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Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors
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Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Sliipery knots on 07/09/2008 19:16:47 MDT Print View

You make a good point about making a slippery version of some knots. I fact, you can make a "slipped" or "slippery" version of just about any knot where you put the end of the line through -- just fold the end and put the resulting bight through instead. Makes untying the knot a *lot* easier.

For example, take the common shoe knot -- when you think about it, the common shoe knot is a double-slipped square knot (or else a double-slipped granny knot, which does not hold so well).

I like sheet bend style knots in general -- i.e. an intersecting bight and loop. They are secure and their slipped versions are easy to untie. For example, I rarely use a square knot -- I much prefer a slipped sheet bend. The sheet bend also works with different size cords (make the thicker be the bight) -- while a square knot will not work at all if there is much size difference in the cords (the square not will just capsize).

As to the trucker's hitch -- I know that it is usually drawn, as the article did, ending with some form of half hitch(es) or slippery half hitch. Personally I strongly prefer to take the slip knot loop as the bight of a sheet bend, and tie it off as a slipped sheet bend -- I believe that to be a stronger and more secure way to tie it, while being at least as easy to untie.

Tautline hitches -- I have been meaning to bring that up for some time -- why ever tie a tautline hitch? Instead, use a slipped trucker's hitch. True, it needs to be retied to adjust, however once tied it will not slip (unlike a tautline hitch)it is trivial to until (also unlike a tautline hitch, in some conditions), and it is easy to make it as tight as you like. I even prefer the slipped trucker's hitch to having mechanical line tightening gadgets.

-- Bob

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Guyline tensioners on 07/09/2008 21:01:20 MDT Print View

Jim Colten writes:

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

If you like tensioners, take a look at the Night Ize Figure 9 tensioner. It solves the problem of needing a loop that can't be tied around fixed objects.

Cheers,

-Mike

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors on 07/09/2008 21:13:14 MDT Print View

Hi Mike!
as usual I had to scroll down and look at all of your illustrations before I started reading the article. In my trade we push the "a picture is worth a thousand words" quote ( a self serving jingle similar to the "a diamond is forever" used by stone peddlers) but I would find it very hard to post a photograph that comes even close to what you manage to convey with your drawings, beside they are always a lot of fun.
Great information made so much better by those easy to remember illustrations.
Thanks
Franco

Jeanne Mikulics
(jmikulics) - MLife
Stakes on 07/10/2008 01:23:13 MDT Print View

Mike:

A plethora of insightful and informative information. I am going to try it this weekend. Great illustrations!

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors on 07/10/2008 09:31:01 MDT Print View

Here's how I use stakes:

I did a quick cartoon showing how I tie off the ridge points on my tarp (the NOSE and TAIL).

I use a titanium nail stake:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lazr_hivis_ti_nail_stake.html

I use a slippery half-hitch. It's tidy and fast.cartoon

Frank Deland
(rambler)

Locale: On the AT in VA
pegless on 07/10/2008 15:20:37 MDT Print View

Great diagrams. Just a reminder, however, when one buries tie-outs in snow and tamps it down, one might be digging through ice in the morning to retrieve what ever was buried.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: pegless on 07/10/2008 18:18:30 MDT Print View

> when one buries tie-outs in snow and tamps it down, one might be digging through ice in the morning to retrieve what ever was buried.
Make that 'every morning' in Australia. It can be very hard to even get a plain aluminium angle stake out of the ice: the ice locks in very hard onto the surface of the aluminium. I have had to use an ice axe to dig out each stake. But there was no ice there in the evening!
Different places, different conditions, different solutions. Mike has lots of solutions.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: pegless on 07/10/2008 18:41:38 MDT Print View

Quote: "when one buries tie-outs in snow and tamps it down, one might be digging through ice in the morning.."

I think mike's reference to 'flossing' addresses this concern. The idea being that you will be able to slip your line off the deadperson even when iced over.

This of course assumes that you have used a stray stick as a deadperson and not your hiking pole. Oops! Could be worse; could be your ice axe down there! :-)

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: Guyline tensioners on 07/10/2008 20:24:03 MDT Print View

Hi Michael Martin,
Those Nite Ize Figure 9's look interesting. The small size is advertised for line diameters of 2mm to 5mm.

Have you, or anyone else, used these with the AirCore PRO Dymeema guylines sold on this site. I have that line and it is 1.7mm diameter.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Guyline tensioners on 07/10/2008 20:44:18 MDT Print View

Michael-

Sorry, but I don't know if the Figure 9 will work with AirCore Pro...

Anybody tried this?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: pegless on 07/10/2008 20:59:58 MDT Print View

> I think mike's reference to 'flossing' addresses this concern. The idea being that you will be able to slip your line off the deadperson even when iced over.

There are no dead persons around here! Down with political correctness!

More to the point, out on the plains there are often no spare dead sticks on the surface - or under the surface. We have to use stakes.
Out on the plains

Different places, different problems.

Christopher Kuzmich
(obchristo2) - F
I like Mike! on 07/12/2008 22:31:04 MDT Print View

Great article.

Have enjoyed Mike's various books over the years. Laughing and learning at the same time? Priceless!

Thanks,
Christo

Andrew Lush
(lushy) - MLife

Locale: Lake Mungo, Mutawintji NPs
LNT and rocks??? on 07/13/2008 02:39:04 MDT Print View

I enjoyed your article, Mike. Very informative and useful - thanks a lot.

Just one point: For lots of little critters, rocks = home. If you pull up up a rock to use as an anchor, you are consequently destroying the habitat of a whole suite of insects and other assorted arthropods.

Just something else to add into the mix when considering "stakelessness" and our responsibilities with "leave no trace' principles.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors on 07/13/2008 10:27:36 MDT Print View

I agree about the little critters in the topsoil around rocks. It's something I should have addressed. But, if there is top soil, it should be easy to get a tent-stake in there. So no need to annoy the little locals

The rocks I use are mostly only in sandy river bottoms (no critters) and in high alpine boulder fields (no soil, no critters).

And - I want to re-state that I actually DO take stakes out there. But, there are some places you just can't get 'em to work.

Once again - thanks for all the kind words about the article and the cartoons. It's fun for me!

peace,
M!

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Packrafter's viewpoint on 07/17/2008 19:54:28 MDT Print View

We packrafters, especially up here in Alaska, are often too wet, cold, lazy, and un-sophisticated to bother with knots on twine and so use the same straps we use to keep our packs on the boats to keep the rocks and sticks strapped to the 'Mid. Instead of friction knots we use the friction slider.

We used spectra cord (2 mm?) on the Cuben Fiber Oware Mid for only a week before the rocks abraded through it and we had to go to straps.

The straps I am talking about are not fastex buckles (they pop under tension) but friction straps. While they do weigh more than 2-3 mm spectra they are functional for a broad array of things and work especially well for shoe/boot repairs.

BTW Mike, your article was great.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Mountain bike camping on 07/17/2008 19:56:20 MDT Print View

Tying off to bicycles works well, too. Use the pedals and lay the bike away from the shelter.

Edited by romandial on 07/17/2008 19:59:53 MDT.

Margaret Snyder
(jetcash) - F

Locale: Southern Arizona
Rock tie-offs on 08/11/2008 11:15:22 MDT Print View

I used rocks as anchors up on Jackson Glacier this weekend and it was much more secure than I could have imagined. My tent was drum tight while my friend's flapped about like a circus tent.

Paul Davis
(pdavis) - M

Locale: Yukon, 60N 135W
stuff sacs as fine glacial gravel bar 'sandbags' on 01/06/2010 02:10:24 MST Print View

It may just be me, but in the Yukon I spend a fair amount of time camping on gravel bars on the river, and in abandonned gravel pits along the Alaska highway bike camping. Both places are great as they are not good bear habitat, have good visibility, and are noisy if Mr. Griz strolls by...

So I have taken to semi-permanently tieing mesh stuff-sacs to my tie-out loops on my Bibler I-tent, and filling those up with glacial rocks, sometimes with small stones as fine as marbles....

In fact, the only time there seems to be enough soil around for a tent peg is in a government campground!

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Awesome grooviness on 04/07/2010 07:55:04 MDT Print View

Loved the article, Mike C! articles are among the best because of the great use of language (grooviness!) and the illustrations just rock. Thanks, I learned a bunch =)

Shaun Carrigan
(GUBID)
Line length? on 07/27/2011 03:39:43 MDT Print View

How long would you cut the guys to be able to use these techniques?
Thanks.