Hiya, Here's an idea that's been knocking around my brain for a while. Why not use magnesium for tent stakes? In many cases such as soft ground, the absolute strength of the stake doesn't seem to matter as much; they just need to be strong enough to not bend. Any time I bent a stake has been from trying to overforce it, not wind or "in-use" demands. Magnesium and its alloys are much lighter than both aluminum (2/3 the weight) and titanium. And, in a pinch, you could shave a bit off the stakes as firestarter material.
Sourcing Mg rod to play with does seem a bit tricky, since industrial suppliers expect you to order in larger quantities than you need. Also, you do need to be mindful of accidentally igniting dust/shaving while machining.
It's the last sentence of your first paragraph and your second paragraph that worries me.
You should read the wiki article on Magnesium, and then consider if you want everyone around you to bear the risks you are proposing. I can see several vectors to accident and injury of yourself (which doesn't really bother me, so long as you are witting - and you seem to be) or to others (which does - I might be one of them).
To clarify my concern, I have historically used tent stakes in applications involving fire (lifting a dutch oven lid, poking logs, manipulating pots, etc...) when I'm improvising; I can forsee a tragic accident if you built your stakes and they were used by an unwitting or unknowing person for an application other than what you intend (as just a tent stake).
Alternatively, is there a magnesium/aluminum alloy that might achieve the weight savings you are looking for and that is lighter/cheaper than titanium? That MIGHT reduce your fire risk and achieve what you are looking for.
There comes a point where the amount of effort and cost exceed this gear junkie's willingness to tinker. Chipping pieces off a block of magnesium doesn't sound nearly as much fun as making a stove out of pop cans, or sewing a new tarp.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki
I think it is a rather clever idea. It is a reasonable metal for light-weight medium strength applications which is why it is used in engine blocks in lawn-mowers and VWs. It would have a clever dual use. Shavings could be cut from it to light a fire in a pinch. (Why not one stake be made of a magnesium rod and one made of ferrocerium?) As for flammability, I did a little test to confirm what I learned in school. I heated a small block of magnesium in a campfire until it was too hot to touch. I could not ignite it. Shavings and thin ribbons, on the other hand, ignite easily. - Tikki P.S. If you go to market, send me a prototype
Here's how to go lighter than magnesium: Make stakes out of plastic.
Only problem is, hard rocky ground. Seems it's always there where I pitch a tent. To punch through the hardest rockiest soil, bring one (1) 6-inch steel nail. Drill a stake hole with the nail, pull it back out, insert the super lightweight plastic stake. Pre-drilling the hole also keeps the plastic stake from breaking as it's being inserted and hits something.
thats a good idea for tent stakes. they would work rather well as long as you are not on a rocky soil or in a high weather type scenario. you do have a point thought with byeing the rods. the best bet would be to go to somewhere that uses magnesium, like a gun shop. and see if they have scrap pieces lying around. they may not be rods but if you have the machinery to tool them to a rod shape then it could work.