User Review: DAC J-stake
Source: Included with my TNF tents
Just like you'd bend a SAM splint to make it stronger, DAC figured out that bending a stake in the middle makes it that much stronger. Hard (if not impossible) to bend, and easy to clean. Anytime I have a job that requires stakes, these are my number one choice and my standby. I use them exclusively with all my TNF tents. I even like these enough to have a spare set of ten around, just in case I need extra, or a friend does.
- Minimal size and weight
- L-shaped "bend" in design adds strength
- Easy to clean, anti-corrosive surface
- L-shape always brings up dirt with it
- Eyelet too small for most paracord
- Difficult to remove from hard or cold ground (without pull loops)
- Needs pull loops for ease of removal AND nighttime visibility
If you've pitched, borrowed, or owned a tent from the North Face, you already know who these little guys are.
I was first introduced to them when they came with my first TNF tent. I was impressed at how small (6.25" X .375") and lightweight they were, compared to the larger and heavier steel stakes I'd used all my life.
The 7075-T6 aluminum is bent into an "L" shape, making the metal stronger in the same way you strengthen a SAM splint when you place a bend in it. While it can hold back a lot of tension, the shape inherently brings a lot of dirt back up with it when you remove these from the ground. Luckily, the anodized finish is so smooth that a quick wipe with a damp rag will clean them off.
Being a "neat freak," I always give my stakes a good rinse and dry when I come home from camping. They may be a little scratched and a little worn, but none of them from any of my tents have yet to even suggest a spot of rust.
While their small profile makes them ideal for backpacking, it does make them a pain to remove sometimes, especially from hard or cold ground. One winter they were in so good I had to get an old sock and a pair of pliers. Why a sock? I didn't want to scrape off the anodized finish.
My biggest complaint (as I only own the ones that've come with TNF tents and a spare 10-pack identical to them) is that these little suckers are easy to lose. The light-toned, off-white silver finish can fall into a pile of leaves and you'll never see it again. You may step on it, but you sure won't see it.
Luckily, it seems TNF took note, and they now manufacture these stakes in a highly-visible, bright gold color. More importantly, they've given them the necessary pull loops and made them from a reflective cord that will be easily visible if passed-over by a flashlight/headlamp.
So, there. Problem solved. But hey, someone had to review the first generation of these. It probably was someone much like myself that broke the same news to them the first time around, and that gave way to their improvements.