plastic stakes are best for sand- their strength to weight ratio is not worth the energy to carry; and in any setting other than beach need a hammer to drive them in- more weight..YMMV of course...but all my exp with the yellow plastic stakes had been bad. KM
PS- Yes the plastic ones break a lot.
if the ground is so hard you cant get a stake in, you can tie the cord to the middle of it, place it on teh ground and just stick a big rock on top of the cord right on the tarp side of the rock. works well.
I use stakes from alpkit here in england an they have several different types - some very hard, sharp ones which are excellent for hard ground. I just whack them in with the back of the axe head.
for snow, same principle as the first paragraphy, but use a big stick and bury it.
They work well for me.
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