Mar 2, 2006 at 4:42 pm #1217932
What do y’all use for winter tent stakes. The SMC snow stakes at 1 oz. apiece ain’t lite dudes.Mar 2, 2006 at 4:47 pm #1351712
Ryan FaulknerBPL Member
if you are on snow
you could make a dea^d man with a rock or stick or somethingMar 2, 2006 at 5:00 pm #1351714
I would not go out in winter without stakes because rocks or sticks might not be available in six foot of snow : ). I am surprised there are no titanium snow stakes shaped like the smc stakes but maybe shorter. Those used as deadman anchors would be good.Mar 3, 2006 at 10:34 pm #1351811
Vargo makes a Titanium Ascent stake that comes in at 10 grams per stake, but I have no experience with them.Mar 4, 2006 at 12:05 am #1351812
Bill FornshellBPL Member
@bfornshellLocale: Southern Texas
If I copied the SMC T-Anchor/ 1oz snow anchor out of some Thru-Hiker 0.016″ titanium they would weigh about 0.7oz each, maybe a little less.
If you could make them yourself they would be cheaper than the $30 per 4 the SMC ones cost.Mar 4, 2006 at 4:19 am #1351813
I had forgotten about the snow/sand fabric anchors too. Some of those made of the newest lightweight fabrics would be very light.Mar 4, 2006 at 5:16 am #1351814Mar 4, 2006 at 5:20 am #1351815
Bill FornshellBPL Member
@bfornshellLocale: Southern TexasMar 4, 2006 at 7:07 am #1351816Mar 4, 2006 at 7:08 am #1351817
Douglas FrickBPL Member
>These look like they would be easy to make.
Now even I’m motivated to get some Cuben! In a color other than white…Mar 4, 2006 at 8:15 am #1351818
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
I just bought 12 Vargo Titanium snow stakes. I will report as to how they perform in a few weeks. They are a little pricey though.Mar 4, 2006 at 9:06 am #1351821
@ryanLocale: Northern Rockies
Depends on how convenient you want your snow anchor to be and in what kinds of snow conditions into which you are setting it.
Generally, for the Rocky Mts in the winter, snow is pretty dry and fluffy. Trying to set something like the Vargo or SMC or MSR Blizzards can be challenging. It gets easier as the snow density increases towards spring.
Fabric stakes are the other end of the spectrum, and work well enough. Unlike metal stakes, which you can release from softer snows simply by grabbing the cord and yanking, once you’ve dug down to near the stake, you don’t have that option if your fabric stakes are made with ultralight materials.
I usually take T-Anchors. They are easy to set, don’t need to be set deep, and quick to pull out – because they don’t need to be set deep (unlike narrow snow stakes like Blizzards etc.).
Since 95% of my winter backcountry travel is on skis, I have four very effective and very easy stakes already (2 skis, 2 poles). Snowshoes are also very effective, jammed down 2/3 of the way into a soft snowpack they work great.
I’ve moved away from the “ultralight” fabric stakes because they are a pain to deal with, and winter time is short, so I want my shelter pitch to be quick, especially when taking a tarp or ‘mid style shelter.
My setup, for an Alphamid, for example is this:
5 T-Anchors. These anchor the corners and pole guyline. I have AirCore Pro guylines attached to each corner guyline tie out – short ones, but with the adjustable cam tensioners in place on the tarp end, and an overhand loop on the other. Each T-Anchor has about a 1-foot loop attached to it, with an Ursalite carabiner. Then, to pitch the shelter, I lay out the corners, attach all the T-Anchors with the carabiners, and set the T-Anchors. Raise the pole and set the pole guyline T-Anchor. Bootpack each T-Anchor for about 15-30 seconds to sinter the snow effectively around it. Tighten the tensioners. Use skis as stakes to prop the doors open, poles as stakes to raise the back sides of the Alphamid. Carve out the shelter, cook dinner, etc., then before going to bed all the tensioners get retightened now that the T-Anchors are well-set into the snow.
If I have time and want to ski, I can grab the skis and poles without collapsing the shelter, which is very convenient. The skis and poles prevent you from having to carry 9 T-Anchors.
T-Anchors weigh 1 oz each or so. Guylines and Ursalite carabiners add a fraction to that. The convenience is terrific.
T-Anchors could be lighter. I made some out of thin sheet 6000 series aluminum that came in at 0.4 oz apiece. They lasted about a season, getting pretty bent up when pulling them from hard snow.
Some folks will be tempted also to use their snow shovels as a stake. I wouldn’t if the weather forecast is iffy. You need the flexibility to be able to dig at night in a big storm, and just having a shovel around camp is very convenient. Carol and I were both digging out our shelters during the night in our recent trip to Yellowstone in the midst of a grand storm.Mar 6, 2006 at 1:19 pm #1351942
Thanks for the replies. Yep, I’d probably damage the fabric anchors while trying to find them in the snow upon packing up. I’ll check out the t anchors.Mar 21, 2006 at 5:48 pm #1353061
@maaaxLocale: Central California
I use wooden shingles. Light weight, wide surface area, especially in the sierra’s where the snow has been so dry. I bury them as deep as possible, then if it freezes overnight, I just cut my guy lines loose and leave the shakes to decompose.Apr 1, 2006 at 6:40 pm #1353961
@ryan_hutchinsLocale: Somewhere out there
I have always used twigs or branches deadman style with great success, even in the driest snow. No extra weight, usually available (know where your headed) and with work hardening of the snow, even faceted (or sugar snow can set up strongly. When breaking camp, simply pull your cord and leave the stick. Or dig a Quinzee, Quigaloo, or other snow shelter.Apr 1, 2006 at 7:58 pm #1353963
@jasonklassLocale: Parker, CO
Deadmans suck. There’s just not enough weight provided by sacks. SMC snow stakes are better.Apr 8, 2006 at 1:46 am #1354400
Al ShaverBPL Member
@al_t-tudeLocale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
Skis and poles can work as stakes, but I like the flexibility of skiing w/o having to break down my tent.
For 1/5 the weight of the 1oz. commercial fabric anchors, I cut a 7″ square of silnylon, stitch a small cordlace loop at each corner and tie 2mm cord to the loops to form a mini parachute looking device and girth hitch it to my tent loops. I’ve used them in snow for many years and found them to be bombproof and easy to install and remove (requires much less time than getting dressed in the middle of a windy night to restake a collapsed tent).Apr 15, 2006 at 9:14 pm #1354909
@ryan_hutchinsLocale: Somewhere out there
I disagree that deadman suck, where are you regionally? I have used them in the NE and west with great success. In snow from 6″ – 6′. I will admit, in 6″ of facets, I am really working hard to work harden (ie compact & metamorphasize) the snow – no pun intended. There is definately a point where a rigid stake of some sort would be more useful, but when there is snow >6″ (and not all facets) then deadmen work great. My .02Oct 4, 2006 at 7:54 pm #1364267
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Depends on your snow conditions, doesn’t it? Ice and powder – vastly different.
Here in Australia the snow is often wet in the late afternoon, and freezes overnight. Now try getting a UL peg out of the ice! Or a fabric bag…
I often use square anchors in OUR snow, but I carry an old Titanium knife to dig them out with! If I can find dead sticks – great, no worries.Oct 4, 2006 at 9:31 pm #1364278
@robertm2sLocale: Lake Tahoe
I use the same system as Ryan Hutchins. From the very start of my trip I look for dead twigs 5 or 6 inches long, and take them with me. The key is to not tie the guyline to the twig, just loop around it, stamp the snow hard, then attach the loose end to a tied loop on the guyline. If I never see any twigs on the way in, I make my wife and kids stay outside and hold the lines.Oct 5, 2006 at 9:08 am #1364313
funny schtuffOct 5, 2006 at 8:36 pm #1364363
@robertm2sLocale: Lake Tahoe
Oh, I forgot to mention, when you make your kids sit outside and hold the guylines, you first must duct tape their mouths shut. Otherwise, all you will hear all night is, “Daddy, can we come in now?” “I’m cold!” “Daddy, my feet are numb.” Children can be so inconsiderate of adults trying to get a little shut-eye.Oct 15, 2006 at 5:42 pm #1364891
Kevin SawchukBPL Member
@ksawchukLocale: Northern California
I use sprinkler risers, drilled to accept some cord. They are 6″ long and work well in the dense snow we have here in the Sierra. They might not work as well in lighter snow. The ridges really hold well. They do weigh 0.8oz with string but at $.50 they are cheap.Nov 11, 2006 at 8:54 pm #1366854
I have used the Vargo Ti Snow Stakes and returned them the same week. Although they are light, they were so small I could not see them holding up to much. When I used them, even the next morning in the teens on 15′ of snow, they pulled out with almost no effort. I suppose they would be good just to keep the fly taught off of the tent inner walls but, nothing else. I bought the SMC snow stakes the next week.Nov 11, 2006 at 9:58 pm #1366859
Doug JohnsonBPL Member
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
In Washington, our snow is highly variable but tends to be wet and deep. I swear by SMC T Anchors- http://www.smcgear.net/products.asp?cat=4&pid=56
I use Aircore Pro Dyneema for the cord. I also use SMC stakes deadman style and carry them in a silnylon stuffsack that I also use as a deadman. Add in ice axes and I’m good to go. I’ve tried the Sierra Designs Snow Stakes but out of all of them, the SMC T anchors are the easiest to place, the easiest to remove in frozen snow, and are totally bomber (they’ve held solid in dicey snow in over 70mph winds). I LOVE these things! At one ounce each, they aren’t the lightest but they’ll always be placed in my most critical placements.
Can’t WAIT for the winter- it’s snowing in the Cascades right now!
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