By Mark McLauchlin
* Reviewer Information
Name: Mark McLauchlin
Height: 1.76 m (5’ 9”)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia
* Backpacking Background
I have been hiking since 2006 with most of my hiking consisting
of day walks averaging 16 - 22 km (10 - 14 mi) and short overnight trips where
I consider myself to be a light hiker with an average pack weight of
13 kg (29 lb).
My preference is for hot dinners, breakfasts of cereals with fresh fruit,
and lunches usually of bars and sandwiches.
* Product Information
The StickPic is a tiny, ultralight and purely awesome
camera mount designed for trekking pole use to allow a hiker to
take a self-portrait. This is one of
those things where you just
say, "why didn't I think of that?"
Manufacturer: Rodney Java and David Lopez / A Hiking
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Listed Weight:10.8 g or 0.38 oz
Measured Weight:10 g or 0.35 oz
* Initial Impressions
StickPic arrived in a small resealable plastic bag measuring 5 cm x 9 cm
(2 in x 3.5 in) with a set of instructions and letter from the inventors
explaining where the idea for the product came from and how to use it.
My initial impressions of the StickPic were simply amazement at the size
The construction of the StickPic seems very good. There are no rough or
unfinished edges on any of the components.
It is made from a plastic called Delrin also known as Acetal which gives
the StickPic its light and robust characteristics.
Each StickPic is designed to fit specific models of trekking poles, the
diameter of the mounting hole corresponds to a list of supported
trekking pole models. At time of ordering, the user selects the brand
and model of trekking pole the StickPic will be used on.
Initially I had intended to use the StickPic on a homemade hiking pole
I have used for quite sometime. However when the StickPic arrived I was
unable to get it on the end of my pole. I did however request the
StickPic for the Leki brand of poles, which I now own and it fits this
perfectly. The StickPic website lists approximately 40 brands and models
of trekking poles that are currently supported, each with a
corresponding StickPic model number. In my case a number 2. Rodney Java
and David Lopez do however note that if your model trekking pole is not
listed you can send in the diameter of the pole at a certain point
indicated via an image on their website and they will make a custom one
for you. Now that's customer service.
I am excited about testing this item and hope that it will enable me to
take some photos of my journeys with myself included. Some good solo
* Reading the Instructions
The Stickpic instructions are well presented and easily
understood as can be seen from the image on the right hand side of this
report. The instructions were folded inside the packaging of the
StickPic and a larger version accompanied a letter written by Rodney
Java who is one of the inventors of this neat little product.
The included letter also has some helpful hints for using the StickPic.
Below is an excerpt which I have included to give the reader a better
understanding as to how the StickPic does its job and why it was
" The StickPic was invented with a compact digital camera in mind.
However, the larger and light weight SLR cameras can still be used with
some attention to the extra weight at the end of the trekking pole. We
suggest shortening the length of the trekking pole for better stability.
Digital cameras are made with several different wide angle focal
lengths. The angle which the camera is mounted on the StickPic fits
perfectly in the middle of these different lens focal lengths. Depending
on the type of camera and the length the trekking pole is extended, some
part of the trekking pole may appear in the picture.
By simply shorting the length of the trekking pole or adjusting the
focal length by ever so slightly zooming in, you can eliminate the
trekking pole in the picture.
With the advent of youtube and myspace video, the StickPic is perfect
for making video diary's.
Experiment wit holding the trekking pole high in the air or low to the
ground when taking pictures. The possibilities are endless.
Feel safe by always using the wrist strap attached to the trekking pole.
Finally, practice makes perfect."
after reading the instruction and hints it took me less than one minute
to set up the camera ready to take a photo.
My steps for using the StickPic are as follows.
Firstly screw the StickPic to the tripod socket on the
Secondly adjust the black jam nut so that it is tight up
against the base of my camera and the logo, "The StickPic" is facing the
front of the camera or directly at the subject of the photo.
Thirdly wrap the camera wrist strap around the trekking pole above the
Lastly slide the StickPic onto the end of the trekking
pole (the end that would normally contact the ground when walking) and
you are ready to go.
My camera has a 10 second self timer delay which seems to be about
right, so I set that to shoot. Then hold the camera nice and high in the
air, look straight into the lens and say "cheese".
The photo below was taken as my first attempt with no additional zoom or
photo editing used, and guess what? You can't see the trekking pole.
On a gear safety note the instructions do recommend that you use the
camera wrist strap and I would say so far that this is an absolute must.
The first time I used the StickPic after taking the shot I lowered my
trekking pole and the camera did slide off the end. This is caused by
the weight of the camera simply pulling the StickPic off.
My digital camera tripod socket is also located off centre which does
create a small balance issue, however if I push the StickPic onto the
end of the pole firmly it does seem to work well and stay in place.
The photo below was also taken in quite high winds and there was a lot
of pole movement however the photo still turned out well. I attribute
this to the anti-shake function of the camera.
* Testing Strategy
Testing will be focused around day
and overnight hikes along various trails in my home state of
My camera of choice will be a Pentax Optio M40 compact digital along
with Leki Super Makalu ultra light poles. I will on occasion carry a
second digital camera so that I am able to better show the use of the
Things I liked
Very small and light.
Basic, not much can go wrong with it.
Easy to attach to pole and camera.
Ability to take photos of myself and the scenery.
Things I disliked
Nothing at this stage.
This concludes my Initial Report.
Over the course of the testing period the StickPic has proven to be the
most regular part of my hiking gear list and has accompanied me on all
day and overnight hikes along the Coastal Plains and Bibbulmun Track. My
average day hike length has been 23 km (14 miles) over four hikes and 22 km
(13 miles) over
two overnight hikes. Temperatures reached a low of 8 C (46 F) and a maximum of
17 C (63 F) and I experienced a medium amount precipitation on two occasions.
Taking photos with the StickPic has been a lot easier than I
expected and this has possibly been one of the reasons I will continue
to take it on all my hiking activities. Initially I thought that I would
be continually adjusting the zoom and pole lengths to get the best shot
that didn't show my trekking poles; however this has proven not to be the
case. With the poles extended to my normal walking length of 130 cm (51 in) and by not utilizing the zoom
at all I am able to get a great result. All of the photos contained in
this report are taken in the same manner. Lining up a shot has been the
most surprisingly easy part of the whole test. It's as easy as setting the
timer, 10 seconds in my case, and looking straight down the lens.
The fact that my camera, as do most, has an off-centered tripod mounting
which creates an imbalance has caused a few anxious moments with the
camera spinning around the pole on several occasions. The first reaction
is "Argh! my camera", then the safety of the lanyard kicks in and all
ends well. It has taken a while to perfect the use of the StickPic;
however the more I use it the more comfortable I become.
The StickPic has been a great item to test and in doing so I have been able to make a few recommendations
on the use of the StickPic; these are listed below.
When fitting the StickPic wipe or clean the end of the trekking pole
where the StickPic will be mounted. This seems to make the device fit a
little better and reduces the risk of it slipping around. I also see
this as reducing the amount of wear on the trekking pole as less
friction between the pole and the StickPic occurs.
that twisting the StickPic onto the trekking pole - again this can cause
wear to the pole (see image below) - try to 'jimmy' it on using both hands. I
have found this helps to ensure the StickPic doesn't come loose and slip,
causing the camera either to spin around or - worse - fall off.
- The use of a lanyard, from the camera or another source, is an
absolute must. Please do
not forget this part as I can safely say that at some stage the StickPic
and camera will fall off the end of the pole.
- The lighter the camera the less chances there are of the StickPic coming loose and
you having to spend time repositioning it for that
The fact the StickPic is so basic in construction with few moving parts
has added to its durability. There have been a few occasions where the StickPic
has been dropped in the dirt and I have not seen any noticeable damage,
and functionality has not been affected. Cleaning it whist out in the
field has been easy and only requires a wipe-off
with the corner of my shirt or pants, paying a little more attention to
the thread as this is more likely to pick up sand dirt particles. I
don't want these to be transferred to my camera and cause possible damage to the
internal thread which is made from a plastic material. I have generally
stored the StickPic in my pocket while not in use as it does not fit
into my camera case when attached to the camera. On one occasion
I put the StickPic through the dishwasher to see how clean it would come
out and had a great result, just like a new one.
The photos below show scenery firstly without me then the same with
me in the picture and this is something that I have really enjoyed being
able to do. I'm no artist or professional photographer, however I do feel
that having someone in the picture really adds to the experience, the
memories will remain longer and sharing these with friends and family
are a lot more exciting.
The StickPic is a great little device and I will continue to carry
it with me. Its light weight and ease of use mean that there is no
reason not to bring it along. I highly recommend this to anyone who
enjoys taking photos while out on the trail and doesn't want the
weight penalty associated with tripods.
All of my likes from my initial report are still valid with the
addition of great durability and easy to clean.
Not a thing at all.
Thank you to Rod Java, David Lopez and BackpackGearTest.org for the
privilege of testing The StickPic it has been great fun.
Read more reviews of StickPic gear
Read more gear reviews by Mark McLauchlin