As mentioned in a recent post about the tent, I want to get new pegs for it as I simply don’t trust the tiny 1g titanium shepherds crook skewers that came with it. Aside from all the concerns about them pulling out too easily, I also found that they are turn around very easily (in which case the guyline can slip straight off the peg) and they are incredibly hard to find if the guyline has come off and they’re still in the ground! I may’ve lost one already when I set it up in the backyard the other day!!
I’ve been doing a lot of research about types of pegs (or “stakes” as they seem to be called). Here are some key points I’ve picked up.
1. In general stakes hold the ground better if they have more surface area, through either length, diameter (circumference) or complicated cross sections. This is especially important in soft ground.
2. Conversely, stakes will go into hard ground more easily if they have a smaller cross-section.
3. Stakes need to be strong enough to resist bending when being driven in (usually by being hit with a rock – apparently standing on them with a boot is a big no-no). This is achieved either by a thicker diameter solid circular cross section, stronger material or particular cross sections resistant to bending (X is probably better than Y which is probably better than V).
The lightest and simplest are simple straight bits of metal – “nail” or “skewer” types.
The nail types generally have a larger section on the head (just like a nail!), which sometimes has a hole through it to attach a small piece of rope (presumably to help pull it out). Heads falling off (when being pulled out, or bashed in with rocks) seems to be a major issue with some of these. The lightest are generally ~6g each and are carbon with an aluminium tip, case and/or head.Skewer types are like what I have now, but usually thicker, and often with a more useful hook shape on the top.
The third type have a shaped cross-section (V, Y, X or some combination) generally made from bending (or joining) flat sections of metal. These are a little bit heavier but have more surface area.
Here is a list of stake options that I’ve compiled (in no way comprehensive)!!
My tent came with 14 stakes (14 grams) and while I still only used 13 to set it up the other day, I will take a full 14 stakes. I’m thinking of getting a composite set, with 7 Nail type and 7 Y/V type. This way I can use the most appropriate stake for the ground conditions (hard = nail, soft = Y/V) for the key staking points, and the sub-optimal stakes for the other points. It also saves weight (as you can see, the Y/V types, which I want to get for soft ground conditions, are ~twice as heavy as the nail type stakes).
I’ve read a lot of reviews and a few key things seem to be repeated over and over again:
1. MSR Groundhogs get a really good rap. Most people seem to love them.
2. There have been problems with the Easton heads coming off, although this may have been rectified in design change.
Based on this, I’m focussing on the MSR Groundhog, MSR Mini Groundhog or Terra Nova Ultralight Ti V for my Y/V stake. Questions for you: Is it worth getting the full Groundhog, or will the mini hold well enough? It is 1.5″ of extra length and presumably bigger diameter, but also 60% more weight. The minis also have a slight twist to the cross section so might hold better. There is some concern with the strength of the mini (heads breaking off while being bashed in, due to narrow cross section below the head – check out this review: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=59460&skip_to_post=708723). The Terra Nova V was recommended by the person I bought the tent from but I’m concerned about the possibility of bending the pegs with such a simple V design (and cut out sections). Which should I get?
My choices for my Nail are the Ruta Locura (6″ or 9″) or the MSR Carbon Core 6″. The Ruta Locura stakes are light and well priced. They are wider than the MSR Carbon Core (which will give better hold, but may also be harder to get in to rocky ground). The head is smaller so it looks like it would be easy for the guy line to slip off. There is also no hole in the head to string a rope through (for pulling out). That said, the one review I’ve found has not had any problems with them. They are also made by a small US company, so I’m not sure what the shipping price will end up being to Australia. The MSR Carbon Cores are VERY expensive!! Also, they look like they have a plastic head, which may not stand up too well to being bashed around, and they’ve had some of the same problems as the Easton’s with heads coming off.
So, my questions for you are:
1. Does my “7 of each type” plan sound good?
2. Which V/Y stake should I get?
3. Assuming I can get the Ruta Locura stake, which length should I get? Am I even going to be able to drive the stake 9″ into the ground in hard ground, in which case 6″ will probably be enough hold anyway? In soft ground, will the extra 3″ of ‘hold’ be worth it?