How to Make a Good Hiking Stick

DIY hiking stick

To equip yourself with a good hiking stick, you just need a piece of wood of the right size and length. Then, with the help of a saw, box cutter, sandpaper, and oil you will have a useful walking aid in no time at all.

I have been hiking for most of my life and I know that there are times you will need help to walk across rough terrain. Rather than buy a walking stick, I prefer to make my own. Not only do these homemade options look better, they are easier to customize to your own size as well.

While the process is straightforward, it does require you to follow a few steps. You can find everything you need in this article. This includes the supplies and tools that you will need as well as step-by-step instructions. Keep reading to find out more

What You Will Need

Here is a list of everything you will need for this project:

  • Work Gloves: there is always the risk of splinters when working with wood. Wear work gloves to keep your hands safe.
  • Wood: head out into a nearby forest or woods to find a tree limb that has already fallen.
  • Small Saw: you can use this to trim the limb to the perfect size.
  • Box Cutter: this can be used to strip the bark from the wood.
  • Sandpaper/Electrical Sander: this is used to smoothen out the limb. If using sandpaper use 200-grit and 400-grit paper.
  • Rag: it is best to find a lint-free cotton rag to wipe down the limb. This will prevent any fibers from catching on the wood.
  • Boiled Linseed Oil: this is used to polish the wood to make it more comfortable to hold.
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A Note About the Stick

Don’t ever cut down a tree or any part of a tree to make a hiking stick as it simply isn’t an eco-friendly option. Instead, make some effort to find wood that is suitable for this project. You can search nearby woods or forests for this.

Instructions to Make a DIY Hiking Stick

DIY hiking stick
img by Laura from

Here are your instructions on how to make your hiking stick:

Step 1: Find the Right Size

The right height for a hiking stick all depends on what you need it for. If you are tackling easy terrain, then you can use a stick that is around 8 inches higher than your elbow. When measuring, make sure to stand straight with your hands at your side.

If you are going up and down steep slopes, you will require more support. In this case, you should look for a stick that reaches above your shoulders. Make sure that the height is comfortable for you, and always test it out beforehand.

The width of the stick will depend on you. If you have a slighter build, then a thinner stick will work fine. If you have a larger physique, the walking stick needs to be thicker for additional support. Once again, make sure to test out the stick before taking it home.

Step 2: Trim the Stick

It is unlikely that you will find a stick that is the perfect height for you. Due to this, you are going to have to trim it down with the small saw. If you are nervous about taking too much off, remove smaller pieces, one at a time.

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Before measuring and marking out the area you will be cutting off, check both ends of the stick. Are they even? Keep in mind that you need each side to be balanced. Due to this, you may need to take off parts from both the top and the bottom.

Make sure that you make clean cuts, though. Smooth out any rough places. Not only can this prevent splinters, but it also offer you a more level base.

Step 3: Strip the Bark

Then, it is time to strip the bark with your box cutter. Hold the stick in one hand and use the tool to strip away the top layer. Always move the knife away from you, in a downwards motion. Work your way from the top to the bottom.

You will need to remove any flaky pieces of the stick. Leave behind the layer that is firmly attached to the wood only. Depending on the type of wood, this will often be a reddish layer of outer bark.

Step 4: Sand the Stick

You can use sandpaper or an electric sander to get the job done. The sander will also work a lot faster. In case you are using sandpaper, first start with the 200-grit paper and stand towards the grain.

Then, use the 400-grit sandpaper and repeat the process. This can seem like a lot of effort but it will help you get rid of any pieces that are sticking up.

Step 5: Wipe the Stick

Once you are done, it is time to wipe down the stick. Use your cotton cloth to briskly remove and dust or debris that is still clinging to the wood. Do this a few times until you are certain that the stick is completely clean.

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Step 6: Oil the Stick

Liberally soak the rag in the oil. Then, use this to wipe down the stick from top to bottom. Make sure that there is plenty of oil is on the wood. After you have finished, you can let the stick dry.

If you want a smoother finish, you can wait until the wood is dry and then sand it down again. Then, apply another coat of oil. After this, you can choose to add a leather or fabric strap. This can help you to get a better grip on your hiking stick.

Just follow the instructions given here to make a hiking stick and you will find the process easier to master. Not to mention, you can avoid making numerous mistakes as well. At the end of it, you will have a great stick that will come in handy whenever you go on hikes.

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