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Handy Kitchen Substitutions

Handy Kitchen Substitutions

Save time and money with this printable list of 35+ Kitchen Substitutions . Substitutions for sweeteners, leavening, flours, spices, measurements and more.
Since I live out in the country, when I don’t have an ingredient on hand, it’s not very handy to pop out to the store to pick up what I need.  Over the years I’ve found an assortment of kitchen substitutions that have worked well for me, so I thought I would put them all together in one spot and share them with you.  These won’t work *exactly* like the original ingredients, but they should do in a pinch.  You may even like them better than the original.

Kitchen Substitutions – Sweets

1 square unsweetened chocolate (1 ounce) = 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon fat (butter or coconut oil)

Chocolate, semisweet 6 ounces (1 cup) = 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder plus 7 tablespoons sugar plus 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil

1 ounce chocolate = 3 tablespoons carob powder plus 2 tablespoons water

1 cup honey = 1-1/4 cup cane sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid

1 cup brown sugar = 1 cup white cane sugar plus 1-2 tablespoons molasses ( 1 for lighter, 2 for darker)

1-1/2 cup corn syrup = 1 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup water

1 cup molasses = 1 cup honey

maple sugar, 1/2 cup packed = 1 cup maple syrup (you may need to adjust liquids in the recipe)

Handy Kitchen Substitutions - Save Money and Trips to the Grocery Store by Using What You Already Have at Home

Kitchen Substitutions – Dairy Products

1 cup fresh whole milk = 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus  1/2 cup water

1 cup fresh whole milk = 1 cup reconstituted nonfat dry milk plus 2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup fresh whole milk = 1 cup sour milk* or buttermilk plus 1/2 teaspoon soda (decrease baking powder 2 teaspoons)

1 cup sour milk* or buttermilk = 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough fresh whole milk to make one cup

1 cup sour milk* or buttermilk = 1 cup plain milk kefir

1 cup sour cream = 1 cup yogurt (this works better in sweet recipes than savory recipes, IMO)

1 cup cream, half-and-half = 1 1/2 tablespoons butter plus about 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk or 1/2 cup light cream plus 1/2 cup milk

1 cup cream, heavy = 1/3 cup butter plus about 3/4 cup milk

Depending on taste preferences, you can often substitute nut milks or coconut milk or cream in recipes.

*sour milk indicated naturally soured raw milk, not pasteurized milk that has gone past its recommended date of use.  Pasteurized milk will rot, not sour.

Handy Kitchen Substitutions - Save Money and Trips to the Grocery Store by Using What You Already Have at Home

Kitchen Substitutions – Eggs

1 whole egg = 2 egg yolks plus 1 tablespoon water (in cookies, cakes, etc.)

1 whole egg = 2 egg yolks (in custards or creamed dishes)

1 whole egg = 3 tablespoons water plus 1 Tablespoon chia seed (combine and let sit for 10 – 15 minutes until it gels – for baking)

1 whole egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds plus 2-3 tablespoons water (simmer water and flax over low heat until it starts to gel – for baking)

1 whole egg = 2 1/2 tablespoons dried egg beaten with 2 1/2 tablespoons water

Note:  Some people have asked why you would substitute yolks for whole eggs.  If you do a lot of baking, you’ll inevitably run into some recipes that use only whites (like meringue).  This leaves leftover yolks.  :-)

Handy Kitchen Substitutions - Save Money and Trips to the Grocery Store by Using What You Already Have at Home

Kitchen Substitutions – Flours, Leavening and Thickeners

1 tablespoon cornstarch (for thickening) = 2 tablespoons flour (approximately)

1 tablespoon flour (as thickening) = 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot or 2 teaspoons quick cooking tapioca

1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all purpose flour plus 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt

1 cup cake flour, sifted = 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder = 1/3 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter

1 package dry yeast (1/4 ounce) = 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast or 1 cake of compressed yeast or 2 teaspoons SAF-INSTANT yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Kitchen Substitutions – Miscellaneous

1 cup canned tomatoes = about 1-1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes, simmered 10 minutes

2 cups tomato sauce = 3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water

1 cup tomato juice = 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water

1 cup bread crumbs = 3/4 cup cracker crumbs

Bread crumbs, dry, 1/4 cup = 1 slice bread

Bread crumbs, soft, 1/2 cup = 1 slice bread

1 tablespoon mustard = 1 teaspoon mustard powder, plus a little extra liquid, if needed

Garlic, 1 small clove = 1/8 teaspoon powder or 1/4 teaspoon granulated or 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 to 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs

Gelatin, 1/4 ounce envelope = about 2 1/4 teaspoons gelatin powder or 4 sheets gelatin (4×9 inches)

Kitchen Measurement Equivalents

1 cup  = 8 fluid ounces

1 cup = 240 milliliters

1 pint = 2 cups

1 quart =  4 cups

1 quart = 0.95 liters

1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons

1 tablespoon = 15 milliliters

1 teaspoon = 5 milliliters

¼ cup = 4 tablespoons

1/3 cup = 5 2/3 tablespoons

1 stick butter = ½ cup butter

12 ounces chocolate chips = 2 cups chocolate chips

I hope you find these substitutions helpful.  I know there have been many times over the years in my kitchen where a recipe or meal has been saved by making do with a pantry raid instead of the long trip to town.

Click here =>  Handy Kitchen Substitutions from Common Sense Homesteading to access the printable pdf version of the list.

Do you have a substitution that I’ve missed?  Please leave a comment below.  Don’t forget to Pin, Share, Stumble or G+ this post to share with your friends and mark for later.  You know you’re going to need it someday.  ?

Save time and money with this printable list of 35+ Kitchen Substitutions . Substitutions for sweeteners, leavening, flours, spices, measurements and more. You may also enjoy:

Sources:  Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook (1961), The Cook’s Book of Useful Information and The Joy of Cooking.

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Off the Shelf: Homemade Alternatives to the Condiments, Toppings, and Snacks You Love

Canned and bottled items like salad dressing, sauces, salsas, and spreads come with questionable ingredients and packaging to dispose of. Plus, they’re expensive! Good news, though: Off the Shelf is the perfect foil to our ingrained shopping habits. Look through it and you’ll realize that much of what we’ve become accustomed to buying at the store can actually be made at home with better, fresher ingredients. This is a collection of recipes for real food pantry staples that you can feel good about.

Oh Lardy’s Guide to Fermenting Fruits & Vegetables

We make fermenting foods in your own home easy! With the technique, know how, and a bunch of recipes, you will be on your way to fermenting your own foods in no time!
This book will teach you all the tips, tricks, techniques, history and more of making fermented foods easily, safely and so your whole family will enjoy them!!

Cooking with the Seasons: Winter Edition

These recipes are designed around hearty vegetables that are synonymous with winter cooking! The idea is to use some of the foods that are stored for the winter, without limiting meals to them alone. Some of the recipes may look daunting because they list quite a few ingredients. If you are like many people and tend to turn the page when you see a recipe with more than five ingredients, don’t do it! There’s nothing to run away from!

10 Minute Prep Freezer Meals

Your go-to resource for a whole month’s worth of easy, gluten-free, Paleo recipes to prep ahead of time. It contains delicious recipes featuring beef, chicken, pork or lamb plus easy prep instructions for you to batch cook many meals ahead of time, and cooking instructions – many of which are for hands-free slow cooking! For those of you who love to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, you’ll be excited to find recommended pairings for each meal!

The Trayer Wilderness Cookbook ~ Homesteading The Traditional Way ~ Volume 1

The Trayer Wilderness Cookbook ~ Homesteading The Traditional Way ~ Volume 1, is 72 pages of the Trayer family’s favorite recipes, tips and tricks in the kitchen as well as with essential oils in the kitchen, knowledge on gluten-free and dairy-free cooking and Sun Oven cooking along with so much more.

The Hearty and Grounding 7 Day Winter Meal Plan

The Hearty and Grounding 7 Day Winter Meal Plan is designed with winter in mind. 7 days, 14 meals for breakfast or lunch and dinner, 21 other ideas for in-between. Seasonal, healthy, but not without a few cheats. Something that would take forever, weren’t designed for a foodie (of which, I am not), and wouldn’t bore me either.

Homestead Cooking with Carol

Bountiful Make-ahead Meals shows you, the busy homesteading homemaker, how to prepare your food at harvest time so you spend less time making supper the rest of the year. It shows you how to prepare simple, healthy foods that do not require a culinary degree for those nights when you lack the energy to chop, braise, caramelize, or glaze.

Whole Wheat Bread Making

Once you get this guide, you will be amazed at how easy it is to bake delicious and healthy homemade bread. You will discover firsthand (with lots of detailed pictures and instructions) how the entire process of bread making works.

Real Food and Health

Real Food and Health (RFH) is the digital magazine for the Real Food movement. A movement that is about understanding our food and learning the essential skills to have the best food possible. RFH provides modern research side-by-side with traditional remedies, and above all recipes used on a daily basis from real food experts around the world. Inside every issue there are articles on health, lifestyles, real food, and recipes.

Bliss Balls for Beginners

This book is a beginners guide to raw, (mostly) refined sugar free, (mostly) gluten free and (mostly) dairy free, and egg free snacks that are easily devoured by kids and adults alike. Bliss Balls For Beginners will take you from the basic chocolate date ball through to specialty flavors. These recipes are quick to make, forgiving, keep well and make sure you always have healthier, satisfying snack options in the house.

Empowered Eating

Empowered Eating is a self-paced, 21 day eCourse that will give you the tools and resources you need to source, prepare, and preserve locally grown food. Real-life examples of how to eat locally, recipes to inspire your seasonal meal planning, and videos and tutorials will help you take baby steps towards a diet you feel really good about.

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The Back To Basics Living Bundle is a huge collection of eBooks, eCourses, and memberships to help you live the simple country life, even if you live in a high rise in the city.

We’re not trying to get rid of the new and go back to a better time in history. It’s true life has become too complicated for a lot of us, but we’re not about throwing out every advancement made by man in the last few hundred years. Even if it were possible to time travel, I’m not sure how many of us would really want to go back in time. What is possible is to take those basic values, techniques, skills, attitudes and simple joys from yesteryear and bring them into our modern world without sacrificing some of our great advancements.

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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.

This Article Was First Found at Read The Original Article Here

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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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