As the saying goes, four legs is better than two, especially for tough terrain. Trekking poles make us all into four-legged animals, which is great, but a good old-fashioned walking stick can be a boon companion on the trail as well. Three legs is still 50% better than two by our math, so when you're ready for something different than the high-tech trekking poles you see everywhere, you'll want to check out a tool that provokes a much more primeval and satisfying feeling, courtesy of Brazos Walking Sticks.
Brazos Walking Sticks makes a breathtaking variety of canes and walking sticks. We tried their twisted oak Backpacker model and it's as gorgeous as it is useful. Available in 48, 55 and 58 inch lengths, and in aromatic cedar (straight or twisted), hickory and oak in a few different stains, we went with the 48" oak model as appropriately sized for the smaller members of our family.
We upgraded with the Brazos brass spike tip, a truly useful accessory here in Alaska with icy conditions half the year. It also crossed our minds that a spike tip had applications beyond traction, and while it might not deter a moose or bear it would certainly provide a means of self-defense for anything smaller. The spike comes with a rubber tip for more general use. Walking with the Backpacker is as natural as you would expect. The weight is perfect, solid but not too heavy, and the leather wrist strap provides extra support if you need it. The cross section of the Backpacker is oval, which makes for a great feel in the hand as well as preventing it from rolling if you set it down or lean it against a rock.
As Teddy Roosevelt said, "Speak softly and carry a big stick. You will go far." If you want that big stick to help you over rough terrain and provide an extra margin of safety in all conditions, all while drawing gazes and appreciative comments for its timeless classy looks, check out the Backpacker and similar models from Brazos Walking Sticks.