Suitable Stakes

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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Anarquistador
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Suitable Stakes

Post by Anarquistador » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:29 am

Rebar seems to be the traditional go-to way of staking down a tent or shade structure on the playa, however I'll be flying in and the logistics of buying rebar, cutting it to size and bending the ends seems daunting. My local camping store has two kinds of tent stakes designed for sand or snow, and I'm pretty sure I could squeeze them into my luggage. Does anyone know if these kinds of stakes work well? Both are around a foot long, the first ones are aluminium and the second ones are plastic.
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Fidget
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by Fidget » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:42 am

Considering the near hurricane force winds that can crop up out on the playa, I would say no they are not adequate.
Now, on any sunny/breezy day on the playa I'm sure they'd do just fine if hammered down well enough but that's not a risk I'd be willing to take, or one your neighbors would enjoy, should said winds kick into effect and carry your temporary desert home down the block like some sort of gore-tex flavored tumbleweed.
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by tatonka » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:53 am

I bought 18" lag bolts for a buck apiece online , I hammered them in and used a vise grip to unscrew them out of ground about 6" and pulled them up the rest of the way. I had a drill and invertor for putting them in and out but I brought the wrong socket :)
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Anarquistador
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by Anarquistador » Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:01 am

So would the lag bolts be easy to find in a hardware store? And could they just be pounded in or do they work best being screwed in?

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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by jneilvindy » Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:04 am

For a tent only I'd say your stakes are fine. I'd just add 1 rebar or 18" lag screw with a washer and chain at the top.

Use the stakes and anchor your tent down. Place the lag screw deep and then attach it to your tent by the chain or rope to the chain.

I assume your tent is gonna have all your stuff in it? Bedding, clothes, luggage, some water, food, ect. ect. ect.??

The main goal here is to make sure your tent doesn't go airborn if a sharknado comes along.

One good solid anchoring stake, a bunch of standard hold it down in place stakes and a tent full of stuff is gonna be fine. Especially if you are using one of the rounded dome style tent or any very small 1-2 person hiking/biking kinda tent.

Now if you're putting up a shade structure as well or huge family style expedition ten or something that clearly acts as a sail in any wind then you are going to need way more anchoring.

Its' awesome if you can bomb proof your setup and taking common sense steps to ensure your neighbors aren't getting a face full of tent surprise is always a good thing though!

Personally I'm counting on the 800 pounds of booze I'm bringing to keep my tent firmly anchored to the ground! Might be problem around sunday morning when the booze runs out but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. :)

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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by FossaFerox » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:19 am

7.5 lbs of force per square foot of windward surface is the BASIC equation for how much force your tent is going to be hit with. A typical 2-4 person tent can be hit by something in the neighborhood 500 - 600 lbs of force on the leading edge (in a worst case scenario, a single corner) from a typical 75 mph gust.

How tents are designed varies tremendously, some are better, some are worse, some are just different. However most are only designed to bear ANY kind of force through the seams directed towards the stakes. If the stake pops and you're suddenly relying on the contents of the tent to keep it in place, you're in trouble.

1) The tent will deform, raise up a bit, some of the bottom edge catches the wind, and now you have higher surface area and thus higher force.
2) The tent will likely rip. The loads are no longer being applied down the reinforced seams but instead will be applied chaotically through impulse loads along the length of the bottom-edge seam as your tent luffs (flaps violently). This can cause it to rip. It isn't inconceivable for the upper portion of your tent to partially or completely rip free of the bottom floor.
3) ANYTHING that rips free is now going to go blowing downwind. Catching a zipper attached to a kite in the face at those kinds of speeds can cause serious injuries. Throw in even a single tent pole and you can potentially kill someone.

It's ONLY okay to skimp on tent anchors if your tent is shielded from the wind along every major possible angle of attack by something sturdier. That's half the point of shade structures.

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As for getting suitable anchors, cutting and bending rebar isn't that hard. They sell 10' lengths. Cut it three times to get four 2.5' pieces and bend the top using a pipe and you'll be fine. You can do that in about 30 minutes of hack sawing (and they also sell hack saws! and the pipes needed to bend it!).

Last year I gave advice to a friend (who was a semi-experienced burner) over the phone while she was in Home Depot. She's 100 something pounds of fire and was wearing a sun dress and a floppy hat at the time. She did it all IN THE STORE. I think she might have used bolt cutters to cut it more easily, but she simply went to where the pipe was and followed my 30 second guide on how to bend candy canes right there in the fricking store.

So yeah, it isn't impossible.

Lag bolts you won't find in store. Most of us bought them online from fastenersuperstore.com. You can find people who have extras, but I wouldn't rely on meeting up with someone on my way to the playa. If you're in Los Angeles the week BEFORE the burn I can help you out, but I'll be off the map starting Thursday before gate.
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by FIGJAM » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:43 am

Most of the lags you can find in the hardware store won't be long enough.

I think 8" were the longest they had.
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by Savannah » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:49 am

jneilvindy wrote:For a tent only I'd say your stakes are fine. I'd just add 1 rebar or 18" lag screw with a washer and chain at the top.

Use the stakes and anchor your tent down. Place the lag screw deep and then attach it to your tent by the chain or rope to the chain.

I assume your tent is gonna have all your stuff in it? Bedding, clothes, luggage, some water, food, ect. ect. ect.??

The main goal here is to make sure your tent doesn't go airborn if a sharknado comes along.

One good solid anchoring stake, a bunch of standard hold it down in place stakes and a tent full of stuff is gonna be fine. Especially if you are using one of the rounded dome style tent or any very small 1-2 person hiking/biking kinda tent.
Agreed! 10" to 12" long stakes are sufficient for the average nylon tent. (Mine are 10"). I have used stakes that size for every Burn. 12" is even better if you have a choice.

A canvas tent (bigger than a low-profile pup tent) is heavy, and at that point you would indeed want rebar.
Now if you're putting up a shade structure as well or huge family style expedition ten or something that clearly acts as a sail in any wind then you are going to need way more anchoring.
Also true. Rebar is probably necessary for most shade structures. My are 2+ foot long and slightly more than half goes into the ground.

If you cannot get rebar candy-caned, top each piece of rebar with plastic water/soda bottles, or top them with tennis balls with an "X" cut into them using a pocket knife. (This requires leather work gloves, hand strength, a sharp knife and lots of manual dexterity. Bottles may be easier and less risky.)
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by skippy3k » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:50 am

...and you will pay twice or three times as much for store bought lag bolts, which are smaller.
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by StevenGoodman » Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:34 pm

I have been using metal military stakes with a Springbar canvas tent for years, no problems.

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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by Sail Man » Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:38 pm

Most big box hardware stores also sell 12' nails

drive a pair into each corner at opp. angles with a hammer, which can also pull them
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by maladroit » Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:20 pm

On a hardpack playa, the 12" nails do seem pretty secure from my own experience. They go in easily and therefore pull out easily...so you have to make sure they're angled against the load. You could probably pound them flush, and use pieces of chain as in the FIGLAG system.

This year, the top is probably going to be a bit fluffy. That means with 12" nails at an angle, you might not get far enough into hardpack to keep them from tilting up and pulling out. The FIGLAGs should still be OK since you screw them straight down into the playa and they'll resist a pull straight up.

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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by FossaFerox » Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:01 pm

Without a threaded portion at the tip (and an overall length over 12") do not pound them straight down. That principle only holds true for lag bolts. Even rebar sound be angled against the load.
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by kittyrodriguez » Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:12 pm

This is only slightly off topic, but what does everyone use to stake these down? We use rebar for everything else, but it what's the best thing for this?
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by GreyCoyote » Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:15 pm

kittyrodriguez wrote:This is only slightly off topic, but what does everyone use to stake these down? We use rebar for everything else, but it what's the best thing for this?
foot pad.jpg
Kitty: lag bolts ala Figjam style, screwed right into the playa.

But note that these canopies are best loaded with a ratchet from the top securing and compressing the legs to the playa. Just nailin down these leg-sleeves wont keep the canopy from turning into a kite in a good wind.

Hope to see you in the dust! :mrgreen:
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by FossaFerox » Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:31 pm

Damn my phone, somehow double posted. Sorry!
Last edited by FossaFerox on Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by FossaFerox » Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:32 pm

We use 3 10" spikes ala Coleman (YSBW's are cheaper) for those and anchor the top fittings with mule tape to 18" lag bolts at about a 40 degree angle.
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by Fan C » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:23 pm

GreyCoyote wrote:
kittyrodriguez wrote:This is only slightly off topic, but what does everyone use to stake these down? We use rebar for everything else, but it what's the best thing for this?
foot pad.jpg
Kitty: lag bolts ala Figjam style, screwed right into the playa.

But note that these canopies are best loaded with a ratchet from the top securing and compressing the legs to the playa. Just nailin down these leg-sleeves wont keep the canopy from turning into a kite in a good wind.

Hope to see you in the dust! :mrgreen:
I had tons of 6mm accesory cord so I have an X in each space around the frame of my carport canopy except the entrance, a line tying each section of spine together and terminating in a guyline on either end, all screwed in with 14" lags. Plus 8 more lags one in the foot of each leg. 24 3/8x14 lags total. The tent underneath staked with 6 playa staples. Hope that's enough.

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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by Anarquistador » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:31 pm

So I'm thinking now my best option is to try and sort out the rebar once I land in the US. How likely is Home Depot to be picked clean of rebar by other Burners when I get there? What kind of pipe do I need to bend it, or would it be easy enough to just cut it to length and borrow a pipe from someone else on the playa? If I don't bend it and just cover the ends with tennis balls, will rope slip over the ends in high winds?

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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by FossaFerox » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:35 pm

Where in the US are you flying into? This question is extremely relevant.
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:57 pm

The ante's got to be at least $5, or the pot isn't rich enough.
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by Anarquistador » Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:13 pm

I'm flying in to San Jose, planning stops in Mountain View, Sand Fran and Reno already, so could plan other stops along the way for supplies. I'm hoping there will be stores I can pre-order and pick up the rebar when I get there.

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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by FossaFerox » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:32 pm

Home Depot indeed lets you do that and you've got plenty of options along the way. I'd buy the pipes you need to bend them rather than relying on someone having the pipes on hand in BRC. We had ours with us last year in case we had to adjust anything, but no one thought to ask for them, and had we needed to borrow someone else's I highly doubt I could have found someone else that had a set.

Maybe I'm wrong and every other person with rebar carries the pipes they used 3-6 months ago in prep with them to the playa. Somehow I doubt it, though. I have a tendency to be overly cautious until the camp is 100% built....
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by burner von braun » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:56 pm

Some stores carry rebar in precut lengths.. 18", 24", 36" etc.
Might save you a bit of time and effort if you decide to use rebar, especially if you're flying in.

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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by FossaFerox » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:26 am

The thing is a 2' length and a 10' length cost about the same at HD. So does a 20' length but those are a bitch to wrangle.
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by StevenGoodman » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:04 am

Anarquistador wrote:I'm flying in to San Jose, planning stops in Mountain View, Sand Fran and Reno already, so could plan other stops along the way for supplies. I'm hoping there will be stores I can pre-order and pick up the rebar when I get there.
If you are going to be in Mountain View (Sunnyvale) there is Home Depot, Lowes, OSH. You can get 10" nails with washers. That is often good enough for a tent. Easier than rebar.

Mountain View Surplus might have military stakes.

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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by StevenGoodman » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:05 am

kittyrodriguez wrote:This is only slightly off topic, but what does everyone use to stake these down? We use rebar for everything else, but it what's the best thing for this?
foot pad.jpg
Bent 1/4" rebar works great.

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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by FossaFerox » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:13 am

Rebar is overkill (a phrase I pretty much never use when talking playa engineering) for EMT feet. If your feet are experiencing significant pullout force or torque something else has already failed.

The foot anchors are just there to prevent sliding (sheer force) and for this 10" nails (like the ysbw stakes) are more than adequate and a lot easier to work with.
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Re: Suitable Stakes

Post by kittyrodriguez » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:11 pm

Thanks for all the info guys. The plan is to stake the feet to keep them stationary and guy the f*ck out of it. Easy peasy. Looking into those lag bolts, and we have a ton of already bent rebar. At this point quick and efficient is the goal. We load out on the 21st, and will be in Chicago the week before that, so tick tock...

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