Photo: Eric Lang

Review: Brazos Walking Stick

by Abbie Mood Aug 24, 2011
I tested the Brazos Traveler’s Stick while hiking up to Weaver Lake in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in California.

The Traveler’s Stick comes apart into 3 sections, from 55 inches to 19 inches. When you break the wooden stick down and take into consideration that it weighs in at less than 2 lbs., the stick is super easy to stuff in a backpack or carry-on. It costs $65, though, which I thought was a little steep.

To put the oak stick together, you just screw together the three pieces – it was pretty easy, but it was also really squeaky, like nails on a chalkboard squeaky. Once I got going, I noticed that it was super sturdy and didn’t flex at all going uphill or downhill. I used the stick on dirt, over rocks, through streams, and on snow, and had no problems at all – it definitely did its job in supporting my joints and helping me keep my balance on the more sketchy parts of the trail (I realize that a 20-something shouldn’t be saying “it supported my joints” but sometimes I think I have the knees of a 60 year old).

What I didn’t like about the walking stick is that at 55”, it is supposed to work for people anywhere from 5’4” to 5’11”. I’m around 5’10”, and I think there’s a pretty big difference between me and someone who is 5’4″ – one size doesn’t seem to fit all in this case. If there were a couple different sizes, Brazos could add a hand grip, which is my biggest complaint. As my hand got sweaty, I ended up getting a blister. Then when we went to break down the pole, it was pretty hard to unscrew the parts because they had gotten packed together so tightly along the hike.

The website is a bit vague about where the wood actually comes from, so I asked for more information. Steve Walsh from Brazos responded, “we have visited first hand and know our providers and their sustainable practices. Though not all global sources are known precisely, we only work with small wholesalers that have proven their integrity over the years.” Depending on what wood you are considering, you may want to do some research first about where it is coming from.

I also tested the Photographer’s Stick, which is $45, comes in a variety of sizes, and does not break down into sections. This is not the best stick for traveling in an airplane with, but fits across the back seat of a Prius. To use it as a stick for your camera, just take off the piece on the top, and screw in your camera. It is pretty much the same as the other stick as far as sturdiness and feel, and it could use a hand grip as well. This stick does come in different sizes, which I liked.

If you want a walking stick that is sturdy, portable, and natural looking, I recommend the Brazos Traveler’s Stick. If you are looking for something with more flex that is more “high tech,” then a carbon/aluminum pole is a better choice. According to REI, aluminum is more likely to bend, but not break, while carbon is more vulnerable to breaking. A wooden walking stick is highly unlikely to either bend or break.

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