Used extensively by Cairngorm Treks throughout the Cairngorms and surrounding mountainous areas, Winter 2017 – Spring 2018.
This was the first time we have used a plastic peg and to be honest we were quite unsure why you would substitute a metal peg for a softer alternative. Constructed of strong ABS engineered plastic with an anodised aluminium tip to improve their lifespan, they are described as providing a lot of holding power, so we were looking forward to seeing how they pair up against our typical setup.
Firstly, one of the main difference is that although being quite chunky is size, the use of materials takes the weight down to a respectively light 8 grams per peg. Using a Y-Beam construction that delivers multi-directional anchoring similar to our favoured MSR Groundhog Stakes, we can be confident that if placed correctly they shouldn't come loose.
In use it has been noted by MSR that the Dart Stake is for use on softer ground, so we headed out to areas in which the stakes would be better suited. When paired with a single or two-person tent they tend to be a little too chunky when searching for a placement around the base of the tent. This is due to the lack of area available when pitching the foot of a shelter. When pitching the guy lines the area available is increased and so finding a placement became easier and also once in place the Dart Stake, true its word, provided a solid hold. Although compared to its aluminium equivalent in the Groundhog we didn't notice much of a difference in performance even on really soft ground. When we moved higher onto rockier terrain the MSR Dart Stakes unfortunately showed a lot of weakness and when driven into the ground did start to bend and become permanently mis-shaped.
The MSR Dart Stakes do provide a very strong hold with the Y-Beam construction being a favourite amongst our guides. They are a chunky stake so are perfect for use on softer ground, whilst also being very light to carry. We used the 6'' Darts but there is also a 9'' version for increased stability. Although the ABS engineered plastic performed with great strength we would find it hard to use these throughout most of our multi-day expeditions as they do have limitations in the areas they can be placed. If trekking mostly lowland, woodlands, or areas with very soft ground the MSR Dart Stakes do offer a very strong hold although when used in harder rockier ground a titanium or aluminium alternative will better suit.
Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...