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
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
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
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
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
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.