Hands On

Re­view­ing the Craw­ford Sur­vival Staff

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By Michael Janich

Re­view of the Sur­vival Staff

Sur­vival­ists have a def­i­nite “thing” for big sticks. Caught in an un­ex­pected sit­u­a­tion, one of their first or­ders of busi­ness is to find or cut a large stick that can serve as a hik­ing staff, club, fish­ing pole, or even a spear. Beyond those spe­cific func­tions, a big chunk of wood is also just a com­fort­ing thing to have when you’re fac­ing the un­known.

No mat­ter how cre­ative you are, though, a stick plucked from na­ture is still only a stick. While it can cer­tainly help you keep your bal­ance on un­even ter­rain and give you a fight­ing chance against both two- and four-legged preda­tors, its ré­sumé pretty much ends there. To wring more func­tion out of it, you need a bet­ter, “pur­posedesigned” stick like the Craw­ford Sur­vival Staff.

As the brain­child of le­gendary cus­tom knife­mak­ers Pat Craw­ford and his son Wes, at first glance, the Sur­vival Staff ap­pears to be noth­ing more than a high-qual­ity hik­ing staff made from alu­minum in­stead of wood. In re­al­ity, it’s an in­cred­i­bly ver­sa­tile, com­pletely mod­u­lar sur­vival sys­tem that of­fers func­tion­al­ity far beyond a hum­ble stick.

Sur­vival Staff Ba­sics

Pat Craw­ford de­vel­oped the orig­i­nal Sur­vival Staff nearly 30 years ago and its bril­liantly sim­ple de­sign is still un­ri­valed in to­day’s mar­ket. Hand-crafted one at a time from hard­ened, black-an­odized alu­minum, it con­sists of a two-piece body, a steel point, an alu­minum han­dle and cap, a 440C stain­less steel blade, a rub­ber crutch tip, and a soft rub­ber grip. When all these parts are as­sem­bled to­gether, they yield a 57-inch hik­ing staff that con­ceals the 440C stain­less steel blade within the up­per sec­tion like a sword cane. The bot­tom sec­tion, pro­vides on­board stor­age space for sur­vival sup­plies and ac­ces­sories — as well as other unique func­tions (more on that shortly). The real ge­nius of the de­sign, how­ever, comes through when you start mix­ing and match­ing all those parts.

Metic­u­lously ma­chined threads at the ends of the var­i­ous com­po­nents of the staff al­low them to be re­ar­ranged and screwed to­gether in dif­fer­ent con­fig­u­ra­tions. Un­screw the han­dle, re­move the blade, and re­place the han­dle cap with it and the staff be­comes an in­stant spear. Re­move the top sec­tion of the staff and screw the han­dle into the lower tube to cre­ate a 38-inch walk­ing cane for ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments. De­tach the han­dle and up­per tube from the lower tube and you’ve got a skull-bust­ing 24-inch ba­ton/swag­ger stick and a fully func­tional 33 3/8-inch blow­gun.

All the screw-to­gether joints of the Sur­vival Staff fea­ture O-ring seals that keep the parts from work­ing loose and en­sure that every­thing re­mains wa­ter­tight. The screw en­gage­ment of all the parts is also ex­tremely ro­bust and en­sures im­pres­sive strength in ev­ery joint.

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