Jul 23, 2012 at 9:02 am #1292256
I bent two of my Y stakes (similar to the MSR Groundhogs) on my last camping trip. The soil was dense with embedded rocks and I did a lot of trial insertions before I could find gaps in the rocks to drive the stake deeply enough to keep the tarp on the ground in the strong winds I just camped in. Even so, two are shaped more like bananas than stakes, so I would like to get something tougher. Suggestions?
[EDIT: I ORIGINALLY CLAIMED THAT IT WAS TWO MSR GROUNDHOGS THAT I BENT. THIS TURNED OUT TO BE INCORRECT. READ THE THREAD AND YOU'LL SEE THAT IT WAS SOME KNOCKOFFS THAT I BENT.]Jul 23, 2012 at 9:20 am #1896858
I haven't tried them, but a titanium nail stake seems like a good option.Jul 23, 2012 at 9:20 am #1896860
@earn_my_turnsLocale: New England
Could you tie off to those rocks instead of using stakes? Otherwise a hammer and piton.Jul 23, 2012 at 9:35 am #1896863
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
wow… when i read your subject line I would have suggested MSR Groundhog stakes because I never bent one. The only stake that I have found that works better in really hard soil are titanium nail stakes.
–markJul 23, 2012 at 10:14 am #1896874
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
At some point you need to see light stakes as scacrficial gear, to be abused and replaced. You might need something on the order of a climbing piton in some rocky soils. The titanium nails might be an improvement, but when you hit a rock, something has to give. Even a steel spike has a limit.
As others mentioned, you might tie off to a rock or tie the stake on to the guy line and put a big rock on top. Or carry one heavy but tough stake and make holes for the others.Jul 23, 2012 at 10:43 am #1896883
I usually take a steel stake to make holes for Ti shepard hook stakes if needed
I might get some of those Varga Ti nail stakes. The hook on a shepard hook stake is springy so it doesn't work so good.
Lawson shepard hook stakes at least have the top of the stake where you hit it, directly over the shaft of the stake
You got to feel when you're pounding a stake. Don't just hammer so hard until the stake bends. When you bounce off a rock, move over to a different location and see if you can get a stake in there. Sometimes I have to try 10 places until I get one to work
And sometimes you just have to resort to putting big rock on top. Especially if the stake doesn't go all the way into the ground or if it's sandy.Jul 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm #1896933
Rock on a stake works better, IMO, when it's a stake holding a guyline. When the stake goes through a close loop on a tent or tarp, though, then the rock mashes part of the shelter's side, reducing inside space. But that's better than having the stake pull out in a high wind, I reckon.
So are the Groundhogs, which have always been my choice for sturdy pegging, considered pretty much top of the line in terms of your lightweight strong option? I was surprised to have bananaed two since I generally have enough sense not to try to pierce rocks or heavy tree roots with stakes.Jul 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm #1896948
Just off the top of my head I believe that the Ti nail type stakes would be more difficult to bend.
The 2012 MSR groundhogs weigh .6 ounces or 16 grams per stake and are made of 7000 series aluminum and are 7.5 inches long. They sell for about $2.50 each at Backcountry Edge.com
I found some Vargo T-113 Titanium Nail Stakes at OutdoorPros.com that weigh .6 ounces or 14 grams each and are 6 inches long.
FWIW if you do the math .6 ounces equals 17.0097139 grams! ;-?
Also we keep finding out that if the L x W x H dimensions are the same titanium is heavier!
If six inches in length would suffice for your application the only thing that will be lighter after purchasing the Ti nail stakes will be your wallet. ;-)
$21.89 per 6/pk or $3.65 each.
NewtonJul 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm #1896965
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Match your stakes to the type of ground you can reasonably expect to encounter most often.
Bear in mind that some tie-out points on a given shelter type may require longer stakes than do others, based on such things as wind direction and the amount of tension being transferred to a given stake. You do not need a cold weld on all your stake to ground connections.
I always carry a mix of stakes, no matter the shelter carried. There are always at least two titanium nail stakes among them; they're great for making pilot holes, testing the ground, or even driving into an inconveniently placed and immovable log in a tight camping spot.
I prefer Y-stakes (like the MSR Groundhogs) over the traditional shepherd's crook stakes any day for their extra holding power. They are also easier to drive when driving is needed. Crooks are easier to insert and remove in soft ground (unfortunately, they are also less resistant to coming out on their own in a storm) and they're perfect for holding down a net tent under a tarp, where they are not taking the brunt of the storm.
Most of my stakes are 6 inches long, but I also carry a few 9 inchers for those tie-out points where there is a lot of tension applied (i.e. the ridgeline of a tarp).Jul 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm #1896967
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Once in a while I find myself camping in a well-established campsite such as a campground in a national park. The sites tend to be well-constructed with a platform of rocks and gravel covered by a thin layer of sand or dirt. Those sites are really tough on stakes. I try to drive any stake, and it goes in about one inch and then hits a rock.
Once I get out into the backcountry, there is no problem. Sometimes there are used sites, but they were not constructed. They just happened. Typically the dirt is medium firm.
As a result, I generally don't stay in campgrounds so much. If I do, I try to use some self-supporting (read: heavy) tent that doesn't really need stakes.
–B.G.–Jul 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm #1896974
Vargo said, by email, that the nail stakes are 2 mm diameter. They weigh 0.6 ounces. They are 6 inches long.
I have some (BPL) Ti shepardhook stakes that are about 3.5 mm diameter (my measurement) and about 7 inches long if you straightened out the hook, and weigh 0.22 ounce.
If you assume that all "Titanium" has the same density, this is inconsistent. Since my stakes are twice the diameter and about the same length, they should weigh 4 times as much, but they weigh less than half???
Are the Vargo stakes really just 2 mm?
Maybe that Titanium is heavier?Jul 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm #1896976
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Most of the shepherd's hook stakes are around 0.20 to 0.25 ounce each in lengths of 6.5 to 7 inches long without anything straightened.
–B.G.–Jul 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm #1896993
Even thought they are still experiencing a few bumps, I am a big fan of Easton Nanos.
I've beat the crap out of mine for 4 years and had maybe 3 head failures. I expect the new batch to be better.Jul 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm #1897002
"Are the Vargo stakes really just 2 mm"?
Are you remembering to allow for the much larger head of the Vargo nail type stake?
I am pretty sure that 2mm refers to the slim portion of the stake and not the head which is much larger in diameter.
My question regarding these stakes is whether or not the head is included in the overall length of 6 inches. If it is I'm guesstimating that the useful length of the stake winds up being 5.5" or so be cause of the design of the head.
They do have a lighter Ti nail stake option on their website.
These have a much slimmer in design head.
NewtonJul 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm #1897011
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Just measured one of my Vargo titanium nails.
The head is 11/16 inch (0.687 inches)
The useable shaft, including the tip, is 5.75 inches
The total length is 6.437 inches (6 – 7/16 inches)Jul 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm #1897043
What's the diameter of the skinny part? and the diameter of the head? and how much does it weigh?Jul 24, 2012 at 10:11 am #1897178
SUL put aside, what pegs would you take with you on a long trip with hard soil?Jul 24, 2012 at 10:33 am #1897183
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
Well that's just it, Arthur, most of us would say MSR Groundhogs or Easton Nano, but the Groundhogs are what is failing him. Tough call. Beyond that I'd say something steel or titanium, but the steel stakes are heavy and the titanium ones tend to be narrow nails or hooks that don't hold well in loose soil so they aren't a good all-around choice. But, really, IS there a good all-around choice?
That said I agree with the "found anchors" idea- I tend to tie off to big rocks or trees whenever possible. I have also found the "place a rock on top of the stake" thing to be invaluable in tenuous soil or high wind. Someone mentioned that you can only do that to guyline stakes but not to tent perimeter stakes for fear of tearing the tent fabric- which is inaccurate. That might be true if you put the stakes right through the tent perimeter loops but many of us don't do that- we usually use a line from the stake to the perimeter loop. This is de rigueur for tarps and pyramids, for example. (I've sort of decided that I'm a 'mid guy.) It also makes it easier to move the stake if you hit a rock, as some others have complained of. If you are putting the stake right through the perimeter loop then there is only a very small candidate area in which to drive the stake, but if it is on a line there is a much larger area in which you might find a rock-free spot.Jul 24, 2012 at 10:43 am #1897187
@adamallstarLocale: Central Texas
Would finding some smooth rocks to put inside your tent to weigh it down be an option? Probably depends on how windy it is, along with how much room is available in your tent.Jul 24, 2012 at 11:09 am #1897193
Dean wrote, "[…] we usually use a line from the stake to the perimeter loop. This is de rigueur for tarps and pyramids, for example."
Never thought of that. 6'' of line on each perimeter loop would move the stake away from the tent fabric, allowing the stake to be pinned by a rock without it mashing into the space inside the tarp.
Besides, rocks sitting on the tarp fabric are easily bounced off under windy conditions.
BACK TO MY ORIGINAL POST, WHICH STARTED THIS THREAD: Many have commented on how tough the MSR Groundhogs are, and were surprised that I bent a couple. This makes me wonder whether I have Gen-U-Wine MSR stakes here. They are red-anodized aluminum, they have the three-pointed star cross-section, they have the notches near the head, they have holes in 'em for passing a bit of cord through; but they are 9'' in length and, unlike the photos I've seen of Groundhogs, did not come with a cord loop at the head.
Maybe what I've got here are counterfeit? Made out of whatever is the opposite of 7075 "aircraft" aluminum, but something wimpy and pathetic like 2024?Jul 24, 2012 at 11:35 am #1897197
Jack, I would not be surprised. I purchased stakes off of amazon that were labeled as MSR Groundhogs and looked exactly like them. After an outing with them that left nearly all of them bent or broken, I re-visited the item on Amazon. They changed the description to say "Groundhog-like". I later purchased some genuine Groundhogs, and in the exact same circumstances that bent the fakes, these stayed true to form.Jul 24, 2012 at 11:43 am #1897202
I don't think MSR makes a 9" groundhog. ;-?
As far as I know these stakes come in 7.5" length and the Minis come in a 6" length.
As far as your stakes being Gen-U-Wine, do they have MSR or MSR Ground Hog Stakes printed or embossed on them like the picture below.
NewtonJul 24, 2012 at 11:50 am #1897206
Logo? They don't have no stinking logo.
Obviously fake, then. Belay my OP — I got junk here. Probably made from melted beer cans.Jul 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm #1897215
Wow, where did you buy them? Maybe you could edit your original post — it would be a great service to others to know to watch out for counterfeits. I personally had no idea somebody might counterfeit TENT STAKES. Guess its a big market, who knew.Jul 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm #1897217
Note they are not advertised as MSR Groundhogs, the error was mine, I forgot that I ordered these, so when I was on the trail I had it in my head they were the Real Deal. My apologies for the misdirection, misinformation, and general brouhaha over this matter.
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