Along with wood choice, the other most important characteristic of the hiking stick is its shape: As mentioned, a straight staff gives the user the most flexibility in choose the optimal working length and offers the most versatility. When climbing uphill, the stick can be grasped higher and when hiking downhill, the hiker can extend the staff for better reach and balance. Adjustments can be made instantly. Since there is no left or right hand bias, the hiker can quickly shift between hands depending upon the terrain or preference. In many cases, falling off balance doesn't allow much recovery time and a uniform straight stick provides the fastest re-adjustment. Although branches and irregularly shaped sticks provide a whimsical appearance, they also restrict the hiker's hand placement and limit the adjustments possible with a straight uniform staff.
Dimensions - 56 inch length x 15/16 (or 1") diameter:
The Kingfisher Hiking Stick is cut to 56" length. This allows for sufficient reach when walking downhill, traversing a slope and feeling your way across a river. 56 inches, being shoulder height or somewhat higher than shoulder height, is not so long that it feels cumbersome on trails with low overhanging branches. 56 inch length is also not difficult to stow in the car. The original 15/16" diameter is intended to be light and fast - it has a more slender feel. The new 1" diameter option is thicker and has a medium girth for those preferring a slightly thicker feel. The dimensions of the Kingfisher Hiking Stick, though is also related to the Japanese Jo Staff. This historical 17th century wooden staff became imbedded in history as the unlikely weapon used in a legendary duel with Japan's most celebrated swordsman. For this fascinating story - see this link. Jo, The Wooden Staff of Japan.