Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Upping the Stakes - mini review

If you had dabbled with your Dad's tent when you were young, you'd be acquainted with the traditional steel tent pegs. They are sturdy and heavy that the joke was it can be used to nail a vampire behind its head to kill it. Tents found at Tesco, Aeon invariably come packed with these. And they are fine - long, robust and heavy. They do the job, you can hammer them in any kind of soil, even tough, rocked filled hard packed soil. Just bang it in! Sometimes they bend but it's steel - can always bend it back like Beckham.

Weight : >20grams per generic piece. In each tent bundle, they will often give you 10 stakes (10x20gm = 200gms), but for this comparo I will use 8 = 160gms

In Malaysia, there are some alternatives for those wanting to shave weight off their backpacks. Introducing the MSR Mini Groundhogs (RM11.00/pc), MSR Carbon (RM20/pc) and generic aluminium (RM7/pc) (2013 prices).

From top to bottom : MSR Mini Groundhog, MSR Carbon, Generic aluminium
As expected the carbon stake weighs in at only 5gm per piece
MSR Mini Groundhogs is not too shabby clocking in at 9gms
Generic aluminium @ 13gms including cordage.

Weigh-In (8 stakes)
Using steel pegs as the benchmark @ 160gms (RM0.00 - they come free)

1. MSR Carbon = 40gms (less 120gms, 75% weight savings) @RM160.00
2. MSR Mini Hedgehog = 72gms (less 88gms, 55% savings)  @RM88.00
3. Generic aluminium = 104 gms (less 56gms, 35% savings)  @RM64.00

I have used the carbon stakes and honestly, I do not like them. By their very design, you need to stake it in at an acute angle to prevent your guy lines from slipping. You could make a simple knot but that's just too much work.

The Hedgehog and generic aluminium : honestly not much in between them. They are strong, sturdy and can be pegged into any soil. Hedgehog has a 3 fin design vs 2 of the generic. The only problem these two have is when staking into soil that has pebbles or rock underneath. Whereas the traditional steel pegs can easily circumnavigate around the rocks with a little bit of force, it is not so easy with these two. You may have to adjust your staking points a few times.

Both have notches, so your guy lines can be snared by them easily. Unlike the carbon stakes.

My choice? The hedgehog, for its 3 fin design, ultralight and being super strong. The generic is fine but you don't really need a peg that big or long in most cases. At least I havent personally found a need to have a stake as long. When you are going for ultralight, the minimalist design of hedgehog fits the bill and does the job with aplomb.

Note! The hedgehogs are shiny beautiful out of showroom - but after first use, they become smudgy and scratchy. The hedgehogs comes standard with any MSR tents - they will give you 6. You really need 8 to be safe, so buy another two separately.

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