When I go backpacking, I carry a small stuff sack with my tent stakes and extra cordage. I typically carry 11 tent stakes with me, extra paracord and Kelty triptease, and eye hooks for pitching shelters on wooden tent platforms.
This is one of the more general purpose elements of my gear list, but it’s worked well in a wide variety of conditions, so I can tolerate the few extra ounces that it add to my pack. The entire lot weighs about 8 ounces which is more than most of the tarps I carry these days. Most of the extra weight is in the paracord which I use instead of other cord type to save money and because it’s easier to tie friction knots with.
Types of Tent Stakes
Rather than carry one type of tent stake, I usually carry three for different soil conditions and with different levels of holding power.
- For sandy soil with a lot of buried stones in it, I like a beefier stake that’s unlikely to bend when I stomp on it. I’ve been using a V style titanium stake from Gossamer Gear this summer and they’re good for tarp corners in terms of holding power. You can thread a guy line through them or just rely on tension to hold it in the cut out notch. They weigh 11 grams each on my digital scale. I also like these stakes because their top edges are not sharp and I can pull on them without cutting my hands. I’ve had that problem with other manufacturer’s stakes.
- For ridgelines on a cat tarp or the main supports on a flat tarp, I like to use a 9″ Easton aluminum stake. They have great holding power but they weigh 14 grams each so I only bring two. This is also a good stake to use with shaped high tension tarps like a Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid, which is where I think I got them from originally.
- For tarp sides, where I don’t need a lot of holding power or in woodsy soils without a lot of rocks in them, I’ve been using a combination of short and long high visibility titanium shepards hooks from Gossamer Gear that weigh 6 and 7 grams each. The yellow high visibility paint really makes them pop out even against green moss or grass backgrounds and makes it easy to find stakes you didn’t even know you’d lost. The only downside I’ve found with the these is that they are very sharp and can easily puncture your stuff sack or pack. Remember this when you pack an inflatable sleeping pad. (disclaimer: Gossamer Gear gave me complementary V and Hi visibility stakes for testing; I bought the Easton stakes with my own coin)
What is in your cordage and stake bag? Do you use different stakes? What kind of shelter(s) do you camp with?
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