Scouts and hikers of all ages know the benefits of hiking with a walking stick. I wanted one that could serve a few different purposes. I decided to make my Multi-Purpose Stick (MPS) out of a 1-1/8th inch broom handle.
It’s primary purpose is as a walking stick. Stick-less people may not know of the benefits:
- third point of contact over uneven/insecure footing - I find a walking stick to be invaluable when walking down steep, loose paths. As in “saves me from falling several times each outing”.
- prod ground when you don’t know if it is solid or not
- turn over or move things when you don’t know what’s underneath
- move snakes off a trail
- hold up low branches, or move away low brush away from the footpath
- reach-pole to help pull someone up, or to help them balance
- extender pole to push against the other side of a narrow space when footing is uneven
- extended third point of contact when traversing tall obstacles like boulders or fallen logs
- push away overly-curious fauna, or defend against aggressive examples
- extender pole to dip a container into water down below where you can’t reach
- extender pole to tie something to and wave if you are trapped behind something or somewhere low
- grabber pole if you affix a j-hook to it
- support for emergency shelter
- makeshift cane in case of injury (a common use for me, unfortunately)
- something to lean on to change positions in the treeless desert
The MPS is my go-to, but I use a pair of trekking poles (ie, thriftstore ski poles with baskets cut off) for really treacherous terrain.
I have preferred longer/taller walking sticks since the 1980s. I am willing to accept the additional weight penalty for the benefits of greater length. You can always “choke up” on a long staff; you cannot extend a short one in times of need.
I put a rubber cane-tip on the bottom for sure footing and to protect the metal threads. The cane tips last about a year then crack, stretch, or otherwise fall off. After losing one on a trail I swore to always carry spare in my day pack. I think it’s the 3/4” rubber tip that fits.
I drilled a hole through it so I could put on a paracord lanyard. This is particularly use when both hands are required, as when climbing hand-over-hand, or stopping to do tie shoes, etc. When I am hiking I can keep walking while I use both hands, “dragging” the stick instead of stopping to hold it or lean it on something.
I drilled in the top and screwed/glued in a 1/4” threaded rod to mount video or still cameras on. I’ve used this to inspect the tops of things without having to get a ladder. With my arm over my head the cam can be ~14ft above ground level.
The MPS is 60” tall, non-inclusive of the rubber tip or monopod mount. I’ve used it for scale when explaining how big saguaro are:
I also marked off inches from the bottom so I could measure the depths of things as I did in this article about traversing FR ruts.
When I can’t make it to the next laundry day I handwash clothes using a breathing mobile washer. It comes with a small plunger stick but I thread in the MPS and use it standing up.
Yes, I use it as a broomhandle, threading on a push broom to sweep out the van. Also useful for scrubbing off bird mess or snow from the solar panels
I haven’t done this yet, but thiking about screwing a small, inverted J-hook into one end of the MPS. This would add “grabber” functionality for retrieving things or for hanging the stick for storage.