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Starting Seeds Indoors – 11 Steps to Help You Plant Seeds with Confidence

Starting seeds indoors is easy, as long as you follow a few basic steps when you plant your seeds and care for your seedlings.

Starting seeds indoors is a must for northern gardeners who want to grow warm weather crops like tomatoes, but it can be a boon to any garden. Many plants do better when placed in the garden as transplants. See “When Should I Start Seeds? Printable Seed Starting Calendar” for a list of which plants to start inside and which to direct seed in the garden.

Sure, you can pick up transplants at your local garden center or big box parking lot, but starting seeds at home gives you access to many more varieties. It’s also fun! More on why I start seeds later in the post, but first, let’s get planting!

Starting Seeds Indoors – 11 Steps to Help You Plant Seeds with Confidence

1. Keep records and label all your seedlings

I keep a simple spreadsheet listing the variety planted, date planted, date when seedlings appear and some other basic information. You can print out your own copy from the post, “Simple Record Keeping for the Garden with Printable Seed Starting Chart”.

Mark your seedlings! I label all planting containers with craft sticks or other markers. It’s amazing how similar garden plants can look with they are tiny.

Starting seeds indoors is easy, as long as you follow a few basic steps when you plant your seeds and care for your seedlings.

2. Choose the right seed starting mix

Potting mix should be fairly light but still hold enough water to keep seedlings moist.

Can you use garden soil for starting seeds indoors? I wouldn’t recommend it. Plain soil doesn’t drain well enough, and seeds will tend to rot or the seedlings will be more likely to get fungal problems. You might also introduce weed seeds or diseases from your garden.

If you’d like to make your own potting mix, try a mix of one third each:

  • soil or compost
  • sand, vermiculite or perlite
  • peat moss or coir

If you’re worried about soil disease, pasteurize your soil or compost by heating it to 180 degrees in a warm oven and holding at that temperature for 30 minutes. If you have healthy compost or soil, this shouldn’t be needed. Overheating the soil will damage it, so heat with caution.

My current favorite potting soil is FoxFarm organic potting soil. It contains composted forest humus, sandy loam, sphagnum peat, earthworm castings, bat guano, and seagoing fish and crab meal.

3. Choose the Right Seed Starting Containers

Most of my seeds are started in old cell packs or other reused nursery pots. My friends know that I start seeds indoors (sometimes I sell or trade my extras), so they save their pots for me.

I like reusing old pots because they are sturdy, drain well, and fit neatly into the large seedling trays. I’ve seen plenty of ideas for homemade pots, but many of them seem too small (like eggshells) or too flimsy (like newspapers). Peat pots are often recommended because they “break down in the soil”, but in my experience they break down poorly and often stunt young plants.

Whatever you choose, make sure your pot drains well (punch holes in the bottom of old yogurt containers, for instance). Don’t reuse anything with potentially toxic residues (no old computer cases as planters, please). Don’t forget to place a shallow container under your seedling pots to catch the drips.

Many times I plant directly in the garden from the 1 inch cells, but sometimes I “pot up” seedlings indoors. When I want larger transplants, I start seeds inside early and then transplant them one or more times as they grow. You can learn more about this in the post “How to Grow Tomatoes from Seed”.

4. Provide plenty of light

Make sure your seedlings get adequate light. Indoor seedlings need 16 to 18 hours of sunlight each day. Turn off the lights at night so they can rest. (Plants need sleep, too!) I use a simple plugin timer to turn our grow lights on and off each day. Without enough light, indoor seedlings will stretch towards available light. This makes them tall and floppy.

Starting seeds indoors is easy, as long as you follow a few basic steps when you plant your seeds and care for your seedlings.

Several years ago, my husband built me a really nifty seed starting rack with lights on adjustable chains. I park this in front of our south facing windows in the basement. (Get the plans for the seed rack here.)

Plants do best when lights are kept close, about 3-4 inches above the seedlings. LEDs or fluorescent lights allow you to keep lights close to the plants without overheating the delicate seedlings.

Do you need special plant lights to start seeds indoors? They’re great if you want to make the investment, but not absolutely necessary. I originally started with fluorescent shop lights with “plant bulbs”, and then switched to LED shop lights. Both work adequately, as long as they are kept the right distance from seedlings.

Starting seeds indoors is easy, as long as you follow a few basic steps when you plant your seeds and care for your seedlings.

5. Keep Indoor Seeds and Seedlings at the Right Temperature

For germination (getting the seeds to sprout), a little warmth helps jump start the process. I’ve set seedling trays near the wood stove or on top of the refrigerator (plant lights aren’t usually needed until after seedlings emerge). Seed starting mats are convenient, because you don’t have to move your trays around the house. (One time I had a seedling tray near the stove upended by a toddler. Other times I’ve lost trays to cats. I’ve become more protective of my seed starting trays.) (For a detailed comparison of germination rates at different temperatures, check out the effect of soil temp on sown seeds.

Once seedlings are up, most grown happily along at around 60-70 F (15 – 21 C). Too hot or too cold will stunt seedling growth – or may even kill your seedlings.

Some seeds require stratification (chilling before planting), especially wildflower seeds. Double check planting recommendations if you’re working with a “new to you” plant.

6. Cover indoor seed trays to improve germination

Covering your seedlings with a plastic cover during germination will trap moisture and improve germination rates. Because I reuse commercial cellpacks for indoor seed starting, they fit neatly into planting trays with matching plastic dome covers. (Click here to order seed starting kits with trays, seedling containers, markers and covers.)

Once seedlings emerge, remove the cover to allow air circulation. It’s best to check your seedlings daily while you wait for them to sprout. If you see any signs of mold, remove the cover for a few hours to allow excess moisture to escape.

7. Plant Seeds at the Right Depth

Rule of thumb for planting: Plant seeds roughly three times as deep as the diameter of the seed. Seed packets should give specific instructions, but if you have loose seed, this is a good general rule. Some seeds need light to germinate, so they should be planted on the surface or only very lightly covered.

8. Provide Enough Water to Seedlings, but Not Too Much

Your indoor seed starting mix should be moist enough that it holds together when you squeeze a handful, but not so wet that water runs out when you squeeze it. Covering the trays should keep them moist enough until seedlings germinate

Once seedlings are up, I water gently every few days. Between watering, I allow the soil to dry somewhat, but not completely. Soil should never be soggy. Moss, fungal growth or seedlings that tip over dead with a rotten base (damping off) are signs of too much water.

9. Provide Good Air Circulation and Movement

You may have noticed large fans in commercial greenhouses. These fans provide air movement to keep foliage dry and prevent fungal diseases. They also help strengthen the plant stems, because the seedlings must hold themselves upright in the light breeze.

If you have only a small number of seedlings, gently stroking the plants several times per day can help strengthen the stems. With several dozen (or more) seedlings, a fan is much handier. We keep a standing fan on the same timer as the lights and have it oscillate across the seedling trays.

10. Feed and care for the young plants

I like to use foliar feeds such as liquid seaweed fertilizer to provide nutrients to the seedlings. Other great gentle feeding options include compost tea or worm poo tea. EM-1 Microbial Inoculant is added to the water to introduce beneficial bacteria to the soil.

If seedlings become crowded, transplant to larger pots or transition to the garden. If you have more than one seedling per container, you can transplant to individual containers or use a scissors to snip off all but the healthiest seedling at ground level.

If plants fail to thrive, check water, light, temp and fertilizer levels.

Starting seeds indoors is easy, as long as you follow a few basic steps when you plant your seeds and care for your seedlings.

11. Harden off plants before transplanting to the garden

Indoor seedlings need time to adjust before going out in the garden. When you’re close to transplanting time, place seedlings outside in a protected area, out of direct sun. Start with a couple hours outside, and then increase the time each day. Within three to five days they should be ready for the garden.

Our Indoor Seed Starting Setup

Our basement was designed so that it could be used as an apartment for aging parents, so I have a kitchenette between my root cellar and the door to the attached greenhouse. Since we are currently without added housemates, it's my gardening area. I have water at the ready and my mess is contained quite nicely.

Once the seeds go in the planting containers by the sink, I set up seedling trays on my seed starting shelves. From the seed starting shelves, the seedlings graduate to one of our two greenhouses. Then the go to a cold frame or other semi-protected spot to harden off, and finally out to the garden.

Starting seeds indoors is easy, as long as you follow a few basic steps when you plant your seeds and care for your seedlings.

Why I Plant so Many Different Vegetables, Fruits, Flowers and Herbs

I have a pretty good sized garden, about an acre or so. It's a bit of a crazy quilt. I like to plant a lot of different things – vegetables, flowers, herbs – all jumbled together. One year when I did a count, there were over 100 different varieties. Why so many? Other than my addiction to gardening, here are the main reasons I grow so many different types of plants in my home garden.

More Plant Variety Helps with Pest Control

If the critters are going to come after my plants, I want them to work for their lunch. I recommend the book Great Garden Companions for some ideas on how to use plant families and their companion plants to boost your garden production.

Small Farms and Gardens Contribute to Biodiversity

I believe one of the best ways to preserve biodiversity is to eat it. We are losing food plant varieties at an alarming rate. Even if I only plant a couple of plants of a particular variety, I'm still helping to keep that seed in production. You can help, too. (Love, love, love the book Heirloom Vegetables.)

If you look at the numbers, it's a pretty scary situation.

The world’s food supply depends on about 150 plant species. Of those 150, just 12 provide three-quarters of the world’s food. More than half of the world’s food energy comes from a limited number of varieties of three “mega-crops”: rice, wheat, and maize.

I've grown everything from sunchokes to mache to quinoa. There are hundreds of amazing food crops just waiting for the curious garden to explore.

Starting Seeds and Growing Heirloom Vegetables and Fruits is Fun!

Why grow only russet potatoes when you can grow potatoes that are purple, yellow and red? Why grow only red, ping pong ball tomatoes when you can grow tomatoes that pink, purple, green-striped, yellow, orange, white, turban-shaped, sausage-shaped – there are literally thousands of options.

My garden starts humming with pollinators early in spring as the companion plants lure in beneficial insects, and keeps humming until hard frost. The scents, the colors, the flavors – it's lovely!

If you're looking for ideas about where to buy seeds, you can check out my favorite seed sources. If you have specific questions about starting seeds, feel free to drop me a note and I'll see if I can help.

Starting seeds indoors is easy, as long as you follow a few basic steps when you plant your seeds and care for your seedlings.

You may also enjoy:

Originally published in 2012, updated in 2017.

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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!

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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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