Thank you for the great writeup
I use msr groundhogs as well, I love them. The reflective cordage is especially useful, and the shape of the spikes seems to grip well, and go in easily enough.
I, too, think trees make the best tie-offs. By tying a large loop around the tree, I can raise it up or lower it easily to suit the moment. A chunk of recently fallen large branch is my second choice. If I really needed to reduce weight. I would probably forgo stakes altogether.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." - Oscar Wilde
My stakes are pretty minimal... MSR Needle stakes I got with the last tent I ever bought (MSR Zoid 2). Now I just use the stakes. It they are not enough to do the job, I set a rock on top of the stake or tie to a tree.
Im going to throw a few groundhogs in my stake bag as well. Thanks for the feedback and information.
BackpackingLight did an empirical test of 11 types of stakes in two types of ground (compacted campsite and moist sod). I think you need to be a member to read it but the gist is that the Easton 9-inch tubular aluminum stakes come out on top in total holding power. The 7-inch titanium shepherd's hook did surprisingly well, especially in compacted campsites but with a respectable showing in the moist sod as well. Shorter shepherd's hooks didn't do so well—a small drop to 6" resulted in a significant drop in holding power.
More details and stake types in the article, of course. It's one of those data-driven ones that makes BPL really shine.
[QUOTE=lubbockhammockguy;666142]I am mostly a car camper, with the boy scouts, and I use these academy 16'' stakes for my diy hammock stand (its not going anywhere).
I bought 4 11" pegs similar to this one for $2 each at Home Depot to anchor my 10'x10' canopy. I was as interested in visibility as I was in holding power because the canopy is always in a high traffic area, and frankly didn't expect them to last long. I use a rubber mallet to pound them into the ground, but they've still taken a beating getting them into hard, rocky ground and show no damage. On one camping trip we had gusty 25+mph winds come up, and the stakes didn't budge. A friend who used 6" aluminum V stakes had his shelter blow into the woods after all the stakes pulled out.
I also made sand anchors out of the 15" pegs by drilling a small hole near the pointy end and threading a bicycle brake cable through the hole; I made a loop in the loose end of the cable and crimped it closed with an aluminum ferrule from Home Depot that is made for that purpose. I clip my guylines to the looped end sticking out of the sand. Instead of the wind pulling against the protruding top of the stake and eventually wiggling the stake free, it pulls against the bottom end that is held in place by the weight of sand.