How to Make a PVC Walking Stick

How to Make a PVC Walking Stick
Walking sticks are a smart idea on the trail. There are a number of outdoor situations in which having the extra support may prevent an injury or fall. They help hikers and backpackers with balance, maneuverability and defense.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) can be used to create a walking stick that is durable, inexpensive and unique. PVC is a lightweight, strong material which can provide a symmetrical, balanced stick. It comes in clear, white and a limited number of colors. Personal details and decorations can be added to individualize the stick or it can be left unadorned.


Difficulty: Moderate


Things You’ll Need:
  • Measuring tape
  • PVC pipe
  • PVC pipe cutter or hacksaw
  • Fine aluminum oxide sandpaper
  • Two PVC pipe caps
  • Two paper towels
  • PVC cement
  • Cordage
  • Knife or scissors
  • PVC plug
  • Decorations
Step 1
Choose a PVC pipe diameter which best fits your hand. This measurement will vary with the size of your palm and your preferred grip. If you are unsure which measurement is right for you, try a 1-1/4-inch outer diameter pipe.
Step 2
Choose a PVC pipe with at least a 1/8-inch thick pipe wall. Thinner walls may not support a load under stress, such as in a fall.

Larger hikers and those who carry heavy packs may want a thicker pipe. Be aware that a thicker pipe wall can mean a great difference in the stick's weight. The added weight can greatly affect a hiker on a long trail.
Step 3
Measure the distance from your armpit to the floor. This is the length of shaft you will need for your stick.
Step 4
Cut the shaft to fit your measurement using a PVC pipe cutter or hacksaw. Clean any rough patches or splinters away with fine aluminum oxide sandpaper.


Step 1
Purchase two caps which fit the diameter of the shaft. Use a clean, damp paper towel to wipe the inside edge of each cap and the outer rim of the shaft. Use a second paper towel to thoroughly dry the areas.

Apply PVC cement to the inside edge of each cap and the outer rim of the shaft. Place each cap and allow the adhesive to cure before use.
Step 2
Find the spot on your stick where your natural grip falls. Wrap this area in cordage for a better gripping surface.

Form a loop of cord to act as a wrist strap. A loop of 6 to 8 inches should fit most people. You can perform a test run before finally tying off the cord to personalize the fit.
Step 3
Choose a plug instead of a cap for your pipe if you would like to use it as a trail kit (a cap can be used if it is not glued in place). Maps and lightweight emergency gear can be stored inside, protected from damage but at the ready when you need them.
Step 4
Decorate your stick to personalize it. PVC can be carved or items can be glued to the surface. Choose a water-based acrylic or latex paint which is compatible with PVC if you prefer to paint your stick.

Tips & Warnings

UV rays can weaken the PVC over time, but this should not significantly affect trail use if the walking stick is otherwise stored out of direct sunlight. Deep carving will weaken the stick, so make shallow cuts or use a carved stick for light duty.

Article Written By Alice Moon

Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.

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