Tent stake materials and types: what's your preference?

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Sep 6, 2007
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Steel, aluminum or titanium?

In 15+ years of camping, I have never had a steel peg that didn't break, rust or bend so hard that it became useless. (or course, there is no such thing as a high-end steel stake for tents, they are all made of bottom of the barrel steel no matter the brand). I had better luck with aluminum, but the rounded ones will still bend, but they are hard to break and obviously will never rust. They need an Hex-shape in order to be strong, or something like the red on the right (MSR Ground Hog)

stakes.jpg



Now I'm the process of replacing all my old steel and aluminum stakes for titanium, hoping to get the ultimate strength in tent fixation and still save weight.

I just received some stakes from the mail now, the Ascent Ultralight from Vargo Titanium, made for sandy and snow soil, and some heavy duty Ti-Nail Pegs for some serious pounding into hard soil. They were cheap, not much more than regular MSR stakes or similar brands.

Vargo Ti-Nail Peg:

91d21cbc-26c9-4d44-879b-1004a7ccb97a.jpg


Vargo Ascent:

VargoAscentUltralight.JPG


I'm extremely impressed how light they feel on my hand, I can backpack with 30 extra-stakes like these without feeling them. However, I live in the city and haven't got a chance to test 'em yet.

What do you think of these Titanium stakes, are they really strong?
Is there any other type of material or type of stake in the market that I should be looking at or this the real deal?

Please, share your thoughts and experiences. :thumbup:

P.S - My current tents are:

- Nemo Losi 2P
- MSR Elbow Room 2
 

Wandering_About

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Apr 25, 2007
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Would be very interested in hearing what folks think on this subject. I'm going to buy a set of pegs for my tarp setup sometime soon (for backpacking when I don't feel like making pegs).

Making your own pegs out of saplings or small tree branches does work well, although they don't last all that long in my experience, and you usually need some sort of instrument to pound them into the ground.
 
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I do as rocket indicated; make my own from sticks. I carry a fiskars 14" hatchet, and bang them in w/ the back.
 
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Would be very interested in hearing what folks think on this subject. I'm going to buy a set of pegs for my tarp setup sometime soon (for backpacking when I don't feel like making pegs).

Making your own pegs out of saplings or small tree branches does work well, although they don't last all that long in my experience, and you usually need some sort of instrument to pound them into the ground.


Hand-made out of wood pegs never work where I camp (heavy thunderstorms and tree sweeping winds). Wood also don't penetrate hard soil at all. I need solid stuff. I'm looking forward to try these new stakes. Hopefully by the end of this month..

Do you use a hammer, a rock or just step on it?
 
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i usually us a poncho as my shelter or a small tarp.. I used to make my own stakes on site.. But just frmo camping over the past few years I picked up the stakes others had left behind.. and now I have a decent collection (mostly aluminum or stainles steel)
 
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Ha ha! I've just tried to fix a crooked aluminum peg (supposedly a higher quality European tent peg) by bending it back to its original shape and it shattered like glass, literally!

foto0230.jpg

foto0232k.jpg
 
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Oct 20, 2006
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I just use the cheap aluminum ones, and carve some out of sticks if I need to.

Thats not why I posted though, its your comment on high end tent stakes...

High carbon drill rod would be easy to make into tent stakes, and would probably do just fine with a home brew heat treat method.

Rust would still be an issue, but you could always spraypaint them.
 
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I just use the cheap aluminum ones, and carve some out of sticks if I need to.

Thats not why I posted though, its your comment on high end tent stakes...

High carbon drill rod would be easy to make into tent stakes, and would probably do just fine with a home brew heat treat method.

Rust would still be an issue, but you could always spraypaint them.

Excellent point! :thumbup:
Weight might be an issue, though. Depending on how light I need to pack.
 
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for my tarp/poncho setup I use 6 ti shepherds hook stakes and 2 nail head ones for the main guy lines- total weight of stakes 2.5 oz

this is for the Rockies, other soil types might require something different

tarpstakes.jpg


ponchotarp.jpg
 
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Thanks for sharing.

How strong do you think they are when you encounter harder soil and need to use more force to drive them deeper?
 
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ti stakes are pretty tough, I've used them in some pretty rocky areas and haven't had any problems- the thinner stakes actually go in better than some other designs
 

Codger_64

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I haven't tried titanium stakes yet, but I have replaced all of my heavy steel stakes with good aluminum ones. Not the cheapies that

wouldn't make a decent potato skewer. I cut the carry weight in half by switching to aluminum. I am not bad to bend stakes though.

If they don't go in with hand pressure or a small rock, I poke around for a softer spot where they will go in. If the ground is just too

rocky or soft, I use a rock filled anchor bag or a deadman. This is what I use on loose gravel bars or sand.
 
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Personally, I would use the Vargo Ascent [though I have no experience with Vargo products]. The 90 deg angle is a much stronger shape - structurally speaking and they're drilled-out which reduces weight. In snow, you could dig a 24"+ pit, tie some cordage to the middle and bury it horizontally [open "V" facing you. The holes would allow for freeze-through.

On a side note, for those of you camping in snow [I've mentioned this before], buy decent quality drilled-out gold practice balls for anchors. Tie some cordage through them and bury about 24"+ down. The snow freezes through the holes and becomes a strong, lightweight anchor.
 
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I've settled on MSR Groundhog stakes...I've found them the best for most soil conditions. My lightweight Ti Snowpeak tent stakes are pretty thin and if you're in hard, compact soil, they don't do well. The nail design is much more effective but not in soft soil. I like to practice making my own tent/tarp pegs, but for quick set up and simplicity, I'll stick with a handfull of Groundhog stakes.

ROCK6
 
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I use some knitting needles I got at a thrift store, or GI orange steel ones, or some tubular aluminum ones I got in a British shelter kit.
 
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I haven't tried titanium stakes yet, but I have replaced all of my heavy steel stakes with good aluminum ones. Not the cheapies that

wouldn't make a decent potato skewer. I cut the carry weight in half by switching to aluminum. I am not bad to bend stakes though.

If they don't go in with hand pressure or a small rock, I poke around for a softer spot where they will go in. If the ground is just too

rocky or soft, I use a rock filled anchor bag or a deadman. This is what I use on loose gravel bars or sand.

:thumbup:
 
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Oct 20, 2006
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Excellent point! :thumbup:
Weight might be an issue, though. Depending on how light I need to pack.


Could make them out of phenolics or plastics too for a still custom but less heavy stake. Bone stakes would be creepy but cool.

If weight is the issue though (and it always is) just cut them from sticks.
 
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