9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

man wearing black jacket near mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | Featured

Arm yourself with a survival stick, get savvy with it, but first, find out why as you read on!

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Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

A walking stick or a survival cane were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries as a decorative show of power and a defensive replacement for a sword. Yet, the truth is our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years, and for good reason…

…They work! Even the animal kingdom is smart enough to know just how useful these are:


(It may be hard to see, but this gorilla is holding a walking stick to gauge the depth of the water as she sloshes along)

A walking stick is not a new or revolutionary idea. In fact, the use of a walking stick predates history and its use continued on for generations including this present time.

Yet, it is one which is more often than not overlooked. When most people think of a walking stick, it is usually paired with a top hat or seen as a crutch for someone with a walking disability.

Far too few people even realize how important a walking stick can be, especially to someone in the outdoors. We will dig a little deeper into the many uses of a survival stick and maybe safely say, it could be the first multi-purpose survival tool.

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

Walking sticks are also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles and hiking staff have quite a few different uses:

1. Survival Hiking Stick

Hold the survival stick in front of you and you can use it to clear your way by parting brushes and branches or leaves and thick tall grasses. You can also use it to clear spiderwebs, especially if you're not too fond of spiders.

Other insects, animals, poisonous plants, and even animal dung can get in the way. Use a survival stick to inspect or poke at those things if you are unsure, and never ever your hands or your feet.

2. Survival Stick for Support

Making your way through an uneven terrain will be more manageable with a walking stick for support. Whether you're going up or down, use the walking stick to either slow you down or hold you up.

Hiker in Caucasus mountains is crossing mountain river | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | hiking staff

You can use your walking stick like breaks to keep you from speeding down or use it to latch on to a rock or crevice when you're climbing up. Besides for yourself, you can also use your multipurpose stick as a support for your tarp emergency shelter.

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

It happens–a supply or gear falling on water, mud, puddle or in an area you dare not walk into. You can fetch or reach for those items with a stick.

It also happens where you need an item over a physical barrier and only a stick can fetch the item for you. You can also reach for fruits, nest, or other food sources up a tree or high structure with a stick.

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4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

To use a survival stick as a weapon, make sure it's a sturdy stick with a finished look and not just any stick you found along the way. You can use it to defend yourself from an attacker whether it's human or animal.

I would suggest training yourself in some form of martial arts using a stick like a baton as a weapon to have a better handle at it.

You can also fashion a spear with your stick by tying a survival knife on one end. Don't throw this spear though or you risk damaging or losing your knife and stick.

Hold on to your homemade spear and only use it to thrust at your target.

5. Balance

When you're crossing a log bridge over a stream or you're going through the stream itself or other bodies of water, a walking stick can help you balance so you don't fall over. If you're walking through a muddy or rocky waterbed, a walking stick will help you up.

Hiker is crossing the river in Sweden | Hiker in Caucasus mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | survival hiking stickIf you're up for it and if the body of water isn't too wide across, you can also use a long stick like a pole vault to cross over so you don't get yourself wet.

6. Gauging Depth

Relative to crossing bodies of water, a survival stick is handy in identifying dips beneath the waters that could cause you to stumble. You can also use the stick to identify where it's safe to take the next step.

You can also use this simple trick with the stick when you're traveling in deep snow, marshland, and even the desert.

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

Use your survival stick to help you carry gear and supplies. Pack your supplies with a shemagh, tie it tight to one end of your stick then place the stick over your shoulders in hobo fashion.

You can also carry more supplies with your survival stick. Even today, a carrying pole is used by indigenous people all over the world to carry heavy supplies you never thought possible.

Hang bags of supplies or jars of water on either side of the pole or stick, putting a stopper like a notch or tie on both ends so they don't fall off. Place the center of the stick over your shoulders and balance your load to your destination.

8. Club

Use your survival stick like a club to knock obstacles down. A pillar of rocks or other objects may be on your way and a sturdy stick can help you safely knock those.

Man carrying blue backpack | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | walking staff weapon

If you are in a building with glass doors or windows or inside a car, you can break the glass with a stick. Make to knock over pieces around your entrance or exit with the stick, too.

9. Fishing Rod

You only need to bring a fishing kit and your survival stick will make a good fishing rod. Tie a line on one end of your walking stick and fish away.

A DIY fishing pole is actually effective and many a fish has been caught this way.

As you guys and gals already know, I am a stickler for carrying things only if they have multiple uses. This guy managed to fit almost an entire survival kit into a walking stick he built from scratch, for under $20.00.

Check out this video from SOS 2054 I found, and find out for yourself, too:

A humble walking stick will indeed surprise you with what it can do for your defense, convenience, safety, and survival. Since you know now the practical and survival uses of this primitive multi-purpose tool, it won't surprise me if it lands a top spot on your list of survival tools for camping, hiking, or SHTF.

What other uses can you think of for carrying a “survival stick”? Let us know in the comments section below!

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**Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

31 Responses to :
9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

  1. Paul Fuller says:

    Very good idea –especially like because yesterday I threw together a PVC arrow case (5 arrows) for about $10.00 at Home Depot which can be the start of a walking stick—using sling shot for bow–going to Nevada desert with buncha friends for several days for target practice–gonna try it

    1. Paula says:

      How did you make your arrow case out of PVC? Diameter/length, etc? Thanks

      1. dewey says:

        measure your arrows dummy!!!

        1. KTL says:

          So rude. Your Mama taught you better.

  2. As a veteran martial artist, my favorite weapon was the staff. I had the Honor of sparring with Danny Inosanto who took over Kali-Jeet-Koon-Do after Bruce Lee. Myself and 4 other 1st degree black belts went up against a 60 year old man with his staff, and he had all of us swept to the ground in less than 30 seconds. I am now crippled from a motor cycle wreck among other things, and often have to walk with a cane. That cane is my staff, and I guarantee I can put the average attacker to the ground in seconds. Part of the beauty of that is you can carry it anywhere, Government buildings, Airplanes…So you always have a defensive weapon at your side. I have a CHL, and pepper spray on my keychain, and would prefer to use either of those instead of my gun. I’m one of those people that grabs a paper towel to throw a bug outside instead of killing it. If I can get away with diffusing a bad situation, or if need be, use something non lethal on an attacker, I feel alot better about that then killing them. In Texas you can shoot someone in your driveway if they are breaking into your car. I would just call 911 and stay in my house with my sidearm, and let the police handle it. To me, a car is not worth a persons life. Stealing a car is a really dumb move, but is it worth death? Not in my book. A young guy making a dumb mistake should not cost him his life!

  3. J.T. says:

    In years past in visiting an old army surplus store I found a tool
    that was used by those “probing” for mines on the battlefield, before
    all the electronic age. It is a round aluminum tube about 6′ + or -, with an insert of a 2 to 3 ‘, spike that matches the manual locking
    holes in one end of the larger tube, almost like a “Pike” from old
    days in Europe. I do not recall the cost, but that is my walking
    stick, after obtaining rubber caps for each end. It is very strong,
    not too heavy, well balanced and serves as both a weapon and walking
    stick that does not break under stress. It is OD in color, with tape
    on it (my modification) to deaden any sound if touching wood or rocks.
    In the past I had a screw, jointed, 4 or 5 piece, commercial stick (not in expensive by the way, that collapsed unexpectedly when descending a steep trail, causing a severe fall and injuries to my knees and skinned hands. NEVER AGAIN, with old faithful in my hands.
    Look carefully in WW 1 or II army surplus shops and you may find one
    at a bargain price. PS – don’t try to take it on an Airplane, or it
    will be taken away. J.T.

  4. Great Grey says:

    My walking stick is from a mock orange, it is very strong even though is only 1¼” – 1½”, I cannot make it flex. Yes, there are several plants known as mock orange. This one takes 10-15 years to grow to the diameter of my walking stick. While not as nice as the one in the video, it is free. Just don’t for get to look at the bushes in your yard to possible sticks and poles.

    1. Great Grey says:

      It is also light weight.

    2. Hobo says:

      We’ve got what’s called Osage Orange trees where I’m from in Ohio. We also called them a Hedge Apple Tree because of the softball-sized seed that they’d drop. It looked like a green brain.

      I’ve seen the wood from an Osage Orange bring sparks to a chainsaw and axe. VERY hard wood. Burns extremely slow and hot too. NOT very lightweight though, but a smaller diameter walking stick (1 1/4″ or so) wouldn’t be difficult to manage.

      1. 'Above Average' Joe says:

        Osage orange trees also have another very important feature, put the fruits in your home to repel bugs 🙂

      2. Eddie says:

        Bad thing about hedge (what we called it in Ks,)or Osage apple is that when it dries out it has a tendency to crack,it would have to be striped of bark,polished and sealed to make it last.It was one of the choice firewood’s we used,burns very hot and last a long time,just have to slow flame and be careful of the sparks it puts out when stirred.

  5. Matt Worner says:

    My initial thought was to drill a hole in the black iron pipe cap on the lower end and tap it for 1/4-20 thread. Then thread on a Hilti/Ramset (powder activated tool) stud designed for shooting into concrete or steel as a spike tip. Most “big box” stores carry these studs in the hardware or power tool departments. Another point about using PVC conduit (the grey stuff) as opposed to plumbing pipe (the white stuff) is that conduit is UV stable while the white stuff will deteriorate in the sun and may leave you stuck when it shatters in use.

  6. Sandy says:

    I have a walking stick, which I call my dragon staff. I had a royal poinsiana that my father had raised from a seed in my back yard in Florida. Lightning hit a branch and it hung down, but stayed green. I wouldn’t let anyone cut it the rest of the way off until it went into hibernation for the season. Then I had my son climb up and cut it where I indicated. I had him make another cut to separate out a piece so it’s about five feet long. I’m 5’2″. It’s quite sturdy though not that heavy. I gradually hollowed out one end that had sort of a large knot in it and glued in a fairly large quartz crystal. Then I went to work with a wood burning kit and drew a dragon on it that wound all the way down to the bottom. I also added the 12 signs of the zodiac and the sigils from the Elder Futhark at various places. I ended up coloring my dragon in green and yellow. It looks very ferocious! I’ve taken it with me on walks through our woods in Kentucky, and it has proven to be a valuable tool just for hiking. It would also make a good weapon. It just plain makes me feel safe.

    1. 'Above Average' Joe says:

      Sandy that sounds like an amazing walking staff! As you were describing it it reminded me of Gandalf The Grey’s staff in The Lord Of The Rings 🙂

  7. deb j says:

    Hey! I have a cane style that has a stun gun all down. What a wonder time I have had with this-testing on loose dog in the country as I walk. It is a weapon in and oF itself!!
    Great article, leaving our minds to explore more ways to survive!

  8. Mark the Zealot says:

    I had a pair of extra long tonfas (one meter) custom made to use as walking sticks. I am unsure of legality so I have not used as a “cane” in public, but they sure are fun with and swing on my own property. Maker was Crane Mountain, http://crane-mountain.com/ . Not cheap or fast, but excellent, high quality work. Owner told me I was not the first to request this type of tonfa.

  9. Ken says:

    I have several canes and staffs. They have great defensive uses too. While walking they make a great dog head knocker. Most stupid criminals think you would be an easy target too. To be able to suddenly change the tables on them and lay them out will only add to your survival.

  10. Dianne says:

    It can also be used as a fishing pole & to hold up the front end of a tent or tarp. I backpack & never go without my trekking poles.

  11. I have never really thought about carrying a walking stick as like many others, i think of it as an aid for people having a hard time walking but thinking about it now and reading all the good reasons of carrying one sounds a great idea. It’s definitely going to be useful not only for walking.

  12. Jc says:

    Direction finder.

  13. Bruce Cannon says:

    I have 2 canes, a walking stick or staff. Its around 7′ long 2.5″ around varnished and clear lackered both done about 3 times each. Do I need to cut it down to my height. I’m only 5′ 7″ tall, weight 220 lbs. I got from my middle toe on my left foot down the outside to my ankle around the under side of my ankle like a u shape then from there under my foot to the other ankle with the u shape from the break between the ankles I got a 2.5″ crack up my heel. The Drs. told me that there was nothing they could do because it was ( CRUSHED) to bad to pin or plate. I’m just asking a survivalist which I should use a cane or customize my long bamboo pole or staff. I was a surveyor most of my life in Florida and now I can’t wade in the swamps like before. Land Bound.

  14. guymacher says:

    great idea. gonna think about a stick kit for my needs

  15. Sarah says:

    HELLO MY name is MS. Sarah I have 3 “CANES” 2 with a BLADE (LOL) I use them all the time when I go camping YES they help when a DAMN dog is by !

  16. Big Frank says:

    I have a walking stick about 4 feet long made of rattan. It looks somewhat like bamboo on the surface, but it’s solid all the way through. Rattan is strong for its weight and will bend before it breaks. The inner core of rattan is split into pieces used to make wicker furniture. Those skinny pieces woven together can hold a lot of weight. My walking stick is about 1.25 inch at the middle with the top being a little bigger and the bottom a little smaller. I ground the bottom down to a taper and attached a rubber crutch tip. It’s the best walking stick I’ve ever had, much better than the plastic piece of crap I bought from Cold Steel.

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  18. Yosemte says:

    I meant BO Staff Not Bi Staff.

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