View Full Version : Sticks is Sticks??

2007-01-01, 06:52
At another site there is a thread about hiking sticks, $125 hiking sticks. I mean sticks is sticks, I have tried using a few sticks you know those provided by nature, in the old days I always carried something in my hands, M-16 so I didn't have a need for sticks. But how good can sticks that cost over $100 be.

Just Jeff
2007-01-01, 08:59
I have a pair of expensive ones b/c the wife wanted them but rarely uses them. They're pretty nice...curved and shaped handles are more comfortable than a normal stick, kinda shock absorbing, the little wrist strap carries all the weight so you don't have to really grip it, they collapse when I don't need them and I can adjust the height for uphills and downhills, and they're lighter than one of nature's sticks.

But I don't use them very often either. They've been convenient at times, but I'm not convinced they're worth the money we spent on them. Maybe if I used it as a tarp pole every night. But folks sell super-duper wooden hiking sticks taken straight from nature for about that much sometimes, too! They just add a little varnish, a leather strap and maybe a $.50 crutch tip.

I've kinda taken to hand loops (http://www.tothewoods.net/HomemadeGearHHHandLoops.html) lately, and I can pick up a stick when I need one.

2007-01-01, 11:05
I was always a one-stick guy until I hurt a knee a couple years ago. Now two sticks really takes a load off on the downhills. For years, I just used an old ski pole (plenty of those around), and was content. I went to collapsible poles so I could carry them on public transportation.

Like any other peice of equipment, you get what you pay for, and need to pay for what you want. When going down steep hills, I literally use my poles to support my entire body weight - not something I'm going to trust to cheap poles. Reliable poles that won't collapse under your weight, but can still be loosened easily, and don't weigh much, cost more.

(but that's just my 2 cents - I got my Leki Makalu poles from someone else's divorce settlement, and didn't pay a dime!)

2007-01-01, 11:36
Leki Super Makula has saved my bacon in places like the Grand Canyon where the trail was sheeted with ice and I needed better balance, not to mention helping carry the load both uphill and down. I'm small, so they have also been used to haul me up over things, or help me get down. What I don't understand are people picking up those huge wooden poles that look as if they weigh a ton. Some are just about as tall as the people using them.

2007-01-01, 12:06
We use hiking poles when the anticipated trail is going to be steep and have also used when sidehilling and brushbusting where no trail exists. (An ankle saver on the sidehill) They also come in handy to beat back the brush when in devils club or poison ivy, and to knock the rain or dew off the trail. Obviously while snowshoeing they are a must, with a snow basket on the tip. And, poles can be used to probe things like snow (for bodies) or water for depth.... I have used them to help ford water for balance...

2007-01-01, 15:56
That's why I just bought an aluminum swiss gear pole from wal-mart for 9 dollars. They may not be titanium but they get the job done and for 9 dollars. They also have a carbide tip with a rubber grip that goes over it so you get the best of both worlds and a compass in the handle.

Then again I never really use it. I am young so I find the poles more of a burden when crossing difficult terrain. I really bring it mainly for injuries are some sort of structre when setting up a tarp or hammock.

2007-01-01, 17:01
The guy at this site likes to roll his own and as cheaply as possible.


He fashioned a walking stick(s) from bamboo. I'm currently growing bamboo in my backyard. At the rate that stuff grows, I figure I should have plenty of walking sticks by the middle of the summer. Bamboo makes a lot of sense - hollow, so it is light and when dried it is very strong. Before the fiber poles, bamboo poles were the best fishing poles made - light, flexible and very strong. I have seen people splitting it over and over and making rope from bamboo.

I have a pair of Stony Point walking sticks. Bought them because they have a "V" shaped attachment that screws onto the camera mount on the top of the stick. Makes a convenient x-bow rest and when resting at a stop, I can lean my forearm into the 'v' and get more support. Can also use 2 for even more stability for the x-bow. In walking, I use 1 all the time. Tried 2, but haven't been able to get the timing right.

He also likes multi-use gear and has used his sticks for an alchy stove and to store water. Inventive. Store the alchy in the walking stick, light it up as needed. Practical too if it really works.

2007-01-01, 20:58
I have a set of Leki Makalu poles that I scored for $70 on Ebay. I use them every hike and consider them indispensable. They also don't weigh very much, so I got my money's worth. :)

2007-01-01, 22:06
I bought a pair of those $10/ea Wal-mart adjustable "Swiss" poles 2 years ago and except that the handle material is sort of heavy, they are pretty good for all around XC-ski poles; although the baskets are a little small for back country, and too round for groomed tracks.
I soon lost the tip caps (they may still be in the basement, somewhere). I'm still getting used to them as hiking poles but they have a shock absorber thingy which makes them comfortable. If you are considering an addition to your packing gear, $20 isn't such a commitment if you discard the idea later on. YMMV

2007-01-01, 23:53
I use a broomstick.

I made sure the grain was straight and ran clear through so it wouldn't break on me. Wrapped the top with paracord to make a grip, added a 1 inch wide leather loop, a crutch tip, oiled, and then waxed it.
In the winter I add a metal flip-up ice foot.
It's not as light as a metal pole, but it's strong, I don't have to worry about it collapsing, and much less expensive.

I also made a 2nd stick out of bamboo but haven't used it much.

I've thought about buying metal walking sticks, because often I'd like to use 2 sticks at the same time (especially when crossing bogs, and streams) and I'd like them be both light and balanced. But I also like having one free hand and haven't been able to get past the cost.
-I won't go cheap as I've had bad experiences with tripod leg locks that give out.

I'm a big fan of having a stick as it saves strain on your knees and back, and is a tremendous aid in not falling down.
-On the other hand I'm a gimp and use a cane often in daily life, so I might be biased.

SGT Rock
2007-01-02, 02:19
I think the bamboo idea is probably a good one.

What I like about mine are how you can collapse them to change the length or pack them up when you do not want to use them (this does happen sometimes).

As to price, well shop around. I got a pair of nice Iron Mountain ones a few years back for about $50 and they are still going strong - my son has them now.

Just Jeff
2007-01-02, 08:03
What I don't understand are people picking up those huge wooden poles that look as if they weigh a ton. Some are just about as tall as the people using them.

Staves get the spider webs before you hit them with your face. And if you're gonna have a face-level stick, it should be just higher than your head so you don't poke your eye out if you trip. And since normal sticks don't have handles like poles, it's more comfortable to hold it up higher...so a staff is usually longer than a hiking pole.

And they're longer so it's easier to beat back the mean scary monsters that are all over the woods.

But I only use something like that if I'm hiking at night on an unfamiliar, ungroomed trail. And then only sometimes.

Frolicking Dino
2007-01-02, 10:21
A while back, someone suggested I get some cross-country ski poles to try. My 90 yr old aunt had a pair that she doesn't use anymore for some reason :D, so she gave them to me. I think they would be ideal for most hikers - light, stronger than most hiking poles and designed with nice grips. I still need a pair of aluminum canes with offset handles for safety's sake or I would be using the ski poles. The he-dino is set in his ways -- he uses a single wooden hiking staff that is about 5' tall and 1"around.

2007-01-02, 10:42
After two ACL knee reconstruction surgeries (same knee), hiking poles are indispensible, especially on rugged, long downhills.

I use collapsible poles for the reasons Rock mentioned. Mine are Komperdell I picked up from Sierra Trading Post (excellent customer service, by the way).


2007-01-03, 22:53
TeeDee - nice Ranger Rick referrence! He has been a survival/outdoor guru for a long time. Nice guy too.