Saturday, 2 July 2016

Survey - Tent Pegs

Tent pegs (or stakes) are an often neglected item of equipment. 

Every peg type will bend when used in rocky ground with enough force. Stepping on pegs to push them in may bend the peg or damage your shoe. Use a hammer stone with caution. If you feel resistance back off and relocate the peg.  If the ground is rocky then place the peg under a rock or tie the guy to a large rock instead.  Avoid abrasion of the guy on the rock.

You can use a free peg to lever out another from the ground. Having an attached loop of cord helps for non-hook types. Insert a free peg as a handle and lift.


Alloy hook pegs work well at sheltered grassy sites with firm subsoil.  While these bend easily, they are easy to hammer back straight and they are cheap.  It is easy to lose pegs and I find them all the time at popular sites.


The cheap steel hook pegs can be found at hardware stores and camping shops and are heavy for pack carrying but are good for car camps. Since they come with a flat cut end it will help to put a dull point on them.

Some pegs can also be used as anchors in snow or sand. Sticks can be buried as "deadmen" anchors in snow camps. If it ices up overnight they are hard to remove even from a shallow lie!

Sheltered camping sites should be sought when wind is present. Tents act like sails. Strong blustery winds can work pegs out of the ground.  Difficulties arise when the ground is hard or grass is so thick (such as snow grass) the peg hardly reaches the subsoil. Some improvisation with using sticks, rocks or bags of sand may be needed.


Long 23cm Y stakes are my preference for critical functions like pyramid tent corners, tarps, trekking pole tie-outs and non-freestanding tents.

Coghlan's 6061 alloy 23cm Y peg (19g)  are a little longer than MSR GroundHog 7075 alloy stakes (17g).  There's also fairly cheap Whites Group Gold 23cm alloy Y pegs (17g).


6061 alloy is inexpensive, heat treatable and when annealed has good workability. Magnesium and Silicon are the major alloy elements. 7075 alloy is one of the highest strength aluminum alloys available. Zinc is the major alloy element.




Easton stakes (23cm and 12g) are popular. These are used on tarps and pyramids.  Lighter and longer than alloy hooks.   I have seen a few blogs mention this style can lose the head caps. A youtube demo shows a few scratches can be made in the Aluminium at the top with a hack saw and epoxy used to reattach the head. Superglue might also work too.


The svelte 16cm Exped V DAC is elegant European design but just a bit short.  I have seen similar product marketed as J-stakes.  I would like a 20cm version for a non-self-supporting tent, tarp or pyramid.  Similar N-rit V pegs have a support bead running along the valleys.



14cm is too short for a main tarp or pyramid peg but OK for mid points. I would only use these on sheltered car camps.  Due to their stubbiness it would require immense force to bend these.



The 25cm, 25g MSR Blizzard is a very light snow/sand peg.  These are pricey at about A$9.  If travelling to the US it may be worth bringing a few back.  They are about half the weight of the longer Hampton Works snow pegs (see below).  They can double as a trowel and as a shoe horn so I always have one on every trip.


Here is a product with "HW Made in England" stamped on it. Hampton Works in Birmingham, founded 1909.  I have used these 31cm long pegs for snow camps for over 25 years. Longer versions are available. It is claimed the holes assist in the holding power of the peg. My old versions weigh 45g.  The new ones must have a thicker gauge as they are 58g.  Reasonably priced at a bit over $3 each.


20 minutes punching, drilling and filing burrs and you have saved 5 or 6g, or about 10% of the base weight, in a snow peg.

You probably won't need all their 31cm length in windless conditions.  The cord makes the pegs a bit easier to see in snow and helps in pulling or working out. Total weight is now 310+g for 6. 


The shorter 23cm Hampton Works snow pegs come to 38g each after extra holes drilled and a pull cord added. 228g for 6. 

Above: 16cm HW alloy V Peg 16g with a 23cm small sized snow peg

The alloy V pegs look like they have more holding power than the hook types. 

Titanium pegs are available with a significant price premium. Aluminium is a lighter metal than Titanium, but lighter gauge Titanium can be used for greater strength.


For a tarp I might use 4 long Y pegs and 2 alloy hook pegs to make up at least a set of 6. For a pyramid tent 4 long Y pegs for the corners and 4 hook pegs for the guys and doors.  If you are expecting windy conditions take enough long pegs and longer guys.

 3 or 4 eye hooks may come in handy for pitching on platforms.




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