Introduction: PVC Hiking Staff

Picture of PVC Hiking Staff

I bought a hiking staff at Walmart for $12.88 and just loved it.  A hiking staff is helpful going down hills and crossing creeks. A staff is also good to have when encountering unleashed dogs on the path.  I felt that the light weight staff I got at Walmart would not be too helpful in any dog vs man situation. So I came up with a good and sturdy staff using 1" PVC pipe. At least with this pole I can whack a dog good and protect myself. I could also add a camera mount.

Step 1: Materials Needed

Picture of Materials Needed

4 feet of 1 inch diameter schedule 80 PVC pipe.  The thick stuff. (Home Depot)
Two 1" PVC pipe caps (Home Depot)
Nylon cord for handle (Walmart)
Rubber bumper (Hardware Store)
Screw and nut for the rubber bumper.
Optional paint for the pole.

Step 2: Hiking Tip on End

Picture of Hiking Tip on End

Drill a hole in the center of one of the caps and attach a rubber bumper.  This goes on the bottom end of the staff.  It will help keeping the staff from slipping when crossing creeks and rocks.  The soft rubber will not scratch rocks like the carbide tips do on the commercial staffs. This area has lots of room for experimentation.  The caps are cheap and you can make interchangeable tips for the terrain. You can make one with a pointed bolt for ice or rocks.

Step 3: The Handle

Picture of The Handle

I got some nylon cord at REI for wrapping the handle. You can get the same cord at Walmart for half the cost.  Drill a 1/4 inch hole in the PVC pipe just below the cap. Tie a knot in the cord on the inside of the pipe and wrap tightly along the length for eight inches. Tuck the end under the windings at the end and twist tightly to secure.

Slip a loop of cord for the lanyard in the same hole.  Tie a knot at the end to adjust the lanyard length.

Step 4: Camera Mount

Picture of Camera Mount

Drill and tap a 1/4 -20 hole at the top of the cap for a camera mount. Insert a 1/4-20 bolt in the threaded hole.  You camera will mount here.

Step 5: Cap for Camera Mount

Picture of Cap for Camera Mount

A protective cover is needed to cover  the camera mount when not needed. I used a hole saw to cut a disc of phenolic material for the cover. I then added a nutsert in the hole for threads. You could use an over-sized PVC cap that will fit over the original cap.  Drill and tap a hole in it.  This trick I haven't try yet but will the next time I go to Home Depot.

Step 6: Other Ideas

Because the pole is hollow, you can slip other emergency items inside.  Place bandages, matches, plastic bags, maps or whatever inside.

You can adjust the length by cutting the PVC to suit your needs.

The pole weighs about 2 pounds but is strong enough for defense against 4 and 2 legged foes. The commercial pole just don't have the whacking power. This pole won't break!

You can also paint your pole.  Mine was black because it was used from a previous project.

The pole also acts as a Steadicam if you hold the pole just under the area with the cord wrap. Weight can be added at the bottom for balance.

I found that C cell batteries just inside the pipe. This could lead to another idea of adding a built in LED flashlight for night hiking.


JosefM4 (author)2017-03-10

Really!? Whack a dog!? The first tool for defense is intelligence. Any dog or animal that would attack you likely would have little concern with getting hit by a PVC pipe. Animals in attack mode have measured in their head the risk of attacking you. A whacking would mean nothing to an animal that is coming in with teeth that will sink into your flesh and do serious damage.Do dog owners everywhere and stay inside away from our pets in public places. Also this idea could of been great but throwing in your cowardice about animals is ignorant. I hope you never get a chance to harm an animal. If you do I hope the owner protects his pet and shoves the staff up you. Educate yourself on animal behaviors and maybe think before you speak.

cao.dang (author)2016-12-13

Nice !!

jmaxwell5 (author)2016-06-02

pretty sure they didn't build this to hit dogs with...don't be silly. nice build

botronics (author)jmaxwell52016-06-03

That's correct, Sorry for any confusion.

MrGwillickers (author)2014-09-02

If you whack my dog with that you would have a whole new problem. Namely his human. Seriously, what is wrong with some people?

mderusha (author)MrGwillickers2014-12-06

I agree. people who are overly afraid of dogs make me nervous. they tend to be twitchy and unpredictable.

botronics (author)MrGwillickers2014-09-02

I will only whack your dog if I have to protect my own life or injury. Whats wrong with some people is they do not keep their pets under control or on a leash. So whats wrong with definding myself?

mommamoose59 (author)2014-08-18

Im sure you have thought of this, but you could store some simple things inside the walking some fishing line and hooks, matches, etc...just a thought..

botronics (author)mommamoose592014-08-19

I have a zip lock bag inside with alcohol pads and a few bandaids. Had to use it once for a few scrapes.

Professor_How (author)2013-12-27

Nice build, I can see all kinds of mods being possible on this simple but effective platform. Its got my imagination running wild as I love the outdoors and building stuff.

tweaver12 (author)2013-05-01

Another option would be to use paracord instead of nylon cord. Very helpful in survival situations.

botronics (author)tweaver122013-05-03

Its a cheap imitation paracord from Walmart. The REI stuff was way too expensive. I'll probably be sorry I didn't get the real stuff in an emergency survival situation. I've put plenty of miles on this stick and it has held up well. I wouldn't leave home without it.

wolfgang64 (author)2012-12-29

Has anybody thought about the idea that if you seal both ends. this would float quit nicely? And the cord could be helpful to in that situation to.

botronics (author)wolfgang642012-12-30

The end caps fit snug enough for it to float during the short term.

vulcanbiker (author)2012-12-29

Great job...I like it. Check out backyardbowyer web site for another PVC walking stick that doubles as a blow dart gun.

botronics (author)2009-12-27

I stuffed a mini first aid kit at the end of the staff. Just a shorty ziploc bag with some Curad silver bandaids and benzalkonium chloride towelettes. The ziploc keeps things dry.

jawasan (author)botronics2012-12-22

I was going to suggest the same thing...use it to store some things inside! Good job!

fretted (author)2012-12-22

You can get sched 40 PVC in 1" hmmmmm

Boppylop (author)2012-12-22

I'm gonna try this sometime. What we have right now are just broom handles with a sharpened bottom.

l8nite (author)2010-10-12

I saw a couple of Halloween prop type staff/canes, at the thrift store,that where really flimsey, but I thought of this "ible" when I saw them and picked up all 5 for $3us.
I had some 1/2 sched40 laying around and now have 3 perfectly usable canes, the longest one at 43" is amazingly sturdy, it handles my 240lbs w/o bowing at all..

botronics (author)l8nite2010-10-13

PVC is very strong stuff! The 1/2 inch makes a lightweight cane. I bet you can find a rubber foot to fit, the kind for regular canes, at the hardware store. Slip in a white led joule thief circuit and you can use it at night on Halloween.

l8nite (author)botronics2010-10-13

the dollar store sells some really neat led flashlights, one thats supposed to slip over your ear and has a long stalk the led is in, it worked great on the one cane

corey11 (author)2010-07-15

Well, if people are worried about the regidity then what you could do maybe, is add some high density expanding foam to the inside of the staff. Simple and not as heavy as getting 80 sched. Instead!!

botronics (author)corey112010-07-15

I can't see how foam would add any strength. Use that hollow space for stuff. Schedule 40 is plenty strong. I am still using mine every couple weeks for a hike and its holding up very well. I use it more than my Walmart aluminum tube one. Those aluminum tube sticks can get bent easily. A heavy staff out of schedule 80 would get tiresome really quick.

pmooreknife (author)2010-02-16

They also make PVC in a thicker grade like Sch 80 pipe. Little more weight, but walls would be 2X the thickness.

botronics (author)pmooreknife2010-02-20

I stand corrected! My staff is made from schedule 40 PVC.  I have only seen two types at Home Depot. Schedule 20 and 40.  This Schedule 80 is thicker and is not too common at home builders stores.  My schedule 40 pipe is strong enough without the extra weight.

botronics (author)pmooreknife2010-02-16

Mine is made of the thick stuff, schedule 80. I've been hiking around in the hills and it has held up well. If you put a Lego rubber tire just below the handle and mount a video cam on the pole, you can hold just below that tire.  Let it balance as you walk about.  The pole will act a a Steadicam for your camera. I've tried it with a Zi8 with good results.

l8nite (author)2009-12-26

Is the pvc really strong enough to use as a hiking aid? It is a great idea and pretty inexpensive for light duty. I keep a small saw handy for when I see a pile of tree trimmings and have a small collection of sticks from cane to extra long staff size. No Im not a big hiker, I have back problems so a staff comes in handy as a support for just standing as well as a balance aid when walking

meddler (author)l8nite2009-12-26

I injured my back in the military. I can sympathize.

botronics (author)l8nite2009-12-26

Plenty strong enough. The hiking pole I got at Walmart probably could be bent in my bare hands. The 1 inch diameter PVC would be hard to break. Use the thick kind that is about 1/8th inch thick. Tried it out at Garin Park on Christmas. Photos at:

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to tinker and experiment with electronics, robotics, programming, and photography. Along with my latest interest in Steampunk.
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