So, a week or so ago, my buddy Kyle shows up to our weekly game night with a five foot length of PVC pipe covered in duct tape and wrapped in cord. Immediately, I’m thinking “Cool staff!” Now it bears mentioning that Kyle has a secret identity where he’s a quiet and understated engineer of amazing things. So when I told him how cool his staff looked, he just smiled and nodded and then proceeded to take it apart and show me all the goodies. I had to have one. And in a few days, I did. I asked if he could do it with wood-grain tape. Turns out, he can. If they make a duct tape of it, he can use it.
He calls them Survival Sticks, and they are pretty damn cool. The outer shell is 1 inch PVC pipe, but when you remove the two end caps, you can see that the inside is not only reinforced with another layer of PVC pipe, it has an inner core of PVC that runs the entire length. Now, notice hos the inner core is recessed a little bit? Yeah, that’s because this thing isn’t just a staff. It’s a blowgun. Kyle can also make attachments for a spear and a fishing gig. Plus, with the reinforced inner core and some clever use of the cord wrapped around the base, it can be used as a survival bow. Also, he has plans for a version with a somewhat deeper recess of the inner core to make room for a small survival kit.
The blowgun comes with three kinds of darts. One is bamboo, very light and good for longer range shots (and don’t let the light weight fool you. I put one of these through a neoprene target and three layers of cardboard.), the second is a lightweight steel dart with a flattened tip, and the third is a heavy dart that is basically a three inch nail. The two metal darts hit hard! I used a cardboard box propped against a tree as a backstop, and ended up having to pull them out with a pair of plyers when I missed the bird target Kyle provided me with for practice.
This is one of the most versatile items I’ve ever seen, and it was worth every penny I paid him for it (I can’t quote an exact price because each one varies according to how it’s made.). As you can see, it’s pretty damn accurate. I chose a conservative range, but when we first tried these things out, we were shooting across my yard with them and putting them through multiple layers of cardboard. And because of the way it’s reinforced, not only will it support a grown man’s weight, it is also heavy enough to pack quite the wallop. And whatever you have in mind, I’m pretty sure Kyle can put one together for you.
Check out the pics I took of my Survival Stick.