This is gonna be short and to the point. I got some needle stakes for free- good thing they were free. They suck. A little lighter and lot harder to use in various conditions. They are fragile and will snap off. They hurt like crazy to push in. The little hook at the top is not great for webbing and looks like it would actually be abrasive and may wear out webbing loops. Bottom line - not for me. Basic shepards hooks seem to work a lot better.
Loc: Washington State, King County
Like so many things in the backpacking world, different people like different things --- the shoes that are perfect for me are terrible for you, etc.
I guess stakes are, to some degree at least, the same. I carried MSR needle stakes on the PCT this year and still love them.
I found them very strong; I often pounded them in with a rock into dense and rocky soil and never bent or broke one or even seriously crunched the tip. In contrast, the hollow round light stakes that came with my Tarptent Contrail quickly crunched flat on the tips when pounded in with a rock.
The needle stakes can "nest" --- put the needle tip of one into the hook end of another. Put two side by side like that with a single rubber band and you have a single unit of stakes that has only smooth ends; I carry them this way in the external mesh of my pack or just anywhere without fear of sharp pokes into my delicate gear.
I don't find that they hurt to put in --- I use a rock or push them in with the sole of my shoe. I didn't have any problem with the hooks, but I'm not sure what's meant by "webbing" --- I just have light cord that's part of my tent to be held by the hook at the top.
No needle stake is going to have the holding power of a bigger, heavier stake, but for me these are an excellent trade off. In those cases where I've had holding power trouble, using a big rock on top (or sometimes instead) of the stake always did the trick.
Rootball, to be clear, I'm not posting this to say "You're wrong" (!) --- I'm sure you've thought about the trade-offs and ultimately just came to a different conclusion. For those trying to select among gear choices, it's great to have different points of view to consider.
I concur. Not hugely impressed by holding power, but what do you expect for the weight. I too use my boot or rock to pound into hard ground. The hook is small, but on the other hand it seems to work for SUL cords. I also like titanium shepard hooks with orange paint for visibility. Slightly lighter, and can sneak them in between rocks, roots a little easier.
I also like titanium Vargo nail pegs for similar reasons and little stronger, though heavier. Have tried tubular aluminum nail pegs for weight reasons but no longer carry them. Have broken several in winter or frozen ground - usually pulling them out. the solid ones may bend but hard to break them.
None of these have the holding power of larger heavier V stakes of course, but....usually these are fine as a set of 8 with my tarp/shelter or LUNA SOLO tarptent.
I often carry a mix, of mostly lightest stakes, and 2 or more or even half of the total number slightly stronger or longer or better holding power depending on the trip/conditions.