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2008 LuxuryLite Big Survival Stik Walking Staff REVIEW
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Richard Allen
Re: trowel use on 02/21/2008 18:15:20 MST Print View

All trowels become "gunked up" and require cleaning. All trekking poles require maintenance.

A few minutes w/a nylon kitchen scrub pad. Some wet sanding of any burrs etc, and Voila .... as good as new.

The above are simply not options on any other trekking poles.

E.g. ever clean a set of Super Makalus?

Or try to dig a "cathole" with them? ;-)



Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Re: Re: 2008 LuxuryLite Big Survival Stik Walking Staff REVIEW on 02/21/2008 18:53:12 MST Print View

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the great feedback. Here are my responses to your points.

1) Trekking poles and effeciency portion

dj: This is different than a trekking pole but that depends on your definition I suppose. For most, trekking poles mean 2 poles with grips that are sized more along the lines of ski poles. But if you define trekking poles as you did, then all poles will be trekking poles including PacerPoles, ski poles, wooden walking staffs, canes, etc. My point here was that this pole is different than almost all "trekking poles" on the market.

Stiffness is not the only mark of effeciency. A second pole adds a lot to effeciency and a lighter weight increases that as well. If you're using two, then that is a very heavy setup and that alone will decrease your effeciency.

I agree with you that the strap is a fantastic idea and works very well. I also agree that a standard tip that reduces slip is more effecient.

2) You noted that the cylindrical tips are not as positive as standard tips. I agree. Which is why on my Stiks I have two complete sets of tips and baskets. One I made myself out of LL sourced parts. And one, slightly larger, set which Bruce made later for me. They Work Great! I highly recommend them.

dj: Cool- these aren't available on the LuxuryLite site but they sound like a good idea.

3) You're not impressed w/the "Needle" and think it just adds weight. Fair enough. I use it often and think that the "Needle" is good enough to replace the 1.2 ounce trowel I used to carry. Ergo: No need for an additional item .... adding more weight than reasonable alternatives. The Needle saved me app one ounce of weight. So, works for me. :-)

dj: Very cool- there's discussion on this above. I found that it clogged with mud somewhat when digging but it can certainly be useful for this purpose.

4) You rightly mention that the Stik is not suitable for all shelters. Which, as noted, applies to all trekking poles. ;-)

dj: Absolutely- this is true for all fixed length poles. The lack of a pointed tip means that it has fewer options than most "trekking poles", however. It would be very difficult to use this pole with a Tarptent, for example.

But what you may not be aware of is that different Stik section lengths may be ordered. Or one could simply cut a section(s) to whatever length one prefers. The latter is of course not an option w/standard design trekking poles.

dj: Two different models are shown on the LuxuryLite website but custom lengths are not an option. Good to know that customization is possible (a variety of lengths are common in all fixed length poles on the market that I've come across as well.)

5) While it is very useful to compare products one must always keep in mind (*I* think you did, but others?) that apples and oranges have different attributes.

dj: This is PRECISELY why I attempted to show that this is a different product than typical trekking poles. Comparing this pole to say, a Gossamer Gear Lightrek 3 would be a poor choice. Comparing it to a wood hiking staff seems a better choice, which is why I made that comparision.

The Stiks, like most other LL products over the years, are a Modular Concept! And they come from an MFG who is willing to build to suit. While they are heavier than UL poles, the additional weight is mitigated by the far greater degree of utility (more in that re during an upcoming followup post) and the utter reliability. The Stiks won't let you down !

dj: Agreed. These are super bomber (as shown in my review). This is the second LuxuryLite product I have personally reviewed for this site and I also agree that their workmanship is excellent. I'm not sure that the "greater utility" is worth the additional weight for all hikers but for many, especially those that prefer a walking staff to trekking poles, the Stik will be a great choice (notice the recommended rating).

You might also not be aware of the fact that the first carbon fiber "Stiks" that LL built and sold, were much, much lighter. I still have two of them which I use for "Fast & Light" hikes. With LL baskets/tips. And custom sections to fit practically every UL shelter made. If you want lighter .... LuxuyLite will build them! If you want baskets/tips .... LuxuryLite will build them! Like any great inventor, innovator and entrepreneur; Bruce wants to make what people want to buy!

dj: These options are great. However, we review items that are available for purchase and that are submitted to us for review. Thanks to Bruce and Luxurylite for taking part in our review process!

BTW, Since I don't speak for LL take my ops as being strictly personal. TIA for your understanding!

dj: all good, totally understood. Your opinions are appreciated and respected here! Peace to you too and happy hiking in whatever style you like!


Edited by djohnson on 02/21/2008 19:01:43 MST.

Kevin Lutz
(mtntrailrunner) - F
Concealed weapon? on 02/24/2008 00:14:07 MST Print View

"I would think that some jurisdictions would consider this a concealed weapon of the cane sword type."

It is in California. This item fits the Penal Code's definition of a "concealed dirk or dagger":

12020. (a) Any person in this state who does any
of the following is punishable by imprisonment in
a county jail not exceeding one year or in the
state prison:
(a)(4) Carries concealed upon his or her person any
dirk or dagger.
(c)(24) As used in this section, a
"dirk" or "dagger" means a knife or other
instrument with or without a handguard that is
capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that
may inflict great bodily injury or death."

Also farther down section 12020:

(15) As used in this section, a "cane sword" means a cane, swagger stick, stick, staff, rod, pole, umbrella, or similar device, having concealed within it a blade that may be used as a sword or stiletto.

(16) As used in this section, a "shobi-zue" means a staff, crutch, stick, rod, or pole concealing a knife or blade within it which may be exposed by a flip of the wrist or by a mechanical action.

In the real world, could you be arrested for possessing one of these? Possibly under certain circumstances. Would you do jail time? Probably not unless you have priors or you are a convicted felon. But you could face fines and probation. The wording of the section allows it to be filed as a felony by the D.A.

The fact that this product is marketed as "intimidating", "scary" and as a "weapon" would not help your case in court.

I think LL would be wise to feature a disclaimer about this on the website.

Edited by mtntrailrunner on 02/24/2008 00:23:21 MST.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Concealed weapon? on 02/25/2008 11:36:05 MST Print View

I've been carrying a set of the original LL Trailsticks for 4 years. I don't see any need for the "pig sticker" option of the newer models. The only wild animals I ever really want to kill are those pesky squirrels that are trying to get into my food. I don't think a poky thing is the proper weapon for the little buggers. I do wish Bruce still made the original sticks. They're great.

I also carry an LL pack and love it. Bruce's guarantee is the best. He has repaired or replaced and even redesigned items for me.

My Avatar shows me with both the LL pack and sticks.

Edited by redleader on 02/25/2008 11:37:34 MST.

Patrick Baker
(WildMan) - F
LL Hiking pole on 02/25/2008 13:15:23 MST Print View

I also have one of the light (3-4oz?) small diameter LL poles and it is one of my favorite pieces of equipment.

It easily breaks down into section for trips on the airlines.

The following quote is so true and we should clamor to let the others manufactures know about it:

The *one handed,* on the fly, adjustability afforded by the prussik strap on the Stik is True Bleeding Genius! Specially on ascents/descents and hilly terrain in general. IMHO it is *the one* attribute which sets the Stiks apart from the rest. Think how often one foregoes the *security* and convenience of properly adjusting a standard trekking pole because it's a PITA to stop in the middle of a descent and lengthen one's trekking pole.

The strap does not slip even in the rain !

I also endorse the LL reasoning on the following from quotes the website:

However, the LuxuryLite design philosophy assumes the human body works best walking on two feet as much as possible with at least one arm free for balance. We see the purpose of a hiking pole as a temporary extra 'leg' on rocky or steep trail sections and slippery stream crossings.

Specifically this works great for me ...

When using the Survival Stik on flat trails, slide the Prussik knot to the middle and carry the Survival Stik balanced horizontally while swinging your arms in a natural human gait that delivers the miles with natural balance and minimum fatigue.

Bruce Warren
(brucewarren) - F
Re: Concealed weapon? on 02/25/2008 15:44:54 MST Print View

What... me worry? about California? When lots of websites sell bowie knifes, butcher knives, etc. In Texas you can legally carry a concealed handgun. But the word 'concealed' is the tricky one. The whole Survival Stik is very hard to conceal. A hunter with a bowie knife in a sheath on his belt is breaking the law in CA, it appears. Same with a trout fisherman and his fillet knife. Or a VET with a big Horse hypodermic in his truck.

Texas Law says: (a) A person commits an offense if intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his person a handgun, illegal knife, or club. [Exceptions: official; actor was own premises; was traveling; engaged in lawful hunting, fishing, or other sporting activity; security guard].

Therefore, I suspect you are on the trail, you are OK, if you are hiking thru the local mall and stabbed someone, they could get you on the 'concealed' part of the law. And I bet most states kinda follow the same thinking.

BUT, you can easily cut the needle knife down to the length of the standard joint if you are worried. It is aluminum and you can cut it with any hacksaw or carpenter's chop saw.

Or, leave the whole needle knife at home... it's modular!

Bruce Warren
(brucewarren) - F
Re: Fishing on 02/25/2008 15:46:38 MST Print View


You can easily cut it into a two prong tip with a hacksaw and sharpen with a file... it's aluminum, not hardened tool steel.

Bruce Warren

Bruce Warren
(brucewarren) - F
Re: Re: trail ninja on 02/25/2008 15:49:12 MST Print View

the woods around Houston have thousands of wild pigs. They love to poke at your tent at night, that is the main reason I came up with the needle knife... I wanted to poke right back.

Bruce Warren

Bruce Warren
(brucewarren) - F
Re: OLs Style Luxury Lite Walking Staff on 02/25/2008 15:54:36 MST Print View


Your TrailStik did not have the tip filled with epoxy to allow it to be used as a water pipe. The Big Survival Stik tip is filled with epoxy since the tip pulls right off if you need the hollow pipe. Doug's Stik was a prototype I gave to Ryan Jordan last summer and it has a few difference from the production model... maybe I forgot to epoxy the tip.

Bruce Warren

Bruce Warren
(brucewarren) - F
Re: Re: OLs Style Luxury Lite Walking Staff on 02/25/2008 16:09:22 MST Print View


...but the LuxuryLite Big Survival Stik is a great example of LUXURY light... even Doug 'felt' good when using it.

One BSS weighs less than almost all pairs of ultralite adjustable poles, which are typically 13 to 17 ounces. It's a difference in hiking style, not weight.

And the BSS has a lifetime warranty against breakage... no other carbon pole offers that because skinny carbon tubes break easily.

Bruce Warren

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Luxury Lite Walking Staff on 02/25/2008 22:37:46 MST Print View

Thanks for jumping in here Bruce- great to hear from you!

For the record, Bruce is right that no other carbon pole manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty. Very true.

And it IS a style difference. I'm glad you understood the "feel" difference that I was trying to convey.


Gail Lusk
(AlohaTink) - F

Locale: In the Middle of No Where!
Lifetime Warranty on 02/26/2008 12:21:15 MST Print View

LoL Who's lifetime warranty is this?
Is it the BSS Walking Staff or is it mine(mine's pretty much worn out) or is it your's Bruce?
I might bite the dust before you, can it pass on to my children?

Loved the review and the video!
In all truthfulness Bruce makes GREAT products and I love the fact of thinking outside the box!

yung hsiang Chaung
(wolfmen) - F
My opinion of Survival Stik on 02/26/2008 17:56:14 MST Print View

i have been carrying a small dia. LL Trailsticks for 2 years.

No any complaint. It's really great product.

I am a fat guy(210lbs), sometimes i feel my knee hurt when i downhill. But after i use LL Trailsticks (this great helper), no more pain again. And u only carry extra 3-4 oz.
What more you can ask for??

So last week, i just place another a pair of Big Survival Stik with GREAT price. (they are on sale now)

Guys , try it WITHOUT prejudice.
I am sure you will love it.

Bruce, keep to design more great product, we will support you.


Edited by wolfmen on 02/26/2008 17:57:46 MST.

Bruce Warren
(brucewarren) - F
Re: Lifetime Warranty on 02/29/2008 12:12:39 MST Print View

Great question Gail!

Actually it's my lifetime, unless some big corporation buys LuxuryLite, then it would be your lifetime... I guess.

(A lifetime warranty is actually an R&D expense... we get to see where the product needs improvement. The warranty says you get a new part when you send back the failed part... that is a benefit of modular designs... it is not too costly to do a lifetime warranty.)

So send lots of orders so I have lots of money to buy health insurance, drive big safe vehicles, eat expensive organic health food, hire lots of employees so I can relax on the beach, etc, etc.


Gail Lusk
(AlohaTink) - F

Locale: In the Middle of No Where!
LOL Due for a Vacation on 02/29/2008 13:24:54 MST Print View

Aloha! Bruce,
I do hope you know I was joking as well!

Yes, come to Maui and make me a specialized, customized new designed LuxuryLite backpack...with curved up ends :P

The Carbon poles into a curved anodized aluminum ending??? Just a thought!
Or how about a carbon pole travois? Just sickies need more help in hiking ya know!!

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Kudos Doug! on 03/10/2008 09:34:21 MDT Print View

My son wants to watch the "Trail Ninjas" video over and over and over again. You're a hit!

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Kudos Doug! on 03/12/2008 21:16:53 MDT Print View

RIGHT ON! That's the highest praise possible!

Give Blake Jr. a big HEE-YAH! from me!

Theodore Brennan
(Tadbrennan) - F
typo? on 03/17/2008 14:32:55 MDT Print View

I think you have a small typo in the text of your review.

At one point you say that the pole deflected 1.1 *inches*.

But the chart has all of the deflections measured in *cm*, including the figure of 1.1 cm for the BSS.

So I think the inches figure must be a mistake.

the staff looks great--if I were a rich man, I'd get one.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: typo? on 03/17/2008 17:53:43 MDT Print View

You're right- thanks for pointing that out Tad. We'll get it fixed ASAP.

Best wishes,

Richard Allen
Stik Pic on 03/19/2008 19:10:34 MDT Print View

Thx for taking the time to reply to my post in a kind and detailed manner Doug. Sorry it took so long to get back to you Doug. Very busy lately. I 'll try to answer your comments/Qs in order.

First: I fully understand and appreciate that you may only review what you've been given and (*of course*) cannot review items not listed on an MFG's site. WTS; as I mentioned earlier .... BPL staff reviews are exemplary! I do hope you didn't think I was criticizing your review.

Basket Tips: Please note that LuxuryLite now offers a "Tip Top" kit which includes QD basket tips and accessories. Very Nice! Bruce listens.

Custom lengths: As others have noted; LL will do some custom work. Just ask. :-) E.g. I needed a 45in (nominal) size pole for my Sixmoondesigns Gatewood Cape. A quick eMail to LL and voila!

Comparisons: Tough One! Most LL's products are unique but look similar to other products. For example the Modular Frame pack looks (kinda/sorta) like a typical external frame pack.

And like the LL Stiks; hikers w/lesser experience may be disappointed if they don't realize that the LL product is indeed different. And must be used in a different manner than what they are accustomed to for best performance.

A good example is the hand-strap: Those who are somewhat knowledgeable and used to "Legacy" trekking poles would probably try to place their hands thru the bottom of the strap and suffer for it. Of course, your pics show you using the hand-strap properly. BTW, I seldom use the straps. Usually I just grasp the Stik's body.

My Hiking Style: Undefinable because it varies not sooo much. Easier to say I do not hike for longer than 2 weeks at a time now. Getting old and crippled. LuxuryLite Stik Mods