How to Create a Rudimentary Multi-Purpose Campsite Tool
Have you ever seen cleaning crews in parks picking up litter with a poker attached to a stick? This simple tool is a very effective way of picking up small items without the need to repeatedly bend over. This type of tool also useful for a million and one other applications out in the field when you want to grab, fetch or pick something up. Let’s take a look at how you can make your own rudimentary poker/grabber stick and use it for anything from stoking a fire to keeping your site clean.
Ideally, you want a good stick that’s around four feet long and at least an inch thick. You can also use a wooden broom or mop handles as well. You also need three long nails (the longer the better) as well as two finishing nails. You also need some duct tape, a cardboard tube from a toilet paper or paper towel roll, a hammer, saw or a survival knife.
Preparing the Stick
The first step is to take the saw and cut away any protrusions from the stick so that it is as smooth as possible. You also want to trim one end so that it is flat before chopping off about three inches of bark from the bottom as well. The next step is to take your saw or survival knife and cut three shallow grooves into the wood about two inches above the end of the stick. These will be used to help anchor the nail heads. Make the first cut, then place the second one on the opposite side. Add the third on one side equidistant from the other two.
Take a strip of duct tape and wrap it around the bottom edge of the stick with the sticky side facing outward. Place two of the nails into their respective notches and press them against the tape so they are temporarily held in place. Add the third nail.
The next step is to tear off a foot long strip of duct tape and start to wrap it around the stick about an inch above the nail heads. Keep wrapping and going downward until the tape reaches the bottom of the stick. Repeat one or two more times to add some extra rigidity to the seal.
Making the Holder
Cut your paper towel tube in half if you are using one, and wrap the entire outside with a couple of layers of duct tape. If you are using a toilet paper roll, don’t cut, just tape. Place the tube on the stick so that the end rests just above the nail heads. Hammer one of the finishing nails halfway into the wood at this spot. Hammer the other nail halfway into the wood about an inch above the other end of the tube.
Bend the nail down and press the tube against the nail. Bend the nail that is above the other nail heads up so that it loosely holds the tube in place. The idea is to have both nails anchor the tube in a way that you can pull it back and release it from the bottom nail. Then you can slide the tube over the bottom nail and use it to push off the rubbish that you collect on the protruding nails. When finished, you can pull the tube back up and under the bottom nail so that it is held in place.
The next step is to create a handle for the tube. Take a long strip of duct tape, fold it in half so the sticky sides adhere to each other. Create a loop by feeding the strip through the tube and taping the ends together where they meet on the outside. You can then use this to hang the stick when not being used.
Finally, you can also make an end cap for the stick for some added protection by taking two strips of tape and crossing them over one of the ends of a second piece of cardboard tubing. Then, wrap some tape around the entire tube. Slide the tube over the end of the stick and squeeze so that it stays in place.
You may also want to consider wrapping the handle end of the stick with some tape in order to add some padding while you are using the poker.
Try this out for yourself, and see how this simple tool can be used to place less stress on your back when picking up or grabbing things. Other examples of practical uses include spearing fish, catching small game or as a defensive weapon in an emergency. One thing is certain, taking the time to put this together now can pay big dividends in the field later.