Excerpt from RV DAILY, August 7 2020
Most campers have had the pleasure of whacking steel tent pegs into the ground, followed by the frustrated yanking to get ’em out. If you’re a crack shot with the hammer, you’re laughing. But if you strike like lightning, expect mashed fingers, skinned knuckles and swearing.
Enter the screw-in tent peg, with all sorts of wild claims as to how easy they are to use and how well they hold your guy ropes to mother earth, but do they really work? We devised an ingeniously simple way to test the holding capacity of any style of peg, in anything from soft fluffy sand, to medium-packed sandy loam and hard-packed dirt.
Image: RV Daily
We employed as much thought to personal safety as we could.
Being a screw-in design, a hammer is replaced by a 12V drill, although a shifter, spanner, ratchet or a hand brace (like your caravan leg winder) can be used to insert and extract the pegs.
Some manufacturers say their screw-in pegs shouldn’t be pulled at an angle to the shaft of the peg. Given their longitudinal holding capacity, they can hold in the ground while being pulled straight in line with the peg and rope, so we had to adapt our techniques to suit.
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GroundGrabba tent pegs independently tested
Ingeniously simple method … gone wrong
Initially, I planned on using my RUNVA 11,000-pound winch (almost five-tonnes), plus a 1000kg crane scale, 1000kg rated closed eyebolts, chain, rated bow shackles, a giant protractor to measure and set pull angles, along with some mathematical know-how allowing me to transform a horizontal winch line pull into two separate calculated angled pulls on each peg.
The first pull was set to be pulling the peg out of the ground at a 45° angle, replicating use on a tarp, awning or tent – in effect, trying to bend the peg as well as pulling it free from the ground, and that’s a no-no for some of these pegs.
The second pull was to be set vertically to pull each peg directly skywards, replicating use on the footplate of an awning or any other pole without a guy rope, plus allowed for the wishes of the few companies that suggested not pulling their pegs at an angle, which we did anyway to see what happened! And that’s where things started going wrong with too many breakages, so I changed tack and only pulled the screw-in pegs out of the ground in line with the peg. Each peg was slowly pulled from the ground by inching the winch rope in while we noted the maximum kilogram reading on the scales. The higher the number, the harder it was to pull the peg out of the ground – simple!
This test is not 100 percent scientific but it gives a damn good indication of what you can expect from screw-in style pegs compared to traditional pegs. Firstly, you need to choose a peg to suit the ground conditions. Secondly, screw-in pegs can produce similar and sometimes greater ground-holding strength in a vertical pull compared to an angled pull. Thirdly, I broke a few of the screw-in pegs given I pulled them at an angle … all in the name of testing, of course. Fourthly, check out the results table to see the massive holding force of the GroundGrabba and Peggy Peg for most soil types. Finally, the long-angled steel peg offered pretty damn good holding forces and was the best hammer-in peg by a country mile.
The three types of GroundGrabba pegs incorporate two different size steel pegs and one glass-reinforced nylon peg, all of which use a hexagonal head driven by supplied 19mm sockets. The 400mm-long, glass-reinforced unit is classed as a ‘recreational grade’ tent peg for use on beach and sand dunes and features large diameter flutes along the shaft and a moulded open rope hook. The two steel units measure in at 300mm and 600mm long, both with large diameter flutes on the lower section of the shaft. While a regular drill is fine, an impact-style drill shouldn’t be used on the glass-reinforced peg, as this could fracture it. The two steel units require a Hex Hook Pro hook plate to attach guy ropes, and each plate incorporates a 19mm hex opening that can be used to tighten or loosen the peg. Given they have a lifetime guarantee, I reckon you’ll get plenty of use.
Standard Traditional Pegs
By this we mean a peg that is hammered into the ground by a hammer. There are dozens of different sizes (length and diameter), material types, and even different head shapes available. We’ve chosen some common size steel pegs at 200mm and 300mm long, a heavy-duty angle iron type peg at 450mm long and a 300mm long plastic peg – all from my own stash. Obviously, we couldn’t hammer the plastic sand pegs into hard-packed dirt and the two smaller steel pegs don’t hold in soft sand. The same goes for all the screw-in type pegs … you need to buy the correct peg for your circumstances. The biggest advantage of these pegs is their cheaper price, range of sizes and they can be hammered back into shape after you’ve bent them. The downsides: they can be damn hard work to hammer into and retrieve from the ground. My biggest surprise was the ability of the long angle-iron-style peg and how well it held during angled and straight-line pulls.
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Tent peg test results - screw-in pegs vs traditional tent pegs
There was never going to be an outright winner. Same as a standard-type peg, there is no one-sized-peg-fits-all scenario. To find the best peg for each ground type, you’re best studying the table with regard to the kilogram ratings. The higher the number, the higher the force was required to pull the peg out at the two different angles.
If I had to stick with just one brand of screw-in peg, I’d be looking at Ground Grabba or Peggy Peg; they both offer a good range for most soil conditions and I loved the incredible ground-grabbing efforts of Ground Grabba (sorry, I thought it was funny) and the strength of their long steel version at a whopping 710kg of holding force. Peggy Peg offers options above and beyond just pegs, but both companies have developed unique products that perform exceptionally well.
Words and images Mark Allen from The Long Paddock http://www.thelongpaddock.net/