Author Topic: Hiking staff  (Read 1192 times)

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Offline boomer

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Hiking staff
« on: August 26, 2022, 03:38:32 PM »
A solid dependable hiking staff is a part of basic outdoor kit for just about any age, condition or terrain.

A hiking staff is longer than a cane but shorter than a traditional pole. It has strength without excess weight and a comfortable balance point for both horizontal carry and vertical use. A reasonable height is somewhere between shoulder and top of head high. Ample height to assist traversing quick terrain changes while being pleasing to the eye. The hiking staff is not to be confused with modern trekking poles.

The staff is an old school tool and while some undoubtedly attempted to formalize things along the way as always it has remained what it has been - a handy stick. Some are plain, some are decorated, some end up as firewood but utility is seldom questioned nor is the beauty of the simplicity  Finding just the right one takes a bit of looking and maybe luck. There's no need to order one on line, put it on a card, wait for shipping, get a license or ask permission. They are effective to stabilize the user in tricky balance situations, maintain effective social distancing with humans and other critters, hold up a quick tarp shelter or poncho tent and as many other uses as one can imagine. Maybe more.

My favorite hiking staff for the last decade or so is from a Russian Olive branch. Cut it,  skinned it, smoother with a pocket knife and used it smooth in the carrying part after it dried out. It is shoulder high and the bottom is strengthened by a natural branch bifurcation that was rounded down a little at first and then by use. 
I did wrap about a hands width of light line at the balance point for quick reference but that's all. It sees regular, probably daily use, in the high desert.

The right hiking staff is more than a simple tool. With time and attitude it eventually becomes part of the adventure.

Kind of like a haversack but that's something else.

Happy trails
« Last Edit: August 26, 2022, 03:45:26 PM by boomer »

Offline crashdive123

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2022, 07:17:58 PM »
My favorite staff for the last several years has been what I can find.  I have a few fabricated staffs that I like, but seldom take them with me.  In Florida I rarely use staffs or walking sticks.  When I travel to areas with some elevation changes I use either my trekking poles or cut a staff.  Regardless, the most important part for me is to keep on hiking.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2022, 07:53:14 AM »
I seldom used a staff of any kind in my younger days.  First staff I ever saw was in some movie about Robin Hood and using a staff as a weapon of sorts.  We carried Ice Axes when winter climbing in Colorado but nothing else.  In my older age, before new knees, I used a variety of canes and made a longer walking staff from a piece of hickory a neighbor gave me.  I never used it as an aid in hiking or just walking but it saw good service as a way to open and close irrigation gates in the gated pipe I use.  You can open and close gates without bending over to get them with your hand.  I cut a flat on each side at the bottom of the staff to facilitate this task.  I broke the staff using it to try and turn a pipe a bit to change the angle of the gates to the ground.  Dumb on my part. I now use a shorter oak stick that is about 3/4" x 1 1/4" and the same length as the canes I used.

 
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2022, 08:07:58 AM »
 I have several canes (for mobility reasons) and hiking staffs (again, for mobility reasons), a couple of canes I have are made of hickory, have a shepherds hook on the end and are engraves with handholds, they are defense tools as well as mobility tools, the others are made of some other type of hardwoods and they are strictly for walking, one of my canes and two of my hiking staffs (both favorites) are made of fire hardened Bamboo, they are light but extremely strong.
 While I'm hiking or generally woods bumming I always rely on a hiking staff, they are not just for stability, but with a well made staff you can fend off most small and medium sized animals (think rabid raccoon, skunk, or even a timber rattler when surprised by either, it's good for moving brush out of your way, and in some instances can extend your reach, such as when trying to fill your bushpot with water, from a stream or shore line and don't want to get your feet wet, and of course they are good for holding up a tarp you're using for a temporary shelter.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2022, 08:59:32 AM »
I first became aware of the staff when I was a kid watching Friar Tuck & Little John dueling for the right to cross a stream via a single log bridge.  My brother and I immediately cut a couple of staffs and pretended to battle each other whenever the other issued a challenge. :duel:   

By coincidence, I saw an article on the use of the staff as a defensive weapon in the last issue of Backwoodsman Magazine.  Does anyone remember the Johnny Carson skit where he played the lovable Art Fern hawking 'Jimmy The Stick' on late night TV?  Do a search for it.....it's hilarious! :lol:
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Offline xj35s

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2022, 04:34:56 AM »
I happened across a great stick in my woods. I have the balance point marked. 1" markings for 2 feet. I carved some deep v notches for grunting worms. I have not yet found a compass for the top. There is an area for fishing line winding at the top and can be used for a hobo pole fishing. I drilled a small angled hole for matches with a cork stopper. A little old school but I like it. I want to do a stitched leather hand grip too. On the lower part I have a flat spot I carved and put an epoxy backed leather 1" x 6"strop on there for quick blade touch ups. It's about two feet hicher than I am, but I can pole the canoe with it. I believe it's off a maple but not certain. I like it.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2022, 07:55:21 AM »
I was familiar with the term Grunting when trying to get worms to the surface but how does the stick work?  I had heard that vibrations cause them to come out of the ground.
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Offline crashdive123

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2022, 02:28:06 PM »
I was familiar with the term Grunting when trying to get worms to the surface but how does the stick work?  I had heard that vibrations cause them to come out of the ground.

Here's the method that xj was talking about.



Here is another way that "pros" do it.


Offline wsdstan

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2022, 07:51:04 AM »
Thanks for posting that Crash.  What he does makes sense but cutting grooves in a hiking staff doesn't quite make sense given what the vibration goal is.

I could listen to that guy talk all day, great voice.
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Offline xj35s

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2022, 02:00:46 AM »
Why? I'll get a photo uploaded  today. I have plenty of thickness and I'm not whacking anything on the head with it. The notches don't need to be very deep. The idea is to make vibration. The thng doesn't have to go INTO the ground either. On top with down pressure works as well. I also do a quick up down and some long slower up down strokes. Then fast again. You're really just trying to annoy the heck out the little slimers.
Why doesn't it make sense though? If the top has fishing line wouldn't you want an easy way to get bait?
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2022, 08:19:16 AM »
I don't see how the grooves make any differences in the vibrations of a stick that you hit the ground with.  What the guys in the video are doing is creating a lot more vibrations.  A steel rod driven into the ground and hit from the sides would make sense.  It appears that the goal is to try and mimic a mole digging in the ground and grooves in a walking stick would not appear to make a lot of difference. 
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Offline xj35s

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2022, 01:38:30 AM »
I don't hit the ground sir. You lean on it heavily onto the ground. The grooves make a vaibration in the stave that verberate into the earth when rubbed hard with another stick. I call B.S. about the digging mole theory. We used to put a speaker face down, wired to a d cell battery. We could just tap one wire intermittenly to the battery or speaker contat making a high pitch click, and they would come up. All you have to do is annoy them.
Or you could just look under rocks and logs, or at night with a red light after a good rain. Your choice. I'm done here.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Hiking staff
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2022, 07:42:56 AM »
I agree with the mole BS and your explanation clarifies how it works.  Since your done you might not read this but Thanks for the explanation.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)