MSR Groundhog Stake broke!

2:48 p.m. on August 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Granted it's been dry here in the midwest one of my stakes broke! After reading such good reviews I figured they were ultimately destructible. 

I was pressing down with my hands and wack! snapped right in two. 

Pretty disappointed to say the least. 


image.jpg

4:20 p.m. on August 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I broke two of these a couple winters ago and gotta say they are my least favorite peg.  They have too much surface area and so when frozen in the ground can be hell to remove---and sadly all Hilleberg tents now come with these standard issue.  These are the Y pegs and stronger than the V pegs, etc.

Another time I had one frozen in the ground and tried pulling it out using the cord---snapped the cord of course.  Here's the secret for frozen in stakes---hammer them in with a rock an inch and they will release.

5:13 p.m. on August 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Make sure the stake says it's an MSR product. There are fake groundhog stakes being sold on Ebay.

6:55 p.m. on August 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for the advice Tipi. 

Yes they are MSR. 

9:30 p.m. on August 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I've been using those cheap Y stakes from ebay for years. I've not yet have one bend or break.

10:57 a.m. on August 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Looks like i am off to buy some new pegs as I too have these.

5:46 p.m. on August 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I nearly bought a set the last time I was at REI...guess I'll re-think that one. Thanks.

8:03 p.m. on August 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Any stake will break, or can break. Its just thin metal when it comes down to it. It doesnt matter if its Ti, steel, alluminum, carbon fiber, plastic, or adamantium it can still break. I have only damaged or broken a stake when applying excessive force. That being said If your really having to apply force to put in a stake then try a slightly different spot/angle and see if it makes a difference.

I always carry a few extra just in case one breaks. I try to give my stakes along with all of my other gear a good look over when I get home to check for any creases etc that will signify an imminent failure.

I tend to find that the really thin Ti sheperd hook style stakes go in the best in really hard ground, I usually carry a few different types of stakes to cover my bases when backpacking, especially in unfamiliar territory. My staple choices are the Y stakes that came with my Nemo tent, and a few Ti sheperd hook stakes. In winter I carry snow stakes, and a couple nail stakes. Snow stakes also work great in sand.

Bottom line is any brand and any style of stake can break. Its one of those items that if you backpack enough you are sure to go through much quicker than other gear, especially if your camping in areas with really hard ground, or rocky/frozen areas.

9:20 p.m. on August 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I should add that I use those Y stakes in sand and soft dirt. 9" and 6" respectfully.

9:49 p.m. on August 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I always choose my spot carefully and poke around for softened dirt. I definitely did not feel like I used excessive force...at least not enough for it to snap in half! I do carry extra stakes luckily. Very bummed none the less. 

I love MSR products, pocketrocket/miniworks but I will not be purchasing these stakes again...obviously. 

10:44 p.m. on August 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I always use gutter nails in really hard or rocky ground. I like the ones with an inch or two of twist at the point. I used to use ti shepard crook ones but the gutter spokes go in easier and seem to hold tighter. Im mostly on frozen ground and im in nh so there might be a rock or two. The gutter spikes seem to turn and slide off underground rocks better. Not to mention being really cheap.

7:20 a.m. on August 14, 2012 (EDT)
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MSR will replace it if you care enough to send it back

3:08 p.m. on August 14, 2012 (EDT)
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My hunch is you hit a rock.  No stake will win in that face off.  Also you may not have used what you consider excess force this time, but may previously have stressed and weakened this stake, or somehow applied force in a manner that would result in bending the stake, had it not snapped first.

Ed

3:12 p.m. on August 14, 2012 (EDT)
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i have an assortment of aluminum and steel stakes - various states of disarray, aluminum seems to bend inconveniently, & stakes are so easy to drop/lose.  i like the surface area of the MSR ground hogs - ball up some snow around them, they can serve as the core of an OK deadman in the winter.  coleman makes inexpensive steel stakes, steel rod construction, that are heavy but highly durable.  nothing is indestructible, but these are close.  if you miss the steel end and hammer the plastic piece, it can get damaged, but even those parts can absorb a few pretty solid hits.  

image.jpg

(i do most of my winter hiking in new hampshire, too; these are basically like oversized gutter nails with a plastic piece). 

3:20 p.m. on August 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Franco posted this picture once on a backpacking forum---


Stakes.jpg

Fairly exhaustive pic.  I've broken most of the stakes in this picture.  The second to right is the usual shepherds peg and it used to be standard issue with all new tents.  It has the advantage of being able to spin in frozen ground to help remove.  It also has the negatory feature of spinning in a bad wind and releasing the guyline.  I've broken and bent many of these pegs.

My current fave is third from the left which Hilleberg calls the Pro Peg and used to come with all their tents.  Not anymore.  They can break, the head can pop off and they are hollow which means they bend fairly easily and break with enough force.  But they are much better for me than the four Y and V pegs in the center.  One reason is the pro peg is longer and holds better and deeper for butt hard windstorms.

Plus the Y and V pegs are hell on the hands, both to insert and to remove.  I know, you can use one peg to help remove another as a sort of pliars but it's a hassle.

3:51 p.m. on August 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for the informative posts Lead/Tipi! 

I am 100% certain I did not hit a rock. It was just dry earth. I'm willing to bet all of you would be shocked at how little force I pressed to break thie stake!

11:43 p.m. on August 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:


Stakes.jpg

 Ah yes the usual suspects - yea the red one, he did it!

Yep I know them all too well.  I don't like the easy benders (all except the y-pegs bend) for general application, because that tends to happen to me too often.  I have yet for a y-peg to break (knocking on wood) but I also always bring extras in case I must guy out in a strong wind.  I do like the shovel nosed peg on the left end for snow camping; the punched out windows permit the snow to fuse the peg in place.  I set the pegs then water them a bit.  They freeze solid in place and require being dug out to extricate.   Tipi, I assume the thingy in the plastic sleeve at the bottom of the image is an ice screw or wood lag?

Ed

1:16 p.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm still a fan of the MSR Groundhogs.  I've never had a problem, and I like that they grab the ground and never want to let go.  I think tiredofwinter broke his stake only because he is some kind of "Super Human", and needs to be studied and replicated into a super soldier.  

No one breaks a stake with their bare hand unless they have titanium for bones.

Wolverine?

1:58 p.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Whomeworry---I believe the container has several small thin titanium stakes.  Needle stakes.

Arson---When a stake is stuck in frozen ground at -10F it does have a tendency to snap like glass so caution is needed but they will break anyway and so on winter trips we carry extra ones. 

One time I was backpacking for a couple weeks in a January blizzard in the NC mountains and came on a recently used campsite and dumped the pack to look around.  I found a couple tent stakes in the ground WITH THE FABRIC TENT LOOPS STILL ATTACHED and thought, man, they were in a hurry to get out of here.  Ripped right off the tent.

2:02 p.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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after spending 8 years of my life as the company spokesperson for an airline, I learned a lot about metal / metal fatique and stress on airplane parts.   Tent stakes and airplane parts are probably made of the same materials and all it takes is a miniscule scar/tear/rip to lead to a crack/fracture and then of course total breakage as you experienced. 

10:43 p.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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travelnate said:

after spending 8 years of my life as the company spokesperson for an airline, I learned a lot about metal / metal fatique and stress on airplane parts.   Tent stakes and airplane parts are probably made of the same materials and all it takes is a miniscule scar/tear/rip to lead to a crack/fracture and then of course total breakage as you experienced. 

 I've only been in one commercial flight and that paragraph just scared the crap out of me. 

10:44 p.m. on August 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Arson said:

I'm still a fan of the MSR Groundhogs.  I've never had a problem, and I like that they grab the ground and never want to let go.  I think tiredofwinter broke his stake only because he is some kind of "Super Human", and needs to be studied and replicated into a super soldier.  

No one breaks a stake with their bare hand unless they have titanium for bones.

Wolverine?

 Hahaha how did I miss this!?

Please, no government studies. 

3:39 p.m. on August 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Any metal product is vulnerable to flaws in the casting or processing when manufactured. It might simply be that you got one peg with a bubble inside it or a speck of foreign material. That would be enough to weaken it at that one spot.

Suggestion: If you like the pegs otherwise, send the broken one back to MSR so they can figure out what went wrong. Take the warranty peg and move on.

12:07 a.m. on August 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Those "MSR" stakes look  fake to me.

The font is slightly different, for example the top of the letter M in MSR is rounded not pointed, the mid bar in the MSR  H in Hog  is about two thirds up and not in the center, also in the OP's image the wrighting appears to be printed not etched (?)

If it helps, the MSR come in two sizes : 7.5" at 0.71oz and 6" at 0.35 oz.

The colour is also different but that can be the camera bias.

Franco

7:42 p.m. on August 20, 2012 (EDT)
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These are genuine GroundHogs :


MSRGroundHogs.jpg

11:27 a.m. on August 21, 2012 (EDT)
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I picked them up from REI. I'll take a better picture for you since the angle is obviously bothersome. 

12:08 p.m. on August 21, 2012 (EDT)
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The biggest thing here is that nothing lasts forever. Different terrain will have alot to do with how long some items last. 

Tent stakes being one of those items. 

I have the GroundHogs. Then again I have a ton of other stakes as well. 

Now with that being said I have broken many a stake here in Pa over the years. Pa is notoriously rocky. I have on more than one occasion had to move tent location due to the fact that I could not get a single stake in the ground(thought I was on bedrock.)

Stakes are not indestructible by any means. 

Just like all gear it is very wise to check them prior to any trip for deformities, nicks, deep gouges, scrapes, so on and so forth. 

All of the above can have a significant impact on the strength of a stake regardless of how awesome they are. 

To me this is somewhat similar to aluminum tent poles. It is wise(and recommended) to inspect them for scratches before a trip because dependent upon how deep a scratch in a pole actually is can greatly reduce the strength of the pole and result in a crack once stress is placed on the pole itself.

Lets face it...

Aluminum is not some indestructible wonder metal. Over time stakes do need replaced. 

This is somewhat dependent upon frequency of use as well as areas of use. If I only utilized mine 1 or 2x per year the need for replacements would be much less compared to how often I actually do need to replace them.

I am out quite a bit.

Keep in mind different designs in stakes excel in different conditions, ground types, etc.

Mine are the same as the ones in Franco's photo.

image.jpg
 

tiredofwinter, did you replace the line on yours?

Another thing I would like to point out...

If you look closely at the photo below(tiredofwinter's) you will notice that there is a substantial amount of deformity at the area of the break. 

image.jpg

This leads me to believe that either there was a pre-existing problem with the stake itself(ie crack) or it ran into trouble when it was placed in the ground(unseen rock, etc.)

Deformities like this just don't "happen" on their own. 

The GroundHog is actually a pretty good stake(imo.)

At the same time it is no different than any other piece of gear in the regards that all gear has limitations. 

6:59 p.m. on August 21, 2012 (EDT)
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This is a cropped version of Rick's image


MSR-GroundHogs-logo.jpg

and this is yours


MSRGHcrop.jpg

compare the writing there

Could be that MSR has changed their source

Franco

7:12 p.m. on August 23, 2012 (EDT)
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When studying the pictures above I'm seeing all sorts of differences. The ones you have look like my cheap ones from China. I think Franco is right you got ripped off. Take them all back, and have them compare them to another shipment. I'm 100% sure they are fake.

I have to pull off that statement just a bit. Mine have a flat top not rounded. But were it holds the guy line, yours have an underhook. While the MSRs are rounded. Plus the point is different. 

8:28 p.m. on August 23, 2012 (EDT)
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also look at the anodizing (color of the stake),that is different from francos.

there is definately a different vendor, hopefully not china!

9:32 p.m. on August 23, 2012 (EDT)
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HEY NOW Trailjester, I've been using those cheap Y stakes from China for years w/o any problems. But I'm mostly in soft areas.  But if someone gets ripped off that's a different matter. 

2:51 a.m. on August 24, 2012 (EDT)
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9:18 p.m. on August 26, 2012 (EDT)
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I purchased the stakes from REI. I'll take a pic soon...busy with school. The fakes ones do not have any writing on them. I'm not denying the possibility, I just highly doubt REI would buy chinese tent stakes. 

1:35 a.m. on August 27, 2012 (EDT)
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I also doubt that REI would sell fake MSR after all they really don't look like the real ones and I think anyone working there could tell.

Anyway , here is another clue :


MSRfakecu.jpg

that to me does not look like aluminium.

That was the reason why I posted

"If it helps, the MSR come in two sizes : 7.5" at 0.71oz and 6" at 0.35 oz."

Franco

10:49 p.m. on August 29, 2012 (EDT)
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7.5" indeed. I don't have a pocket scale to weigh it though. I tried taking a few more pics with my p n s but the macro on it wouldn't adjust well enough. 

6:28 p.m. on August 30, 2012 (EDT)
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that stake is difinately NOT aluminum. the groundhogs are extruded aluminum with a hard anodize finish, I think. I don't know for sure, I dont own any, never had the need. My cheap aluminum tent pegs work good enough in the sand out here.

9:17 p.m. on September 2, 2012 (EDT)
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To correct my comment above... I was just making another compact saw and had to cut some (soft) aluminium. Doing that I noticed that cutting leaves a nice shining surface, bending ends up looking dull and sort of cement looking like in the broken stake in question. So I then broke by bending an Easton pole made with similar aluminium to those pegs and it still looks "dull" (however not that colour)  I have broken several stakes before, most some sort of aluminium and never noticed that . Sorry about the misleading comment.

Franco

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