May 19, 2013 at 8:08 pm #1303121
It seems that many of my non-coastal California backpacking trips involve setting up camp at sites with extremely hard ground. My .2 oz titanium shepherd's hook stakes are very challenging to drive into such surfaces. Alternative stakes include a beefer .3oz shepherd hook or titanium pegs shown for example here:
Aluminum pegs are another possibility.
What has worked for others who faced this problem? Also, I have a related question, aside from dusting off my boy scout manual and fighting my two left hands (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=16432), is there an easier approach to using guy lines with pre-tied loops at the end in conjunction with pegs (rather than hooks)?
rhzMay 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm #1987720
rocks work pretty good when ground is too hard for a stake
Put a stick thru the loop on end of guyline
Lay it on ground, put rock on top of it.May 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm #1987722
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
I haven't found anything better for compacted soil. They handle being pounded into the ground with rocks well. Have a few Groundhogs and shepherd hook stakes in your bag and you're set.May 19, 2013 at 8:22 pm #1987727
Thanks. I thought about rocks, but sometimes this problem occurs with stakes that are used with loops right at the base of the tent (with no guyline).May 19, 2013 at 8:32 pm #1987730
Same here, shepard hook stakes don't work well for hard soil. The center of force needs to be directly in line over the pointy end going into the ground, like those nail stakes.
I have one kludged shepard hook. I bent the hook so the center of force is closer to in line with the pointy end going into the ground which helped with the other stakes, but broke the hook off this one stake, so now it's a nail stake. That works much better in hard ground.
I've been eyeing those Varga nail stakes. Trying to get someone else to try them and report back how they work : )
Rocks are fine but they're not always available. You need big ones. Sometimes I can get a stake partially in the ground, then place a big rock to make it secure.
Run guy line through loop and tie a taught line hitch?May 19, 2013 at 8:34 pm #1987733
Lawsons Ti stakes are bent so the apex of the bend is inline with the shaft for that reason.May 19, 2013 at 8:45 pm #1987742
"I've been eyeing those Varga nail stakes. Trying to get someone else to try them and report back how they work."
I used them for a while. They work very well for highy compacted, not to rocky, soil.
But I found them relatively heavy and not very good in looser soils. To specialized for me.
Ground Hogs – for strength, suitable for pounding into most anything except solid rock, and excellent holding power in a variety of soils. And light.
If you are into "one size fits all" they are hard to beat.May 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm #1987743
Lawson's stakes are much better, and it wouldn't be beneath me to have copied him but I think maybe I came to same idea independently, but never mind that
A problem with Lawson's stakes is that there is a curve of Ti between the striking point and the stake going into the ground, so it tends to spring a little when it's struck. The Varga stake would be better.
But maybe the hole in the stake for the cord is a weak point or something. And it's more difficult to get the stake out of the ground. With my kludged nail stake, it's very difficult to extract it. The hook let's you twist the stake to loosen it.
Maybe if the stake went straight up from the pointy end to the striking point, then bent at angle to keep guyline from slipping off and to let you twist stake to remove it. Or at least minimize the curve in Lawson's stake. But then you want that curve so it doesn't rotate the stake when jerked by wind so the guy line comes off like other shepard hook stakes I've used.May 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm #1987744
"But I found them relatively heavy and not very good in looser soils. To specialized for me."
0.3 ounces for one stake
Maybe have one and use it to make pilot holes for other stakes when needed.May 19, 2013 at 9:18 pm #1987757
I've heard great things about ground hog stakes, but @ .7oz/stake, that's too heavy. There are mini ground hogs, but I don't know how good they are.May 20, 2013 at 3:28 am #1987795
The MSR Needle Stakes would be my choice for the conditions mentioned. They are my go to stake. They weigh about .35 ounces and you can drive them in to just about any soil short of solid rock. I think they are out of production, but you can still find them.May 20, 2013 at 3:49 am #1987796
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Ti wires with a hook which goes over the wire, plus a rock (for pounding).
CheersMay 20, 2013 at 5:24 am #1987809
"Stakes suitable for very, very hard compacted dirt surface. "
"I've heard great things about ground hog stakes, but @ .7oz/stake, that's too heavy."
If it is just compacted dirt, and No rocks, then Ti needle stakes will work and are probably the lightest option. It's the embedded rock/gravel in the compacted matrix that present the problem. The physics of pounding something into "nature's concrete" is demanding and not easily circumvented.
The Vargo UL Ti Nail that you reference will bend/break at the eye if hammered to hard.
The other Vargo Ti Nail has a stated weight of 0.6 oz, but after adding a the cord loop Required to pull them from hard ground, it is closer to 0.7 ounces.
If you are concerned about the weight difference, use needle stakes and bury the stakes under rock piles for the "impossible" sites. More time, but less weight.May 20, 2013 at 5:32 am #1987812
– -K.T.- –Participant
"I've heard great things about ground hog stakes, but @ .7oz/stake, that's too heavy"
Yeah, but they work.May 20, 2013 at 5:47 am #1987814
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
anything you can pound works :) At one time or another I have tries most of the stakes mentioned here: multiple Vargo Ti Nail, 1 Vargo Nail to "drive" and Ti Hooks to go into the hole I opened with the Vargo, Groundhog, MSR Needle, and Eastman Tubular stakes. All have worked. Least favorite was MSR needle but I don't remember why… it was 10 years ago. Eastman is fairly versatile BUT the head is epoxied on, hammer too much into too hard of soil and the head sometimes comes off. Something I haven't tried but I have heard works well are Aluminum Gutter Nails.
–markMay 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm #1988040
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> use needle stakes and bury the stakes under rock piles for the "impossible" sites.
> More time, but less weight.
Works just fine.
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