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

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

?

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. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    For those of you who use a pair of trekking poles, favorites? What features do you like best and/or would be a priority if looking to buy new ones?
     
  2. charlesmc2

    charlesmc2 Scout

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    I generally carry one or even two of my carbon fiber poles. They really make me feel more secure on slopes and they feel weightless in hand. Swixx. Before I bought them, I'd carry a cedar sapling that I cut that was already dry. Some heartwood and pretty strong. I'm 66 now but I began backpacking at 34 and always carried aforementioned cedar staff. Lots of uses. Snakes, steadying, poking things to see what they areā€¦

    About two years into my backpacking I realized I had left my walking stick at home. Fortunately, I located a persimmon sprout along side the road and fashioned out a stand in. The whole trip though, I was missing my "real" staff back at the house. Yep, emotionally and physically, I need (require) a walking stick.
     
  3. longhunter

    longhunter Northman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I carry a walking stick so if by chance I have an encounter with a bear I can give it to him so he will have an even chance.
     
  4. DixiePreparedness

    DixiePreparedness Scout

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    I still use my "scout stave".
    It is a 6 foot hardwood dowel about 1" dia.
    Built it when I was a Scoutmaster.

    Been up the Blue Beaver trail (Lookout Mountain), All the way up and down Black Creek Trail (Desoto National Forest), and on a few hundred miles of other trips.

    Can be used for MANY thinks besides walking stick.
    Can be personalized by carving and/or adding trinkets and such.
     
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  5. Charlie Lima

    Charlie Lima Tracker

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    I use to carry 1 of these:
    upload_2017-5-4_8-56-32.jpeg
    CL
     
  6. Todd1hd

    Todd1hd Supporter Supporter

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    I have used trekking poles for years and the only reason I ever upgraded was to switch to cam lock adjustment instead of old style twist lock. I use Leki poles but would not claim they are better than another brand. Sort of like a car, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, whatever. They all have good points and bad points, but they still get you where you need to go. I have never broken one, but any of my friends that have had issues has been pleased with Leki's customer service.
     
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  7. JW Morgan

    JW Morgan Scout

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    i use a walking stick of some kind either handmade wood walking staff or a tracking pole . generally for tracking and clearing out snakes as i walk through thick brush . good for stability when needed also . mine has marked lines of measurements for tracking and measuring distance of animal tracks and there size . there good for fishing as well , drive two forked tree limbs into the ground , and place your wood staff or pole in them with your fishing line wound around it , when you get a bite set the hook and place it back in the forked tree limbs and roll the wood staff or pole .
     
  8. S.Decker

    S.Decker Supporter Supporter

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    my outlook also. It's rare that I even use a walking stick. The only time I actually carry one, is when I'm in a part of the country known to have an abundance of venomous creepy crawlies. We don't have that many in Wisconsin, at least not yet. When I was growing up, in Pennsylvania, I always had some type of staff, when I went out into the woods. Saved my bacon a couple of times.
     
  9. whipcracker

    whipcracker Tracker

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    I second scout staffs. I use mine as my tent pole for my one pole tarp tent I learned to set up from the "The Boy Scout's Hike Book" of 1913. I have also used for a dozen other purposes when needed. Although I admit I prefer a 3.5 ft long stock straight and smooth when going through dense brush.
     
  10. will62

    will62 Scout

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    I use one unless I am hunting, normally it is a modified pitchfork handle from the local farm supply store. How do you guys with knee issues manage a staff and a rifle during hunting season? I may be using a cane during the early part of hunting season if the doctor decides to operate.
     
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  11. Sharpster

    Sharpster Tracker

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    1. Sturdy enough to support my weight with a pack, without collapsing. This means twist lock poles are likely out.
    2. Lightweight, this means no shock absorbers (crap) and Carbon Fiber
    3. Attachment points that fit over huge gauntlet style mitts, but can be resized to fit bare hands
    4. Snow baskets (also work in mud and muskeg)
    5. Cork handles are nice as they are not as cold or sweaty as plastic/rubber.
     
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  12. freebirdfb

    freebirdfb Guide

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  13. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Supporter Supporter

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    Mine is white oak and is a hair under 5'. Sturdy and has a paracord hand loop. Working on carving some designs on it.
     
  14. DixiePreparedness

    DixiePreparedness Scout

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    When hunting I usually don't use a stick.

    But when I have "hiked" with a rifle/shotgun, a SLING works wonders.
    I prefer an Israeli IDF style sling for ease of bringing weapon into play.

    I will admit my "hunting" is quite a bit different from "camping/hiking/bushcraft" type woods travel.
    Much less gear carried and less thick or dense brush to traverse.
     
  15. Foulwind

    Foulwind Guide

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    I found a suitably sized redwood limb that was about right length and diameter so, out came the SAK and off went the all the small burs and then the soft bark was stripped. Comfortable in hand.
    So my wife now has a "Yard stick" she can use around the uneven areas of our yard.
     
  16. NMPops

    NMPops Tracker

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    I make walking sticks and canes as a hobby so yes I use one when woods walking, as I have some arthritus problems in my hip. My favorites are a 5" Sasafras staff and a 38" Hickory cane, both with fairly sharp metal tips.
     
  17. petey091

    petey091 Scout

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  18. Tostontostao

    Tostontostao Tracker

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    I prefer hands-free or Machete, only if I'm in the bush / woods. Here in the tropic the machete is the King. I always have the knife and / or gun, but rarely a stick or walking stick, but it is common for someone nearby to carry it, by snakes.

    If I need a stick for something, I take the Machete, I cut it, I use it and then I continue with my Machete.
     
  19. WhisperInThePine

    WhisperInThePine Wubba lubba dub dub Supporter

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  20. rmorgan736

    rmorgan736 Scout

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    stick for walking and poking around cali is a very dry state lots of buzz worms out here so sticking youre hand in rocks or small spaces is not a smart thing too do..
     
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  21. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Supporter Supporter

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    As mentioned above, make sure to find a pair with a solid locking system. Most of them use cam locks these days and a fair number of those have some sort of built in shocks for heavier loads.

    I have and use two pair: one heavier pair with shocks for when I have heavy loads on accents/descents. And one lightweight pair that have no extra frills that just count on you using your own muscles as 'shocks' so to speak.

    Needing trekking poles at all is a matter of preference of course. I use mine because I have a couple bad joints which occasionally need extra help.
     
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  22. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    OH! I forgot about this thread :) I did wind up purchasing a set of trekking poles:

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XM0YGW8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I've been on one hike with them so far. The handles are quite comfortable, and I liked their lightweightness, though I would have liked them just a bit shorter when I stowed them on my little pack. Some posters here suggested to use the bare metal points when on a typical trail, which I did.. This particular trail had a LOT of bare rocks to walk along and I found the constant clicking of the metal annoying, but then they felt weird with the rubber tips on them too.

    There's a definitely learning curve to placing the pole at the same time as the opposite foot. I think it would be relatively easy on a straight flat trail, but this was a curvy, rocky, up and down trail, so it was really difficult to keep a good rythmn. Also I felt they forced me to go slower. When I packed them, I found I just quicker moved more.. nimbly with my arms free.

    This all after just one use, so we'll see what happens long term. I haven't had to walk any water crossings or swampy areas, which I know I will really appreciate having the poles for that, plus I am curious about using them as props for a tarp...
     
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  23. Edgeman

    Edgeman Scout

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    I picked up a pair of Leki poles when they were on sale at STP. I'm very happy with them, but since they are the only trekking poles I've ever used, I can't compare them to other brands.

    I definitely felt a difference using them while hiking in the mountains...especially on downhill sections. They are also very helpful when walking across streams. Instead of two legs to balance, you now have four. :)

    As for priority, go for light and strong.
     
  24. elkpaddles

    elkpaddles Supporter Supporter

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    I use one or sometimes a pair of old cross country ski poles. I cut the plastic circle off. They have a sharp metal point on the end, good for picking up papers and small plastic trash. Also, the neighbors nosy dog isn't so nosy anymore.
     
  25. bosque bob

    bosque bob Scout

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    Great thread. Been going for a while too. I always use a walking stick. Shoulder height piece of olive wrapped at center of balance with some cord cause you never know when you might need some, right? Used it to tarp tent (tent tarp?) from time to time as well. Had this one for about 5 years.
     
  26. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I use a stick almost all the time when I'm out hiking. It's pretty steep and rough around here and the stick is especially handy when coming down hill. I make mine out of yucca, which is strong, light, and plentiful around here. When hunting with a rifle I've always left the stick in the truck, but I sure wish I had it a lot of the time. I may try carrying a stick and a rifle this year in certain situations. I've tried using the hiking stick as a rifle shooting stick and I think it's adds some stability when I'm doing the kneeling or sitting position. I just don't want to clutter up my hands when hunting. Carrying the rifle is enough complication.
     
  27. slowtaknow

    slowtaknow Tracker

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    No, but i am going to start. Need the help lately.
     
  28. TattooBlade

    TattooBlade Supporter Supporter

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    Let me know when you plan to make some more. :)
     
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  29. jswi2374

    jswi2374 Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I carry a 6'6" staff I made myself. It is fire hardened, lightly charred and highly BLO'd. The bottom has about 1" of bark still on it but the rest is polished to a dull shine. I carry it to help keep my footing, for the look, and for anything that might wish me harm.
     
  30. mjf

    mjf Supporter Supporter

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    I use REI trekking polls and love them. With the proper technique it has made a world of difference for my knees. I have twist locks and they are ok but I would get the new REI Flash flip locks if I were to buy another pair.
     
  31. MiamiC70

    MiamiC70 Tracker

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    I was looking at Brazos walking sticks but damn it's $100 for decent one
     
  32. JeffK

    JeffK Tracker

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    I always have a hiking stick with me. Multi use, from assisting in your footing on the trail, water crossings, bush wacking and possible defense tool, camera support, tarp support, whittle and carving practice on them as well. I like them to be shoulder/chin height. Most of mine I have made up from american beech from a pole line clearing. When you need to replace, its an excuse for another outing!
    Jeff
     
  33. BigEd63

    BigEd63 Tracker

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    Mostly a handmade walking stick when backpacking.
     
  34. Moe M.

    Moe M. Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I use a walking stick/staff, I have several, all about armpit high, One made of Hickory, one of Maple, and two made of Bamboo, I favor the Maple staff but I'm warming up to Bamboo because it's lighter and just as strong.
    I'm of the age where balance is becoming a problem especially on uneven ground, making your own walking stick is a fun project and allot less expensive than buying a commercial offering, I picked up my Bamboo sticks at a discount store in the gardening dept. for $1.00 each, they are a little over six feet tall, I hand picked each for their straightness and diameter.
    I cut them to length, glued on a one inch rubber cane foot on one end and made a plug for the hollow end of the stick out of wood, I cut the Bamboo so that it had a four inch deep pocket from the end to the first knuckle which makes a great place for a small survival kit of matches, ferro rod, and tender, and I put a button compass in the plug that covers the hole, and wrapped the handle with waxed string for a more secure non slip grip and cordage if I ever need some.
    I picked up my Bamboo sticks seasoned, green sticks need to be tempered with heat from what I've read, so if you buy any that are green you can goggle "making Bamboo walking sticks", there are quite a few video tutorials on how to temper them.
    Next to my pack and gear a walking stick/staff is probably my most important piece of woods kit.
     
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  35. Smokey Radley

    Smokey Radley Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I'm a walking stick on day hikes (snakes, spider webs, etc.) and trekking poles when backpacking type of guy. All the good reasons have been listed. Stabilization on downhills, creeks, etc and using them for poles for my tent are my two big reasons. +1 on cam locks over twist locks & cork grips.
     
  36. Moe M.

    Moe M. Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Plus one on walking stick/tent/tarp poles, especially when trail hiking, up here in New England we have very few groomed trails, most are uneven, lots littered with rock and ledge or above ground roots, they didn't bother me when I was in my prime, but now days I need something with reach out past most elbow high trekking pole lengths, I find a five + foot long staff works better for me, but I do miss the convienence of shorter poles for use with tents and tarps.
     
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  37. JVS

    JVS Tinder Gatherer

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    I love to use a walking stick on hilly ground.

    I made this stick myself out of a piece of bamboo. I made a replaceable rubber foot on it. If it wears down i simply replace it. Because its rubber it has a pretty good grip on rocks too.
     

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  38. Capsicum

    Capsicum Tracker Bushclass I

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    Another vote for a good set of trekking poles. They are confidence inspiring on dicey terrain and water crossings, they help with climbing steep slopes. But, if for no other reason, I would use them just for the benefit on my knees on the downhills, they really take some of the stress off.

    Quick tip: I can't cite this, but I was told to keep your elbow at 90 degrees or so when setting your length (accounting for preference)... so on the uphill shorten them a bit and on the downhill lengthen. I don't do this in rolling terrain, but big climbs and descents it helps for sure.
     
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  39. bwallenjr

    bwallenjr Tracker

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    I love walking sticks and usually carve my own my favorite and current is hickory between 4 and 4 and a half feet high I have a knob on the end gives me some shilelegh like options IF I ever had found myself in need...
     

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  40. CHREBA

    CHREBA Scout

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    Due to recent events "Lesson learned" thread I now use a staff . Nothing fancy just a Maple sapling of approximately 5'10" , a tad taller than me .
    1512402721810-1177317708.jpg
    Cut it down already dry but solid , sanded the bark 3 coats of Helmsman's added a paracord wrap and a ranger band and crutch tip . Just for kicks I also put a magazine pouch up high for small items . Right now it just has SAK , 1 gallon size Zip lock freezer bag , an inexpensive space blanket , 4 water purification tablets , and a 50' length of light duty paracord .
     
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  41. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

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    90* is a good starting point but try and see what you like. I often start out roughly there but after a couple days of walking I find I like them a little shorter.

    the absolute rule with trekking poles is to never plant the tip further ahead than your opposite foot. they should always be angled backward, never be straight up and down. you want to use them to PUSH with, like cross-country skiing.

    I see people planting way out ahead of their feet, like forward outriggers, and walking past the plant. this gives no benefit whatsoever, you're just carrying the weight of the poles...
     
  42. CHREBA

    CHREBA Scout

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    Not used much in the woods . I found this piece a few years back and saw something in it . I brought it home and started smoothing it some and noticed where bugs of some sort had started burrowing along underneath the bark . So I almost abandoned the project but I decided to cut it to my preferred length just to see how bad it was inside . First thing I noticed was my Bahco was catching hell cutting it, hard was an understatement . It's very dense heavy wood . And that knob just sealed the deal .
    So onwards I went . I sanded some more with my palm sander . The wood actually got hot if I went too aggressive . More signs of bugs . I think the term is splatting or something . I liked the way it looked and wanted it to show more . I took a can of black spray paint and went over it with two light coats and let it dry and then more sanding . The paint stayed in the channels . I then rough shaped the root ball with a sharp 2/0 and a 4 and all then more sanding to smooth it and added Helmsman's .
    IMG_20171204_112506718.jpg 1512405870192-959282257.jpg
    It gets Street duty normally .
     
  43. Pinelogcreek

    Pinelogcreek Tracker

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    I use trecking poles now. I always thought they were stupid and people looked dumb with them until....we went hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park last year. My son, then eight had to have one, being a good father I bought him one cheap on clearance. Being eight he got tired of it about halfway through a hike and handed it off. After a few miles I was sold. Properly adjusted for height they save all kinds wear and tear on the body. I now carry a pair and so does my wife.
     
  44. Desert_bushcraft

    Desert_bushcraft Tracker

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    When I'm backpacking I like to use trekking poles because my ankle will give out every once and awhile on long trips, they have saved me from taking some nasty falls at least two dozen times., but when I'm out an about I keep my hands free.
     
  45. JeffreyH

    JeffreyH Tracker

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    I hike with trekking poles most of the time.
    Sometimes I pick up a random stick, so I feel a connection with nature :D
     
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  46. Bobsdock

    Bobsdock Scout

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    Hands free for me.
     
  47. TX-1948

    TX-1948 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    East TN
    If I am just wandering around in the woods, I always carry a walking stick. I prefer one made from a sweet gum sapling. It adds a little security when going over rough terrain. It seems the older I get the more I rely on it. If I am backpacking I like trekking poles. They really help on down hill trails as they take some pressure off my knees. They can also help with balance if need be.
     
    CHREBA and HK Forest like this.

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