MSR Carbon Core Stakes vs Ruta Locura Sorex Stakes

P1000127So, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

~Stick~

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.

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
This entry was posted in Gear, Tent Stakes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to MSR Carbon Core Stakes vs Ruta Locura Sorex Stakes

  1. Pingback: Olympic National Park Post Hike Gear Talk | Stick's Blog

  2. Vincent says:

    Stick,

    Don’t forget that when REI distributes its dividends, you can easily call their customer service and have them cut you a check. They do this automatically after some period time that your dividend has been sitting unused in your account.

    I mention this because I didn’t realize until my last conversation with REI customer service that the dividend is NOT store credit. It remains as USD in your account until they disburse it to you in the form of a check or netted against an REI purchase.

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    • Stick says:

      Vincent,

      Yeah, I have thought about that a few times, but honestly, my returns the last few years have been so little, I have been just as happy with getting the little things to try out… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  3. Very timely! I been looking for more stakes & trying to decide what to get. Been looking at carbon but didn’t know much about them other then carbon arrows for a bow 😉 I’m still undecided cause I like the price of Ti stakes out there. but you help educate me Thx!

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    • Stick says:

      Claire,

      I love my ti skewer stakes too, but after thinking about how much stress some stake out points take as opposed to others, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to get some stakes with a little larger surface area to help deal with that stress a bit better. Don’t get me wrong though, I have never had a ti skewer stake fail, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t… nor does it mean that the bigger ones won’t either… But, considering the weight on these larger, carbon fiber stakes are just as little as the ti skewer stakes, I figured why not…

      As far as the Sorex stakes vs the MSR stakes, mostly due to the price, I would suggest the Ruta Locura stakes.. However, the benefits of the MSR are that in the rocky, rooted soil along the southern portion of the AT, the slightly smaller diameter and slicker sheath on the MSR stakes may be easier to get into the ground. On the flip side, that may also mean that they will come out easier…

      Anyway, good luck with your stake shopping! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  4. Mike says:

    Alright, Stick, @ 2:10 you said tent instead of tient for the first time in this video. Congrats. 😉 I kid, I kid. Love your vids. Keep it up!

    Like

  5. Tollermom says:

    My dividend was $17. The other $500 I spent at REi was clearance and sale items as well. I used my coupon and dividend (plus a gift certificate I won from TrailGroove) to buy the new SteriPen Ultra and filter. Lightening up….

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Tollermom,

      I picked up a few things from the clearance store, as well as from BC and their clearance store too… And great job at lightening up!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  6. fabian says:

    Hilarious!!! My dividens were EXACTLY 26 bucks as well despite spending about 3K in gear last year from Zpacks/BlackRockGear/and a few other ones. With the 26 bucks and the 20% off my plan is to get the new Big Agnes Q Core in L. I hear its REALLY comfortable and even though I’ll be going from a 5 lb base weight with a neo air L to 6.5 lbs with this new matress it’ll be worth it! I mean, we spend at least 8 hrs on the floor so might as well make that comfortable to let our bodies recover right???

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    • Stick says:

      Fabian,

      I hear ya about dropping all the $$ at the cottage shops… I am the same way! And good luck with the new pad… I will stick with my NeoAir’s… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  7. Allen Bishop says:

    Nice video Stick, I agree with you that the weak link on the MSR stakes will be the plastic heads. I don’t think they will hold up to much abuse and no one needs a fail when they are days away from getting a replacement. Time will tell, looking forward to a follow up after some good “field” testing.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Allen,

      I plan to carry 2 of the MSR stakes on my next hike (in place of the Sorex stakes) to check them out. I will admit though, I try to be as gentle on my gear as I can be, which means a majority of the time I find myself moving stakes around until I can just push one in with my hand or foot, however, sometimes that is not an option… which is when the rock comes into play… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  8. I am definitely not much of an ultralight hiker, however, the weight of a specific object (or objects) in my pack always infuriates me when tenting and/or tarping – those would be my tent stakes. I’ve got some aluminum shepards hooks, and my current solo tent – a Eureka Solitaire, requires far too many of them. Due to the price, I think I may give the Sorex stakes a shot. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Stick says:

      JYAH,

      I have been pretty happy with my Sorex stakes since getting them. I need to order some of the 9″ stakes sometime to check those out, however, I have been happy enough with what I have, and don’t necessarily “need” them. Also, if you are interested in some ti shepherd hook stakes, be sure to check out Lawson Outdoor Equipment (linked to in the article). He is selling them for $1.50 right now with free shipping over $10. Not bad IMO…

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Wow, you can’t beat that price – thanks for the info! I’ll be ordering some this week. The site shows $1.95 currently, so I may have just missed the sale, but still a good price.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      JYAH,

      Funny, they were actually $1.50 when I posted that comment. I guess I caught them right before he changed the sale price… but yeah, that is still a great price!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Just received my stakes… these are fantastic! Lawson included a few extras, and updated the price on his site, and also offered to swap if the extra stakes if that didn’t do it for me. Thanks again for the referral – and the opportunity to do business with a great small business. Holding 18 of these in my hand (have to get the scale out yet), is featherweight compared to the “lightweight” aluminium versions I have are… and I have a horde of busted ones… these Ti ones will definitely hold up better.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      JYAH,

      Awesome! Thanks for stopping back by and sharing your experience! Lawson has always been a pleasure to deal with in the past, for reasons the same as yours. Great guy, and some great stakes too! I hope that they work well for you. 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

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