Author Topic: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?  (Read 49518 times)

Offline survivNca

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Karma: 0
What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« on: June 28, 2011, 10:23:40 PM »
Are they worth the money or are they for show? If they are worth buying how do you use them properly? Thanks

Offline NotoriousAPP

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 261
  • Karma: 10
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2011, 10:35:32 PM »
They truly are worth the money.  I lived in the French Alps for two years and I always asked the same question when I saw people hiking up and down the mountain with them.  I didn't realize their true worth until I went hiking a couple years ago in Estes Park Colorado.  My friend had a pair and he let me try them and man do they help.  I'm no expert with them but what I took away from the experience is that they help quite a bit with balance and take some of the weight off your back when you're headed up hill.  I found them most valuable when headed down hill where they could help support some of my weight and help take some of the impact off of my lower body (especially my knees).

I'm not sure how much you plan on hiking or what the terrain looks like but I would highly recommend them if you're doing infrequent hiking and will traverse up and down medium to large hills/mountains.

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2011, 10:41:50 PM »
OK... A hiking stick and/or treking poles are very effective in helping you hike faster, longer, farther, and especially when you have a heavy backpack on. They take a lot of the weight off your back and help you walk more upright. They give you different leverage and help you use your arms to assist climbing. There are other benefits.

Now on the other side, if you run out to REI and pick yourself up a set of poles for $150 I'd have to say... IDIOT hahaha...

Let's see in the back of my Jeep on hiking weekends I have the following, all which work great for their intended purpose and were all free or ALMOST free.

Set of aluminum ski poles purchased for $.50 from a thrift store. I bought them for skiing as they are nice and my size, however they work great hiking in the snow and or trails.

Big walking stick I picked up on a hike where I was determined to find my walking stick. I think it is a tree root because it was just laying on the ground and has a rooty feel to it. It is very strong and I've had it for over a year now. It looks like something Gandolf would rock from Lord of the Rings and maybe I'll carve something into it. I've seen people varnish their own walking sticks and pimp them out with leather straps etc.

Hockey Stick I found on a trail (no blade). This just happened to be a good length for me and is very light. I am probably going to screw some sort of spike into the end of it when I feel like it.

If you do end up getting collapsible aluminum poles, get GOOD ones because the cheap ones will collapse on you regardless of how tight you lock them down.

Offline survivNca

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Karma: 0
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2011, 10:58:47 PM »
Thats exactly the info i was looking for. I just could never understand taking 2 more things with you. but now it all makes sense. They are on the if i find a smoking deal ill buy them list.

Offline SteveandTracyinKY

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 912
  • Karma: 18
  • Survival Chef
    • The Hen House
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2011, 11:05:06 PM »
I use trekking poles regularly. All the above info is correct, but they also help prevents falls. If you are about to fall for some reason, they give you something to catch yourself with. Also good to make an emergency shelter. I carry an old ground cloth with me, that I can rig up to make a lean to.

Offline Westonian

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 79
  • Karma: 3
  • Hallo!
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2011, 11:23:52 PM »
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?

To beat back stray dogs. In the backwoods of Texas they perform this function quite nicely I must say.

Offline survivNca

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Karma: 0
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2011, 11:34:49 PM »
Lol. Texas sounds scary. Is it better t have one or 2 sticks. in other words I am cheap and want to buy one stick.

Offline FreeLancer

  • Global Moderator
  • Survival Veteran
  • ******
  • Posts: 6093
  • Karma: 771
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2011, 12:04:32 AM »
Trekking poles are invaluable when carrying a heavy pack in rugged mountain areas.  It turns you into a four-legged animal so you can use some upper body strength to save the legs over the course of the trip.  You might not notice their benefit much on the way up, but at the end of the day they can really save you on the descent.

Offline TexGuy

  • Sometimes posts while drunk.
  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 319
  • Karma: 12
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2011, 05:44:39 AM »
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?

To beat back stray dogs. In the backwoods of Texas they perform this function quite nicely I must say.

I generally make my stick once I am in the woods. I make them about 6 foot long with a Y at one end to press snakes against the ground. If I go out to where I might need to eat wild food, a noose over the Y helps to catch and hold the snake to the stick. The other end is sharpened to a dull point to stab at the face of hogs and dogs. It's amazing how many hog hunters just leave their dogs in the woods. It's sad to go out to get away from everything only to watch 3 skinny dogs follow you around for days.


Offline Mr. Red Beard (UKtheBUNNY)

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 318
  • Karma: 5
  • Probably doing it wrong
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2011, 06:19:39 AM »
I see the benefit to the lite weight manufactured ones but I think I'll stick to the handmade wooden ones because they have their benefits too. On a side note most of the manufactured ones are not tall enough for my liking.

Offline Alan Georges

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 4589
  • Karma: 210
  • Still trying to reason with hurricane season.
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2011, 06:29:38 AM »
They help when looking for geocaches too, because you can poke into piles of brush and know what's inside instantly.  Hollow "tunk-tunk" sound = ammo can.  Solid "thock-thock" feel = log.  Scary "rattle-rattle" sound = step back.

Offline progunner

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 1
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2011, 08:59:24 AM »
I hike with @ least one being that I have arthritis in my ankles.  If my ankles are a bit weak or unsteady, it helps keep me even.  I got mine on the cheap during a trip to Cabela's.  They had some inexpensive store branded ones w/ a shock absorber feature you can turn off and on.  It also had a "Y" attachment you could screw on in place of the bulbous handle and use it as a shooting support.  The threaded rod also screws into my camera base for steady shots.  I have since lost the rubber tip and the carbide tip that it housed, but it still does the job in the woods and on unpaid trails.

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2011, 09:47:38 AM »
There are pros and cons to using one or two poles. That would just be a personal preference. A different setup would be good in different situations.

There are people who make little stick-based survival kits too, check those out when you have a chance.

Also the points made about helping you out when/if you fall are good points as well. When traversing across rocky / uneven / precarious terrain they can help you move faster as you have 3 - 4 points of contact with the terrain instead of just 2 (your feet).

Offline Nate

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 727
  • Karma: 27
  • Rookie Registered Nurse
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2011, 05:41:16 PM »
Most often I take a Tracks Sher-Lock hiking stick with me.  It adjusts to various heights and is easy to pack when I get tired of carrying it.  I have had it for almost 10 years and it has accompanied me for many miles.  It is very solid and you can screw your camera into it.  I added some P-cord and duct tape to mine.  If I cant fix something with these two items than the thing cant be fixed!  It is also light enough that you can really swing it baseball bat style if the need arose.....  The carbide spike on the end has come in pretty handy too in rough terrain.

Offline survivNca

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Karma: 0
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2011, 10:20:29 PM »
I never would have thought those little sticks were so valuable. I really appreciate the help my trips coming up soon. Hiking poles are on the list.

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2011, 09:52:23 AM »
They even make backpacking tents with no poles where your hiking poles are to be used instead. They also make bicycling tents with no poles that you pull off your front wheel and use the front fork/handlebars as the support to raise the top off the ground!

Offline donaldj

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1384
  • Karma: 87
    • Keep and Bear, LLC
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2011, 10:21:24 AM »
As has been said, the walking sticks or trekking poles help out a lot and let you get your upper body involved in the load bearing.

Every path to the ground is a path that you are distributing your weight to. Traditionally, this is done through the back, into the hips, through the legs, and into the feet.

Every single step, this adds up.

By using a walking stick or the trekking poles, you are creating another ground path (sorry, I'm an electrical engineer...) to carry the weight through. Your arms can "pull" the weight up a bit off your back, and sink some of that weight into the ground through the poles.

With one pole, it's every two steps, and with 2 poles, it's every step you see the benefit. It does add up at the end of the day.

Addressing Adam B.'s assessment, I went to REI and got a good pair for about $90.  I am, however, not an idiot. I have a pair with a great handle, useable straps (this is KEY!), a camera thread bolt for use as a monopod, fully adjustable height (long uphill treks you can make them shorter and long downhill treks you can make them longer).

The hand strap is a critical aspect to the pole. You want the strap and you hand to do most of the gripping to keep the pole secure, not your actual hand and finger muscles. If you relied only on your grip, at the end of the day you'd have very sore hands, and at the end of your trip you'd have the best damn handshake of anyone.  =)

The benefit of additional load paths to ground is lessened by the actual weight of the stick. So, for effectiveness's sake, the lighter you can make these, the better. This is where the extra $ for dedicated trekking poles comes in, as these tend to be far lighter than a wood walking staff or stick.

Finding cheap ski poles is a great way to save costs here, but you do give up some versatility. Make sure the poles are the right height. I've found that having them at pectoral height works for me so I can "pull up" on them a bit. Many people prefer having them set so their forearms are level with the ground.

There are concerns from enviro-weanies that the tips of the trekking poles digging into trails causes an increased erosion. If this is a concern you share, look at a rubber tipped type, or buy a few extra caps to keep on yours. I've even seen people mount tennis balls to their poles by drilling a hole in them and duct taping them on.


Offline NotoriousAPP

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 261
  • Karma: 10
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2011, 10:58:11 AM »
I very much agree with donaldj, adjustable height is a must for me since it makes a big difference if going up or down hill.  The straps are useful for a long hike but I've done without them as well.

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2011, 11:05:02 AM »
LMFAO...

Quote
Addressing Adam B.'s assessment, I went to REI and got a good pair for about $90.  I am, however, not an idiot. I have a pair with a great handle, useable straps (this is KEY!), a camera thread bolt for use as a monopod, fully adjustable height (long uphill treks you can make them shorter and long downhill treks you can make them longer).

Hey, $90 is not a bad price for a good monopod (and you got some trekking poles for free with the purchase).

If you are going with trekking poles get the best you can get because the cheap ones will end up being worthless to you.

As for hand strength there are other ways to increase the strength of your grip while on a long hiking trek... But I'll just leave that up to the imagination of the forum viewers...

And tree huggers who are concerned about the tips of their hiking poles "ruining" the woods need to get a life. I guess those are the same people who carry their poop around in plastic bags so they can dump it down the toilet or throw it in the TRASH when they get back to their little studio apartment above the coffee shop in Greenwich Village.

I absolutely HATE all of the stupid ass fights between the tree huggers, hikers, mountain bikers, horse people, quad runners, jeepers, etc etc about who should be kicked out of the woods and who gets to stay and how a strip of freakin DIRT through the woods can actually be ruined! I will not argue that trails need to be maintained and that reckless usage can cause problems that need to be fixed but that is a long way away from a trail being DESTROYED because people are using it. I get REALLY mad about this because I am a mountain biker, hiker, Jeeper, quad runner, and sometimes horse rider, and that's all these assholes talk about (how every other group aside from their own should be kicked out of the woods)...

Offline Doug

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 578
  • Karma: 49
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2011, 12:37:35 PM »
They were a big help backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch. I did buy the expensive REI carbon fiber pools for that trek and the reason was I busted these XPG aluminum poles from Cabela's on a practice hike in the Wichita Mountains http://www.cabelas.com/hiking-staffs-cabelas-xpg-8482-trekking-poles-1.shtml

The carbons were much lighter and held up extremely well to my 220 pounds

Offline FreeLancer

  • Global Moderator
  • Survival Veteran
  • ******
  • Posts: 6093
  • Karma: 771
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2011, 07:09:15 PM »
Make sure to utilize the straps properly to minimize grip fatigue, makes a huge difference. 

http://youtu.be/tfVEvxFXiPY

Offline idelphic

  • I Zgjuari I DynjasĂ«
  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1903
  • Karma: 44
  • Theoretical Conceptualist - Avatar by Ada
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2011, 09:28:30 AM »
I generally make my stick once I am in the woods. I make them about 6 foot long with a Y at one end to press snakes against the ground. If I go out to where I might need to eat wild food, a noose over the Y helps to catch and hold the snake to the stick. The other end is sharpened to a dull point to stab at the face of hogs and dogs. It's amazing how many hog hunters just leave their dogs in the woods. It's sad to go out to get away from everything only to watch 3 skinny dogs follow you around for days.
Funny you should mention that Tex - Cody does the same,.. It needs to be longer then you are tall so if you fall you don't jam it into your eyes, and a 'Y' on the end for snakes..

Multi-tool.

Offline survivNca

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Karma: 0
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2011, 10:12:50 AM »
Okay so i am getting some poles and i want to buy a pair. But i want my wife to use one and me the other. Are the cork pole Pairs nowadays ambidextrous?

Offline Doug

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 578
  • Karma: 49
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2011, 01:12:18 PM »
Okay so i am getting some poles and i want to buy a pair. But i want my wife to use one and me the other. Are the cork pole Pairs nowadays ambidextrous?

Yeah, they are ambidextrous...but I didn't like the cork handle poles. I thought they'd cause blisters over an extended period of time.

Offline survivNca

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Karma: 0
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2011, 10:03:47 AM »
Dang it Doug i was really diggin the cork. lol

Offline Doug

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 578
  • Karma: 49
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2011, 03:02:14 PM »
The Cabela's XPG poles that I had used cork handles. I thought they would good for sweat but once I began using them the ribs in them became an announce and I wanted gloves.

At Philmont, were we hiked 65 miles, I actually ended up lending one my one of my poles to a friend who hadn't brought/bought any. I prefer two but having the one was well worth it trekking up and down some of those rocky trails. With a backpack your center of gravity is higher up your back and the poles add a lot more stability. If you can get two. Because I broke the aluminum one so easily with my 220bbl body weight was glade to have the carbon ones for Philmont Scout Ranch.

Now another friend of mine and his sons used wood hiking sticks for the same trek and didn't complain but I'd rather minimize the weight.

BTW in the two week-long trek I lost 12bbls of body weight carrying that 50bbl pack up and down those mountains while still eating a high caloric diet.

Offline survivNca

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Karma: 0
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2011, 03:14:59 PM »
Well thanks to every ones wisdom, I got my poles from UPS today. They seem nice and they are strong, Thanks for the help.

Offline BassManNate

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 275
  • Karma: 1
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2011, 07:08:35 AM »
What good would these do on flat terrain?

The reason I ask is because I had to take my daughter in to see a specialist in Vernon Hills (read, expensive property prices) yesterday. I noticed a couple of soccer mom looking women using them but they had no packs, the "trail" they were walking on was paved and the terrain was virtually flat since we're in Illinois. I just kinda looked at them and thought, "why would you weigh yourself down with those for your morning walk?"

Offline TANK

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 188
  • Karma: 2
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2011, 07:23:09 AM »
I like to make things, I was reading an article on making hiking staffs, in the article is said to try a shovel  handle. I was at a garage sale and saw an old shovel the blade was bent and broke, I bought it for .25 cents. took of the shovel blade and have a nice pole (staff) for hiking, it will not break easily. and is just about the right leanth. I was also able to find a rubber crutch end and put that on there. That protects the wood and also makes it  slip resistant. I have harvested small trees for the wood, small hickory tree, walnut maple, and cedar all make good poles. I also have a collapsible alumin pole that junk.
But I get a great deal of satisfaction of making things with my hands instead of buying everything. 

Offline rogersorders

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
  • Karma: 16
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2011, 07:44:38 AM »
What good would these do on flat terrain?

I moved to Germany this past year and wondered the same thing.  It's called Nordic Walking.  They have a ton of trails here and I'd see a few people with poles walking along.  From what I can tell it gives some more stability and allows you to go faster with less impact on your joints and gives you a arm workout too.  I used a pair once on a hike and was surprised how sore my arms were after.