It’s hardly an original piece of equipment to bring with you on a camping trip or to have lashed to your bug out bag or survival kit, but it’s also a heavily overlooked one.
This is because many people associate a walking stick with someone who is either elderly or has a disability and needs the walking stick for balance.
In reality, a walking stick truly can be one of the most useful and important items to bring with you when you’re hiking in the outdoors, regardless of whether you need it for balance or not.
Why Use A Walking Stick?
So, why use a walking stick? There are a number of reasons why.
The first, and most obvious, the reason is you may need it to maintain proper balance. This is especially true for anyone even when you otherwise wouldn’t need a pole or walking stick to get around.
CLEAR A PATH
Another reason to have a walking stick with you will be so you can more effectively clear a path in front of you.
Just by holding the stick before you, you will be able to use it to part away brush, leaves, or anything else that’s in the way.
Is it as effective as hacking your way through with a machete? Maybe not, but it will still work.
Besides maintaining balance over uneven ground, this is perhaps the most important reason of all to carry a walking stick: for self-defense.
Not only is a walking stick an excellent defensive tool that can deliver hard blows to an opponent, it’s also something that most people do not intrinsically view as being a weapon, which means they can underestimate you, which in turn offers you a significant advantage
Furthermore, a walking stick is something that you can bring into most public places without attracting much attention. Sure, it may seem odd to bring a walking stick into a grocery store or a restaurant or someplace like that, but unlike a gun or a knife, hardly anyone is going to look at you and say or think, “Woah, that guy has a weapon!”
Another way to use a walking stick as a weapon, besides as a blunt object, will be to lash a knife to the end of it to make a knife spear. A knife spear is an excellent tool for defense, especially against hungry carnivorous animals, because it provides you with a longer reach so there will be a distance between you and your attacker.
Take note that a knife spear is NOT a throwing spear, and is something that you should keep in both of your hands at all times.
There are two ways you’ll be able to use a walking stick for fishing.
The first will be to simply tie the end of your fishing line to the end of the stick and then use it as a fishing pole.
You won’t even need to use the actual fishing line for this purpose. If you really need to improvise, for instance, you could use your shoelaces or natural vine if you have to.
The second way to use your walking stick for fishing will be to lash a knife to the end of it like we just talked about to make a knife spear.
Then, you can try your luck at trying to impale fish through the water with your spear. It’s not exactly an easy thing to do, but you can increase your chances of making a successful catch by wading out into knee deep water at night and holding a torch with your other hand over the fire to attract fish to the light.
Move carefully and cautiously without any sudden jerking movements, and hopefully, you’ll be successful.
CARRYING ITEMS HOBO STYLE
Wrap supplies into a bundle and then tie it to the end of the stick. We’ve seen this done in movies and TV shows countless times, but it actually works in real life.
Finally, you can also use your walking stick to help you build a shelter. For example, you can build a lean-to by placing your stick above the ground between two trees and then lean more poles and sticks against one side.
What To Look For In A Walking Stick
Now that we know the uses for a walking stick and the reasons to consider adding on to your survival kit or bug out bag, the next question is what qualities does your walking stick need to have?
That’s what we’re going to talk about now:
First of all, your walking stick should be fairly lightweight. If it isn’t, then it’s simply not going to be very pleasant for you to carry around, and chances are you won’t carry it.
Not only must your walking stick be lightweight, it also needs to be durable and well-built, and these two qualities are not at all contradictory.
Most store-bought walking sticks these days tend to be made out of aluminum, and with good reason: aluminum isn’t terribly heavy, and it’s also strong.
If you want to go more traditional, your three best choices for a wooden walking stick will be oak, walnut, and hickory.
Regardless of which wooden material you choose, just make sure that your walking stick is dry and not damp, or else it will be significantly weaker.
The walking stick should ideally have a strap installed on the end of it that you can use to wrap around your wrist to relieve stress.
The proper length of your walking stick is entirely based on your specific height. Generally speaking, the most comfortable walking sticks to use should reach your sternum. Any higher or lower than that, and they’ll just be plain awkward to use.