Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
A while back I posted about the problem of losing titanium stakes. They are small, have a rather dull color, and don't take paint. You can avoid misplacing them by being careful but that's not the problem that concerns me. My problem is when a big gust of wind (or a clumsy person getting up in the night) dislodges one and then you have to find it in the dark.
Well I think I may have a solution. I tried two candidate solutions. As I mentioned titanium doesn't take paint. So I tried reflective tape and heat shrink tubing, both available at Walmart for under $2.
To use the tube I cut about 1 inch
and then slide it over the crook of the stake and heat it with a lighter (the package claims a hairdryer will work as well but I'm an impatient guy).
For the tape I simply wrap some around the crook of the stake.
I was thinking that the reflective tape would make it easier to see but when I experimented I couldn't really tell that big a difference. The main issue was to make the color something bright that you don't see that often in nature. The heat shrink tubing package has pink, blue, and bright yellow. Here you can see the difference between the pink and the reflective tape. As you can see they are pretty similar.
This past weekend my daughter and I camped during a wind storm. The wind gusted all night really loud. The first big gust sent one stake flying from the corner of our tarp. I was able to find it and put it back (and set a rock on top) even though it was dark.
I think I prefer the head shrink tubing and I hope that my days of lost stakes are over!
Couldn't you just make little flags on the neck of the stake with the tape (folded over, sticking to itself)? Lot more visible area. My problem is stepping on the stakes and breaking them in half. Did that to two on a trip last year -- but maybe with that tape I'd have seen them.
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
That's an idea. I'm not concerned about stepping on stakes because the ground around here is soft and I push the stake in until it's flush with the ground. My only problem is when it is lying in the dirt in some fairly large area I have to search. But if you are living in a place where you frequently can't put a stake in all the way then the little flag idea makes a lot of sense.
Hm. If titanium doesn't take paint, what about nail polish? I mix glow in the dark (GID) powder with clear nail polish, and I'm considering painting the top of my stakes with that. This is the long-lasting GID powder, it goes for 8 hours. I have also painted the inside rim of my flashlights with it (on the edge of the lens). When the flashlight is on, the GID powder gets charged up.
Kind of on the subject. I use Eastman aluminum stakes because they hold better in softer soil than the Titanium "chipmunk tethers". <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> They each have a short cord tied in a loop that I always thought were to slide another stake into to pull them out, but they could also be looped to the tieout loops on your tent so they would always be in the right place, you'd just have to be careful to roll and not stuff or you might get holes in your tent. You could even attach the ti stakes by pounding the loop closed. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
I guess a lot of people lose their stakes. I took the family camping and brought the metal detector. The kids got a kick out of finding all the loose change people drop, but you should have seen our haul of tent stakes! About 40 of them in just 4 camp sites. This is just one more reason to love hammocks.
Lost stakes are not a problem for me. I put the adjustment or tensioner on the tent/tarp side of the guy line and attach the stakes to the guyline with a clove hitch. The stake generally stays attached to the guy line even when dislodged.
The side benefit is that it cleans the stake when I slide the clove hitch off the bottom.
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not." Yogi Berra