- Mar 10, 2019 at 10:46 pm #3582788
So I just got back from a 2 night trip in Catskills NY. Plenty of snow and lots of thick ice and rocks. The snow was like powder, a sneeze and it would b!ow around.
What I learned? Carbon fiber spike pegs really suck. They do break very easy. Almost impossible to do dead man with 1 foot of powder. My Easton stakes also just bent in half instead of penetrating the ice.. Anyway.. I made it work to stake out hammock tarps.. Using branches and tree limbs. The second night the winds were fierce! I would say close to 20 mph with 30- 35 mph gusts.. Plenty of sleet and hail.. And easily another 5- 6 inches of snow on top of what was there.
What stakes do you recommend for solid ice and burried rocks??Mar 10, 2019 at 10:47 pm #3582789Mar 10, 2019 at 11:43 pm #3582795Rene RavenelBPL Member
Details on the Easton stakes that bent? Were they tubular?
I feel like a Y cross section like a groundhog would work better, but I’m not speaking from experience.Mar 11, 2019 at 12:10 am #3582801
Easton nano nail stakes.. From MLD .
Carbon fiber stakes from ZPacks.
I know ZPacks says these break easily, but I wasn’t sure how easily.. Until last night.Mar 11, 2019 at 12:12 am #3582802Mar 11, 2019 at 12:54 am #3582810Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
MSR Groundhogs are relatively cheap, a bit heavier and they work. Sometimes it helps to throw in a heavier stronger spike in your kit to get a hole started. If the snow is deep enough and will compact, a deadman anchor will work, or lay your stake down sideways and put a big rock or log on it.Mar 11, 2019 at 1:32 am #3582821
Snow was powder.. On top of solid ice and rocks were burried under the ice.. Hence my dilemma.Mar 11, 2019 at 5:52 am #3582852
Under those condition you really have just two choices: stomp the snow down and bury long sticks sideways, or use super tough stakes.
These are MYOG 6Al4V titanium. Making them is described at
Caution: DO read Part 2! The modification to the holes is essential.
These can be hammered into frozen ground or icy crust. The narrow ones would be best for hammering into the ground. Do not try to use aluminium for this: it will crumple. If it doesn’t crumple, it will freeze in place.Ti 6Al4V handles all that fine.
The yellow cord is 200 lb Spectra fishing line with a fishermens bend knot – other knots will slip in Spectra. The red streamer is for finding the stake in the morning after a snow fall. The little carabiner is a NiteIze one: I would NOT trust plastic hooks in the snow.
CheersMar 11, 2019 at 7:28 am #3582853Rene RavenelBPL Member
@autoxMar 11, 2019 at 7:35 am #3582854
They should work.
Some of the Ti nails can break at the head if pounded too hard, but 0.2″ diameter seems strong.
They are only 6″ long, which is normally a bit short, but in frozen ground … yeah.
And they are commercially available too!
Pricey, but would 4 or 6 be enough?
CheersMar 11, 2019 at 2:44 pm #3582894Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Those are demanding conditions for sure. I broke a head off a Groundhog clone trying to pull it up about ten years ago in very similar conditions (only 4-6″ of snow). In most situations I really like the Easton stakes, but if you really have to drive stakes in MSR Groundhogs are good, but Ti Nails are probably the best. They don’t hold as well but in frozen ground that probably isn’t an issue. Also, Ti will be much less likely to freeze in the ground than Aluminum (which is what caused me to pull the head off years ago).Mar 11, 2019 at 6:33 pm #3582947
Thanks everyone. Maybe a mix of Ti Nails and groundhogs? I’ll probably get a handful of both and experiment when I get the chance .Mar 11, 2019 at 6:47 pm #3582957iagoBPL Member
@iagoLocale: Boston & Galicia, Spain
Just referring these in case they are of interest. I got three. Well made and quite light.Mar 11, 2019 at 7:28 pm #3582966Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I think I need to be contrarian here.
You want to anchor the tent with deadmen that are buried in sintered stomped on snow. The deadmen are buried horizontal to the surface of the snow and right angle to the line of the guyline about 12 inches or more deep.
Many metal stakes make very poor deadmen because the snow will not stick to them. Chopsticks are free and make very excellent deadmen but you need to be sure you get them out because otherwise you are just leaving behind bamboo trash.
You can also put chunks of frozen snow inside an old sock, use your hiking poles and other pieces of gear to create a deadman. An MSR groundhog might make an OK deadman, but I have not tried it. You can buy commercial snow anchors and snow stakes. Big Agnes makes a nice snow stake. It helps to use an orange or red cord so you can find your anchors. It is almost mandatory to have any knots on the near the tent and not on the anchor itself. Or better, tie all your knots at home so you never need to take your gloves off.
If I am going to a wooded area, I take 4 SMC snow stakes, 4 chop sticks, and assume I can use small pieces of downed wood/twigs for the other anchor points.Mar 11, 2019 at 8:16 pm #3582980
The Dutchware anchors look good, but watch out for the sharp edges on the holes. Those sharp edges can abrade even Spectra – I KNOW.
CheersMar 11, 2019 at 8:30 pm #3582983Link .BPL Member
@annapurnaMar 12, 2019 at 4:56 am #3583081David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Hiking the CHilkoot Trail, I knew we’d be setting up our tents on wooden platforms. The onesmade of 2x4s and 2×6 offer a lot of tie-down options around the edges. The ones decked in plywood, not so much.
But a few sheetrock screws are very compact, light, and have great holding power. Or, if you don’t want to bring a mini screwdriver to put them in, you could bring some 1-1/2 roofing nails and use a rock to install and remove them.
In most cases, if a tree or bush is in the right spot, you could just run line all the way around it, but a few features – a stump at ground level or a heavy log on the ground – could hold a screw or nail.Mar 12, 2019 at 7:08 am #3583094
The trouble with locally-available sheetrock screws, or self-tappers, is that they often have sharp threads which can damage guy ropes. So I have resorted to small cup-hooks. They act as self-tappers and don’t need a hole to start, plus they are wide enough that I can drive them with my hand/fingers.
CheersMar 12, 2019 at 4:40 pm #3583144Elliott WolinBPL Member
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Clelland’s article has lots of great ideas.
Also, I made snow anchors similar to the DutchWearGear Titanium ones but out of Aluminum. Much easier to cut, punch holes, and work. They’re not really stiff but it doesn’t seem to matter, a little bending doesn’t hurt, and you can bend them right back. Also, really cheap.
Finally, Chinese knock-off copies of Ti and Al MSR and other stakes can be found on Amazon, Ebay, and AliExpress for much cheaper than American branded stakes (I haven’t looked at Carbon stakes), thus no big deal if you bend, break, or lose some.Mar 12, 2019 at 8:40 pm #3583189
Chinese knock-off copies of Ti and Al MSR and other stakes
In some cases they are not ‘copies’: they are from the same factory in China.
CheersMar 13, 2019 at 2:35 pm #3583292Everett KeyserBPL Member
Seek Outside posted some good suggestions on their blog recently. The large masonry screws or metal landscaping spikes look promising. Often, large masonry screws will have a smooth section just below the hex head.
I know these run heavy, but seems like a good direction to start looking. I’m going to try the spikes out this weekend on some frozen-but-snow-less Midwestern ground.Mar 21, 2019 at 12:27 am #3584727
ok, so I picked up a dozen Vargo Titanium nails and a dozen MSR Ground Hogs.
Probably won’t get to test them in winter until next seson, though those Vargo nails may be good year round, along with titanium shepherds hooks. Thanks for everyone’s input. I will post when I do use them with my thoughts and results!Mar 28, 2019 at 5:51 am #3585893Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I would sleep well in a tent in the winds and snow you described but not under a tarp – even in a bivy.
I’m a dedicated winter camper and have slept comfortably in quinzhees, snow trenches and even plastic tube tents. But a tarp? Nope! Been there, done that and did not like it. Tarps are for 3 season camping, IMHO.Mar 28, 2019 at 8:41 pm #3585975
We were actually hanging in our hammocks.Apr 7, 2019 at 2:23 am #3587437Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
See? Now hammocking is actually a good use for a tarp in winter. Just not for ground level camping – that is, of course, IMHO.
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