7. April 2015

Choosing the right pegs & stakes for your next trip

Pegs, also known as stakes, can significantly add weight to your shelter - or then not. In this article we shed some light on proper peg usage and let you know which pegs to use in which surface - or when to use no pegs at all!


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Choosing the right peg is made easier if you know what kind of ground you're most likely to encounter on your campsites. Sand and gravel? Or grass and hard-packed ground? Soft forest floors or stoney mountain sides?


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Whatever peg you use, there's two universal rules to ensure your pegs hold into the ground. The first one is that you drive the peg at a 45° angle into the ground, this is the optimal angle and minimizes the risk of the peg ripping out in strong winds.

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The second principle is that you should drive the peg until it's head into the ground. This way as much of the peg is in the ground and can hold your guyline and shelter in strong wind.  If for some reason a 45° isn't possible, then it is preferable to use a slightly shallower angle if that allows you to enter the peg completely into the ground. With these two rules for using pegs out of the way, lets look at some of the pegs available.

While there are pegs that work equally in most situations these all-round pegs tend to be heavier. One of these all-round pegs that work equally well at soft forest campsites and hard-packed campgrounds is the Easton Nano Tent Stake, which is available in lengths of 15, 19 and 25 cm with their respective weights being 8, 12 and 18 g per peg. We do recommend that you add a small loop of guyline through the hole as that allows you to pull the stake out easier from hard ground or thread the guyline through it if that's called for.

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Ti Hook does not equally Ti Hook. Not only are there differences in form and durability but of course also in weight. Of the two Ti Hooks above the Vargo Titan Peg with the orange head is a bit heavier than the yellow one - 2 g, to be exact - but it's a lot more durable than the yellow one. If you look closely you can see that the yellow peg has a slight bend, whereas the orange one is as straight as an arrow, even after years of use. Ti Hooks are excellent pegs for forest floors and grassy camp spots alike, as they are long - around 16 cm on average - and their hook head makes it easy to attach a guyline to them. They always should be coloured as that makes them so much easier to find, too. And while there are 2 g Titanium Skewers we can only recommend them if you are sure to be out in fair weather without strong winds. Also the ground should be fairly sandy without rocks or similar, as these 2 g Ti Skewers do bend very quickly.


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V-Style and Y-Style pegs are also excellent all-round pegs. Because of their shape they hold especially well in strong wind where guylines and your shelter might be under a lot of wind pressure. Because of their shape an increased pressure/ pull on them makes them hold even stronger.

In snow and sand the MSR Blizzard is the stake to go. The 24 cm long stake has a wide profile and is just 22 g heavy. The holes in it not just safe weight but also allow you to thread a guyline through it, which allows you to use the stake as a anchor that you can bury horizontally in the snow.

In an mountain environment it often is difficult to peg a shelter out. Here it is useful if your shelter has long guylines, these then can be used to tie them around rocks for staking out your shelter.

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3g! You won't easily find a as durable, environmentally friendly and light tent peg as a chopstick from bamboo! An even lighter alternative is taking a knife and whittle down dead sticks at camp as a peg.

The perfect set of stakes is a mix. I like to carry four or five Easton tent stakes and four Ti Hooks when I take a Pyramide shelter, or for a Tarp two V-Pegs for the main ridge tie-out points, four Easton stakes for the corners and Ti Hooks for the guylines in the middle. That way I carry around 80 to 100 g of pegs on my trips which even in wet and muddy ground with strong winds ensures I can peg out my shelter very well. It pays off to experiment what works best for you.