Hiking poles are designed specifically to assist your walks and your climbs. They are designed with the right amount of “give,” they are unlikely to break, and they have been created to give you the support you need to climb up the mountain. But not everyone has the ability to purchase their own effective walking pole. For those that do not have a pole available with a walk or climb coming up, you can make your own using items that you already have on hand.
Choosing Your Stick
The first step, of course, is to choose a stick that you can work with to make an effective walking pole. You need to make sure the stick has a few things:
· The stick must be strong enough to withstand force (thick sticks are best, but also not worn down sticks). Similarly the stick must not bend too much under pressure – it should be able to maintain its shape.
· The stick must be long enough that you do not have to bend down to use it. If you have to bend forward, the pressure on your back will negate the benefits of the stick.
· The stick must be a combination of thick enough for you to put force on it, but also light enough and comfortable enough that you can easily use it for a long period of time. Grasping your hand around an extremely thick stick can cause discomfort, and a stick that is too heavy will do more harm than good.
· The stick should have a top and a bottom that are relatively in line with each other. The stick can bend in the middle provided that it:
o Can withstand your force.
o Doesn’t impact your ability to walk with it.
Once you have found a stick that is able to withstand your force, is easy to carry, and provides you with the support you need, the stick should suffice for a makeshift walking pole.
Turning the Stick into a Walking Stick
The rest of the steps for making a walking pole are relatively straitforward. First, if you have sandpaper on hand you should sand your stick to make it more comfortable to hold. If you like, you can simply sand a large handle and let the rest maintain its natural appearance, but a fully sanded stick will likely make less of a mess and be easier to hold when you are not using it to walk.
Cut off any branches that could scratch or cut you as you walk. Some people enjoy having a branch or two to use as a handle, and that is fine, but if the branch has no benefit it should be removed.
Finally, consider adding a strong and powerful tape to the handle to make it softer to hold, and remove any extra bark that may chip off as you walk. If you chose a stick that is strong enough to handle your weight, long enough to give you the support you need and light enough that you are easily able to carry it with you, the final product should be a decent makeshift walking stick that will serve you well when you need it.