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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Securing your tarp (stake questions)

    I've been camping most of my life and have used just about every type of tent stake out there. I know that there are better/worse stakes to use for various conditions; there is no 1 "perfect" stake for every circumstance.

    That being said, for longer trips, or those where the terrain and weather may be unpredictable, what type (and how many) of stakes do you bring along? Do you store/pack them with the tarp (in a separate stake bag), or keep them separate?

  2. #2
    FLTurtle's Avatar
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    I use 4 MSR Groundhogs, in a stake bag stored in the outside pocket of my pack. Dunno how they work with snow but they are ok with sandy soil, much better with real dirt. Just gotta be careful around roots and rocky soil. I usually push them in by hand then press them down by foot. So far, no broken or bent stakes.

  3. #3
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    I bring mix. Ti shepard, aluminum shepard (thicker) and a stake from my Amok.
    Shug
    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Secure in Sector Seven

  4. #4
    Yarome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLTurtle View Post
    I use 4 MSR Groundhogs, in a stake bag...
    Me too. MSR Groundhogs, stake/tie-out bag seperate from my tarp. How many depends on which tarp I'm using. Fair weather tarp, 4. Winter tarp 6-8. I've used different types of stakes in different conditions before but have found it's easier to just use what you have and just be a little creative when needed. Ie., dead man anchors with the groundhogs, trees, rocks in place of stakes when necessary instead of "specialized" stakes, etc.
    “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, cigar in one hand, whiskey in the other, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” ~Paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson

  5. #5
    Senior Member jeff-oh's Avatar
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    It all depends on where I am going. For the most part the ground is not that variable. For the midwest I use 4 a simple Al Y-style steak or an Al Shepard hook. If I am going out west or near the beach where it can be sandy I bring small cloth bags to make deadmen anchors. In very rocky areas I'll use natural materials to tie off to. I do not bring any extra's as I can easily carve a stake if needed.

    They go in their own small storage bag with is put in the with the tarp in the tarp bag.

    My teardown method to is pull all stakes and wipe them down to clean off all dirt. These go in my back pocket. I then fold the tarp with the lines down. When I fold it to the length of the tap bag, I then roll the tarp and fold the tarp lines in so they are captured. The tarp and lines go in the tarp storage bag. Then the trap ridge line is taken down and hand wound to prevent tangling. The ridgeline and the stakes then all go into the stake bag which in turn is slipped along side of the tarp in the tarp bag. Once the quilts and hammock are all in their stuff sacks they all go into the pack. In the case of a sopping wet tarp, I will place that in an outer pocket of the pack. Otherwise, it all goes in the main compartment.

    For Y stakes: comparing the MSR Groundhog vs. the Coghlans you will find the MSRs are heat treated and are more resistant to bending. However they are over 3.5 time more expensive (i.e. I get a whole set for the cost on 1 stake). This expense is not worth it to me personally because if you pay attention to what you are doing you will not bend either one. I've only ever bent 2 Coghlan stakes and one I drove over with the truck - an MSR would have also been bent.
    Last edited by jeff-oh; 01-22-2020 at 13:28.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Floridahanger's Avatar
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    Like FLTurtle, I too use the "Y" stakes. I use the inexpensive Coghlan orange stakes from Walmart. I do put them in a stake bag and keep them with my tarp.

    In Florida, we have a lot of sand and dirt mixture. These seem to hold the best.
    Enjoy and have fun with your family, before they have fun without you

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  7. #7
    Senior Member TallPaul's Avatar
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    4 Groundhogs for main tie outs and 2 shepard hooks for doors. I’ve tried 6 shepard hooks in the past and ran into soft / duffy ground where they wouldn’t hold. YMMV.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the feedback. I've been using aluminum or titanium shepherd hooks or cheap Y stakes (either from Amazon or Walmart). I have had a lot of the alum shepherd hooks and few of the Y's bend (trying to avoid the rocks in eastern PA soil is like trying to avoid sand at the beach), but the ti hooks seem to be thin (and strong) enough to go between the rocks with minimal bending. I've just had them pull out a couple times from hard soil in windy conditions.

    The main reason I'm asking is that I'm outfitting some loaner tarps as more scouts in my son's troop are getting interested in hammock camping. We're mostly car camping, so they could just use the same big steel nail stakes they use for the troop tents most of the time, but we're doing a couple of backpacking trips this year, so looking at lighter options. The Coghlan Y's from Walmart are cheap enough and easy to replace when they get mangled (these scouts manage to mangle those 12" steel nails), so I'll probably just buy a bunch of them.

  9. #9
    cmc4free's Avatar
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    I have numerous types, but use Ti shepherd's more often than any other. Amazon has several "brands" of 6 gram/pc stakes for reasonable prices.
    If you're using 4 stakes per tarp, you could outfit 3 kits for $17.

    https://www.amazon.com/ZEARE-Titaniu.../dp/B07R7TJHLD

    That's probably price competitive with the Coghlan's, but then again those aren't the cheapest aluminum Y stakes you can find either.

    https://www.amazon.com/All-one-tech-.../dp/B01I0X9UQ8

  10. #10
    ufdigga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TallPaul View Post
    4 Groundhogs for main tie outs and 2 shepard hooks for doors. I’ve tried 6 shepard hooks in the past and ran into soft / duffy ground where they wouldn’t hold. YMMV.
    Ditto. On a long trip, I might take 4-6 shepherd hooks to give me some options including: 4 doors on the superfly; 2 for the doors, and 2 for porch mode, so I can transition quickly back and forth without moving stakes; or for really bad weather when I'm bunkered down for a while, 4 hooks for the 4 doors and 2 hooks for the side pull-outs to give me more interior space.

    For organization, the 4 groundhogs are my primary corners, with my guylines spliced to them and connected to the tarp with Fleaz. I keep them separate from the tarp for a couple of reasons.

    1. With the lines connected to the stakes, cord management is as easy as gathering the four stakes together and wrapping the bundle of four guylines around them. No individual guylines, no figure-8 roll-ups, and no getting all tangled with the tarp in the snake skins. You end up with a compact bundle the length of the stakes about the diameter of a quarter, and I never have to deal with tangles.

    2. My guylines tend to get dirty, especially on a long trip. If it starts pouring, we can throw the tarp up in about a minute for a shelter. I take the groundhog end of the stake, wrap it around a nearby tree, and we quickly have a room-size shelter we can all sit/stand under. But this means sometimes the lines get sappy, and I prefer that mess not getting on my tarp.

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