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Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors on 07/08/2008 17:30:00 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
re: Ditch Your Stakes on 07/08/2008 18:17:14 MDT Print View

Excellent knot info. Great artwork.

Innovative and thought provoking.

Will give alternative anchors a try.

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: re: Ditch Your Stakes on 07/08/2008 18:32:48 MDT Print View

Super informative read! Knots are something that I wish I knew better (and should know better considering I am a boy scout). I think this is the first article I have seen before on alternative anchoring. Your drawings are SO helpful (and beautiful) in all of your articles. Your expertise makes me want to sign up for NOLS.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors on 07/08/2008 19:16:34 MDT Print View

awesome articles Mike.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors on 07/08/2008 20:46:44 MDT Print View

Hi Mike

Most impressive. I have used many of the techniques you illustrate, but some were new to me. I haven't camped on a glacier yet ...

Just one comment though: I am not sure the illustration for the Line-Lok or Clam Cleat is technically correct. I have used them myself, and I think the diagram in the article has the device itself reversed. It should look more like this:

It doesn't really matter though - most times when you buy them they come with this diagram anyhow.


Douglas Johnson
(Sponge) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Awesome article on 07/08/2008 21:07:06 MDT Print View


Your article was extremely helpful and insightful. My hat's off to you!

Thanks a ton!

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors on 07/08/2008 22:43:17 MDT Print View


Excellent diagrams (as always) and wonderfully-worded grammar. I especially liked,

"Never be a buzz-kill to someone else's sense of backcountry grooviness!"

I imagine your students either love you or hate you for your laid back style of teaching. If it was me, I'd love it.

- Sam

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Ditch Your Stakes on 07/09/2008 00:07:18 MDT Print View

Most impressive. Best drawings yet IMO, including Mike's books.

My favorite line was "flossing the ice deadperson". And just the term "deadperson"... that's great - PC is downright hilarious when done by Clelland!

I've learned a few of these tricks the hard way, but it seems I am going to have to find a glacier to sleep on now. Maybe a snowfield will do - I plan to mountain bike and hike up to the Hellroaring Plateau in the Beartooths the end of this week. Guess I'll bring some stuff sacks and a closed cell foam pad.

joe newton

Locale: Bergen, Norway
re "Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors" on 07/09/2008 01:30:32 MDT Print View

Informative article and some of the best, clearest illustrations I've ever seen.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Mike Clelland! is a famous illustrator! on 07/09/2008 05:00:25 MDT Print View

Hi Sebastian,
Mike Clelland! is famous! He is the Mike of "Allen & Mike's Really Cool" book series. I first heard of him when I wanted to take my first winter camping trip. "Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book" was my bible. They say a picture is worth a thousand words - and that is the case for Mike's drawings. The book is only 113 pages long, and a third of the book is about skiing which didn't apply to my trip, but I got nearly all the info from the book that I needed to make my first snow camping adventure (5 days solo in the Sierras with lows to zero) a blast.

Mike is also the illustrator of another fine book - Lighten Up! A complete handbook for light and ultralight backpacking - available here on BPL.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Words + Pictures, Together on 07/09/2008 05:50:11 MDT Print View

Great illustrations and a great narrative. This is really helpful. Thanks, Mike!

carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
simply perfect on 07/09/2008 06:32:38 MDT Print View

Please mike .... wee need more articles like this one .....;-)

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors on 07/09/2008 08:04:07 MDT Print View

Great article. This is the reason I maintain my subscription.

I use a different technique.

I put the tensioner hardware or knot on the tarp side of the guyline. At my age it is nice that I do not have to bend as low to tighten the guylines.

A mooring hitch is great to anchor to vegetation. It limits the sawing effect of pulling the cord across the bark. The mooring hitch is also used to tie to stick anchors in snow.

For rock anchors I tie a clove hitch around an Easton stake and place the rocks as you described.

Edited by food on 07/09/2008 08:05:22 MDT.

J Thomas Peterson
(tpeterson1959) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Great Article on 07/09/2008 10:26:21 MDT Print View

Very informative and well planned. Thanks!

(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
"Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors" on 07/09/2008 13:49:20 MDT Print View

Wow. One of the best articles yet. The descriptions were superb. Thank you!!!

Jim Wood
Guyline tensioners on 07/09/2008 14:05:58 MDT Print View

Great knot illustrations, though I must confess I've never been a big fan of knotting guylines, especially when using the newer, thin Spectra-based cords. Tying and untying, especially with wet or cold hands and/or frozen lines can be a royal pain.

Likewise, I think the cam-style tensioners that BPL and Hilleberg sell are confusing to use and limited in their application, since they generally require pre-formed cord loops, which makes them (for example) inconvenient for use on trees.

Instead, for many years, I've been using end-style tensioners like the one (made by Exped) shown below.

This tensioner is tied permanently (through the bottom hole) to the free end of the guyline. When it's time to tighten the line, the free end can be looped around most anything (tree, stake, etc.) then slipped back over the line through the tensioner grooves.

As far as I know, the Exped tensioner shown above is the only one of this type currently available that holds well when using thin Spectra guylines such as Ketly Triptease or AirCore PRO Dyneema guyline sold by BPL. And unlike the metal (closed-end) tensioners sold by MSR or the "Figure 9" tensioners sold by Nite Ize, these plastic tensioners are easy on guylines and won't chew them up with extended use.

Sierra Designs used to sell this type of tensioner (for small lines), but apparently doesn't offer them anymore. Likewise, REI sells larger tensioners of a similar design but they work only with fairly thick lines.

BTW, the Exped product is available from Moosejaw and other online retailers for about $4.00 (package of 8 tensioners).

Edited by jwood on 07/09/2008 14:15:35 MDT.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors on 07/09/2008 14:07:19 MDT Print View

Hey - Huge thanks for all the nice compliments on this article.

It's curious how much I actually managed to write (and draw) about NOT using tent stakes.

But -- Just so everybody knows. I actually DO use tent stakes! I have a nice set of titanium skewers. I use 'em tarp camping and when I camp with a tent in the summer. So don't be mislead by the title.

In the summer in Alaska (on glaciers) I do NOT take stakes, and instead use stuff sacks. In the winter in the Rockies (on snow) I do NOT take stakes, and instead use sticks as dead-persons.

Timothy Hortberg
(thortberg) - F

Locale: Midwest
Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors on 07/09/2008 14:18:53 MDT Print View

Great Article.

Again, This is BPL and why I subscribe.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Guyline tensioners on 07/09/2008 15:10:08 MDT Print View

re: exped tensioners

Those look useful ... except that like tautline hitches and most other adjustable tensioners, they can only adjust from near full length of the line to near half of it's length.

Which is why I've liked this solution, or more recently linelocs.

But Mike C points out that linelocs etc are not as convenient when you need to wrap around a shrub or tree.

But combine linelocs or my tautline adaptation with exped tensionser and I may have found guy line nirvana!

But don't bother going to Moosejaw today ... I just bought their last set of 8. Would have got more for BSA door prizes if they had them. Hopefully they'll restock.

Edited by jcolten on 07/09/2008 15:11:40 MDT.

(zepppower) - F
Excellent info. on 07/09/2008 16:21:14 MDT Print View

I've used many of these techniques myself over the years and am glad to see everyone appreciates them and the diagrams.