Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gear Review: Vargo Titanium Ascent Tent Stakes

The rage for backpackers and backcountry hunters in this day and age seems to be attempting to make your pack weight as light as possible on each hunt, without giving up quality. Some guys even go as far as getting the weight of each item to the ounce. I'll admit, it's fun to add it all up and see where you can shave weight, but I am not that dedicated to it. If you are looking to shave some weight on your next backcountry hunt try looking at titanium tent stakes. The Vargo Titanium Ascent Tent Stakes are lightweight, strong, and take up less space than most stakes (as minimal as that may be). I was sent eight (8) of the tent stakes for review.

The Vargo Titanium Ascent Tent Stake is an all-around tent stake designed for sandy soil or snow. Reflective cord offers increased visibility and easier removal. These would be perfect for California soil, but how about Colorado? My goal was to fully utilize the tent stakes in Colorado in the coming weeks, but for now my backyard was the proving ground. 

The Titanium Ascent stakes are very lightweight at just 0.3 ounces (10 grams), and the V-design allows the to butt up against each other for easier packing, less noise, and storage. They also have reflective cord on them, allowing you to see them better at night and also as a way to pull them out of the ground easier. Ordinary hook-style tent stakes can be difficult to get out of the ground.

In preparation for my Colorado trip, I set up my tent and rainfly to be sure everything was still in working order. The tent was up in a matter of seconds and carefully unrolled and placed the rainfly. The rainfly is where the Vargo tent stakes would be needed the most. After I set the fly on top of the tent, I rolled out the anchor lines to get a feel for where I needed to set the stakes. Be sure that the stakes are set into the ground with the grooved, cut-out area (at the top of the stake) away from the tent. This allows the anchor lines to have something to seat into. 

Some of the sandy soil was full of roots, so I used a small rock as a hammer to pound them into the ground. It didn't take much and to be honest I was glad. Fortunately for me, I didn't hit any rocks. The stakes did not bend or warp.

The stakes held well throughout the night and into the morning. In order to get them out I just pulled up on the cord. All but two came up easily, but that was fine in my book. A little wiggle and twist and they popped out as well. I want them to hold in the sandy soil and now I wonder how well they would work at the beach!

NOTE: These would also work as an eating utensil in the backcountry, too! They are 6.25" long and you can scoop up some Mountain House right out of the bag. It might be messy, but in a pinch it would work!

The Vargo Titanium Ascent Tent Stakes are not inexpensive. They retail for $3.95 each, so the 8-pack I was sent would be $31.60, plus shipping. The benefit is having lightweight, durable tent stakes for setting up camp. Plus, Vargo guarantees their products. Forever. So if you are unhappy, call them and they will work it out with you to make sure you are satisfied. 

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I received the Titanium Ascent Tent Stakes for free from Vargo Outdoors as coordinated by Deep Creek PR an Outdoor Industry Public Relations Company in consideration for review publication. All opinions are strictly my own.

Friday, September 5, 2014

One Step Closer to a California Buck

Most of my year has been focused on hunting elk and black bear in Colorado. Although I can't wait to hunt the Rockies, I also have been scouring maps in search of a good deer spot in SoCal. Without having endless hours to spend scouting, Brett and I opted to use more trail cams this year. Fortunately for us, we have located a few legal bucks in the area we hunt. There are quite a few does, but we are after a buck. Here are some of the images from our two months of having the cams up. The D11 opener is tomorrow and we hope to get on a buck this weekend!

In California a legal buck is one with a fork in the upper third of the beam. So far we have a few that are legal, and for us each one would be a trophy.