've found that you can use a thinner stick and still not worry about it snapping if you choose the right wood. I love cedar walking sticks because they're light, but i'd need one about twice as thick as an osage orange or black locust stick to be confident in its strength. You rarely need to worry about breaking a stick until you're in that extreme situation where you really need it the most, like losing your footing on a steep hill or crossing fast moving water. Hickory, ash, ironwood, yes. Pine, cedar, no if I think I really might need to depend on it.
     
  35. Brazito

    Brazito Guide

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    I have one made from bamboo with camo 550 handle wrap but don't use it. I like the hands free approach to hiking.
     
  36. Chinook

    Chinook Scout

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    I don't use a staff while walking. But, I'm getting to the age where I'm thinkin' about it.

    I always use a staff when fishing (wading).
     
  37. TMcarthur

    TMcarthur Scout

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    Going up and down steep terrain or crossing a river I will improvise walking stick(s) with whatever is available. More or less level ground and a stick just gets in my way. Can't see spending money on a stick I can carve out in a minute and then leave by the trailside for the next person.
     
  38. BookWyrm

    BookWyrm Tracker

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    Any black diamond pole with a sharp carbide tip. There is nothing for it on the rocks of the high sierra. If im not on rock, I keep my hands free.
     
  39. brickwallnomad

    brickwallnomad Scout

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    i have a few walking sticks i've created myself out of various regional woods. i use them sometimes, especially if im going to be prowling around in the presence of hills, moutains. they're mainly just for show for me though, woodworking is kind of a hobby of mine. but i'm only 21 so i'm still young. i'll probably use these more in the future, haha.
     
  40. BookWyrm

    BookWyrm Tracker

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    BUT.... The carbide tip! :p
     
  41. schechr

    schechr Wizard

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  42. Loogaroo

    Loogaroo Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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  43. Brer Rabbit

    Brer Rabbit Scout Bushclass I

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    I made this several years ago out of a busted rake the handle was a good heavy yellow fiberglass so I cut it down to about cane high and gorilla glued a rubber slip on foot from an old barstool after cutting off the top 2" of the grip I slid it down before cutting off the excess handle and put the top back on it fits nice and tight and can hold a lot of emergency gear. It can be a little heavy but it also swings like a Louisville slugger. View attachment 123152 ATTACH]123153[/ATTACH] View attachment 123154
     
  44. MtnNomad

    MtnNomad Guide Bushclass I

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    Wax wood good stuff
     
  45. robsdak

    robsdak Scout

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    can't really say i made it. the one i use was bought from Lowe's. it a straight hickory rake or hoe handle. i added a paracord wrap where my hand rests and the rubber tip/foot from a crutch. i wanted it to be a little stouter and more durable than a traditional walking stick. i have critters to fend off or the stray weirdo.
     
  46. pickin_grinnin

    pickin_grinnin Scout

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    I use a stockman's cane I picked up at a farm supply store. The crook at the top comes in useful in some situations, and makes it easy to hang it from a limb of a tree.
     
  47. petey091

    petey091 Scout

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    I also have a stockmans cane I use when I have to go through a security check points where carrying other weapons is a no go. My regular walking staff is just an unfinished stave I picked up at the scout store.
     
  48. Kodiak333

    Kodiak333 Scout

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    Walking stick

    Mods if this is already been done I apologize, feel free to merge....What's everyone's take on walking sticks? I've never really used one, other than messing around when I was younger more or less. Do you use one (or two)? What are the benefits of them, what are the down sides if any? Over the years of sports and just a lot of wear and tear my knees get sore pretty quick, will a walking stick help with this? I've also had back surgery too (fusion of two vertebrae) will a walking stick help at all with that too? Also if you use them do you use a stick/pole you got, or a stick you found I. The woods? Sorry about all the questions, just curious about these.
     
  49. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Keeper of the T.Darrah Tenkara Pass-Around Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Hardwoodsman Bushclass II

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    I always being what I call a hiking staff. Mine is a maple sapling that goes to my shoulder height. I put the threaded part of a bolt in the top and then screwed on a small ball head so I can use it as a tripod. It also has a lanyard at an appropriate location. I take it on any walk no matter how mild.

    My son called me on this one time, saying it wasn't needed, while we were on a scout hike at the Delaware and Raritan canal towpath, which is a maintained trail much like many of the rail trials. The path follows the canal and is an old mule barge path. There is a flood plain that separates the canal from the Millstone river and varied in width but it is a fun place to explore.

    My so and a few other kids scrambled down the bank to explore around the flood plain a bit and when they tried to come back up found it too muddy and slick. My son looked at me as if asking, "what do we do now?" I paused and then reached down with my staff towards him. He smiled and nodded slowly then grabbed the end and I hoisted the boys up the bank. No further questions.

    I was at a muzzleloading rendezvous one year and a fellow was selling long curly maple cut offs from rifle stocks. They seemed endlessly useful for many things and I asked the seller what he uses them for. His first answer was, "mostly for pondering sticks", and he showed me one, a shoulder height staff. I asked what a pondering stick was and he simply rested his hand on the top of the staff then his chin on top of his hand a stood there and pondered for a moment. I didn't buy one but I stole the idea and the length.
     
  50. Whispering Pine

    Whispering Pine Tracker

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    I always have one when i'm out in the woods,they help me balance myself and navigate steep terrain much better I do find they reduce fatigue as well.I usually just use one I have found laying out in the woods.
     

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