Editor’s Note: We received the following email from a reader named Ron, who has developed a hobby of carving his own multi-purpose survival staffs. We appreciate several aspects of his advice he shares. First, it’s a good lesson in the value of creativity — with practice and experimentation, you’ll be able to improve your carving skills and find the design that works best for your needs. Second, it goes to show that being prepared isn’t just about spending money on high-end gear. Plenty of valuable tools can be hand-made from common materials if you’re willing to put in the effort.

If you have any survival or preparedness tips of your own, you can email them to us directly at [email protected].


I enjoy all the RECOIL family of magazines, especially OFFGRID. I just finished reading Issue 29. Another great read. After reading the article on the Crawford Survival Staff, I couldn’t help but send you a note.

The modular Crawford Survival Staff, as seen in Issue 29 of our magazine.

The modular Crawford Survival Staff, as seen in Issue 29 of our magazine.

The Crawford staff is certainly a great product, and I couldn’t agree more with the author’s comments about fashioning something quickly in the woods if the need would arise. But if you fashion it beforehand and have it with you, it’s a little easier.

I’ve been making hiking staffs for a few years now that I just give away — at last count over 70. I got to thinking about the survival need and started trying a few ideas. These are simple, easy ways to make a hiking staff a survival staff for nothing more than some time and effort. My first thought was to just sharpen the end of a hiking staff and make an end cap for it. With the little bolt and wing nut, it works great. To go from hiking staff to spear, just take off the wing nut, pull out the bolt and pull off the cap.

Ron A wood survival staff carving hiking stick spear hunting diy 1

Next idea was a longer, narrower pointed end. So I took a small branch, made a spear point out of it and fastened it to the hiking staff with toggle bolts and wing nuts. I made a couple of different versions of this one, one with tip up and one with tip down. With tip up, simply take off one wing nut, flip the tip around, and insert the toggle bolt in the extra pre-drilled hole. With the tip down you actually have to take off both toggle bolts, slide the spear end down the shaft and insert the bolts in the two pre-drilled holes.

With way too much time on my hands, I kept trying to come up with other ideas. The last two I fashioned by drilling a hole in the end of the staff. With one, I just cut down an old wooden spoon into a spear point and with the other I decided to spend an afternoon whittling something a little more like a true arrow point. These last two I just tie to the paracord wrist strap I put on all my staffs. Just untie it and stick it in the slot when needed. It’s a great way to tinker in the garage during the winter months and it keeps me busy. Of course my wife thinks I’m crazy, having made well over 100 of these in the last few years!

Thanks for listening.
Ron A.

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