DIY Walking Sticks – Affordable and Inventive!!

DIY Homemade Walking Sticks:

Product: DIY Walking Stick

Price: $0.00

Cheapest Place to Buy: The Forest Floor

Tools Needed: Axe or machete if cutting branch down, knife to peel bark, sand paper and finishing oil.

My rating: 7.5 out of 10

 


DIY Walking Stick – what and why?

Great question my friend! A DIY walking stick is a walking stick that you make and design yourself. I love this approach as it is both affordable and inventive!

1. Affordable – especially if you already have the tools needed to make it! Which, as listed above, is thankfully not an extensive list!

2. Inventive – there is so much room to imagine, create and be original. The design, style and outcome is totally up to you. The freedom is as large as your imagination and innovative spirit.

Choosing a Stick

Length: If the plan is to have a casual walking stick, then you want a stick that goes from the floor to just above where the elbow hangs. If you are looking for a hiking stick for going up and down hills I would recommend a stick that is shoulder height.
That way you have tons of room to adjust your grip with the curve of the hills you ascend and descend.


Weight:
I am a huge fan of drift wood as it is super light. But usually that isn’t around and I end up finding a tree branch of sorts. And honestly, the weight is just your call. Of course, try not to find a great big bulky sucker. Just pick it up and imagine walking with it for a few kilometers (Canadian eh?).

Girth: This is pretty important as the stick needs to be strong enough to support your body – especially in the incidence of a fall. Select a stick that is large enough to support your weight but not so large that it is overly bulky and heavy. I don’t know that there is any science behind this (duh!) but I go for a girth where my fingers don’t quite touch when wrapped around it, but are pretty darn close to touching. If that makes any sense!

Strength: I am usually pretty rough with the stick when first picking it as I want to be 0 confident in its ability to support my body weight. I give it a light bend and some hard taps and try it out for a ways before taking it home.Wooden Walking Stick

DIY Tips

Trim: Just like it sounds – trim off any small branches that are coming out of you larger branch. I use a small knife for this and have always found it to be adequate. Mind you I am biased, as my wife got me a gorgeous buck knife for Christmas. It is sharp.

Remove Bark: Once you have everything trimmed off you are going to want to remove the bark. Typically, there are three different types of bark: outer bark, what I call green bark, and an orange inner bark. You want to remove all.

The outer bark is the bark you can see right away. Green bark is the middle bark and has a, you called it, green color to it. Orange bark is the inner layer of bark and can not be seen until the wood is dry. No need to overthink whether or not you get the orange layer.

The first thing I do is to sharpen my knife, or check if it is sharp. Then, I prefer to start in the middle of the stick and go out. Place the knife against the stick with a very slight downwards slope, use some pressure and slide the knife along the bark. The bark will just peel right off. If you see the green bark, go over it lightly again. Then I flip the wood over and do the other side.

Rounding: After I peel the bark I always round the edges of the pole slightly. This helps give the handle more comfort as well as makes the bottom sturdier and less likely to split.


Dry:
When the bark is all peeled, you want to dry the wood. All you need to do is bring it inside and let it sit. Typically, just 24 hours is enough. This is when you can tell if the orange bark is still there. If so there is nothing to worry off. The layer is so thin that you can simply sand it off.

Sanding: This is perhaps one of the most important processes. It is time-consuming and can be tedious, but so vital. It gets any nicks out, smoothes the entire stick and takes aware the chances of any splinters out. Sand with the grain of the wood. I do 3 layers when sanding. First with 100 grit paper, then 200 grit paper, and then 400 grit paper.

Wipe: Simply wipe down the stick with a dry cloth to get off any dust from sanding. This is a good time to closely look the stick over, feel it everywhere with your hand and make sure it is smooth and to your liking.

Personality: Now this is by far my favorite step. You get to bust out all your creativity and customize your staff. You can paint your staff, tie yarn or ribbon on it, burn an image into it, leave it rustic, stain it, or carve images or notches into it. Literally anything you can dream up.


Finish:
This step varies based on how you personalized your staff. But typically when I finish I like to put a finish on my DIY Walking Stick. Just as it keeps everything nice and fresh longer. I do not have a specific form of oil I prefer. But some options are tung oil, linseed oil or you can do a spray such as varathane. I recommend putting the oil on generously, letting it dry fully and then sanding it again with 400 grit paper. Then just repeat this 2-3 times.

The personality and finish steps may need to be reversed based on what you try.

 


All in all I love the homemade stick. There are of course cons – the sturdiness isn’t always guaranteed, you have one staff opposed to two, they can splinter and the hand rests aren’t always perfect. But, and this is a big but, I say that all namely for the sake of honesty and wanting you to fully know what you are getting into. I genuinely enjoy having a homemade walking stick and would recommend it to people. The individuality goes a long way. And if you are patient in getting one, you really can search for the perfect canvas and create a beautiful and sturdy staff.

What are your thoughts? Would you consider the more DIY way and craft your own staff instead of purchasing one?

Hiking Pole Camera Mount – The Trusty Monopod

I have been thinking for a while of getting a hiking pole camera mount. Honestly, I don’t think there is a better way to spend your day than combing favorite hobbies. For me, that involves hiking and photography. Now, I wouldn’t call myself a superman man of a hiker, nor an amazing photographer, but alas, I greatly enjoy both. There is something so special and rewarding about hiking to the top of a mountain, overlooking the world, and capturing the memory with a photograph.

But unfortunately in the past I have run into some issues when trying to combine these two hobbies. It’s shocking how little justice most cameras do to the beauty before them. I will over look the most magnificent view, take a picture and be shell shocked at how… pitiful the photo can be. Add in trying to take a selfie or a shot of you and your hiking partner, and it just gets more disheartening.

Hence, – a hiking pole camera mount, or in other words, a mono pod. I’ve only ever taken simple photography classes. SO I am not a camera pro by any means. I would have to do so much research to know what camera to advise someone to use. But what I do know is that a steady base for your photo makes a big difference.

Pros of a Monopod

Oh friend, let me tell you. Monopods are the bees knees of hiking and photography being combined. They are incredible for a few different reasons:

Lightweight: Now if you have read my previous posts you know that I am all about hiking smart. Which is basically the same as hiking with as little weight as possible. A tripod, selfie stick or some DIY rendition is, simply put, not going to be light enough to trek up a mountain with. A mono pod is however.

  • Now, you are more than welcome to use just a cell phone with your hiking poles – which I admit, I often do. But it just doesn’t cut it for me anymore when it comes to truly capturing the beauty before me. It lacks the stability, as well as the ability to take far out shots.

Multipurpose: What I love about a mono pod is that it is not only significantly lighter than a tripod, but it can double as a hiking pole. It is also so much better than a selfie stick – as you can’t use one of those to support weight, decrease fatigue or steady yourself.

  • A mono pod is just the best of both worlds. Light, sturdy, fatigue and pain reducing and, it assists in getting a gorgeous photo with a solid camera.

Allowance: There are a surprising amounts of places (zoos, restaurants, concerts etc) that either do not like or even, in some cases, prohibit the use of a tripod. And in some places mother nature seems to be the one prohibiting tripods. There are tough places to hike into where tripods don’t always cut it. But, you can do these spots with a mono pod.

  • Monopods are allowed pretty much everywhere as they take up little space and are easy to move or maneuver in a hurry. They are just all around more practical if there are lots of people around or if the terrain is intense.
  • So be it a crowd or a mountain summit – a mono pod is a good option for your photos.

Cons of a Monopod

One thing you should know about me, I’m into honesty. So I am not going to write something without having that factor in it. There are cons to a mono pod. If you sort of like to hike but are really into photography, monopods may not be the best choice.

Less Stability: Monopods are not as stable as tripods. It’s that plain and simple. Monopods’s have one leg for support whereas tripods have, drum roll please… three. If you are shooting and really need the stable factor, a tripod is most likely a better option. 

Shutter speed: Now this is where stuff gets technical and can go above my head. But my research has led me to understand that if the shutter speed is too fast the mono pod is not as useful. When the shutter speed (how long the shutter is open when you take a photo) is fast, you are less likely to need a mono pod as the camera will take a good and clear photo anyways. And the use of the mono pod for stability becomes less important.


Would I personally buy a Monopod

Simple answer, yes. If I could find hiking pole with a camera mount or a mono pod or something DIY and similar, I would. I have yet to dig into brands and do all the super intense work on which option I would buy. But I have done the pros and cons weighing as well as the matching of those to my life style. And, I have come to the conclusion that for someone like me, someone who loves loves loves to hike and really enjoys taking photo’s of their hikes, a mono pod would be a huge asset.

What about you? Have you ever considered a mono pod? Do you have one?

 

Back Pain Relief Remedies – Can Hiking Relieve Back Pain?

Back pain is a haunting issue so that so many people face. It is something that Tiffany has to deal with on a regular basis. Tiffany has scoliosis, a twisted spine, and had corrective surgery for it in 2008. She went from one extreme to another physically and we want to tell you about it in this article. We want to share the natural back pain relief remedy that she stumbled across: hiking with poles.

Background info on My Wife

Scoliosis is a fancy word for a crooked spine. Tiffany’s spine is shaped in an S. She wore a brace from 12-16years old, which was a bit of a nightmare. Talk about character building – I mean teenage life is crazy enough before you through in 24/7 back pain and an awkward and large back brace. But alas, she made it through it.

At 18 she had surgery. Two rods and a ton of screws were placed in her back to help straighten her spine. She is basically my own personal wolverine.

Unfortunately she slipped into a bit of depression after surgery. For around 5-6 years Tiff just lost her active side. Whether from post surgical depression, not healing well, fear of pain, or lack of physiotherapy, Tiffany’s body slipped into a very painful and unhealthy state.

To give an example, we went swimming once hoping to get her back on the path to health. A light swim ended up with Tiffany in the emergency room, out of work for two weeks and feeling completely defeated. This only worsened the fear and anxiety she had around “activeness.”

Walking helped the back pain

Now it seems silly to say that the thing that helped was walking, but it was. After we got married I realized just how intensely my wife was living in fear of exercises, getting hurt or being active. Now me being a natural born out doors man offered to help.

She said yes.

We started out so slow. Twenty minute walks here and there. We over did it sometimes and she would be in bed for a few days. Walks often ended in tears and disheartened feelings. But with patience, perseverance and a deep desire to be physically healthy and mentally free, we got there. Tiffany began to go for longer walks. Instead of 20 minutes we would be out there for 40. It slowly increased, and then increased some more.

Hills came, now those were brutal on her lower back. The pain was trying to resurface. But we fought through the mental pain together and she began to overcome her fear and anxiety.

Back pain is as debilitating mentally as it is suffocating physically.

But that did not stop her.

Walking turned to hiking

One day the walk got longer, the hill got steeper, and I saw a huge smile on her face. Suddenly, she was going for an hour or more. She was asking to go out and excited to get to the top of a hill.

There is something so amazing about looking back on the process. Fighting through it all and seeing the results: pain free walking. This is where the walks turned to hikes. And suddenly, the poles came into play.

The hiking poles finished the job on taking away the anxiety and fear. Tiffany all of a sudden stepped with confidence; she was no longer afraid of falling and being unable to get up. It completely transformed my wife. She would take on hills, slippery slopes, and even a mountain.

The best back pain relief

For Tiffany’s back, the best relief was found in hiking (longer more intense walks often accompanied by hills and tougher terrain). When hiking with poles the body moves gracefully and steadily and is not strained. The hiking poles took pressure off her joints, provided her with steady steps, got her upper body moving and prevented her from tensing up. The simple movement of the arms was what she needed to help loosen up the back.

It is still shocking to us. But there is a reason we love hiking poles. They literally changed the game for us.

What life is like now

Last year we took on Mount July, here in British Columbia. It was surreal. My wife hiked an @ grade mountain. We reached the top. But the amazing part is that she did it all with no back pain. She was steady, confident and pain free. That is huge. It’s surreal.

Not only that, but she loved it. She found a joy she didn’t know she was capable of having. For any of you that live with chronic pain or know of someone that does, you understand that constant battle. It’s a battle of the mind, and the way the pain debilitates it. It is a battle of the body, and the way the pain affects every area of life.

Through walking, hiking and then adding hiking poles, my wife is walking on the side of freedom. My wife is living again.

Yesterday we did a 26km hike. While her legs currently feel like jelly, and she is incredibly sore, she is not having any back pain. Seriously, that is insane. Remember when we talked about her being in pain after 20 minutes? Well that season of life is long gone. We hiked 26km in 9 hours and she is doing great. And, if I may brag about her some more, she even had a light pack on her back.

Slowly but surely, she has come to a place of physical health. And, with it has been accompanied with the freedom it brings. When friends get together to toss a Frisbee, play some volleyball or go for a walk, SHE GETS TO COME. And, she joins in and has fun! When the sun is shining and it’s too beautiful to stay inside, Tiffany gets to go outside and enjoy it. My wife is alive again.

Can hiking relieve back pain?

I think we have made our stance on this pretty clear. It is with excitement that I get to say: absolutely. Hiking can help to relieve back pain. It takes patience, time, tears, starting slow and staying steady, but hiking can absolutely help reduce pain.

The difference it has made for us brings us so much passion for life. Standing beside her, on top of a mountain and looking over the world… well I never thought I would be able to do that with her. Thank God we are able to now.

It has been two years since we started our journey into hiking. I can not wait to see what we accomplish next.

How about you all? What holds you back, makes you excited or brings passion to your life? What barriers stand in between you and pursuing that health habit? My passion for overcoming those things is strong. I would love to chat, help or listen in any way needed.

 

 

Hiking Poles For Kids – Sweet Variety

Check out these great hiking poles for kids. You can have your choice of color, length, and hand grips. There are so many different styles for kids. In the next couple paragraphs we will go over what kids are looking for in a hiking pole. The different styles can be a little overwhelming at first so we will cover that as well. Personally I think hiking sticks are the coolest because of all the different varieties. I’m planning on getting a couple pairs for my own nieces and nephews.

Why For Kids?

Kids/youth/teens are growing and developing strength. Having bad posture when out hiking is a hard thing for the body to deal with, especially in these stages of development. Hiking poles for kids of all ages are a wonderful idea because theyHiking Poles For Kids will help them have a proper posture when hiking or walking. By doing this you can help to prevent potential health problems in the future related to back, knee or hip pain.

My wife and I both have some back problems and may I say that using hiking poles has taken a lot of back and knee pain away from both of us. When you or your kids use poles for walking or when on the trail the amount of impact that your body is exposed to is significantly lower due to a portion of your weight transferring onto the pole. Poles for kids set them up for successful exercise that builds their body and creates a safe foundation right beneath their feet.

Reducing Fatigue

Another practical way that hiking poles positively affect children is by reducing fatigue. Walking with poles reduces the strain on the muscles in the body and helps to provide a consistent and steady pace when walking. The tension that is relieved when walking with a hiking pole is noticeably and arguably one of it’s best assets. This therefore, reduces fatigue. Children often greatly vary in their energy throughout longer walks. Hiking poles are a great way to keep them steady, sure of themselves and confident in where they place their feet.

Length

The length of a trekking pole is a necessity to understand, like for adults the proper length is determined according to the height of the individual. The taller you are the longer pole you will need and also the shorter you are the shorter hiking pole you need. It is recommended that when standing on flat ground the pole should be adjusted so your elbow is at 90 degrees when your hand is located on the grip of the adjustable trekking pole. When looking at the length of a hiking pole before purchase an easy way to do it is to make sure the hiking pole is adjustable from, for example, being able to extend from 25 inches to 40 inches. By doing this the person that you are getting the pole/poles for will be able to use this pole for an extra extended about of time.

Hand grips

Remember the comfier the handle is for kids the more this age group will want to use them. Read the reviews off the certain hiking poles you are looking at to purchase to make sure they have a good enough handle so that your kid can use it. For example: if the handle is too big then they will not be able to handle the hiking pole properly as their hand may be able to slip off which would defeat the purpose of the pole all together. You can also look into getting handles of different materials: rubber, lots of flex, less flex and even a cloth material.

Complete style

The wrist strap attached to the handle can also be styled to your kids needs. So if your child is into hello kitty then you can get yourself a hello kitty wrist strap. Your child can totally customize their hiking pole and it’s accessories to suite their style. I know my nephews love their toys to be their favorite color and I can also relate to this because I also like objects of mine to be a certain color. I prefer my hiking poles to be black or blue. For this reason I suggest getting your kids a color they love not only to get them to like it but to get them to use it as well. When my wife and I go hiking our poles are our go to item to grab before heading out the door. Where mine are more heavy-duty looking, hers are brighter and more feminine looking. Which fits both of our personalities. This is the fantastic thing about getting hiking poles for your kids. Nothing better than each of your children being able to have poles especially designed their personalities.

Conclusion Of The Matter

Whether setting out on a walk around town or hitting up a steep slope, a solid pair of hiking poles will be a huge asset to your kids. They help them to be confident in their steps, create a firm and reliable foundation under their feet, help reduce fatigue when walking and can be perfectly designed to compliment their personalities. Hiking poles for kids are a huge benefit to their, and in turn your, out door experience.

Review Aluminum Trekking Poles -TrailBuddy Poles (2 pck)

Product: TrailBuddy Trekking Poles – Strong, Lightweight 7075 Aluminum (2 pck)

Price: $36.99

Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com

Length:

21 inches – disassembled

24.5 inches – collapsed

54 inches – fully extended

Weight Per Pole:

9.7 ounces without basket or tip

10.2 ounces with basket or tip

My rating: 9 out of 10


Strong, Sturdy, Secure

Trailbuddy Aluminum Trekking Poles have completely impressed me. So many poles are weak, and break under pressure. Simply put, these ones do not. They can have lots of weight on them, be used frequently and take you along unstable and rocky terrain. These poles withstand the measures they are subjected too. Trailbuddy aluminum poles are just all around tough poles.

You know when you go for a walk and feel a weak pole kind of quiver under your body weight? Well not with these ones you don’t. That’s something I like about them. I have gone out before with a weaker material and I just didn’t trust them. I didn’t trust them to withhold my weight or to not break under pressure.

The poles do not waver. They are sturdy and they do not give me a reason not to trust them. But alas, I always pictured a super sturdy and strong pole to be heavy. But ladies and gents, that is not the case. These are strong AND light.

Lightweight

Now this may very well be one of my favorite features of them. Hiking poles are great for many reasons, one of them being that they allow you to hike longer and be less fatigued. This is just accelerated when you have lighter poles. Some poles you can “feel” when you walk. You are picking them up and pulling them forward. Not a good thing. It would actually tire one out. Which is a total catch 22.

Hiking poles are designed to make hiking safer, steadier and more efficient. These poles are so lightweight that they do just that. You barely feel them. I highly recommend these poles for this reason alone. But the fact that they made them lightweight aluminum and so steady – well I am just sold.

Trekking Poles

Lever-locking

I kid you not, I just got back from a hike. But alas, I didn’t have these poles with me, and I missed them. The poles I used were twist lock. So here I am, making my way down a steep, slippery and muddy hill and my pole gives out because it wasn’t twisted tight enough.

Folks, I was a flailing mess. The trail buddy poles here have lever locks. You can adjust them with gloves on or off, in any weather and then they STAY IN PLACE.

To anyone that has been in the shoes I was this morning, awkwardly trying to catch my balance when my pole randomly gave out, you know just how immensely important this feature is. Do not over look it friends. It can save you from a lot of embarrassing (Thankfully my wife wasn’t video taping my flailing, yelping self). But more importantly, it can save you from a nasty and completely preventable fall.

Today was an eye-opener for me. I can’t afford to not have my lever-locking poles with me. Especially when I hit up the mountains this summer.

All about comfort

The handles on these babies are quite lovely. They actually mold to the shape of your hand. Now this can seem like an unnecessary luxury. You could argue that it is. But it is a luxury I seriously enjoy having. Especially on long hikes. Last summer we did a ten-hour hike. And having comfortable handles makes a big difference when the hours start adding up.

They handles are also moisture wicking. Which is a fancy way of saying that they draw moisture away from the body so that it can evaporate more easily.

Straps on hiking poles often can chaff or irritate the hand. And while I don’t think I will ever find a strap that I full on enjoy, I must say that these ones are not terrible. The straps have padding in them. Not a bulky amount, but enough to not chaff the skin.


Have any of you guys tried these poles? Or do you have any poles you prefer over them? If so, please leave a comment and let me know!