Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gear Review: Brazos Walking Sticks

Everyone needs something or someone to lean on for support once in a while. Backcountry explorers are no different, whether it is a pair of telescoping hiking poles or simply a thick stick picked up along the trail. A pole or stick can assist with a wide range of backcountry situations from crossing a beaver dam to descending a mountain. This extra support becomes even more important as one gets older when the knee and hip joints need relief from the stress caused from hours of hiking over arduous terrain.

Although most hikers use the typical high-tech aluminum telescoping poles, there still remains a few who prefer the old-school wooden hiking sticks. These sticks are often found along the trail, especially near tricky wetland or beaver dam crossings. Occasionally, a hiker might develop an attachment to one of these sticks, removing the stick from its native habitat to live out a life as a trusty object of support and balance.

An alternative to these options is to buy a wooden hiking stick from Brazos Walking Sticks.

Brazos Walking Sticks makes a wide selection of walking sticks, canes, and accessories. The company’s walking stick line are an attractive alternative to the high-tech hiking poles for anyone but the most aggressive mountain climber.

Brazos products come in a wide variety of wood types including oak, cedar, ash, maple, cherry, pine and others. Each walking stick or cane is handcrafted by one of their gifted artisan craftsmen in central Texas, not far from the company’s namesake, the Brazos River.

Brazos Walking Sticks offers several different tip accessories for their walking sticks and canes. The black rubber ferrule is standard but for an additional price one of their other tips can be substituted. The Combi spike is the typical blunt metal type tip found on most traditional hiking poles. Two other sharper tips are also available.

In addition, there are several different accessories available for the handle of the walking stick. The compass, thermometer, whistle and camera mount are just a few likely to be of interest to a backcountry enthusiast.

Several cases are available for those who travel with their hiking stick using methods of locomotion involving more than just their own two feet.

The company customizes their products too. They engrave personal messages on their walking sticks in a variety of different fonts. This makes any of the Brazos Walking Sticks’ products a perfect gift for someone who does a lot of walking or hiking and could use a sturdy companion to accompany them. Each walking stick comes with a lifetime warranty against defects and a 100/100 Satisfaction Guarantee. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your stick, just return it within 100 days for a full refund, no questions asked.

Recently, I was sent a Brazos Backpacker Walking Stick to review. The options on it were few; it was dark brown in color and 55 inches in length, with no additional handle or tip accessories included. It was made of solid oak, and was very sturdy and finely finished. It was twisted in the middle giving it a very distinctive appearance.

My first impression, after removing it from the shipping tube, was of its fine craftsmanship. It was truly a thing of art; it was super smooth and finely stained to a beautiful dark brown color. The walking stick’s finish clearly brought out the natural beauty of the wood. This walking stick would be more appropriately mounted on a wall rather than out and about on the trails in the Adirondacks.

Near the top of the stick there was a small hole drilled through with a thin strap threaded forming a loop. This wrist strap would ensure the walking stick could not be easily dropped during a stumble on the trail.

Take care laying this walking stick on the ground while out on the trails within the Adirondacks though. Given its natural look and brown color it would be very easily left behind by accident. Perhaps a bit of florescent orange flagging on the top strap might elevate this possibility.

The Backpacker Walking Stick has a black rubber ferrule at its tip, much like one found on the end of crutches. This tip is not glued on, so one should take care when using the walking stick within muddy conditions or in bogs, lest the ferrule be lost in the muck. Brazos Walking Sticks offers several other tip accessories that might be more appropriate for the wild backcountry conditions found on many Adirondack trails.

The Brazos Backpacker Walking Sticks retails for $40. Any optional accessories would cost extra.

For anyone in the market for a quality, finely-crafted walking stick should take a serious look at the Brazos Backpacker Walking Stick or any other of Brazos Walking Sticks’ outstanding products. These beautiful walking sticks make the perfect companion for anyone into walking and/or hiking, whether just around town or in the backcountry of the Adirondacks.

Photos: Brazos Backpacker Walking Stick handle, walking stick and twisted section by Brazos Walking Sticks.

Dan Crane blogs about his bushwhacking adventures at Bushwhacking Fool.

Dan Crane

Dan Crane

Dan Crane writes regularly about bushwhacking and backcountry camping, including providing insights on equipment and his observations as a veteran backcountry explorer. He has been visiting the Adirondacks since childhood and actively exploring its backcountry for almost two decades. He is also life-long naturalist with a Master of Science in Ecology from SUNY ESF and 10+ seasons working as a field biologist, five inside the Blue Line.

Dan has hiked the Northville-Placid Trail twice and climbed all 46 High Peaks but currently spends his backpacking time exploring the northwestern portion of the Adirondacks. He is also the creator of the blog Bushwhacking Fool where he details his bushwhacking adventures.


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