Monday, July 12, 2010

Tent -Tarp Stakes

I have with me here in Zion three types of shelter stakes. From left to right: a skewer type, useful in sandy and loose soils.

A light weight steel straight: these came with my Eureka Spitfire Tent

And, the gutter nail, an ultralight option, first tried on my Appalachian Thru hike in 2002. We'll tell that story tomorrow.

Each stake has its benefits. The first one is better when you need a grip on the sandy or loose soil. Of course, another way of dealing with this is pound the stake at a 45 degree angle, and if necessary, place a rock over the stake's head.

The second stake is lighter, but should be pounded into the ground at an angle. Even if it seems pretty secure, I've noticed when the wind picks up, the motion of the staking loops responding to the movement of the shelter in the wind, can loosen stakes in sandy soils. If you have a non-free standing shelter, one that depends on the tension of the staking to keep it pitched, these are critical and must be secured before bedtime.

When placing a rock over a tent stake's head, take care. I once used a rock a bit too large, and tore a small hole in the fabric of the tent near the staking loop. I mended it with thread, and seam sealed it, but its a mistake that won't happen again.

The gutter nail is about 50 cents at local hardware stores. It is the lightest of all, and very packable. Used at a 45 degree angle, it won't bend where other stakes will. However, in icy or freezing conditions, they are hard to remove. Use a skewer stake to lift the head out of the ground, much like you would a can opener.

My video of the tepee on YouTube

demonstrates how to remove a gutter nail from frozen ground.

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