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Thistle – Edible from Bud to Root – Weekly Weeder #3

Weekly Weeder #3 - Thistle range and identification, uses for food and medicine, wildlife uses and how to get rid of thistles in the yard and garden.Welcome to the Weekly Weeder series. Today's featured weed is the thistle, i.e. plants of the genus Cirsium. No true thistles are known to be toxic, and they are fairly easy to identify. There are many thistle species throughout North America (and the rest of the world), but the two common in my yard are Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) and bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare). The different species and all edible and have similar uses.

Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) is also known as creeping thistle, small-flowered thistle, perennial thistle and green thistle. Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is also known as common thistle or spear thistle. (Its spines are quite wicked.)

Range and Identification of Thistle

Where do thistles grow?

Thistle grows just about everywhere, as you can see from the following USDA range maps for Canada thistle and bull thistle. (Adapted from https://plants.usda.gov/.)

Canada thistle range in North America

Canada thistle range

Thistles prefer dry ground and disturbed soils with plenty of sun. Their deep tap roots help break up compacted soils. Although viewed as a noxious weed in many areas, thistles are one of early succession plants featured in The Wild Wisdom of Weeds. Katrina Blair calls them “essential for human survival”. They may be challenging to work with, but like all things in nature, they serve a purpose.

Bull thistle range in North America

Bull Thistle Range

Canada Thistle Identification

Canada thistles (Cirsium arvense) are perennials, growing back each year from their roots. The plants are 1-3′ tall, and leaves attach in an alternating pattern up the stem. Typical leaf length is 3-4″ inches, although they may reach up to 8″ long and 1″ wide.

Weekly Weeder #3 - Thistle range and identification, uses for food and medicine, wildlife uses and how to get rid of thistles in the yard and garden.

Stems may branch near the top. The spines, while pokey, are not nearly as sharp as bull thistle spines. The leaves themselves have jagged edges tipped by spines, and are smooth on top but often somewhat hair underneath.

Weekly Weeder #3 - Thistle range and identification, uses for food and medicine, wildlife uses and how to get rid of thistles in the yard and garden.

Seedlings can pop up anywhere, as only a single seed or a remnant of root is necessary to propagate a whole new plant. The Canada thistle commonly grows in clumps of plants, because it will spread by runners.

Weekly Weeder #3 - Thistle range and identification, uses for food and medicine, wildlife uses and how to get rid of thistles in the yard and garden.

Canada thistle blossoms are a light pink-purple, with many blossoms per plant. Their perfume is quite beautiful.

Weekly Weeder #3 - Thistle range and identification, uses for food and medicine, wildlife uses and how to get rid of thistles in the yard and garden.

Canada thistle buds and blossoms.

Weekly Weeder #3 - Thistle range and identification, uses for food and medicine, wildlife uses and how to get rid of thistles in the yard and garden.

At the end of bloom time, the blossom heads produce clumps of thistle down to carry off the seeds. The photo below was taken when one of our thistle patches was heavy with morning dew.

Weekly Weeder #3 - Thistle range and identification, uses for food and medicine, wildlife uses and how to get rid of thistles in the yard and garden.

Bull Thistle Identification

Bull thistles (Cirsium vulgare) are exactly that – bullish. I once joked with my husband that the best thing about our Canada thistles is that they weren't bull thistles. (When we first moved here, the place was overrun with thistles. As mentioned earlier, they thrive in disturbed soils.) Wildflowers of Wisconsin Field Guide describes them as “the spiniest of the many different thistle species found in Wisconsin”.

Bull thistles are biennials. The first year they start out as low basal rosettes close to the ground. The rosettes can get up to 4′ across.

Weekly Weeder #3 - Thistle range and identification, uses for food and medicine, wildlife uses and how to get rid of thistles in the yard and garden.

Leaves are hairy on top and bottom, with a more silvery tone on the underside. The leaves are loped, with each ending in a sharp spine.

Weekly Weeder #3 - Thistle range and identification, uses for food and medicine, wildlife uses and how to get rid of thistles in the yard and garden.

In year two, they shoot up a large flower stalk. Mature growth is 2-6′ tall. Plants bloom in summer with large, reddish purple flower heads that resemble an old time shave cream brush. (See photos below and at top of post.) Plants may have one or more flowers per stem.

Weekly Weeder #3 - Thistle range and identification, uses for food and medicine, wildlife uses and how to get rid of thistles in the yard and garden.

Wildlife Uses of Thistles

Thistle blossoms are much loved by butterflies and other pollinators. We get many European skippers visiting our plants. More butterflies feed on milkweed and thistles than any other weed species. Painted Lady butterflies prefer thistles as food plants for their larva. The painted lady is also known as the thistle butterfly. Its scientific name – Vanessa cardui – translates as “butterfly of thistle.”

Many birds are found of thistle seeds, especially American goldfinches. Goldfinches also use thistledown to line their nests. The summer and fall bloom time of thistles means that goldfinches raise their young later than most birds. Herbivores avoid thistles because of the prickles.

Illinois wildflowers notes:

The nectar and pollen of the flowers (of the bull thistle) attract many kinds of long-tongued bees, including bumblebees, leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.), long-horned bees (Melissodes spp.), and cuckoo bees (Epeolus spp.). The flower nectar also attracts butterflies (especially swallowtails), skippers, and bee flies. Green metallic bees and other Halictid bees may collect pollen from the flowers, but they are non-pollinating. The caterpillars of the butterfly Vanessa cardui (Painted Lady) feed on the foliage. There are also many moth species with caterpillars that consume various parts of thistles (see Moth Table).

The seeds are eaten by the American Goldfinch and the Clay-colored Sparrow. Goldfinches also use the tufts of hair as construction material for their little nests. Mammalian herbivores don't eat the Bull Thistle because it is heavily armed with spines. Even in overgrazed pastures where cattle and sheep have little to eat, the Bull Thistle is one of the few plants that is left alone.

Thistles as Food

In The Forager's Harvest, Samuel Thayer goes into some detail about how thistles were one of the first wild foods he foraged, and how he harvests the center spine of the leaves by peeling off the surrounding spiny leaf material, leaving a stalk like a celery stick. He describes them and being tender, juicy and delicious. In the interest of science, I found a bull thistle leaf, peeled it and ate it on the spot. It tasted like grass. I was underwhelmed. Still, if I'm in a pinch, at least I know they are safe to eat.

The flowering stalks also can be cleaned and eaten. They are best early in the season, before they are in full bloom. By the time flowers appear, the stalks are hollow and stringy. The roots, too, are edible, and Thayer says “better than burdock“. I've nibbled Canada thistle roots while weeding in the garden. They taste a bit like iceberg lettuce (plus, no thorns). Roots are dug in fall from first year plants (those with no flower stalk), or during the season as the plants need to be cleared from an area. Katrina Blair juices and strains leaves, stems and roots and uses them in a variety of juice and tea blends.

As a relative of the artichoke, the flower buds are also edible. Thayer describes peeling off outer layers to reveal the heart (and dismisses it as too much work). The Flower Cookbook describes cooking young buds whole. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds mentions pulling the pink tops of the flowers and chewing them like gum. (I tried this – very strange, mildly sweet, not at all like gum.)

The Herbarium Membership for Herbalists

Thistles as Medicine

Canada thistle can be used medicinally. Red Root Mountain School of Botanical Medicine gives some examples:

This is taken from The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869 Medical Herbalism…

Properties and Uses: The roots are slightly demulcent, with stimulating and mildly astringent properties. An ounce simmered in a pint of milk is a family remedy for low forms of diarrhea and dysentery, after the acute symptoms have subsided. Two fluid ounces of such a decoction may be taken every two or three hours.

An infusion is said to expedite labor very effectually, when the nervous system has become fatigued-also anticipating after-pains and flooding. I knew one gentleman to use a syrup of this root in long-standing coughs, where the expectoration was free and the lungs feeble; and he also used a wine tincture in mild leucorrhea and prolapsus. The leaves made into a decoction and used somewhat freely, are said to increase the flow of milk, and gently to overcome hepatic obstructions; and the juice makes a rather soothing wash (or ointment) for irritable sores, tender eyes, and piles.

In The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, thistle is promoted as a liver tonic, alkalizing food and general tonic for many conditions.

Weekly Weeder #3 - Thistle range and identification, uses for food and medicine, wildlife uses and how to get rid of thistles in the yard and garden.

How to Get Rid of Thistles

Like most of my other weeds, I've largely made peace with my thistles, too. We allow them to hang out in the wild areas of the yard, and don't panic when they show up in “barefoot zones”. Regular attention keeps them in check.

To get rid of Canada thistles, it's best to catch them when they are young and small. When the soil is loose, such as after a rain, it's fairly easy to pull them and get a long section of root, even barehanded. Simply grab at the very base of the plant, where it is less spiny, or even just below the soil line.

Their roots are very brittle and break off easily (which allows them to regrow), but with frequent cultivation and mulching they are readily brought under control. (Barbara Pleasant recommends the same thing in The Gardener's Weed Book – other than the bare-handed pulling.)

For bull thistles, I usually use a fork and heavy gloves, unless I can catch them small and get under the rosette. Even then, their tap roots hold quite tightly.

Control of Thistles in Pasture

In Weeds, Control Without Poisons, Charles Walters notes that thistles thrive in soils where manganese is low. Wet springs also tend to bring more seeds out of dormancy. As a general control, mowing when the plants are in bloom catches them without reserves (all their energy is in the flowers) and knocks back the population.

For more long term control, look at the soil itself. Canada thistles like soil with high iron, low calcium and poor organic matter. Too much nitrogen can make the conditions that favor thistles worse. Deionized sulfur helps to bring the iron/manganese ratio back into balance. Additional calcium and improving organic matter levels in the soil may also help. Think managed rotational grazing in pastures instead of simply keeping the herd in one large area. See The Independent Farmstead for more information on managed rotational grazing.

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Originally posted in 2011, updated in 2017.

The post Thistle – Edible from Bud to Root – Weekly Weeder #3 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!

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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.

This Article Was First Found at survivallife.com Read The Original Article Here

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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

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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.

Steps:

  • 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

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

Steps:

  • 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

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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.

Steps:

  • 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

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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.)

Steps:

  • 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

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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.

Steps:

  • 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 | https://survivallife.com/5-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 survivallife.com 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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