Introduction: Trekking Pole/Hiking Staff

About: Retired from biotechnology company, PhD in Biochemistry (MIT).


This Instructable is for building a trekking pole/hiking staff from PVC pipe and fittings. The pole has a strap for your hands, a spike at the end, and is fully adjustable for anyone’s height or hand size. When used as a trekking pole, two are generally required; one may suffice for a hiking staff.

Step 1: Materials, Etc.


1x 5’ length of 3/4” PVC pipe (Available at most hardware stores: Home Depot, Lowes, True Value, Ace ...)

1x “no glue” 3/4” PVC coupling (ditto)

1x 3/4” PVC slip end cap (ditto)

1x 3/4” PVC slip T fitting (ditto)

~6' piece of 1” webbing (Available at many camping supply stores: Backcountry Gear, REI, EMS … where rock-climbing/mountaineering stuff is sold. You might find something suitable at a sewing store, but I don’t go there. If you are short, you may need ~8'.)

1x 1” long 1/4” hex-head bolt (For the “spike.) (Available at most hardware stores: Home Depot, Lowes, True Value, Ace …)

1x washer, for the bolt (ditto)

2x 1/4” nuts (ditto)

(Double these values for two trekking poles.)

Tools, Etc.

PVC primer & cement (Available at most hardware stores: Home Depot, Lowes, True Value, Ace.)

Pipe-cutter or hacksaw (For cutting the pipe, if you have to buy a 10’ pipe for two trekking poles.)

Drill (For making the “spike”.)

Wrenches (For locking the nuts together.)


About $10, or less.

Step 2: The “Spike”

Drill a 1/4” hole in the center of one of the end caps.

Insert the 1” hex-head bolt with the washer. Bolt it in place with one of the nuts. (Fairly tight, but not so tight as to break the PVC cap.)

Bolt on the second nut. Hold the first one in place, and wrench the second one on tight.

Prime the end of the tube and the cap with PVC primer. Then apply cement, press them together, and hold them to let the cement dry.

To protect your floors indoors, slip on a short piece of plastic tubing.

Step 3: The Strap & Grip

Fuse (melt) the webbing ends so that they won’t fray. Use a lighter or a soldering iron for this.

Slide on the coupling. This will be the the grip. It will be a tight fit, so add some water for lubrication. (It will dry later.) It also may help to disassemble the coupling, and put on one piece at a time. You can adjust the fit later (below), just place it somewhere on the non-spike end for now.

Prime the T fitting and the non-spike end, and cement them together.

Thread the strap material through the T, and tie the ends together with an overhand knot. You can adjust the size of the loop later (below). Later, you will tie the loop ends for the correct length

Step 4: Take a Hike

Now it’s time to try it (them) out! Remember, the poles are for balance and stability. They are not intended to support your full weight (nor can they).

Length Adjustment

Slide the grip up or down so that your arm will be at a 90^o angle. (See pic 1.)

Strap Adjustment

Adjust the knot on the webbing so that your hand falls comfortably on the grip Put your hand in from below, and then move your hand down to grasp the webbing and the grip together (loosely!). (See pic 2.) You don’t need to have a “death grip” on the poles. Nice and relaxed does it.

The Stride

For up-hills, down-hills, loose rocks, etc., I use two poles and do one pole plant for each step. Swing your arms naturally, and plant the pole opposite to the striking foot. You must move fast with the poles. In general, don’t think about it too much, and develop a natural rhythm with the poles. For cruising, on the flats with few obstructions, I do one pole plant for every two steps. Plant the right pole with the right foot and then plant the left pole with the right foot again on the second step. Linger behind with the pole and give a gentle push-off; there’s plenty of time for this.You'll find yourself moving faster than ever! When it becomes especially dicey, you can move slowly and plant both poles ahead of you. If you are a fisher-person, a single hiking staff will help you with wading. Use some kind of tether so that the staff doesn’t float away when you are in place. Enjoy.

Plastics Contest

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Outside Contest 2017

Participated in the
Outside Contest 2017