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Reviews > Shelters > Shelter Accessories > MSR Carbon Core Stakes > Owner Review by joe schaffer

MSR Carbon-Core tent pegs

by Joe Schaffer
April 10, 2014

NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 66
HEIGHT: 5'9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.4 kg)
HOME:  Hayward California USA

    I frequent California's central Sierras, camping every month; up to 95 nights a year; about half the time solo; moving nearly every day. As a comfort camper I lug tent, mattress, chair, etc. Summer trips last typically a week to 10 days; 40 lb (18 kg,) about half food-related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day. I winter camp most often at 6,000' to 7,000' (1,800 to 2,100 m;) 2 to 3 nights; 55 lb (25 kg;) 1 to 4 miles (1.5 to 6 km) on snowshoes.
The Product:
   Carbon-Core tent pegs
                        MSR Carbon Core Tent Stakes
   Web site:

Purchased: October, 2013

My pegs:    
   Weight of 4: 0.75 oz (22 g) 
   Length: 6" (15 cm)          

Factory specs:
   1 peg: 0.19 oz (5.5 g)
   Length: 6" (15 cm)

MSRP: USD $29.95 4-pack

Product Description:
   Peg shaft is a tube of graphite-gray 7000 series aluminum about 1/4" (6 mm) OD (Outside Diameter) encasing a carbon core. The 1/2" (13 mm)-long red aluminum tip is pressed into the shaft to a shoulder of about 1/8th" (3 mm) of the same OD as the shaft; and sharpened to a conical point. The pressed-on red plastic round head is reminiscent (for some of us) of an automobile choke knob--convex across the top to make it comfortable to push in; with an accentuated shoulder giving purchase to the fingers for extraction. The head is about 5/8" (16 mm) OD by 7/8" (22 mm) long, including the 9/16" (14 mm) sleeve into which the shaft is pressed. The head appears to be hollow plastic, with a hole about 1/8" (3 mm) drilled under the shoulder on each side in a diameter line. The product comes packaged with 4 pegs as shown in the product image taken from the MSR website.

Field Conditions: 
    I've used the pegs on two pitches on very firm dirt.


    It appears sanity can be set aside in the quest for ever more cool stuff; and diminishing returns in weight loss has a new peg on which to hang its hat. How do I justify spending five times as much to save about one-half the weight, which in this case amounts to about USD $24 more to save 1.6 oz (45 g) on four pegs I typically carry for a summer hike? I don't know of many outrageously cool backpacking things costing less than USD $30.

   MSR peg in the dirt  That rant vented, these pegs rate value beyond compare. I usually have to balance mostly on one foot while trying to steady a peg by hand to press it in with the other foot. With these pegs, I can press very hard with the heel of my hand without undue discomfort, and no risk of trouncing fingers or tumbling into the tent and bending a pole. (Of course I've never done that.) The tips are sharp as pen points, tending to snag on pebbles and roots more than glancing aside. I could resolve that, and perhaps save a millionth of an ounce or gram by sanding the points blunt, which I haven't done yet.

    One low-tech reason the pegs are lighter is the 6" (15 cm) length. In firm dirt a shorter peg doesn't stick up quite as far to be tripped on; and in loose dirt I find a longer hook peg doesn't hold either. Somewhere in between might be a condition where the shorter peg would be at a disadvantage, but I'm content to believe 6" (15 cm) will be fine most of the time. The peg plunged about 1/2 way in the test picture at left proved ample in the trampled, lightly moist dirt. The head is too large to pull through any grommet on any tent I have. I find the peg secure enough.

    The head holes could accommodate 3/32" (2 mm) cord for more extraction force, but I'll never suffer the added weight nor the inconvenience of having to join together pieces of cordage. The heads being round, the peg could rotate without the guy loop slipping off as easily, thereby obviating the need to drive the peg to its neck to dissuade rotation; and I don't see what force might cause rotation anyway.

    I wonder how much pulling force would be required ultimately to yank the head off the shaft; and whether pounding it in with a beer bottle would hasten that prospect or even shatter the plastic.

    I've not bent one yet. I'm reluctant to determine what level of pressure exceeds the product's resistance to bending, and MSR does not provide that metric in their specifications. I interpret from their description that it should equal and probably not exceed that of a "standard" round aluminum peg. Until I kink one accidentally, I probably won't know the material's strength or behavior when subsequently straightened. If it does match "standard" strength, I say kudos for being half the weight.

    I am working on a tent design to weigh under a pound (450 g) that requires 6 pegs and likes 10. Saving about 15% of the gross target by using MSR Carbon-Core pegs may be the only likely way to get there. I must hint to my significant other or sweet Aunt Martha the wonders of this product. They won't know it's nuts to spend this much on tent pegs; and will be glad to get off the gift hook in humoring my gear lust for only $30.

My really quick shots for MSR Carbon-Core peg:

    a) Light
    b) Easy to press in
    c) $$$$

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Reviews > Shelters > Shelter Accessories > MSR Carbon Core Stakes > Owner Review by joe schaffer

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