Tent Stake Holding Power: Comparative Evaluation of Various Designs and Lengths
Oct 19, 2008 at 8:13 pm #1455250
There are several generations of Ti wire stakes floating around, and they do have slightly different weights.
Yes, I checked, and I have at least 3 different sorts!
cheersOct 20, 2008 at 9:04 am #1455307Tim HeckelSpectator
@thinairLocale: 6237' - Manitou Springs
I agree with Franco and others in that I always carry a variety of stakes. Typically I'll stake the tent body with lighter but less effective shepard hook stakes. Then the fly with Y or Easton.
Note: the Y stakes can cut material as well as skin! My Bibler has severly damaged webbing stake loops from someone unknowingly hammering the Y's in to the point where they cut the webbing.Oct 20, 2008 at 6:33 pm #1455413Pat ComerBPL Member
Years ago when I raced motorcycles we drilled out everything we could without weakening it. Has anyone tried this on the Y stakes?? I have a set of ground hogs I am tempted to try this with.Oct 21, 2008 at 6:26 am #1455484Steven EvansBPL Member
I had the same idea -, I was going to modify some but instead I just made them (see link). I have since had them all bent and used them in the field with great results. However, as you can imagine, orientation is absolutely key with these.
You could drill a bunch of holes all the way down some stakes to decrease weight. They may not slide in and out of the ground very nicely (mine don't), but it's the precious grams were after!
By the way, great article. I realize that it was difficult to mimic the same conditions for each and every test, but I think you did a fine job at coming to a conclusion. Very much appreciated!Oct 21, 2008 at 9:20 pm #1455631Alpo KuusistoBPL Member
Thanks for a thorough article!
Made me also re-read the great 'Ditch your stakes' by Mike Clelland.
I once had trouble staking a pyramid tent on soft ground, tried some variations, and ended up bending my stakes (alu V-profile) to a shallow arc. When inserted to the ground convex side towards the tent they seemed to hold way better. Of course my testing lacked any scientific approach. Now that Will Rietveld has test equipment and lab at backyard, plus some stakes, could you by any means bend one and test if it holds better?
Oct 22, 2008 at 2:07 pm #1455734Ron Bell / MLDBPL Member
Based on your tests, would it be fair to say the Easton 9" has the highest all around holding power of all the stakes tested? It has a combined score in both soil types of 132 vs the next two closest at 127 and 118?
It scored the highest in Compacted Soil and had only only a 1 lb differerence from only one other stake in Moist Sod.
If you needed a tougher stake than a Ti Skewer or 5" V style- on a big pyramid shelter corners- would you choose the Easton 9" for the job?
-No sharp edges, packs smaller overall than a 7 or 7.5" V style stake and with more all around holding power at about same (or less than the MSR 7.5") weight than the longer V style.Oct 23, 2008 at 1:06 pm #1455862Matt LutzMember
I had the same thoughts as Ron – it looks like 9" Eastons are best under the tested conditions.
I use Vargo Ti Stakes and Easton 6" stakes for my tarp and DoubleRainbow, but I have some 9" that came with a tent. I have bent a 6" Easton because of tough ground, but I have never had a stake that was properly put in pull out.Oct 23, 2008 at 1:40 pm #1455871
> would it be fair to say the Easton 9" has the highest all around holding power of all the stakes tested?
My experience has been that the holding power of a stake goes up significantly with the length. The lower levels of the soil seem to hold better than the top few inches.
I carry 6" Ti wires for the really hard ground, but I always try to sink them right in. Since these are for hard ground, greater length is not really justified. Anyhow, unless you make them yourself you can't get longer ones.
I carry 8" Easton tubes (made them myself), and would not bother carrying shorter ones. These are usually used for the principle high-load guy points. The weight savings from chopping an inch or two off are simply not worth it. And they go in to the hilt too (if I can).
CheersOct 23, 2008 at 2:26 pm #1455884Eric FredricksenBPL Member
@efredricksenLocale: Silicon Valley
The two Y-stakes tested have about the same holding power per inch. Rashly extrapolating from that that their holding power is proportional to length at all lengths, one could cut the Y-stakes down to 3.5" and have the same holding power as the 6" Ti shepherd hook (better in moist soil) with a .25 oz, compact stake.Oct 26, 2008 at 1:44 am #1456195Carlos Bruno YonzonMember
Wonderful article, informative and insightful!:) I have to agree with Petras though, that another big concern about stakes that need to be looked at besides holding power once properly placed, would be the structural integrity it has against all other forces it's subjected to. With all the whacking (when placing them), hitting (like striking rock below ground), and pulling (both when retrieving and when subjected to bending forces while not staked "properly") it receives, I'm actually surprised to hear that bent stakes aren't much of a problem for a lot of readers.Oct 26, 2008 at 1:15 pm #1456250Michael DavisMember
@mad777Locale: South Florida
Don't worry, you're not the only one out there bending and breaking stakes! It's just that, over time, we eliminate the problem ones.
If you search around on forums, you will see the complaints. In general, the aluminum stakes, whether shepherd hooks or tubular nails will bend first. Also, nail types with a head, held on with epoxy, have a history of separating, especially upon extraction.Oct 31, 2008 at 3:59 pm #1457082Jason BrinkmanBPL Member
Random thoughts on this topic…
Has anyone had problems with Y-stakes cutting guylines or webbing in high winds? The notches on the top seem sharp enough to wear through in constant winds!
Tubular carbon fiber stakes should hold similar to the tubular Easton stakes. I would be interested in seeing them added to the test.
While I rarely backpack in sand, I often stake down my tent or tarp while rafting, and river winds can be pretty strong at times. Thus I would also like to see the test run in sand. I predict the results would be quite different, with even greater advantage to tubular or Y-stakes.Oct 31, 2008 at 6:11 pm #1457098
> problems with Y-stakes cutting guylines or webbing in high winds
Oh dearie, dearie me ….
Read When Things Go Wrong to hear about that! Spectra string on Ti snow stakes…
CheersNov 2, 2008 at 10:43 am #1457283BRIAN BOLINBPL Member
@obozLocale: OVER YONDER'
I'm a bit confused to why someone would buy a UL stake then dip it in heavy plastic coat?
I have used 6" & 9" easton (spikes) and these are great if you can get them into the ground, but the tip isn't the easiest to drive into solid soil.
Also…how and why would you pull your Y & V stakes out by hand and tear them up? A simple hole drilled in stake with a loop of triptease (like the MSR or Big Sky Y-Nots). OR just have a loop of trip tease in ur pack and loop around the top hook of Y or V and pull up from loop. I've done this many times and no concerns of tearing loop.
All this talk of painting when you can just purchase the colored stake you want. Heck I just ran a google image search and I found black, orange, purple, blue, green, yellow, silver, and if I look harder I could find more.
So why the work of painting. I guess I'm just lazy…lol
Alittle feedback on North Face V Stakes… they are terrible! They bend very easily under light stress.
Will, this is an excellent article. Have you tested any aluminum ( X ) stakes? Just curious.
The Mountain Hardwear X stakes really look durable and the lengths very from 6" , 8", and 10".Sep 19, 2011 at 8:06 am #1780797Kristin FiebelkornBPL Member
@kushbabyLocale: South Texas
Resurrecting this to ask… Has anyone ever tried these snow and sand tent anchors? A very different approach than tent stakes, but the reviews (esp for snow and sand, of course) are quite good.
(I'm around a lot of rocky hard terrain, so that's why I'm wonderin'…)Oct 21, 2011 at 2:02 am #1793320Ross P HemphillMember
Kristin: my first reply got mangled. This technique's used, yes. I don't have any personal experience. See Ditch Your Stakes, and the comments. I think Mike Clelland also has a drawing about it in Allen and Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book (useful for non-skiers, too). So, in short, yes, but people here might opt for cheaper/lighter/multiuse, instead of manufactured. Oh, and not generally used for rocky/hard terrain.Oct 21, 2011 at 7:47 am #1793378David OlsenSpectator
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
Did this test include different angles of placement?
With ice screws, best holding powder is often when placed perpendicular to the surface,
not at a 90 degree angle to the pull. Which wooden tent stakes, the best holding powder
is actually more in the direction of pull rather than tipped away.
OOPs didn't realize this was an old thread.Mar 20, 2015 at 6:04 pm #2184608Ethan A.BPL Member
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
Resurrecting this thread to ask – to supplement aluminum MSR Ground Hog Y Stakes used for main anchor points, which lighter weight stakes do you currently like:
1) Longer Ti Shepherd's Hook style with rounded (not sharp) tips and a hook that rolls inside itself enough to prevent lines coming off if stakes turn
2) shorter 5 in. Y Stakes
3) or other?
Which currently available ones would you recommend and where to get them?
For Ti shepherd's hook stakes, + if they already come with high-viz paint.Mar 21, 2015 at 10:11 pm #2184865bjcBPL Member
I use two kinds along with groundhogs:
9" sorex stakes from Ruta Locura, .25 oz.
7.5" shepherds hook stakes from Lawson Kline. .25 oz.Oct 21, 2022 at 10:01 pm #3762490Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
OK, thorough and repeatable test.
BUT you didn’t test the best holding stake, a 9 inch MSR twisted Y stake.Nov 17, 2022 at 1:40 pm #3765360Virginia RBPL Member
Referring to the friend who cut herself pulling out a Y stake, care is needed pounding them in with a rock too, because of the sharp edges on top. My finger slipped down onto the stake while pounding, and I almost needed stitches. I was in my yard at the time, if out camping it would not have been good.Nov 17, 2022 at 5:50 pm #3765373Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
Referring to the friend who cut herself pulling out a Y stake, care is needed pounding them in with a rock too, because of the sharp edges on top. My finger slipped down onto the stake while pounding, and I almost needed stitches. I was in my yard at the time, if out camping it would not have been good.
Those things can pierce boot soles too, not to mention skin, soft tissues, and arteries. Eastons for the win.Nov 17, 2022 at 7:40 pm #3765392
Referring to the friend who cut herself pulling out a Y stake,
My experience has been that there are two sorts of Y-stakes: quality ones with rounded corners, and cheap nasty ones with sharp edges due to the stamping process. Sadly, many so-called manufacturers seem to go for cheap-cheap rather than quality these days.
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