How To Make A Hiking Stick

When hiking on challenging trails, sometimes you might lose control and stability. In this situation, a hiking stick will be beneficial.

Instead of purchasing a hiking stick on the market, you can make it yourself with common and natural materials. Also, the steps are straightforward. So, if you want to know how to make a hiking stick, don’t skip this article!

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Hiking Stick And Its Role

Hiking Stick And Its Role
Hiking Stick And Its Role

A hiking stick is a piece of essential and standard equipment for almost all hikers, climbers. In general, it is a straight and tall stick, usually made of lightweight metal or wood.

Hiking staff are not strictly necessary in all cases. For example, if you are only walking in parks or on flat terrains, a hiking stick is not required.

You just need a hiking staff when there is a bulky backpack behind your back, or you have to go uphill and downhill.

In these cases, a hiking pole could bring many advantages and make your hiking experience more enjoyable.

Avoiding joint-stress

One of the most considerable benefits of this tool is that it could keep your joints from under too much pressure and stress, especially when you hike uphill and downhill.

When you walk on a steep trail, the joints in your knees often experience more shocks than on flat terrains. Walking sticks could absorb part of these shocks and help your joints become more comfortable.

Avoiding swelling

Not only that, but the hiking stick is also an effective tool to keep your hands in a “healthy” place while hiking tall mountains.

This stick will assist in raising your arms in an appropriate position. This position will combine with your steps, creating an excellent exercise for arm blood circulation. In this way, you could avoid swelling in your fingers, hands, and wrists.

Maintaining balance

Maintaining balance 
Maintaining balance

There is no doubt that three “legs” will be better than two legs to keep the balance and stability.

You could use a hiking stick on challenging terrains and conditions as a limb to help your steps be more stable. You could use this tool when hiking on narrow trails, climbing up and down hills, or even crossing moving water.

Moreover, in harsh weather conditions like heavy rains, high winds, and blizzard, hiking sticks will help you stand up and not be blown by the wind.

What Will You Need – Tools And Materials

In general, self-making a hiking staff seems to be a straightforward process. You just need some standard tools and materials for typical woodworking to have a great hiking stick.

Tools

Here are some required tools for creating a hiking stick:

Work gloves: to protect your hands from getting a splinter into one’s finger

Saw: to trim the stick

Box cutter: to prune rough spots on the stick

Sandpaper: to smoothen the stick

Tack rag: to wipe the sick

Tung or boiled linseed oil: to wipe the stick and to create a finish layer for the stick

Paste wax: to slightly sand the stick

Optimal decor: you could use wood stain, paint to decor your stick

Materials

There are numerous types of trees, but not all are suitable for making a walking stick
There are numerous types of trees, but not all are suitable for making a walking stick

There are numerous types of trees, but not all are suitable for making a walking stick. Here are some ideal materials to help you have the best hiking pole:

Beech wood: if you prefer the most durable hiking sticks, beech wood is the best option. It is not only rugged and robust but also wear-resistant and easy to bend. Moreover, its light cream color will make your wood stain process effortless.

Ash wood: This one is known as the king of wood. With rough and solid texture, great elastic ability, and durability, ash wood will be the best material for a long-lasting hiking stick.

Hazelwood: if you want a colorful and pretty walking stick, there is no reason to refuse hazelwood. Its bark could come in various colors, from light silver to dark brown. Thanks to that, your hazelwood stick would be unique and outstanding.

Chestnut wood: this type of material has a straight grain, which is very beneficial to make a perfect hiking pole. Moreover, you could separate the bark of the chestnut wood and smoothen its surface very quickly.

Blackthorn wood: this one is one of the traditional woods in Ireland. It is solid and durable for challenging hikes. Moreover, these great colors and attractive textures will help you have an ideal hiking stick.

How To Measure for A Hiking Stick

Each person will be suitable for a specific size of a hiking stick. Thus, you need to know the way to measure a hiking stick.

Hiking stick size chart

How To Measure for A Hiking Stick 
How To Measure for A Hiking Stick

In general, an ideal length of a hiking stick would be the same length from the ground to your wrist. With that size, you could hole this walking stick easily without getting your hands tired.

To know the most appropriate size of hiking stick for your height, you should consider the recommended hiking pole size chart below:

Your Height (Inch)Your Height (Cm)Recommended hiking stick size (cm)
4’0”122 cm85 cm
4’2” – 4’4”127 cm – 132 cm90 cm
4’6”13795 cm
4’8” – 4’10”142 cm – 147 cm100 cm
5’0”152 cm105 cm
5’2”157 cm110 cm
5’4” – 5’6”163 cm – 168 cm115 cm
5’8”173 cm120 cm
5’10” – 6’0”178 cm – 183 cm125 cm
6’2”188 cm130 cm
6’4”193 cm135 cm

Hiking stick measurement

Hiking stick measurement
Hiking stick measurement

The first step you have to do is measuring your total height. Then, it would help if you calculated the length from your feet to your wrists.

An excellent hiking stick will have a length that reaches the top of the palm effortlessly. To measure this length, you need to relax your arms and keep your forearms at a 90-degree angle from your arm.

Other sizing considerations

In cases you usually hike uphill, you will need a shorter hiking stick to minimize the overstretching.

If you want to use a hiking pole for downhill hikes, your stick should be long enough to assist you in keeping balance and stability.

For more information , let’s watch a helpful video on:

Watch video: What length should walking poles be?

How To Make A Hiking Stick

Here are eight basic steps to make a hiking stick. You could use both dry wood and green wood to make a hiking pole.

Step 1: Trim the stick

After choosing a suitable type of wood for your hiking stick, it is time to trim this one. If you see some branches growing from the bar, you can use a hand saw to cut them.

If these branches are small and weak, you could use an Exacto saw or even a box cutter to deal with them.

Remember that when trimming the stick, you should cut branches parallel to the pole. Do not prune too close to the bark since it might cause the bar to lose its perfect straight shape.

Step 2: Remove the bark

Remove the bark
Remove the bark

If you want to have the most natural hiking stick, you can keep the bark and skip this step. However, removing the bark is one of the most effective ways to avoid insect infestation.

In this step, you will need a box cutter. Firstly, put your hiking stick on a flat surface. A picnic table is recommended. Then, slowly remove the wood bark.

You do not need to make many efforts to perform this step. Instead, it would be best if you let the tool do its job. You could start at one end of the hiking stick until the red inner crust appears.

Step 3: Sand the stick

When performing this step, you should wear a sanding mask to protect your face and eyes. You could use sandpaper or a belt sander to make the process quicker.

It would be best if you started at the knots on the stick since these are the bulkiest spots in your hiking stick. You have to wrap 100 grit sandpaper around a 2×4 block to do that.

After sanding the knots, you need to grind the entire stick to have a smooth hiking stick. If you just use sandpaper from start to the end, you will need to use 200 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper, respectively, to have the smoothest surface.

Step 4: Wipe the stick

Wipe the stick
Wipe the stick

You might think this step is unnecessary, but it will be very beneficial for the following steps. You will need a rag, optimally a free cotton rag, to wipe the stick in this step.

For the best cleanness, you could add some boiled linseed oil to the stick. After the oil layer dries, you could use the prepared rag and lightly wipe the hiking pole.

Step 5: Decorate the stick

If you use fresh wood to make the hiking pole, you have to dry it for two weeks or longer before decorating it.

You could use paintings, carvings, emblems, and wood burnings to make your hiking stick unique and attractive. Also, you could use some other materials to decorate the grip area.

Step 6: Make a wrist loop

A wrist loop will help you carry the hiking stick easier. To make this loop, you will need to drill a hole at one end of the hiking stick.

Then, use a heavy cord and thread it through this hole. You should adjust this cord to match your wrist size.

Step 7: Apply wood stain

Apply wood stain
Apply wood stain

This step will make your hiking stick more durable and attractive. You could apply at least two layers of wood stain. After each coat, you need to dry wood overnight.

After that, you should add some layers of urethane varnish to seal the hiking stick. Also, this step will keep your hiking stick safe from rots.

Step 8: Strengthen the stick

You could use a copper pipe with the same diameter as the walking stick to strengthen your walking stick in this step.

For more information , let’s watch a helpful video on:

Watch video: How to Make Hiking Sticks

How To Know The Quality of A Hiking Stick

Many factors could affect the quality of a hiking stick. Here are some needed considerations that you should make to know the quality of your hiking pole.

Height

The standard height of a walking stick could be from the ground to your wrist. At this height range, you could hole the walking stick effortlessly. Thus, if a hiking stick is shorter than this height level, it might not be the best equipment for your journey.

If you usually climb hills, I recommend you go to higher hiking staff, which could be your shoulder height. Even though they might be slightly heavier in weight, their length is optimal for sloping terrains.

Diameter

How To Know The Quality of A Hiking Stick 
How To Know The Quality of A Hiking Stick

A high-quality hiking stick has a suitable diameter for your weight. If you are heavy, you will need a large-diameter hiking stick to have the most effective support.

A thick walking stick might add some weight to your trip, but in general, it could be beneficial in withstanding insect attack, the wear and tear.

Material

Material is another important factor that you should consider carefully to have the best-quality hiking stick.

Instead of using dry wood to make a hiking stick, greenwood will help you have more durable and higher–quality equipment. Moreover, when choosing wood, you should pick a type of wood that is both strong and lightweight.

In addition, a thick branch will be more effective than a thin one since it could prevent insect attacks better.

FAQs

What are hiking sticks made of?

There are two most common types of hiking sticks that you could buy on the market, including metal sticks and wooden sticks. Metal sticks are generally made of lightweight materials like aluminum, carbon fiber.

What is the best wood to make a high-quality hiking stick?

In general, wooden hiking sticks are made of local trees such as hazel, blackthorn, birch, oak, cherry, and elder. When you choose a type of wood to make a hiking stick, you should use green wood since it’s more durable, customizable than dry wood.

How long does it take to make a hiking stick?

If you want to create a stick for immediate use, you just need to spend about 10 – 15 minutes. However, if you prefer to stain it, you have to dry the wood for 4 to 7 days.

How long can a normal hiking stick last?

The answer depends on how you use a hiking stick and what material you choose. For example, if you use a hiking stick regularly on rugged terrains, it might break after a few weeks. Also, metal sticks seem to last longer than wooden sticks.

What makes a good hiking stick?

To make an ideal hiking stick, you have to measure the right and suitable length. Too short or too long walking sticks are hard to hold and carry when hiking. Moreover, other factors like weight, material are needed considerations.