How to Make a Hiking Stick

How to Make a Hiking Stick
A good hiking stick can serve you well in a variety of situations. On the trail a hiking stick can take pressure off of sore joints, help navigate boulder fields and ease steep ascents and descents. There are even uses in the campsite, whether it's removing a hot pot from the stove or propping up a sagging tarp. Making your own hiking stick can bring you closer to your equipment and provide you with a tool you'll use in the outdoors for years to come.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Stick
  • Knife
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Work Glove
  • Varnish
  • Leather Cord
  • Power Drill
Step 1
Find the right stick. The perfect hiking stave will be straight, durable and light. Look for a stick or branch that can be cut to about shoulder height. The ideal diameter is between 5 and 7 inches. Look for a stick with a slight taper, getting thicker as it climbs to the handhold. While straight is important, it is considerably more important that the top and bottom are aligned than it is to be straight through the entire length.
Step 2
Cut off knots, branches and bark. Remove everything except the hard core of the wood. Anything that cannot be scraped off with downward pressure from a pocket knife should be sawed off.
Step 3
Leave your hiking stick to dry for a full month. Set it in a dry, sunlit location. Check periodically to make sure your stick is not exposed to the elements, insects or rot.
Step 4
Sand the entire surface of the stick. Begin with a rough grain and smooth out uneven patches produced while removing the bark. Follow up with a lighter grain until you can run a closed hand along the surface without splinters or a great deal of friction.
Step 5
Drill a hole through the hiking stick near the top. Smooth the hole with sand paper, then run the leather cord through and tie it in a knot to serve as a hand strap.
Step 6
Oil, varnish or stain your hiking stick. Depending on personal preference, apply a clear coat or a stain that will alter the color of the stick. Apply two coats.

Tips & Warnings

Many campsites and parks sell screw-on trail medallions designed for hiking sticks.
Stain or oil your hiking stick in a well-ventilated area. Use work gloves when scraping with the saw or knife.
Stain or oil your hiking stick in a well-ventilated area.
Use work gloves when scraping with the saw or knife.

Article Written By Louie Doverspike

Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.

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