Walking Sticks – Before choosing a walking stick, consider its purpose. Long walks over rugged terrain, winter hiking over snow or ice and walks around town on sidewalks each call for different type of walking sticks. Consider also whether you have back or knee problems, or any physical issues that interfere with your balance or limit your mobility. There are many options from hiking poles to canes to fanciful wizard staffs.
The ergonomics of walking sticks become increasingly important the harder you use it. When you hike on trails for long hours or over rugged terrain, they reduce stress on your back, knees and hips, especially while going up and down hills or carrying a backpack. To be of benefit, walking sticks must be the right length for your body. On hilly trails, use walking sticks about as tall as your shoulder or a little longer. On flat surfaces, walking sticks should be as tall as your elbow. Canes are usually shorter with your hand resting on the handle easily with your elbow bent while you stand straight. Some aluminum hiking poles have adjustable lengths. Examine the hand grip on your hiking sticks and choose one which fits your hand comfortably without your closing tightly. For long hours of strenuous hiking look for padded, sweat-resistant grips.
Many wooden walking sticks and canes are handmade works of art that can vary from a hand-rubbed high gloss finish to the rustic “bark” feel. They come in different kinds of wood, with carving, wood burning, inlays and other decorative accents. Features include compasses in their tops, whistles carved into them for trail signaling, leather thongs and different types of tips for your walking sticks.