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Growing Carrots – Quick Guide, Step by Step Instructions and Carrot Q&A

Growing carrots can be a little tricky, but this post will help you learn how to plant, when to thin, companion plants, and growing and harvesting tips.

Some folks don't bother growing carrots in the home garden because they're so readily available at the store, but once you've tried a homegrown carrot, you'll be hooked. Like many homegrown vegetables, garden fresh carrots tend to be sweeter and more flavorful than their store bought counterparts. You can also grow carrots in a variety of colors – purple carrots, white carrots, red carrots, yellow carrots and many shades of orange carrots. Growing carrots in containers can be challenging, but is possible with the right container and the right carrots. In this post we'll cover carrot growing tips and common questions.

Growing Carrots – Quick Guide

  1. Carrots prefer soil pH between 5.5 and 6.8. Above 6.0 is better.
  2. Soil should be rich in organic matter, but avoid excessive nitrogen, which will make your carrots hairy.
  3. Plant carrots in full sun for best production. Plants will tolerate late shade.
  4. Carrots prefer loose, well drained soil. Heavy clay or rocks will produce stubby or tangled roots.
  5. Space plants 2″ apart within rows, with rows 6-8″ apart in a block style planting.
  6. Apply an organic mulch to keep soil cool and control weeds.
  7. Water regularly if rains fail.
  8. Harvest when carrots reach desired size, or before heavy frost.

How to Grow Carrots – Step by Step Instructions

#1 – Prepare your soil

The best soil for carrots is deep and free of rocks and heavy clay. If you have light, fluffy garden soil in good condition, you're good to go with a little compost or rotten manure mixed in at planting time. If your soil is heavy or rocky, you'll want to do a little more preparation. Carrots do best with at least nine inches of easy to penetrate soil. With rough ground, it's helpful to fork in some leaves the fall before planting to lighten the soil. Most rocks should also be removed. (When a growing carrot hits a rock, you'll get a forked or bent carrot.)

Sally Jean Cunningham shares a great tip for those with heavy soil in her book, Great Garden Companions. She frames out a mini raised bed with 2×4 boards, right in her existing garden bed. (Say a 3'x 4′ space, for example.) She fills this bed with a mix of lighter soil, compost and leaf mold to create a carrot-friendly growing spot. At harvest, the entire frame can be lifted for easy picking.

#2 – Planting Carrots

The best time to plant carrots is once the soil has warmed, about when the tulips are in bloom. Soil temperatures around 45°F or lower will slow down or stop germination. You can buy planting tapes with neatly spaced carrot seeds, but they are pricey. I prefer using carrot seeds “as is”.

Plant carrot seeds about 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep. I'll often make a shallow trench with my fingertip. Sprinkle the seeds roughly 1/2″ apart down the trench (thicker for older seeds). Cover gently and water lightly to settle the soil. If soil is heavy, cover seeds with compost to make it easier for the seedlings to break through. The carrots below were planted in newly broken ground in the greenhouse, and had to struggle a bit to get established.

Growing carrots can be a little tricky, but this post will help you learn how to plant, when to thin, companion plants, and growing and harvesting tips.

You can continue to plant carrots at roughly two week intervals up to about mid-July for extended harvests. Some people interplant carrots with radishes. The radishes emerge more quickly, which helps to mark the row. They are then harvested before the carrots to make room for the carrots to grow.

A few carrot seed options that caught my eye on Amazon include:

#3 – Help Your Carrots to Sprout

Ideally, your seed bed should stay moist until the carrots germinate. If you don't have rain, water gently every day or two. I give the area a light sprinkle one my morning garden rounds. Be patient – it may take up to three weeks for seedlings to appear. In good conditions, the baby carrot sprout should show up in a week or two.

Some folks cover their planting beds with burlap and water right through the burlap to help retain moisture. Remove the burlap at the first sign of green sprouts. Another technique is to cover the seeded rows with a board, or tent garden fabric over the area to retain moisture. I like to be able to see what's going on, plus bare ground is likely warmer ground, which speeds germination, so I usually keep mine naked. If it is very windy or dry, I'll use burlap.

#4 – When to Thin Carrots

I usually do my first thinning when carrots are two to three inches tall. At this point I aim to have them about one inch apart, and toss the mini greens into my salad. They taste a something like parsley. About three weeks later you can thin again, leaving the plants spaced two to three inches apart to finish growing. Alternatively, you can thin to two to three inches at the first thinning.

I usually pull my extra carrots, but if plants are very thickly planted, snipping off the extra might be safer. Pulling closely growing carrots might lead to pulling up the carrots you want to keep. Use a sharp pair of scissors to trim plants to ground level and desired spacing. Below you can see a cluster of greenhouse carrots that are ready to be thinned.

Growing carrots can be a little tricky, but this post will help you learn how to plant, when to thin, companion plants, and growing and harvesting tips.

#5 – Carrot Care During the Growing Season

Once thinning is complete, apply an organic mulch such as grass clippings or straw to moderate soil temperature and moisture. Water if needed to keep soil moist.

Growing carrots can be a little tricky, but this post will help you learn how to plant, when to thin, companion plants, and growing and harvesting tips.

An old family photo of my carrot harvesting team.

#6 – Harvesting your Garden Carrots

As mentioned above, you can start snacking on the thinnings, but the main crop won't be available for at least a couple of months. Don't be fooled into thinking big tops means large carrots – carrots fill out above ground before they fill out below. Carrots will typically hold for weeks in the ground, unless it's too hot or cold or dry. Heat and drought may cause bolting.

If soil is loose and moist, you may be able to pull up carrots by the tops. When soil is hard or compacted, loosen gently with a fork before lifting out carrots. If you accidentally skewer a carrot, use or process it shortly after harvest. Do not attempt long term root cellar storage of damaged carrots.

When gathering carrots, take carrot to avoid getting the juices from the carrots tops on your bare skin. Like parsnips and other plants in the carrots family, the sap can cause phytophotodermatitis. Phytophotodermatitis symptoms include painful rash and blisters, as you can see in the post My Worst Gardening Mistake.

Growing carrots can be a little tricky, but this post will help you learn how to plant, when to thin, companion plants, and growing and harvesting tips.

#7 – How to Store Garden Carrots

For root cellar storage, cull any damaged roots. Snip carrot tops to roughly one inch in length. Brush off excess soil. Pack carrots in layers in damp sawdust or leaves in a box or bin. Try to avoid having the roots touch. Do not store carrots near apples, as the ethylene gas from the apples may cause sprouting and off flavors in the carrots.

Alternatively, wash carrots and trim tops. Store in a plastic bag with the top open in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Best if used within a few months.

Carrots can also be frozen, dehydrated, freeze dried or canned in a pressure canner. It is not safe to can carrots in a water bath canner because they are low acid.

If you would like to store your carrots, look for varieties that are specifically recommended for storage. The best storage carrots tend to take a little longer to mature and be larger carrots. The top and bottom photos of the post are carrots (and beets) that are headed to storage, and you can see that most of the carrots are rather stocky.

Carrot Q & A

What's the Best Carrot Seed?

The best carrot seed is fresh carrot seed. Many types of seeds store and germinate well for several years, but not carrots. Try to use your carrot seeds within 1-3 years of purchase, and plant them more thickly in later years. Keep unused seeds in a cool dry location, out of direct sunlight. You can make your own seed vault using a sealed container in your freezer.

What are good companion plants for carrots?

Great Garden Companions suggests teaming up carrots with:

  • onions
  • chives
  • caraway
  • coriander
  • calendula
  • chamomile
  • swan river daisies

In Carrots Love Tomatoes, Louise Riotte recommends pairing carrots with:

  • onions
  • leeks
  • rosemary
  • wormwood
  • sage
  • black salsify

I like to plant my carrots in a bed of mixed root vegetables, alternating several rows of carrots with onions, beets, kohlrabi, herbs and sometimes flowers.

Are there fast growing carrots?

Yes. Some carrots will mature faster than others. Look at the “date to maturity” on package or catalog listing. Smaller varieties like Minicore, Bambino and Parisian mature in 55-60 days. Their small size also makes them good choices for carrot container planting.

Can I Buy Carrot Plants?

Nope. Carrots are one of those crops that is bet sown directly in the garden.

What's the Best Carrot Fertilizer?

Good garden soil with some compost mixed in should be enough, but if you'd like to add a little “extra”, choose an organic fertilizer that's high in potash. A dusting of wood ashes or kelp meal worked into the bed before planting will do the trick. Don't go crazy. Too much ash will burn your plants.

How Can I Grow Purple Carrots?

Purple carrots (and other colored carrots) are grown just like orange carrots. Just choose a variety that has the color of root that you prefer.

Growing carrots can be a little tricky, but this post will help you learn how to plant, when to thin, companion plants, and growing and harvesting tips.

Were all carrots originally purple?

According to the book Heirloom Vegetables, the earliest carrots were purple, red or white. Yellow carrots came on the scene in Turkey in the 10th century, and our modern orange carrots didn't show up until the 17th century. Wild carrots (also known as Queen Anne's Lace) have a white root.

Growing carrots can be a little tricky, but this post will help you learn how to plant, when to thin, companion plants, and growing and harvesting tips.

Are Carrots a Vegetable?

Yep. Because we eat the roots (and possibly the greens) rather than the seeds, they are classified as a vegetable – even though you can use them to make cake.

My Carrots are Bumpy and Strange Looking – are they Safe to Eat?

Carrots grown in rough ground and some varieties of carrots will naturally develop bumps, forks and other odd looking bits. Don't worry, they still taste like carrots – they're just trickier to peel. I've assembled a lovely collage of ugly carrots from my many years of gardening. Don't fear the funky veggies! Tons of food is thrown out each year because it's not cosmetically perfect. It's time to change that trend. Also, for those who are worried that these odds shapes might be due to Fukishimi fallout, most of the photos in the collage were pre-Fukishima. I did get a refund on the purple carrot at top left, because the seed company noted that some of the seeds were producing “off type” carrots. They still tasted just fine.

Growing carrots can be a little tricky, but this post will help you learn how to plant, when to thin, companion plants, and growing and harvesting tips.

For the Love of Garden Carrots

One of my husband's favorite memories of his grandfather is about garden carrots. When he was a little boy, his grandfather let him eat carrots straight out the garden, washed off with the garden hose. He still remembers the crunch and sweetness, many decades later. (This is pretty significant, given that he sometimes forgets his own birthday…)

I hope you'll make space for carrots in your home garden, too.

Questions, comments or requests for the next vegetable? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts.

You may also find useful:

Growing carrots can be a little tricky, but this post will help you learn how to plant, when to thin, companion plants, and growing and harvesting tips.

The post Growing Carrots – Quick Guide, Step by Step Instructions and Carrot Q&A appeared first on Common Sense Homesteading.

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Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman

Learn to make your own homemade weapons so you’ll have a fighting chance in a survival situation where all you have is nature.

 [You Get One FREE] Weird Little Knife Drives TSA Crazy!

How to Make Homemade Weapons

Why Should You Learn to Make Homemade Weapons?

Let’s say you got lost in the wild, and you somehow forgot or lost your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT (or whichever is the best survival knife for you). What do you do?

While your situation is most likely not quite as bad as Tom Hanks had it in Castaway, let’s face it. The only way you’re gonna get out of this situation in good shape is to let out your inner caveman.

Let me explain. Our very primitive ancestors lived in a time when every day was a survival situation. Any tools or weapons they needed had to be made from scratch.

So, should you be unlucky enough to have only the shirt on your back while you’re lost in the wilderness, you’ll have to follow suit. Let the training of your inner caveman begin.

Today’s lesson: how to make DIY weapons in the wild with only the resources nature provided you.

How to Make a Knife | Homemade Weapons

Having a knife, any kind of knife is probably one of the best things to happen should you suddenly find yourself in a survival situation. You can use it to help you find food, build a shelter, and defend yourself against wild animals.

So it’s highly fortunate nature is waiting like a momma at a craft table with lots of materials you can use to create one.

1. Stone Knives

Bone, shell, bamboo, wood, or even an old aluminum beer can may work to perform the puncturing function of a blade. You know you’ve seen these a million times when you’re out hiking.

They’re easy to crack or break or shape into a fairly sharp point which will do in a pinch. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use a chicken bone or an expertly-shaped aluminum can point to skin, chop, baton, or any of the other necessary functions of a survival knife.

This is where the stone comes into play. I’ll start by saying making a knife out of stone isn’t easy, but it can be done.

You’ll need three things: a core rock, a hammerstone, and a pressure flaker. Remember, you’re going to be smashing these together in true caveman fashion.

So, having stones you can reasonably grip in each hand is going to make your life a lot easier. Although, it’s definitely an option to stand poised over one rock smashing down on it.

You, with a two-hand grip, pounding until you’ve chipped away at it a bit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

2. The Core Rock

rock formation background | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

The core rock is what you’ll be making into a blade. Find any large stone, preferably made from obsidian, slate, chert, or flint with a relatively flat side.

In case you weren’t a rock collector in any of your previous lives, here’s another way to decide if a rock meets the requirements for good knife-making material. Tap or click a rock together with another rock and listen for a ringing sound (like glass).

The more rock sounds like glass, the better it is as a material for your core rock. If you can, choose a rock which is already a bit sharp to reduce the amount of time you’ll need to shape it.

3. The Hammerstone

The hammerstone is a medium-sized, spherical rock, preferably made of granite. It will be used to smash, chisel, chip and shape the core rock.

You’ll be using it to chip off pieces of the core stone and to narrow the edges to a blade shape.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Edge | Knife Sharpener

4. The Pressure Flaker

The pressure flaker, or flaking tool, is a rock with a sharp point to help you refine the blade’s edges. You’ll use your flaking tool after you’ve thinned the edges of the stone with the hammer stone to make the “blade” sharper.

When you start making your knife, you’ll want to be sure to wet the core stone to shorten the time it takes to shape it into a blade. Begin by striking glancing blows near the edge of the core rock with the hammerstone.

Chip away at the core rock until you get the general shape of a blade. Then, use the flaking tool to refine the edges you need to sharpen.

You can also use a stone with a rough surface such as a sandstone to sharpen the edge. Use some rope, cloth, or leather to lash the base and create a handle.

If you are having troubling shaping the rock into a knife, you can opt to create stone blades instead. Check out the videos below to learn how:

Part One:

Part Two:

How to Make a Spear | Homemade Weapons

south african zulu spear | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

We’ve talked about how to make a spear using your best survival knife in a previous article. The same principle applies here.

Even without your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT or whichever survival knife you normally bring with you, you can still make a spear using your newly made stone knife. To make a spear, you’ll need to find a five-foot-long stick tough enough to endure repeated short or long-distance throws.

  1. First, pick the end of the stick which has a more rounded tip and use your stone knife to start shaving to create a spear. Once you’re done, be sure to heat the spear over some hot coals to make your spear sharper.
  2. As an alternative, you can also make a spear by tying your knife onto a stick. Find a stick which is about an inch wide.
  3. Measure about 2 inches from one end of the stick. Mark the point, then split the stick into two until you reach the 2-inch mark, creating a sort of Y shape.
  4. This will create a space where you can stick your stone knife before you lash it on with some twine, cord, or rope. To lock the blade in place, put some moss or lichen in the remaining space.
  5. If you haven’t had time to fashion your knife out of stone yet, you can also use broken pieces of shell or glass or splintered bamboo or bone and secure it to the end of your stick.
  6. If you find a way to split your stick without a knife, you can insert the splintered bone or bamboo into the wedge and tie it off like you would when turning a knife into a spear.

How to Make a Weighted Club | Homemade Weapons

While sharp pointy tools are all well and good, you can never go wrong with a blunt homemade weapon. You can use it for hammering or bludgeoning something such as a weighted club.

The weighted club could be one of the deadliest ancient weapons. To make one, you’ll need the following: a piece of wood around 14-16 inches, a medium-sized rock, and some rope.

  1. Once you have all the materials, you’ll need to wrap some lashing 6-8 inches from the end of the stick.
  2. Split the same end until you reach the lashing in order to create a V-shaped notch. The rock you picked out should be shorter than the length of the split.
  3. Insert the stone then lash it securely (above, below, and across the stone). The lashing on the stick above the stone clamps both sides of the split together providing the first point of security, so it’s especially important to create a good, tight lashing above the stone.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you bind the split ends securely so the stone won’t fall off whenever you use it to hammer or pound on something.

This video from Wannabe Bushcrafter will show you how to make a bamboo knife:

Now, hopefully, you never find yourself in a situation where making homemade weapons is going to be a necessity for survival. But, if you do find yourself in such a quagmire, this little bit of information and inner caveman training may be what saves your life.

Which of these homemade weapons do you want to make? Tell us your progress in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 11, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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5 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

Know these home remedies for chigger bites, or better yet, avoid the bug's bites in the first place with helpful tips included here!

RELATED: Top Ways to Deal with Insects [Especially Mosquitos]

In this article:

  1. What Is a Chigger, Exactly?
  2. Where Do Chiggers Live?
  3. Identifying Chiggers Bites
  4. Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
  5. Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

What Is a Chigger, Exactly?

Chiggers are members of the arachnid family. They are extremely tiny, and my guess is you won’t even see them as they jump from the tall grass onto your skin and/or clothing.

Adult chiggers are about 1/60 of an inch and have eight legs. The larvae are red, wingless, six-legged creatures which measure less than 1/150 of an inch.

Because of their red color, you might be able to spot the larvae when they cluster together, especially on white clothing.

What Is the Arachnid Family? It is a large group or class of invertebrate animals where the spiders and scorpions belong.

Where Do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers reside in tall weeds and grass, berry patches, and wooded areas. They could be in your backyard, by the lake, or your favorite hiking trail.

They are most active in summer and fall afternoons – the warmest part of the day.

Identifying Chiggers Bites

Only the larvae bite humans and they tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body.

Chiggers also have claws which help them grab onto your skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva.

The saliva contains an enzyme which breaks skin cells down to liquid form. Your body responds by hardening skin cells around the saliva, creating a tube (cyclostome) through which the chigger sucks the dissolved skin cells.

Chiggers can stay attached and feeding for several days before falling off.

When the chigger falls off, you are left with reddish bumps. You may notice a bright red dot in the center—this is a remnant of the tube your skin formed in response to the chigger's saliva.

The bumps may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives. Bites generally appear in groups and get larger for several days to a week.

While many insects bite exposed skin which is easy to get to, chiggers like to bite in folds of skin as well as places where clothing fits tightly on the skin. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, or behind the knees.

Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

Just remember, no matter what, DO NOT SCRATCH THE BITES! I know, easier said than done. But, breaking the skin on a chigger bite can lead to infection.

Here are 5 home remedies to help with the itching and swelling.

RELATED: Spider Bite? Here’s How To Treat It

1. Vicks Vapor Rub

Vicks Vapor Rub can put an end to itchy chigger bites immediately and will even reduce the risk of blisters. It’s the cooling menthol in it which relieves itching by affecting itch receptors in the skin.


  • Take a hot shower (use antibacterial soap.) Pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
  • Take a small amount of the vapor rub and add some table salt to it.
  • Mix well and apply to the affected area.
  • Repeat if the swelling continues (otherwise, there is no need to repeat the process)

2. Cold Compress

A cold compress can help reduce the itching associated with chigger bites. Its numbing effect helps reduce the sensation of itchiness.


  • Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth.
  • Apply the compress to the bites for 10 minutes. Repeat if needed to relieve itching.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is another effective remedy to reduce rashes as well as itchiness. It acts as a natural acid neutralizer which helps relieve itching and reduces the risk of infection.


  • Add 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with cool water.
  • Stir well and soak in this water for 15 minutes and pat your skin with a soft towel. (Do this once daily)

Another remedy using baking soda:

  • Prepare a thin paste of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a little water.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water.

Note: Do not use this remedy more than once or twice a day. Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties providing instant relief from itching–one of the common symptoms of chigger bites. It is recommended to use colloidal oatmeal, meaning oats which are ground into an extremely fine powder.

(You can accomplish this yourself by grinding regular oats in a sealed Ziploc bag, using the backside of a spoon to crush the oatmeal.)


  • Add 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with warm water
  • Stir thoroughly
  • Soak in this mixture for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day

5. Olive Oil

Olive oil can also be used to get relief from the irritation and inflammation. It is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which reduce itching and facilitate healing.


  • After rinsing the affected area with water, apply olive oil to the chigger bite.
  • Reapply several times a day.

Another option using olive oil:

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply on the affected area.
  • Repeat a few times a day.

Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

As summer and fall are prime time for chigger bites, it is best to take the following precautions:

  1. When hiking, stay in the center of the trail and avoid brushing up against vegetation.
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants when going into the woods.
  3. Apply mosquito repellent on your hands, feet, and exposed skin on your arms before going outside.
  4. Shower immediately after being outdoors and use antibacterial soap.
  5. Wash your clothes in hot water.
  6. Resist the urge to scratch because breaking the skin on chigger bites can lead to a possible infection.

This video from Online Pest Control will show you tips to avoid chiggers and ways to get rid of chiggers:

Chigger bites much like other insect bites aren't only discomforting, they can be dangerous too. Many of these insects including chiggers carry diseases in some cases.

The best way to deal with these bugs is to avoid them or control them with our tips here. But, if you're so unlucky, you also now know the best home remedies to chigger bites!

Have you had to deal with chigger bites before? Tell us how, including more useful tips which worked for you in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr!

***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 28, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

Arm yourself with a survival stick, get savvy with it, but first, find out why as you read on!

RELATED: Deadly Parasols | Umbrella As A Self-Defense Weapon

In this article:

  1. Survival Hiking Stick
  2. Survival Stick for Support
  3. Fetching/Reaching Things
  4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense
  5. Balance
  6. Gauging Depth
  7. Carrying Gear and Supplies
  8. Club
  9. Fishing Rod

Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

A walking stick or a survival cane were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries as a decorative show of power and a defensive replacement for a sword. Yet, the truth is our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years, and for good reason…

…They work! Even the animal kingdom is smart enough to know just how useful these are:

(It may be hard to see, but this gorilla is holding a walking stick to gauge the depth of the water as she sloshes along)

A walking stick is not a new or revolutionary idea. In fact, the use of a walking stick predates history and its use continued on for generations including this present time.

Yet, it is one which is more often than not overlooked. When most people think of a walking stick, it is usually paired with a top hat or seen as a crutch for someone with a walking disability.

Far too few people even realize how important a walking stick can be, especially to someone in the outdoors. We will dig a little deeper into the many uses of a survival stick and maybe safely say, it could be the first multi-purpose survival tool.

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

Walking sticks are also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles and hiking staff have quite a few different uses:

1. Survival Hiking Stick

Hold the survival stick in front of you and you can use it to clear your way by parting brushes and branches or leaves and thick tall grasses. You can also use it to clear spiderwebs, especially if you're not too fond of spiders.

Other insects, animals, poisonous plants, and even animal dung can get in the way. Use a survival stick to inspect or poke at those things if you are unsure, and never ever your hands or your feet.

2. Survival Stick for Support

Hiker in Caucasus mountains is crossing mountain river | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | hiking staff
Making your way through an uneven terrain will be more manageable with a walking stick for support. Whether you're going up or down, use the walking stick to either slow you down or hold you up.

You can use your walking stick like breaks to keep you from speeding down or use it to latch on to a rock or crevice when you're climbing up. Besides for yourself, you can also use your multipurpose stick as a support for your tarp emergency shelter.

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

It happens–a supply or gear falling on water, mud, puddle or in an area you dare not walk into. You can fetch or reach for those items with a stick.

It also happens where you need an item over a physical barrier and only a stick can fetch the item for you. You can also reach for fruits, nest, or other food sources up a tree or high structure with a stick.

RELATED: Unusual Weapons From Around The World And How To Use Them

4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

To use a survival stick as a weapon, make sure it's a sturdy stick with a finished look and not just any stick you found along the way. You can use it to defend yourself from an attacker whether it's human or animals.

I would suggest to train yourself in some form of martial arts using a stick like a baton as a weapon to have a better handle at it.

You can also fashion a spear with your stick by tying a survival knife on one end. Don't throw this spear though or you risk damaging or losing your knife and stick.

Hold on to your homemade spear and only use it to thrust at your target.

5. Balance

Hiker is crossing the river in Sweden | Hiker in Caucasus mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | survival hiking stickWhen you're crossing a log bridge over a stream or you're going through the stream itself or other bodies of water, a walking stick can help you balance so you don't fall over. If you're walking through a muddy or rocky waterbed, a walking stick will help you up.

If you're up for it and if the body of water isn't too wide across, you can also use a long stick like a pole vault to cross over so you don't get yourself wet.

6. Gauging Depth

Relative to crossing bodies of water, a survival stick is handy in identifying dips beneath the waters which could cause you to stumble. You can also use the stick to identify where it's safe to take the next step.

You can also use this simple trick with the stick when you're traveling in deep snow, marshland, and even the dessert.

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

Use your survival stick to help you carry gear and supplies. Pack your supplies with a shemagh, tie it tight to one end of your stick then place the stick over your shoulders in hobo fashion.

You can also carry more supplies with your survival stick. Even today, a carrying pole is used by indigenous people all over the world to carry heavy supplies you never thought possible.

Hang bags of supplies or jars of water on either side of the pole or stick, putting a stopper like a notch or tie on both ends so they don't fall off. Place the center of the stick over your shoulders and balance your load to your destination.

8. Club

Man carrying blue backpack | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | walking staff weapon
Use your survival stick like a club to knock obstacle down. A pillar of rocks or other objects may be on your way and a sturdy stick can help you safely knock those.

If you are in a building with glass doors or windows or inside a car, you can break the glass with a stick. Make to knock over pieces around your entrance or exit with the stick, too.

9. Fishing Rod

You only need to bring a fishing kit and your survival stick will make a good fishing rod. Tie a line on one end of your walking stick and fish away.

A DIY fishing pole is actually effective and many a fish has been caught this way.

As you guys and gals already know, I am a stickler for carrying things only if they have multiple uses. This guy managed to fit almost an entire survival kit into a walking stick he built from scratch, for under $20.00.

Check out this video from SOS 2054 I found, and find out for yourself, too:

A humble walking stick will indeed surprise you with what it can do for your defense, convenience, safety, and survival. Since you know now the practical and survival uses of this primitive multi-purpose tool, it won't surprise me if it lands a top spot on your list of survival tools for camping, hiking, or SHTF.

What other uses can you think of for carrying a “survival stick”? Let us know in the comments section below!

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**Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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