Walking sticks for self defense.

5:07 a.m. on March 2, 2019 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
28 forum posts

I do most of my hiking alone and feel a little vulnerable, especially now that I'm not as young and strong as I once was.  Bear spray is probably the most effective defense against possible threats, but I don't have total confidence in aerosol cans, especially ones that have been sitting around a couple years, and getting it out to use it can take time that you probably don't have.  In an emergency, you are going to be fumbling around to get it out and remove the safety clip.  I wanted something that is instantly deployable, foolproof, and isn't perceived, necessarily, as a weapon.  I don't want to scare my fellow hikers.

To that end, I ordered a couple walking sticks from Knife Center and made by Cold Steel Knives, the Walkabout and the African walking stick.  Both were about $24, but the oversize shipping is quite a bit.  Both are an intimidating black that screams "weapon".  I'm going to try painting them a less scary color.  Both are a little heavy for a walking stick, but would be very effective in a fight for your life.  They are thick and sturdy.  The Walkabout is probably better as a hiking aid, but the African Walking Stick looks less like a weapon, yet is probably the more effective of the two as a weapon.  The ball on top of the African is big, too big for anyone that wears less than an XL glove to grip, and the nodes on the shaft give you a better grip on a material that is rather slippery (polypropylene). 

They are basically clubs.  A club is a formidable weapon.  You can jab with the shaft or swing like a baseball bat.  They are potentially deadly and should be treated as such.  Using them as a weapon should not be taken lightly.

6:36 a.m. on March 2, 2019 (EST)
1,977 reviewer rep
361 forum posts

In all my years of hiking and backpacking I have never been anywhere close to being in a fight for my life, nor has anyone I know. If I were, it most likely would be from a mountain lion attack from behind, the odds for which I put up there with being hit by a comet, and a giant stick won't help me in an ambush animal attack in any event.

My current trekking poles weigh less than one quarter what those hiking sticks do.

9:01 a.m. on March 2, 2019 (EST)
82 reviewer rep
420 forum posts

+1 to what JR states.  Are you really concerned about brawling with poeple you meet on the trail. Perhaps you had better select trails in a better neighborhood.

I you simply must have a cudgel, repurpose one of your handled tools or buy a replacement handle.  To go all out, get the Cold Steel sword cane (mucho expensivo!), but then you will have a real weapon (quite possibly illegal in your jurisdiction, but what price safety?)  Feel better??

The repurposed shovel handle has many other uses as well...

10:12 a.m. on March 2, 2019 (EST)
73 reviewer rep
3,730 forum posts

Bear spray is light and effective.  It belongs on your waistbelt in a holster. 

11:57 a.m. on March 2, 2019 (EST)
275 reviewer rep
1,421 forum posts

I agree with JR---never had to fight an animal for my life---and so I backpack weaponless---except for my brain.

Then again, I've been attacked by yellow jackets but I doubt a cudgel would've helped much.  And often high creek crossings are a fight for survival but I doubt beating the high water with a stick would've helped.

And lightning blasts are often right on top of me---maybe a big stick could be thrown up at the sky to beat it away??  Doubtful.

And deep cold is always a battle---do I spray the outside air with capsaicin????  Or do I beat my frozen icy tent with a stick????

9:07 p.m. on March 3, 2019 (EST)
125 reviewer rep
3,271 forum posts

Sorry but I also find it hard to seriously respond to this scenario.

OK, let's ignore all the threats in the BC more more probable than being attacked by anything larger than a bird, and obsess for the moment on our primal fear of lions, tigers and bears.  It would be a very lucky whack - or two or three.. ..to fend off a bear (or any large animal) with a club. You probably won't get more than one swing or poke in, if that.  Consider these attacks go from totally unaware of imminent danger to full contact in under three seconds.  In that time you have to shift from relaxed hiker with walking staff, to hoisting your weapon and getting yourself into the appropriate kata - which BTW would vary depending on the angle and aspect of attack.  Really that is a lot to ask for an instantaneous reaction, occurring as adrenaline blasts through your body, reducing you to a primal mass of terrorized flesh.  Even self defense experts would have a poor chance in this circumstance.  Furthermore more consider bears swat at each other with more force than you'll ever muster, with or without a club.  And it takes them MANY swats and bites to fend off each other.  Not even a gun assures dispatching this threat, and a club - well in your dreams...  And if you thought you stood a better chance in your youth against a large animal attack - well maybe in your dreams...

Frankly I don't understand why you'd even consider venturing into the wild if you feel these "threats" are significant enough to drive you to distraction.

Ed  

PS Tipi: I was wondering how you would use that stick to deflect a plane falling out of the sky onto your head...

7:33 p.m. on March 5, 2019 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
44 forum posts

Ed, you and Tipi may have invented a new pastime infuriating illegal drone pilots.

12:41 p.m. on March 6, 2019 (EST)
57 reviewer rep
80 forum posts

I've never had to fight animals for my life, but I have had to fight a rather vicious pack of raccoons for my food. Literally attacked by about a half dozen of these good-sized vermin on Orcas Island. I did effectively use a wooden walking stick in defense, bear spray might also have worked, I dunno. I do wonder what it would have been like trying to spray 6 different attackers on a windy rainy evening though.

1:50 p.m. on March 6, 2019 (EST)
125 reviewer rep
3,271 forum posts

Yea, raccoons are a real pain in certain areas.  Thank God bears do not come with raccoon attitude and aggressiveness.

Ed

7:36 p.m. on March 6, 2019 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
610 forum posts

Zalman said:

I've never had to fight animals for my life, but I have had to fight a rather vicious pack of raccoons for my food. Literally attacked by about a half dozen of these good-sized vermin on Orcas Island. I did effectively use a wooden walking stick in defense, bear spray might also have worked, I dunno. I do wonder what it would have been like trying to spray 6 different attackers on a windy rainy evening though.

 It would make a great movie.  Please take a camera next time, and ask someone to film it...

1:51 p.m. on March 7, 2019 (EST)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
4,454 reviewer rep
1,067 forum posts

A while back my wife and I were finishing off a day hike, on the last stretch down to the trailhead. We saw some people 100 or so yards and they had a dog, off leash. The dog started barking and barreling towards us at to speed, looked like it meant business, and not good business. My instinct: grab the nearest, biggest stick I could find. My wife's: duck and hide behind me. Between my brandishing the stick and the owner yelling like crazy, the dog pulled up and headed back down the trail. We still laugh about it. Vive la difference!

10:17 p.m. on March 7, 2019 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
610 forum posts

You are a nice man.  We had that happen once, and I swore the next time it happened I was going to take photos and report the SOB to the rangers.  There is no excuse for poorly trained dogs or owners on the trail

11:20 p.m. on March 7, 2019 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
1,404 forum posts

It is my experience that walking sticks when presented properly, most often and in most circumstances, defuse already tense situations.  Not sure how lions, tigers and bears might react to them however.


Two of my favorite models:untitled.png


th.jpg

 

8:29 a.m. on March 8, 2019 (EST)
1,977 reviewer rep
361 forum posts

Wow, he's much bigger than this guy who took refuge in our shelter on a short trip my daughter and I did on the AT a couple of years ago:
P1000446.jpgP1000447.jpgP1000448.jpg



5:25 p.m. on March 11, 2019 (EDT)
BRAND REP
0 reviewer rep
30 forum posts

I've always wondered if a light hiking pole would make enough of a whoosh, when swung through the air, to put fear into an animal much like a lion trainer in a circus with his whip.

6:28 p.m. on March 11, 2019 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,404 forum posts

Igloo Ed said:

I've always wondered if a light hiking pole would make enough of a whoosh, when swung through the air, to put fear into an animal much like a lion trainer in a circus with his whip.

Animals in the circus at trained for many hours to respond to a lion trainer and his/her whip.  My guess is that a angry deer, moose, bear, mountain lion would not pay any attention to the whoosh of a hiking pole swung thru the air.  Rather I would hold said hiking pole, start praying your best prayer and the if attacked to try and jam in said animal either in the eyes or down it's throat.

 

From what I've seen and heard, conventional wisdom seems to indicate that if you detect a non human predator threating you or getting ready to attack that one should give the illusion of being larger.  This can be done by holding a coat/jacket/shirt that one is wearing over ones head. Holding ones back pack over ones head as well.   It is also recommended that one make as much noise and racket as possible, guns are especially useful for making noise. 

Personally I would much rather have a firearm, even if it's small fire arm to A) make noise, and B) to use at very close range if under attack.  Having and understanding proper use of pepper/bear spray is said to be an invaluable tool if the circumstances are in ones favor so that one can use it properly.

As suggested above, a walking stick will be of 0 use if one is ambushed by a mountain lion/bear/moose/elk.  One might..........might get in one good swing if said large animal is attacking at full speed.  My guess is that a walking stick would make no difference if a Moose or large elk wanted to stomp and gore you to death.

A walking stick just might prove useful if one is attacked by another human, but even then one would want martial arts training to properly use the walking stick/hiking pole in a proper defensive manner.

But, if it makes you feel safer..............and as an added bonus it aids in your hiking/backpacking pursuits then there is no argument/reason that I can see not to carry/use a hiking stick.

7:47 p.m. on March 11, 2019 (EDT)
388 reviewer rep
220 forum posts

Lots of folks use walking sticks for the hike itself, especially crossing streams, and if you feel safer with it and it is stout enough to use as a short term defensive weapon then carry it. It would deter or disable a human or smaller animal but larger you'll likely need a prayer, spray or a firearm.

8:52 a.m. on March 25, 2019 (EDT)
TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
6,742 reviewer rep
1,647 forum posts

Walking sticks are handy.

If you're willing to carry the extra weight and it makes you feel better, go ahead.  Its probably just a woobie though. 

Having been the victim of direct shots of pepper spray I think its pretty cool but in the end, people carry things that suit their personality.  You are wasting your time trying to convince gun people to leave their piece behind.  Bushcraft types would rather give up black Velcro and army surplus gear than leave their full-tang mini-chette or tomahawk behind.  Dog people will always bring Rover.  I'm no better.  I have my own woobies too.

 

10:59 a.m. on March 25, 2019 (EDT)
57 reviewer rep
80 forum posts

I've always thought that my normal 4oz carbon fiber trekking pole would make an excellent baton weapon. With the sections unlocked it even has a surprise "extends upon swinging" feature that increases its effective range in mid-strike.

7:16 p.m. on March 25, 2019 (EDT)
REVIEW CORPS
1,747 reviewer rep
743 forum posts

Throwing rocks and sticks is suprisingly effective (it is an unfamilar act). Skurka scared off a charging brown bear with a trekking pole (literally scared the used berries out of it). https://andrewskurka.com/2012/i-scared-the-hit-out-of-a-grizzly-bear-literally/ As far as the human threat...give them your stuff and don't escalate the situation...if they are out to hurt you there is almost 100% chance they're part of your group...not sure a stick is the answer to that particular problem.

9:50 p.m. on May 12, 2019 (EDT)
110 reviewer rep
81 forum posts

The recent attacks on the Appalachian Trail are alarming. Apparently sleeping hikers were the victims.

it is so rare that it’s swirling around the Internet.

We are responsible for our own safety out there and if walking softly with a big stick makes you safer, go for it.

12:38 a.m. on May 13, 2019 (EDT)
125 reviewer rep
3,271 forum posts

Curtis Evans said:

The recent attacks on the Appalachian Trail are alarming. Apparently sleeping hikers were the victims.

it is so rare that it’s swirling around the Internet.

We are responsible for our own safety out there and if walking softly with a big stick makes you safer, go for it.

Jeez, people are such suckers for scary stories about things that go bump in the dark.  Far more people are going to die from traffic accidents occurring on their way to/from the Appalachian Trail, than the combined risk of all of the other possible dangers  that lurk out there, including machete wielding characters straight out of a Steven King novel and bear assaults.  Yet we barely bat an eye over the much more tangible, sundry dangers awaiting us every time we hit the road.  Where is the sanity?! 

Historically more people are killed by planes falling out of the sky on top of them than by psycho-killers stalking the backcountry.  If one is driven to distraction by fears over such freakish occurrences, I cannot imagine why they bother venturing out their own front door, let alone to the airport or into that imaginary primordial death trap otherwise known as the backcountry.  Let's not feed into some folks unhealthy, paranoid dispositions, it is not constructive or humane.

But I have given this some thought.  Perhaps I should hedge my odds against the dangers I confront whenever I backpack.  I have decided to conduct all future vehicle travel with my walking staff always within arm's reach.  I may, indeed, stave off a drunken or text distracted vehicle operator with an adroitly placed rap across their noggin, albeit futile as it seems.  At least I'll feel safer.  

Ed

2:21 p.m. on May 15, 2019 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
6,684 reviewer rep
2,179 forum posts

might as well go for the halberd. looks like it can chop wood and tenderize meat, too.

two hikers were attacked along the AT in Virginia recently while fleeing a mentally unstable hiker, one died from stab wounds. 

I carry a pocket knife when i hike, but it's for food preparation and simple cutting tasks, not self-defense.  

halberd.jpg

10:18 a.m. on May 20, 2019 (EDT)
73 reviewer rep
3,730 forum posts

I used to work in the field all the time.  For soils work, I usually carried either a spade or a soil auger.  Both were great in drier country for fending off snakes.  Sometimes people on hiking trails have loose dogs.  I used to have a dog around 35 pounds that like to fight, so I would fend off those dogs with hiking poles to protect them.  My current dog is a BC that gets along with other dogs really well. 

I used to have some neighbors that raised Rottweilers. They walked them in the neighborhood without a leash.  We have Welsh Corgis which is not a good combo.  I started carrying a cattle prod and miraculously all the neighborhood dogs of all breeds started being walked on a leash. 

2:07 p.m. on May 20, 2019 (EDT)
125 reviewer rep
3,271 forum posts

I just engage humans in conversation.  Three minutes of my jabbering is sufficient to send them on their way. And since critters are scent oriented, just being stinky old me me suffices to drive them off.

Ed

2:04 p.m. on May 21, 2019 (EDT)
73 reviewer rep
3,730 forum posts

Perspective depends on your experience.  If racoons are what you remember about animal confrontations, then a hiking staff is all you will ever need especiallyl around a place like Los Angeles.  

I used to spend a lot of time working in Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska and the N Cascades.  The conditions are a little different.  Walking sticks are all you need the majority of the time. But not all the time. 

6:16 p.m. on May 21, 2019 (EDT)
107 reviewer rep
489 forum posts

whomeworry said:

I just engage humans in conversation.  Three minutes of my jabbering is sufficient to send them on their way. And since critters are scent oriented, just being stinky old me me suffices to drive them off.

Ed

 In that case Ed, you can hike with me anytime. Sounds like having you around would knuckle head proof any hike. Lol

9:44 p.m. on May 21, 2019 (EDT)
125 reviewer rep
3,271 forum posts

John, accompanying me guarantees you get the full knucklehead experience.

Ed

6:32 a.m. on May 22, 2019 (EDT)
107 reviewer rep
489 forum posts

LOL

same here 

May 22, 2019
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: A backpacking tent for 2. Any suggestions?
All forums: Older: 2 Night Backpacking Options in SoCal Area?