The drawback of using a walking stick is that it increases energy consumption. It adds stress to your elbows with use and is extra weight to carry around. But in exchange, it reduces stress on your back, legs, joints, and feet.
Reduces stress on your joints
A walking stick can help reduce stress on your legs and knees by taking a lot of the impact while walking. It takes pressure off of your back and hips while going uphill and reduces shock on your knees and ankles while going downhill.
Adds strength and balance
A walking stick can help provide additional thrust while going uphill. It can help you keep your balance when traversing rocky terrain, hillsides, downed trees, or while crossing streams. You can use it as a balance to lean on when you need to catch your breath or rest.
Should you accidentally lose your balance, it can help you catch yourself and prevent a fall.
Self defense against wild animals
You can use it as self defense to scare off potentially dangerous animals such as snakes or wild dogs. You can either prop it up to make yourself look bigger or swing it as a warning.
It can be used to prop up a tarp, tent, mosquito net, impromptu sun shade, or whatever else you can think of.
Other types of support
When traversing all types of terrains, it can provide different types of support depending on the situation. You can use it push aside branches, thorny plants, spider webs, or potentially poisonous plants. You can use it to judge how deep a crack or puddle is or use it to provide stability in slippery mud.
If interested in adding a bit of a workout to your trip, you can try nordic walking.
Be intentional on what you decide based on your trip. For some reason, walking sticks are very popular in Europe, but not as popular in America. If you are traversing long and tricky terrain, a walking stick can be very beneficial. But if you’re just sticking to already existing trails and don’t plan on hiking for longer than a few hours, you might not want the extra weight.