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What You Need to Know About Masonry Heaters for Radiant Heat

Pros and cons of masonry heaters, plus the things you need to consider before adding a masonry heater to new construction or remodeling project.

Masonry heaters store heat from wood, gas or electricity in brick, concrete, ceramics or stone, and releases the stored heat via radiant heat transfer over time. Our unit burns at over 1500°F, but the flue gases that go up the chimney are only around 300-350°F. That heat is absorbed by the thermal mass of the masonry stove, and then transferred to the house – not up the chimney.

This is an ancient heating technique used for thousands if not tens of thousands of years. Masonry heaters were used long before the Romans, with some underground and cave masonry heaters dating back well over 5000 years.

Masonry heaters include masonry stoves or masonry ovens and even the modern cousin the rocket mass heater. Larger masonry heaters can have benches or seats built into them. Some also include a baking oven or even a full cooking stove. We will focus on wood fired masonry heaters, but most of the concepts apply to other heat sources.

Masonry heaters tend to be large and heavy. The larger the weight/size (mass) the more heat it can store. It will weigh 1760 to 3000 lbs (750 to 1300 kg) or even larger.

Passive solar heat and masonry heaters are a good match. Even when there isn’t a fire, a masonry stove acts as thermal mass. If it gets up to temperature from any heat source – sun, geothermal, gas, wood or even electric heat – it will then radiate that heat back into the home. This extra thermal mass stabilizes the homes interior temperature.

Fast & Slow Masonry Heaters

There are basically two types of masonry heaters, fast and slow.

Fast burn wood fired or gas masonry heaters are normally fired 2 to 3 times a day. They burn very hot and fast, and then are allowed to go out. The heat soaks into the masonry, and is slowly released from the mass over the course of the day. Fast burn masonry heaters are more efficient, because the higher combustion temperatures use more of the fuel and burn the gasses. Most masonry stoves and masonry ovens sold today are fast burn systems.

Slow burn or constant burn or steady burn masonry heaters burn a small amount all, or most of the day. Traditional masonry heaters are fired or heated regularly throughout the day. These are generally less efficient.

Air for the Fire

A fire requires oxygen for combustion. Feed more air to the fire and it will burn hotter, faster and more efficiently. (Think about bellows feeding the fire of a forge.) Our masonry stove has a dedicated fresh air feed from the exterior of the home to the front of primary combustion chamber. This avoids sending warm interior air up the chimney. When we're ready to burn, we open the chimney flue PLUS the fresh air feed. When the burn is complete, we close the chimney and fresh air feed, trapping the heat in the masonry. Some masonry heaters meet strict California emissions requirements, because they burn super hot and therefore are very efficient.

Modern Masonry Stoves

Some of the vendors include:

Masonry Heater Materials

All fast burn masonry heating systems must be made of materials that tolerate extremely high heat. A fast burn masonry heater will get very hot. (Our TempCast unit is designed to operate at 1500°F or higher.) Most prebuilt systems use refractory cement (stable up to 3000°F (1650°C)) or “high duty” fire-brick which can handle up to 2750°F (1500°C). In comparison, a normal fireplace only gets 700°F to 800°F. We have melted some low grade nails in our masonry fireplace because it gets so hot, and the iron grill in the burn chamber needed to be replaced, as it cracked from the heat.

Masonry heaters have extra mass using stone or brick outside the fire safe masonry or refractory cement. In our fast burn Masonry Heater (Masonry Stove) the vendor specified a layer of cardboard between the refractory cement core and the brick exterior. This cardboard burned out during the first fire, leaving a thin air gap between the interior and exterior materials. The gap is necessary because the refractory cement will expand and contract at a different rate than standard brick. Note: Some stone is not safe at high temperatures, be sure you are using stone that is appropriate for high temperature use.

Masonry heater construction.

Building a Masonry Heater

Before building a masonry heater, confirm local building codes, permits and other requirements. Select a contractor with experience building masonry heaters. The extra weight and mass of a masonry heater may require special footings and other construction considerations.

Our TempCast unit has a bake oven built into the secondary combustion chamber where the gases are burned. This sounded like a good thing, but unfortunately as the unit has aged, we get quite a bit of soot buildup in the oven. This makes any baking or cooking extremely messy. If you want to have a bake oven in your masonry heater, I wouldn't have it as part of the primary combustion chambers.

We also don't have a very wide seat around the masonry stove. Were we to build again or modify the existing unit, I'd prefer additional seating.

Locating a Masonry Heater in Your Home

A masonry heater is normally placed in the center of a home away from an exterior wall of a building. This allows all the heat from the masonry heater to radiate into the home (none radiates outside). Our masonry stove is roughly in the center of our home.

A masonry chimney for a masonry heater can also be used to store heat from the fire. It absorbs heat from the exhaust and then releases it back into the home, much like the main portion of the masonry heater. Many masonry heater kits include extra flues to direct air flow past extra brick. The heat from the exhaust is absorbed as it flows past more the brick, for instance, with a flue going through a bench seat. A zigzag flue pattern is sometimes used to increase heat transfer.

What is the difference between a Masonry Heater and “Normal” heaters?

A normal whole home heating system uses propane, natural gas, wood, electricity or even geothermal heat transfer to heat air or water/antifreeze mix. The warm air or liquid warms the home (convection heating). A masonry heater dumps heat to the mass of the heater, which slowly radiates the heat to the rest of the home, and feels warm to the touch (radiant and conduction heating).

Forced airheating blows warm air around the house. Because hot air rises, forced air systems tend to be inefficient, but are fast, inexpensive and allow for heating and cooling in the same forced air system. Some forced air systems use geothermal for both heating and cooling. In larger buildings, forced air systems also provide fresh air throughout the building.

Hydronic heating can be a radiator system or in floor radiant system. Modern systems use a heat exchanger in a boiler or even in a dual purpose hot water system such as a Combicor water heater. Nearly all modern system use a water and propylene glycol mix to deliver the heat. Radiant heated flooring/tile and or concrete acts as thermal mass and heat distribution system.

When remodeling you could apply masonry heater concepts to a more traditional system. You could run a hydronic system through a large brick, tile or stone mass to act as a heat sink and radiate that heat into your home. Some people create a large brick surround near a conventional wood stove. This is technically not a masonry heater, but the heat from the wood stove to heats the surround, and the surround heats the room.

Another great reference: It has dozens of photographs of various installed masonry heaters, fireplaces and stoves.

Pros and cons of masonry heaters, plus the things you need to consider before adding a masonry heater to new construction or remodeling project.

Pros and Cons of Masonry Heaters

We've had our unit for over 12 years now, and overall it's worked fairly well. That said, there have been some issues.


Price – Masonry heaters are labor intensive to install, and the kits and materials are expensive. You could buy several regular wood stoves for the price of one masonry heater.

The wire used to open and close the chimney damper busted after only two years of use. Thankfully, at that time we were still able to contact the original masons who installed the stove, and they retrofitted a sturdier cable than the wire originally included with the TempCast kit. This did require removing a block from the chimney and adding a bigger metal conduit for the cable to move through.

As the unit aged, it settled, even with a specially reinforced foundation. It's not a tight as it was originally, and doesn't burn as cleanly. Laurie contacted TempCast, and they did not help directly, nor were they able to refer us to a nearby TempCast dealer/expert. Service options may be better in Canada, since they are a Canadian company. Our chimney cleaner has been seeking out any leaks he can identify when he cleans each year and sealing them, which has improved the combustion, but not to where it was originally.

The wood burned in the masonry heater should be very dry and small diameter so it burns quickly. In our case, we can usually get scrap wood from a family member's sawmill, but if you were making your own firewood, you'd need to do a lot of splitting.


The unit burns hot, but stays safe to the touch. Because our unit is located in a family room, we were concerned about it being bumped into by the boys, especially when they were younger. Most of the unit stays comfortably warm, even when actively burning. The only parts you need to avoid touching are the doors. The rest of the unit radiates a gentle, soothing warmth.

Our masonry stove stays hot long after the fire is done. We typically build one to two fires per day, and the units retains heat for over 24 hours after a burn. In fall and spring when we need to add less heat to the house, the unit is only fired at night, and stays warm until the next night. In winter, it's fired morning and night, but never cools completely in between.

It burns less wood than a regular wood stove. Because we're not stoking the fire constantly, we burn less wood.

The side of the masonry stove doubles as a glove drying rack.

Would we do it again?

If we ended up building again, would we include a masonry heater? Maybe, maybe not. We love the way the heat slowly radiates out of the masonry, but the cooking option for the TempCast has turned out to be a mess. A wood burning cook stove with a masonry surround might be a more practical and less expensive option. At the very least, if we did a masonry stove again, we wouldn't have the bake oven as part of the primary combustion area, and we'd have a bigger seating area to sit and soak up the heat.

Other Green Building posts you may find interesting:

Solar Water Heating Basics – What You Need to Heat Water with the Sun

Living in a Concrete Bunker – Our Insulated Concrete Form Home (Part 1 of 2)

Emergency Power Options for Your Home – Gasoline Generators Versus Battery Backups

Best Ways to Keep Your House Warm – New Construction and Remodeling Tips

The post What You Need to Know About Masonry Heaters for Radiant Heat appeared first on Common Sense Homesteading.

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Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman

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

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

How to Make Homemade Weapons

Why Should You Learn to Make Homemade Weapons?

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

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

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

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

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

How to Make a Knife | Homemade Weapons

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

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

1. Stone Knives

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. The Core Rock

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

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

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

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

3. The Hammerstone

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

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

RELATED: How To Keep Your Edge | Knife Sharpener

4. The Pressure Flaker

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

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

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

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

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

Part One:

Part Two:

How to Make a Spear | Homemade Weapons

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

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

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

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

How to Make a Weighted Club | Homemade Weapons

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

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

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

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

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

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

Up Next:

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

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

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

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5 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

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

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

In this article:

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

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

What Is a Chigger, Exactly?

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

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

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

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

Where Do Chiggers Live?

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

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

Identifying Chiggers Bites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

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

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

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

1. Vicks Vapor Rub

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


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

2. Cold Compress

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


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

3. Baking Soda

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


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

Another remedy using baking soda:

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

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

4. Oatmeal

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

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


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

5. Olive Oil

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


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

Another option using olive oil:

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

Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

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

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

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

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

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

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

Up Next:

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

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

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

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites |

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

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9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

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

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

In this article:

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

Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

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

1. Survival Hiking Stick

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

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

2. Survival Stick for Support

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

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

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

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

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

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

4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

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

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

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

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

5. Balance

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

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

6. Gauging Depth

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

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

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

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

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

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

8. Club

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

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

9. Fishing Rod

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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