Intro: Survival Hiking Stick
Hey everyone! Been awhile since I had anything to share. Been quite a busy year. I haven't had much time to tinker with stuff, but I did come up with this fun little survival hiking/walking stick. Sort of came into fruition when I was on a small hike near Malibu with some friends, and we came upon a rattlesnake right in the middle of the trail. It's amazing how useful a simple long stick is when out in the "bush".
This stick isn't done, by any means, and there are some things I would like to add to it. But I'll show you what I have so far.
Step 1: Gather Materials, and Accessorize!
I wasn't thinking about making an 'ible for this stick, so I don't have any "before" shots. But what I did, was bought a "Sold As Is" wooden curtain rod from IKEA. Came with 2 long rods about 5 feet long each, and 2 smaller rods about a foot long each. I bought the "set" for around $3, and promptly threw away the 2 small rods. Couldn't use them for anything, so ditched them. Now, the long rods were perfect. Hard wood, about an inch in diameter... PERFECT size to grab! Since there was 2, I made another stick for my girlfriend, although slightly different. And much smaller. She's only 5 foot 2! :)
Next, I thought what I could buy, to make this stick much more "user friendly" as a hiking/walking/survival stick. First thing first, I bought rubber cane tips that were 7/8" inch opening to slip on the bottom of the cane. This makes it silent when using it on hard surfaces, and makes it fantastic to grip against rocks and such.
I then bought a hook, and screwed it in through the rubber cap into the bottom of the stick. Now, I have greatly extended my reach, in case I see some fruit or something I want to pick from a tree. Or I can pick something up and move it that I don't want to really touch.
What I did then was measured in 1 foot increments from the bottom of the rubber tip, and put a black sharpie ring around the stick. I managed to put 3 rings. I did this, so if I came across murky water that I absolutely HAD to cross, I could try to tell how deep it was! Well, after the entire stick was put together, It was taller than I was! So I cut it down, and now have DARKER and THICKER marks to measure each foot. I can see 2, and that's good enough for me. I also wrapped the very bottom with a few feet of Gorilla Tape to keep the bottom of the stick from splitting, in case I screw the hook in TOO far!
I want to make a custom 2 piece frog gig that is same threading as the screw hook, so I can use this stick as a sort of hunting spear. It would be stored with the hook, in the little pocket in the multitool case, as seen in the next step.
Step 2: Tools at the Ready!
So I needed to add storage for tools I might use out on the trails. Since sticks are lacking in any sort of internal storage, gotta figure out a way to add storage space to the outside! I decided to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. I added some grip tape to the top that works great to keep from accidentally dropping your stick. Just under that, I started to wrap paracord, and I wove it through the molle strap on my Leatherman MUT sheath. I kept wrapping until I was out of paracord. This gave me a NICE wide grip when used along with the grip tape up top. Perfect for, say.... an impromptu fishing pole? ;)
I then added a magazine pouch around the outside of the paracord. I keep an LED flashlight in there.
Inside the MUT sheath, I have an old Leatherman Supertool 200. The sheath also has a "front pocket", in which I keep the screw hook stored (and where I want to store the custom frog gig).
I have a heavy duty diaper pin stuck in there for some reason. Never know when you might need to pin some cloth together or something.
I then added a small amount of paracord, woven using an electrician's cord weave (quick release, same length as cobra weave without the buckles and fighting the time consuming unbraiding), with a REALLY loud, piercing whistle from SOL that fits perfectly under the elastic strap on the side of the sheath. I now have a multitool, lighting, and signaling covered in a very small package!
Step 3: Go Go Gadget Survival Stick!
The top of the stick I decided to add some sort of storage also. How to do this? I was walking around Home Depot with my long wooden stick (getting lots of weird looks, mind you!) and came upon a bunch of PVC fittings and pipe and such. Was just a matter of finding the right pieces. I didn't want too big, but not too small. I decided the perfect size would be exactly the size to hold some old film canisters! So I bought a double threaded base to screw onto the top of the stick, and has a top thread for the smooth coupler section.
Inside the coupler section, and right on top of the stick itself, I glued down a button compass. It's fairly accurate. So at least I can crudely navigate now :)
I bought a length of pipe that fits over the coupler, and then a rounded end cap. I had to do some custom work with my Dremmel tool. I cut a little groove at the base of the coupler, to fit a rubber O-ring, to help keep the insides waterproof. I also thinned the walls of the piping to fit snugly over the O-ring. I had to grind the inside of the coupler, because it had 2 "bumps" that kept one of the film canister's from fitting inside. All in all though, it all works great!
I decided to hot glue all around the thread where the coupler screws onto the piece that attaches to the stick. I want to make sure NO water gets inside. I then wrapped the entire tube in camouflage duct tape (it is all I had laying around) making this thing completely waterproof! I wrapped yet MORE paracord around the middle section. Finally, I tied off a yellow bandana around the pipe. This can be used for so many things! Bandanas are truly one of the best things to have with you, at ALL times!
Step 4: Film Canisters?! Who Still Uses Film?!
I taped 2 clear film canisters butt to butt, and they hold a nice assortment of fishing hooks, line, and various bobbers and such. Just in case I find a creek, and decide to spend the day like Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer. :)
In the yellow film canister, I have a mini Bic lighter wrapped in duct tape, and also a custom Ranger bead distance counter I made. It's fun to play around with this and calculate how far various things are. Make sure you know how to convert Kilometers into Miles, and know the distance between the steps in your natural gait, otherwise, you might end up lost!
Now I have fire, and food covered, and with all the paracord, I'm sure I can rig up some sort of shelter somehow if need be.
Step 5: Conclusion
So there you have it! A pretty self sufficient walking stick, if I do say so myself! Covers a lot of good needs in a tiny package. Always carry backup tools on your person, and in your backpack! Don't just rely on 1 thing to carry everything you need. If it's lost, you're screwed! Redundancy is a good thing! Take something like this stick as more of a supplement to your main pack. Good to have, but not required. Although you'll feel much better with it, and it is also really fun to try to fit as much function you can on and around a straight piece of wood! LOL
Runner Up in the