Hiking medallions are a great way to show off where you’ve been, but first, you need to know how to attach hiking stick medallions. You don’t want all of those hard-earned medallions falling off on your next hike, do you?
I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about how to attach hiking stick medallions. Let’s start with the basics.
How To Attach Hiking Stick Medallions
You can attach hiking medallions to your hiking stick by bending the medallions around the stick and then nailing them down using the nails that come with your medallions. This will firmly hold them in place for decades. You can also add a bit of epoxy or glue for an extra strong hold.
Prepare Your Walking Stick
The first thing you’re going to want to do is prepare your walking stick. Your hiking stick, or walking stick, is going to be the home for your hiking medallions. However, I’ve seen people also put theirs on everything from mountain bikes to backpacks.
This means that you’ve got some range and options when it comes to how you apply your hiking medallions.
I’m going to stick to hiking sticks for this guide. This is the most common place to see hiking medallions and where most people go to show theirs off.
Your hiking stick should be made out of wood and sufficiently thick so that the hiking medallions don’t wrap all the way around. Next, you’re going to need to prepare the hiking stick itself.
Most hiking sticks come sealed. If your hiking stick is already finished, then you are good to go. If not, then you’re going to need this last step.
Sand your hiking stick with fine grit sandpaper. After that, apply a top coat such as a polyurethane finish or wax. This will seal your hiking stick and create an attractive surface to add your hiking medallions to.
Roll Your Medallions
The next thing you’re going to need to do is to roll your medallions. This might sound a little strange, but it’s what we’ve been doing for years to securely attach our medallions. Here’s how it works.
Place your hiking medallion on your hiking stick. You’ll notice that the flat medallion hangs off either edge of the round stick. You want to gently roll the edges of your medallion around your hiking stick. This will bend them and confirm them to the shape of your stick.
If you’re having trouble bending that you are hiking medallions, I’ve got a few tips for you.
The biggest tip is to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to bend your medallions. However, this can easily damage the intricate designs on the surface of the medallion. That’s why I always wrap a bit of spare cloth over the medallion to prevent the needle nose pliers from scratching it.
Make sure to bend your medallion slowly. You don’t want to over-bend them which can damage the aesthetics as well as the strength of the medallion.
Try to leave as little of a gap between the medallion and the wood of the walking stick as possible. It’s normal for there to be some gap, but you want it to be minimal to prevent dirt from building up in between the medallion in the walking stick.
Don’t put away those needle nose pliers just yet. We’re going to need them for the next step.
The most common way to attach a hiking medallion to your hiking stick is to nail it in. Your medallion should have come with a few small nails and it should also feature two or three holes around the edges that you can nail through. This is the most challenging part of attaching hiking medallions.
Remember how I mentioned keeping those needle nose pliers at the ready? Here’s where they come in handy. We’re going to use the needle nose pliers to prevent bending those tiny nails.
Place the nail in the thickest part of the needle nose pliers that it fits in. This will snuggly hold it in place and prevent it from bending. As we hammer the nail into the walking stick, we’re going to move the needle nose pliers back so we can continue to hammer the nail in while holding it in place.
I’ve heard plenty of first-time hikers complain about bending nails when they try to attach their hiking medallions. It’s because they don’t know this needle-nose plier trick!
Remember to hammer slowly and firmly. You don’t want to risk missing or accidentally striking the surface of your medallion. You can even use a spare bit of cloth to help cushion your medallion against any accidental blows.
Tips From a Hiking Pro
I’ve got one big tip for you. Don’t use glue or epoxy if you can avoid it.
Glues and other adhesives can wind up damaging the wood or the hiking medallion over time. I’ve got friends who attached their hiking medallions decades ago and they’re still firmly holding in place with nothing more than a few small nails.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hiking Stick Medallion
Got a question about hiking stick medallions? I’ll cover some bonus FAQs that people have about their hiking sticks.
Where Can You Get Hiking Medallions?
There are a lot of places where you can buy hiking medallions. The most common place to get hiking medallions is from the National Parks Service. You can also buy medallions from plenty of third-party retailers and crafters online.
Which Hiking Stick Medallions Should I Get?
You can get any kind of hiking medallions that you want. There is a tradition that you get a hiking medallion after completing a hike at a given location. It’s generally accepted amongst avid hikers that you should only get medallions for hikes you’ve already completed.
What Kinds of Hiking Stick Can I Put Medallions On?
The best kind of hiking stick for medallions is a wood hiking stick. This will let you nail in the medallions and has a nice, rustic look about it. You can also use fiberglass or metal hiking sticks, you’ll just have to glue or epoxy your medallions on.
Now You’re Ready for Your Next Hike
Now that you know how to attach hiking stick medallions, what’s the first medallion you’re going to attach? My favorite medallions are the ones that come with unbeatable hiking memories. Hiking medallions are more than just markers of achievement, they’re ways to rekindle stories from your favorite hikes.
Need more tips on making the most of the great outdoors? Check out our other articles!