January 25, 2013, 11:28 AM
My mother-in-law is planning to hike the Appalachian Trail (alone) and wants to bring a weapon for protection. We have all tried to convince her that it is a terrible idea, but she is going no matter what we say. Quite honesty, subtlety is not in her vocabulary. Before anyone says “concealed is concealed,” I would bet my life savings she wouldn't make it to the TN border before everyone on the trail had seen her fancy new gun. She simply can’t keep her mouth shut about ANYTHING.

At first she was absolutely set on carrying a pistol, but I have been able to convince her not to. Now she has decided that she is going to carry a custom made 4 foot whip from some guy on the internet who makes them (Remember: this is my mother-in-law. Please keep responses family friendly). She says “A whip like this can take your skin off, and it’s not against the law. Show me a law to the contrary, and I won’t bring it”

Can anyone help me out here? Trying to check the regulations of every State and Federal Park, Forest, Lands, WMA, County, etc. would take forever. You can’t even bring a dog the entire way anymore. I’m of the mind that about the only thing you could carry openly on the AT would be a knife (and not even a big combat style one either). I’d be willing to bet that one of the states or jurisdictions the trail passes through has a catch-all prohibiting “weapons”. Anyone know what which one?

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January 25, 2013, 11:38 AM
A whip is about the most useless SD weapon I can possibly imagine.
(With the exception of Indiana Jones, but he had movie prop training)

You hit the typical crackhead punk with a whip, and he will take it away from you and strangle you with it!

I nice hickory hiking staff would be perfectly legal any place in the country due to the ADA.
And a far far better weapon then a whip of any kind.

PS: Add a can of bear pepper spray and she has all the bases covered.


January 25, 2013, 11:40 AM
What is she envisioning using this weapon against? Bear? Rattlesnake? Mugger/rapist/serial killer?

Might be useful for rattlesnakes but so is walking around them...

For protection against anti-social humans that might well be legal I'd recommend pepper-spray if nothing else is an option.
Get quality stuff with a high "SHU" (Scoville Heat Unit) rating.

January 25, 2013, 11:44 AM
Her main concern is two-legged predators. I'd thought of a hiking stick too, but I doubt she has the strength or reflexes to make good use of it. Needless to say, the whole family is concerned about her.

January 25, 2013, 11:48 AM
If she is too weak to crack somebody up side the head with a walking stick, she most certainly has no business with a whip!

For that matter, if she is to weak & uncordinated to use a stick, she has no business hiking the Appalachian Trail alone in the first place!


January 25, 2013, 11:58 AM
Some clarification first: are you seeking to convince her bring it is a bad idea because it's not practical, trying to find a law making it illegal so the issue can be forced, or looking for an alternative to offer instead?

Now I should disclose I am an experienced and enthusiastic bullwhip-cracker, but I've got your back on this one.

Generally speaking I have never heard of any kind of law or regulation prohibiting open carry or use of a long single-tailed whip, though there are broader laws that can apply.

Cracking a whip in the air can be construed as a noise violation in some areas, or at the very least will attract authorities of the trail to what sounds an awful lot like a gunshot. If done in park land where discharge of a firearm is illegal (which it often is) she can expect rangers to come poking around wanting to know what or who she just shot at. Her "show off" personality might make it hard for her to resist doing this for fun. A lot.

Striking an animal needlessly can also be animal cruelty. Brandishing the whip and cracking it in a situation that might be perceived by others as intimidating can be considered a form of menacing or assault, which all states have but call different names.

Lastly, if she's hoping to fend off human adversaries, ha, good luck with that! A whip is a fear weapon almost exclusively, and not all baddies will be afraid or capable of feeling fear at all (drugs, booze, insanity). Yes it can cut deep, but that takes years of practice to hit a moving target, and that's when your calm and performing a stunt, not fighting for your life. Get her a nice big stick of solid hardwood. Way more useful.

Il Duca
January 25, 2013, 01:07 PM
Cold Steel makes synthetic versions of the Sjambok and blackthorne walking stick. I don't know how useful they would be on a hike but they make pretty good thumpers and would be more useful than a whip. The best bet has already been mentioned though. Bear spray. Incredibly effective for 2 or 4 legged critters.

January 25, 2013, 02:36 PM
A 4 or 5' staff is useful in general. If she can't be dangerous with a stick that size, she literally does not have the strength and coordination to hike the trail.


January 25, 2013, 02:45 PM
just have her carry a good knife for survival and woodcrafting and some bear spray for two or four legged critters. I personally carry a Ruger LCR when I'm on the trail, but I don't broadcast it to all I meet.

January 25, 2013, 05:24 PM
Bear spray is the all purpose solution on the AT. I've hiked most of the southern portion in my youth and if she can't handle a hiking staff she won't make it on the AT.

January 25, 2013, 06:40 PM
She needs bear spray and a stout walking stick. Or she needs to stay home.

January 25, 2013, 09:02 PM
I have hiked many parts of the Appalachian trail specifically in the White and Green mountains. I normally carry a 12ga compact shotgun strapped to the outside of my bag wrapped in a sleeping pad as well as a high caliber handgun on my waist or a shoulder holster. Since firearms are out of the question more or less bear spray will be your best bet. Pick one that can handle multiple sprays so she doesn't have to carry as much. No sense in carrying one can of bear spray if she uses it before getting to the next state along the trail.

January 25, 2013, 09:14 PM
I think if I were to walk the AT I'd rig up a walking staff to accept a Cold Steel Bushman. I'd keep the knife sheathed on my belt unless I felt threatened, at which point I'd put it on the staff.

Or I'd invest in a Fokos. (http://walkbyfaith777.com/walking_sticks)

January 26, 2013, 08:23 AM
That fokos is amazing! What is the price point for that?
I use a pointed titanium stick walking to the barns and in the woods when the ground is white or icy. "Wouldn't leave home without it" in the winter.
That fokos is too cool. I assume they can make a smaller hawk head. If not, the leather cover should do the job.
Sorry for the thread drift.
Tell your MIL to get realistic, stay home and live to see her grand kids grow up or get 6-9 months training on how to defend herself with a staff. During that 6-9 month period, a rigorous physical training program is highly recommended. I understand this was not the advice you are seeking as you already know this to be true.


January 26, 2013, 08:50 AM
All questions answered. I found the options/price list page.


January 26, 2013, 08:52 AM
Four legged varmints aren't an issue (arguably) on the east coast.

Think about this: Police (at least in the northeast) tend to advise women to use their car keys to fend off attackers. If car keys were so effective, why aren't the police using them instead of guns?

Your mother in law is a grown up, and her initial idea is a sound one, provided she keeps her yap shut and her handgun out of sight.

Personally I'd rather have to take a trip to bail her out of jail than to go and ID her body.

Letter-of-the-law weenines flame away...

January 26, 2013, 10:14 AM
I'd be all somber and serious and require that pre- trip, she sits down with the family to update her will and advise you all on her funeral wishes. Might make her think about it some more.

larry harley
January 26, 2013, 10:29 AM
as a life long whipologist. give her a gun.
it takes a long time to b e proficient w a whip

January 26, 2013, 10:43 AM
All questions answered. I found the options/price list page.

Jim: United Cutlery makes a Fokos-like object (http://www.knifecenter.com/item/UC2905/United-Cutlery-M48-Kommando-Tactical-Survival-Axe) for those with a limited budget. And for those people who have some woodworking skill, it's possible to buy Fokos heads (http://www.ebay.com/sch/majestic_thiele/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=25&_trksid=p3984.m1543.l2654) on eBay.

January 26, 2013, 11:54 AM
Won't work on bears, but on two legged vermin, this Kimber Pepper Spray gets good reviews, I have recommended them to some gun averse friends

January 26, 2013, 12:08 PM
Thanks Bob. I am already communicating with Brian at Walk By Faith. Thanks a bunch for the link.
I have given him my specs.

January 26, 2013, 04:56 PM
Thanks Bob. I am already communicating with Brian at Walk By Faith. Thanks a bunch for the link.
I have given him my specs.
Jim, be sure to start a new thread (with pics) when it arrives and you've had a chance to evaluate it!

January 26, 2013, 06:29 PM
Roger that. Will do.


January 26, 2013, 07:18 PM
If she had about two years practice, and an 8' bullwhip, she might just scare or tear the hell out of TWO assailants, if she saw them coming, and was prepared. BUT, I'm going to guess that she won't, and luck would not be on her side, even if she were semi-pro with one. Pepper blaster, knife, or defensive walking stick (you ouight to see what the martial arts guys can do with a stick).

January 26, 2013, 08:34 PM
Wasp and hornet killer.

January 26, 2013, 10:17 PM
I'll stand with the people suggesting bear spray... however my whip would most certainly do the trick I'm a fire performer and sling a 12 ft. flaming whip hehehe although if you count the time to soak it in coleman fuel and then light it, I'd say a person would be pretty much done for during all that prep time ;)

January 26, 2013, 10:44 PM
I've been popping a 6' whip for nearly 10 years...no way I'd waste space and weight on that thing. The most I can think of it coming in hańdy for is making noise to scare off a critter like a mean dog or coyote.

I've always wanted to hike the trail, but I don't think I would carry anything more than a nice comfortable belt knife and MAYBE a lightweight handgun if I really felt the need. An LCR or LCP would be the most I would pack.

A nice hickory stick would be her friend.

January 27, 2013, 01:38 PM
Thanks everyone for your advice. The more I think about it though, the more I like the idea of her bringing the whip. As someone said earlier, the crack of a whip is sure to get the attention of the local police, and knowing her, she will be playing with it constantly.

Also, knowing her, she is certain to cop an attitude with the police and get herself arrested. Which is GOOD because it won't take her more than 2 or 3 days (at most) before it happens, and then the trip is over before she gets herself hurt or killed.

Better to bail her out on a disorderly conduct charge in TN, than to pickup her body in VA.

January 27, 2013, 03:53 PM
This thread is surreal.........:confused:


January 27, 2013, 04:03 PM
the crack of a whip is sure to get the attention of the local police,What local police??

Most places on the Appalachian Trail have no local police.


January 27, 2013, 04:18 PM
Mossberg 590 Mariner - if she's going to show it off, may as well show off something big enough to have the strategic deterrence she is going to need if anyone decides to mess with her.

January 27, 2013, 04:23 PM
I think we have been had. Heck, Saturday Night Live would have a hard time coming up with a skit this bizarre. MIL who is admittedly not fit, not trained with a whip and has a socially bad attitude is going to walk the AT and the DIL has concluded that the whip is a good idea after hearing from numerous qualified people that it is a BAD idea.
When I close my eyes and picture this I can't stop laughing....... GEEZ!!!


January 27, 2013, 04:32 PM
I think we have been had.You might be right.

But I doubt anyone could dream that stuff up!


January 27, 2013, 05:00 PM
This guy is a troll plain and simple. Evidenced by the fact he stated, "The more I think about it though, the more I like the idea of her bringing the whip." A whip seriously? Either your not thinking straight or you're a troll.

January 28, 2013, 12:23 AM
Ok. This is goofy, and I think all of us can agree this is a bad idea. Closed.

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