Jun 18, 2008 at 5:33 am #1229650
I keep seeing people list tent stakes in their SUL gear lists. I haven't walked with stakes for years because I use rocks, bushes, sticks etc.It seems like an easy way to save weight, I feel I must be missing something?Jun 18, 2008 at 7:08 am #1438887
@scottalanpLocale: Northern California
I would not claim to be an expert, but it seems like a few tents stakes afford you options should you be in an environment that does not have rocks. Bushes, sticks, etc. might do ok…but the amount of work to effectivness ratio could be poor. I think it is mainly so people do not have to fiddle with a bunch of rope or if they are traveling in areas where they cannot rely on the presence of plenty of perfect sized rocks.Jun 18, 2008 at 9:44 am #1438903
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Yeah, I too must be missing something, because I just don't "get" the whole SUL thing. Maybe psychic benefits just don't do all that much for me…
OTOH, each to his or her own, and as they say, hike your own hike.Jun 18, 2008 at 4:26 pm #1438975
Sure, under benign condition in the right sorts of forested areas you can use sticks and stones. Not a problem.
On sand you have to use them – stakes won't hold.
In alpine areas where you need a serious anchorage, a few good long (tubular) stakes at the ends of the tent are essential as there may not be much around in the way of good straight sticks.
In hard rocky areas in bad weather you may not be able to find enough suitable rocks which can be relied upon to not drag across the ground. A few Ti wires are heavenly then.
In the snow … :-)Jun 18, 2008 at 4:36 pm #1438977
To each his own.
Typically I have with me 6-8 stakes, so up to 8 oz which I understand can be the total weight (inc food and water) that some SUL carry.
There are three different kinds of pegs in my kit so that I can choose what to use where.
The first thing I do when I arrive at camp is to put the tent up (2-3 min) and go inside and have a full wash whilst I am still warm. Then I put my clean dry socks and top (my night layer) and if cold my longs as well .
Now if I had to spend 10 or 20 minutes looking around for rocks and sticks and fiddling with it , I would lose the advantage of having a wash whilst still hot or warm. To me the extra weight is worth the comfort. Same reason why I don't bother with the bivy/tarp or floor/net/tarp combo.
But of course I am not into SUL, I bushwalk for fun.
BTW, I do use rocks (sometimes) on top of my pegs…Jun 18, 2008 at 5:44 pm #1438994
@mikemartinLocale: North Idaho
Just a teaser —
We have a major Techniques feature on alternative to stakes coming out soon. Stay tuned… :-)Jun 18, 2008 at 7:05 pm #1439004
Aris, I'm not sure I'm ready to drop my 2 oz of titanium tent stakes, but you are asking exactly the right question that every UL hiker needs to ask about each piece of gear or even each feature on each piece of gear. Why, Why, Why. This is exactly how we got where we are…
Why do I need boots?
Why do I need a framed pack?
Why do I need a tent?
Why do I need a pot?
Why do I need a rain jacket?
Why do I need…a padded hip belt?
Why do I need …. fill in the blank.
Most backpackers that I talk to still assume you need all of these things and a lot more to be safe and comfortable. On my last trip I carried none of them and did extremely well…better then most.
Some items I determine I do not need, some maybe less of, some maybe a lighter version, etc.
Now I have not been wondering about why I need stakes, but I last asked myself why I need 8 stakes. I do notice that Ryan's UL gear list shows 6 stakes. My setup requires 8 stakes so I want to figure out if I can get a good setup that uses only 6 stakes (I use a 5×8 poncho tarp if anyone has suggestions). That being said I would love to drop all 8 if I can do so by just upping my skill.
JamieJun 19, 2008 at 8:34 am #1439087
@ericnobleLocale: Colorado Rockies
I'm usually in a hammock, so I don't need more than 2 stakes. I use what is readily available first and then use my stakes if I need to. I always carry one Vargo Titanium Nail Stake because it's the handle for my toothbrush. I've also needed it to make pilot holes for my lighter titanium stakes.Jun 25, 2008 at 6:40 am #1439995
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
Because moving over lichen covered rocks isn't very LNT. And it's also a huge PITA, impossible in some areas, hard work, not as effective (often).
I work for a company that doesn't supply tent stakes and every client uses tarps. I carry stakes.Jun 25, 2008 at 8:45 pm #1440190
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
"Now I have not been wondering about why I need stakes, but I last asked myself why I need 8 stakes. I do notice that Ryan's UL gear list shows 6 stakes. My setup requires 8 stakes so I want to figure out if I can get a good setup that uses only 6 stakes (I use a 5×8 poncho tarp if anyone has suggestions). That being said I would love to drop all 8 if I can do so by just upping my skill.:
And, in the other direction (more stakes) — I recently reviewed Ryan's posting on how to set up a tarp for harsh conditions. One thing I noted was that it sure looked as if he is using 14 stakes in that photo: 6 on each side, plus one at each end of the A-frame pitch. I do not recall seeing *anyones* gear list with *that* many stakes.
— BobJun 25, 2008 at 8:50 pm #1440192
@redleaderLocale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
With a light weight tarp, if you want it to stay in one piece, you'll use all of those stakes. And be darned sure they're all perfectly placed. I most always carry 12 – 6" Ti stakes.Jun 26, 2008 at 4:27 am #1440223
Seems like there is a wide variety of thoughts from none to 12. I think it is dependent on many conditions that are specific for each person and each hike…such as local weather, topograghy, soils, skill (site selection and pitching), and comfort with risk. My guess is that is why we see Ryan using different numbers…taking what is needs for that hike.
Assuming wind is the main factor…I do experience high winds on my trips, but not in places I have selected for camps. So for me 8 stakes has been extremely adequate. I did do some experimenting with a picth that uses 5 stakes, 3 x 3ft sections of spectra, my hiking pole, and a found stick. Here are pictures after the rig went through a thunderstorm.
The rear corners are tied together. This creates a taper that seems to hold well without a center line coming off the staff. This may work for most conditions I tend to see.
JamieJun 26, 2008 at 3:32 pm #1440339
@lithiummetalmanLocale: Cesspool Central!
the tarp setup looks great, are u using a 5 x 8 tarp in the setup shown in the photos?Jun 26, 2008 at 6:46 pm #1440369
Nat, Thanks…Yes it is just a regular 5 x 8 flat silnylon tarp (integral designs). Each side of this tarp has the coner tie webs plus a middle tie web plus 2 in between the corners and the middle (positions 1,2,3,4,5 with corners being 1 and 5). I tie the corners together (1+5), then I stake down positions 2 and 4…turning them into the corners making the tarp taper. The middle position gets lifted up by the stick.
I'm thinking this pitch will provide adequate cover for 90% of what I do (requires only 5 stakes + 9 feet of line). If things turn real nasty I will improvise in the field adding additional restraints and possible a different pitch.
JamieJun 26, 2008 at 8:31 pm #1440390
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
I never carry stakes. When the wind is high they don't work,
when the ground is rocky, they don't work. If I sleep on a
granite slab (which I do often for cleanliness and environmental concerns) I have to use rocks or logs for
anchors anyway.Jun 27, 2008 at 3:46 pm #1440489
> I never carry stakes. When the wind is high they don't work,
A rather sweeping generalisation.
I have used my own 8" tubular stakes and the BPL orange Ti wire stakes in winds up to 60 mph, with never a problem and no concerns about them holding either. I did worry a bit about the tent fabric though!
I think it depends massively on the soil. On alpine snow grass even a 6" tube can hold well enough that it is the tent which will fail first. On some of our rocky terrain even 4" of a Ti wire jammed hard into the rocks will outlast a tent. On sand – about 2 feet of stake is needed just to keep the tent upright. :-)Jun 27, 2008 at 7:11 pm #1440516
@clbowdenLocale: Berkeley Hills
Dave (Oware) Olsen,
What kind of pad do you use when sleeping on granite?Jun 28, 2008 at 9:35 am #1440561
@pyeyoLocale: pacific northwest
I've finally reached the point where I can leave the pad behind. Using a secret reverse body building technique I've managed to concentrate all my body fat on my backside only, it works quite well and other then now looking quite unusual I'm perfectly content with the results.Jun 28, 2008 at 10:33 am #1440566
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
OK. I mostly pitch camp in tree-less terrain so i have to carry stakes. I can't see myself choosing to sleep (stay awake in pain) on a granite slab for any reason though!Jun 28, 2008 at 3:11 pm #1440583
How does it go on snow?
:-)Jun 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm #1440585
@walksoftlyLocale: Piney Woods
I started backpacking when I was about 15. I never saw my first pad until the 1980's. Never used one as a kid and never missed one. Now only use a pad when it is really cold outside and has been for some time. Doesn't happen much in the Lone Star State.Jun 28, 2008 at 6:25 pm #1440612
@pyeyoLocale: pacific northwest
Roger, my name is Larry and I'm a pad-aholic,[please mutter the following greeting "Hi Larry"]
You've busted me with your simple insightful question. I actually have abandoned my prison toothbrush, carbon fiber underwear, and freeze dried jello so I can slip in an extra pad. While in groups I'll always slip away to shake out my bag and insert the extra one. I'm starting to feel quite shameful about my behavior and it is start to affect my job and relationships. Life was so much easier when I just drank myself into oblivion….Jun 28, 2008 at 6:40 pm #1440613
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, JapanJun 28, 2008 at 6:47 pm #1440615
Lol!Jun 28, 2008 at 6:55 pm #1440616
@creachenLocale: East Bay
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