Jan 19, 2006 at 2:48 am #1217573
Does anyone have any lightweight options for a hammer/mallet for tent stakes. It always seems that where I want to camp (and many times it’s campsites too) has hard ground with some rocks. I’d like another option besides the “shoe hammer.” I currently use this one from REI which is 7 oz (http://www.rei.com/product/47964350.htm) I am assuming most people just do without – What is your technique? I use 12 stakes on my Evolution 2P & it can take quite a bit of time & sweat to get them into hard ground without a mallet. I use small ti stakes & 1 ti nail stake to make a “pre-hole,” to avoid bending them when wacking them into hard ground.Jan 19, 2006 at 8:55 am #1348948
@pjLocale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
1. foot pressure (no hammering).
2. end of a sufficiently large diameter branch if one is available. doesn’t always work as well as i would hope for.
have never used a mallet.Jan 19, 2006 at 9:42 am #1348951
@david_bonnLocale: North Cascades
I just do without. And I have an xtremely strong bias for sites with softer ground, if only because it is better sleeping.
If I can’t get stakes into the ground and another site isn’t an option, I usually manage by tying off the corners of my tarp to beefy rocks or logs. When I’ve had this problem, it has always been in well-hammered campsites so there is never a shortage of beefy rocks or logs (from firewood thoughtfully stored for the next hunting season) and I don’t feel too bad about performing site engineering in a place already well-trashed.Jan 19, 2006 at 5:34 pm #1348978
Dondo .BPL Member
@dondoLocale: Colorado Rockies
David, I also use small ti stakes and a ti nail stake to drill pilot holes. Normally, it works O.K. But last week I encountered ground so hard and frozen it was a real pain to drill the pilot hole, pull the nail stake out, and replace it with the lighter skewers. After doing this ten times, I was ready for another solution. I’m thinking of just sucking up the weight and using all ti nail stakes for hard, frozen ground. For pounding in the nail stake I use a heavy rock that fits nicely into my palm with a glove to protect my hand.Jan 20, 2006 at 9:47 am #1349013
I usually go without or use some of the local tools available close to the campsite previously mentioned. However, if you really want a mallet, there is one sold at REI that weighs about 7 ounces, cost about $4 and comes on white or orange. It is called Coghlan’s Tent Peg Mallet / Puller.Jan 20, 2006 at 1:29 pm #1349029
Reginald DonaldsonBPL Member
@worthLocale: Wind River Range
Under these conditions, I use a deadman and pile rocks on top of it.Jan 20, 2006 at 2:04 pm #1349031
@vickrhinesLocale: Central Texas
Where are you camping?
No combination of stakes and cudgels will work with every soil condition. Utah’s hardpan will yield only to rock drills and pitons. Yet pitons will not work as well as 1/16″ titanium ‘u’ stakes in soft soil. Almost everyone who uses light stakes drills a pilot hole first in troublesome soil. It’s SOP. Hammers are a dime a dozen in the outdoors. Rocks, hunks of wood, bootheels (as you mention) all work in a pinch. But an angle-cut 1/8′ stake can be “drilled”, turned, into almost anything by hand. On the other hand, it makes little sense to carry a hammer when there are so many alternatives.
Solutions: 1) Pick your tent site for softer soil (and better sleeping). Established campsites tend to have hard-packed ground, not to mention dished tent sites that collect water. A nice, soft bed of pine straw out in the woods is a fine alternative. 2) Learn a few tricks for when you don’t have a choice. These include the deadman recommended by Regenald. Also, you can fill stuff sacks with sand, gravel or smooth rocks to make anchors. You can tie the tent line around a stick or rock, then pile rocks on top. You can carry extra line that will reach that distant crack in the rock (if you are camped on rock, Uggh) or the bush that is at the right angle but normally too far away. Nothing wrong with long lines, and they don’t weigh nearly as much as a sledge and heavy stakes.Jan 20, 2006 at 8:59 pm #1349047
Thanks for the advice guys. I’ll work on improving my technique with some of these methods. I’ve been camping in semi-rocky areas around New South Wales, AU & New Zealand. PS: If there’s anyone else like me that didn’t know what a “deadman” was, a great explanation can be found here: http://www.paddling.net/sameboat/archives/sameboat215.html – that same site also has some very entertaining & informative writing on camping that could keep me amused for hours.Jan 21, 2006 at 10:20 pm #1349085
On rare occasions I use a rock. Usually foot pressure is sufficient, even in very hard ground. Here’s my technique: heel on the ground, toe on the stake; besides pressing with my leg, I stoop down and push my toe with one or both hands.
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