So, as most gear heads already know, this years REI dividend has finally come, and as usual, it is paired with a 20% off sale. Now, I will admit, when looking through many of my postings and gear photos over the last year, most of those items were actually from cottage shops, which was reflected in my REI dividend amount of $26. But, don’t get me wrong, I still managed to spend a pretty good bit at REI last year, however, most of those purchases were clearance items… in fact, the biggest portion of my dividend this year was from when I had to purchase my NeoAir XLite when my Original finally died…
So, I “needed” to spend $26 on something… but what? There are a few things that I will buy from REI such as Platypus bottles, Esbit tablets or trail snacks, however, for the moment, I am stocked up on those things… So, I looked… and I looked… and I looked some more for something that I could drop about $26 on. What I ended up with is a set (4) of the MSR Carbon Core tent stakes.
I have actually been interested in these stakes for quite a while, however, $30 for 4 is a bit much. I mean, that’s $7.50 PER stake! That is asking a lot, so I never actually gave my money over for them. However, with the 20% off coupon and the $26 that I “needed” to spend at REI, then these fit the bill. Beside’s, I wanted to compare them to some other carbon fiber tent stakes I already had…
Going back a few months ago, I bought a set (4) of the 6″ Sorex stakes from Ruta Locura. These stakes are made up of carbon fiber shafts with aluminum heads and tips on them, much like the MSR Carbon Core tent stakes. Over the last few months, I have carried 2 of the Sorex stakes on each of my trips and have used them each night I was out. I used these for my ridgeline stake out points while using some smaller titanium shepherd hook stakes from Lawson Kline for the rest of the stake out points. So far though, the carbon fiber stakes have worked out quite well and I am happy with them.
So, as I said, when I got these I wanted to do a little comparison between the 2 tent stakes. So, here are the specs of each stake and my opinions on them:
MSR Carbon Core Tent Stakes
Features a carbon fiber core with a 7000 series aluminum tip and sheath.
- Average weight: 5.5 g (22 g for all 4)
- Length: 6″
- Diameter: 1/4″
- Circumference: 7/8″
- MSRP: $29.95 for 4 ($7.49 each)
- Made in the USA
Ruta Locura Sorex Tent Stakes
Features a carbon fiber shaft with an aluminum tip and head.
- Average weight: 6.25 g (25 g for all 4)
- Length: 6″ (Also offers a 9″ length stake)
- Diameter: 5/16″
- Circumference: 1 & 1/16″
- MSRP: $10.50 for 4 ($2.62 each)
- Made in the USA
Between the 2, the Ruta Locura stakes are definitely a little larger than the MSR stakes, both in length and thickness, which means the Ruta Locura stakes have more surface area which translates into more holding power. On the other hand, since the MSR stakes are a little smaller in diameter, they may be easier to get into harder ground, or in ground that is infested with lots of rocks and roots, but still have more holding power than the smaller ti skewer hook stakes. However, the difference is not huge, so I think that both of these stakes would perform about the same in the same conditions. Just my opinion.
As well, the heads on the stakes are quite different. The head on the Ruta Locura stakes are smaller and flatter, whereas the heads on the MSR stakes are larger around (about the size of a dime) and is somewhat bell-shaped. As a bonus, the MSR stakes feature a small hole through the top of the stake in which a small diameter cord could be fed through it to help remove the stake from hard or frozen ground. The Ruta Locura stakes do not have this feature, but they can be pulled from the ground by looping a piece of cord (guy-line) around the head and pulling up. (Although, sometimes it takes a couple of tries if the guy-line slips off.)
Considering I just got the MSR stakes in today, I have not yet used them, however, upon initial inspection, they seem to be of good quality. None of the heads or tips on the stakes are loose. As I said above, I typically take 2 of the Ruta Locura stakes to guy out my ridge line, but my next trip I will carry 2 of the MSR stakes and see how I like them.
Either way, I feel like they are both good stakes, however, I would still have a hard time opening my wallet and laying down $30 for the MSR stakes (although, that is basically what I did…) By the time shipping is figured in, I could buy 3 sets (12 stakes) from Ruta Locura for the same price as 4 of the MSR stakes! (Not to mention, buying from Ruta Locura helps out the “little guy.”) Because of this, to be honest, I will likely find myself recommending the Ruta Locura stakes over the MSR’s (however, I may mention the MSR’s too…)
Anyway, here is a short little video I did this afternoon showing them both off a little…
Thanks for stopping by!
Disclaimer: I paid for both sets of the stakes mentioned in this post with my own money… or dividend… The opinions within this article are my own.