Boys' Life magazine

Finding a good hiking staff

Q. I am looking for a good hiking staff for my height (I’m about 5’9”). I need a long, quality staff but all the ones I have found are either short but good quality, or long but cheap. Help Gear Guy?!
— Joseph Needastaff, Nampa, Idaho

A. Let’s start with what you need to know to find the right size hiking staff. Standing with your arms at your side, the stick should be about 6 or 8 inches taller than your elbow. Pick an even longer stick if you’ll be tackling steep terrain. If you’re really just planning on walking with your stick, a shorter one will do. There are plenty of different staff options, from basic hand-carved wooden models to ultra-light aluminum staffs with built-in shock absorbers. Here are a few to consider: