This is something that was once a part of every Boy Scout’s gear and as important as any other item he was expected to have with him when hiking or camping. Some call it a stave, some a walking staff, some call it a cane, and the official name for it back in the first Boy Scout Handbook, is the staff. They have almost gone out of use.

The ones they sell in the Current BSA catalog are made of hickory and are about 45 to 48-inches long and the prices run from $21 to $29. They have some that are taller and cheaper. These are plain, 60-inches long, and are unfinished at a cost of about $3.99 each.

What do you use them for/how do you use them? Here is what the manual says:  Lashed together they can be used as a flag pole – they can be used in defense of a wild animal attack – with a 10’ x 10’ tarp and a staff you can build yourself a quick/cheap tent – two 60” staffs run through two coats sleeves can be made into a stretcher to carry an injured person – they make a great walking staff to steady yourself when hiking or to test for deep holes when crossing a stream. I wouldn’t go into the woods or a field without a walking staff; I have several.

I like to build my own staffs and decorate them to suit myself but make sure you get permission from the landowner before cutting any trees on his property. I like a hard maple or hickory staff about 5 feet long. I like to peel off the bark when the wood is still green and then let it season (dry out) in my attic. Later I will use a magnifying glass and the sun to burn my name and date in the staff along with any decorations I can create. I then give it a light sanding, stain it, and put polyurethane on it to seal the wood. Tipped with a rubber cane tip from Umber’s Hardware, I’m ready to go hiking.

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Ray McCune

He has lived in Waynedale for over 45 years. He has taken to his lifelong dream of being a full time Outdoor Freelance Writer and author. Ray has authored one book and has written Kampfire Kookin' as well as other outdoors articles for the newspaper. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer