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Gear talk: Delta Ground Anchors- for when things get rough

Delta Ground Anchors are eased into the ground with the foot so that the flat top part of the peg V is flush to the ground
Delta Ground Anchors are eased into the ground with the foot so that the flat top part of the peg V is flush to the ground

Three Points of the Compass carries a small selection of peg types to enable me to successfully nail my shelter down almost regardless of ground soil type. I have recently added a couple of Delta pegs to this selection for those windier days or on softer grounds.

Delta Ground Anchors were not developed with lightweight backpackers in mind. It is over thirty years since their inventor Rob Orr was holidaying with his wife Dorothy and the two of them grew increasingly frustrated with having to repeg the tent. The first patented Delta pegs were stainless steel and the latest incarnation of those is still sold today.

Having won the Plymouth University competition ‘Quest for the Best‘, Rob was enabled to develop a nylon composite version with help from engineers at Exeter University. Both metal and composite types have gained a reputation with car-campers, caravanners and awning users as being solid in strong winds and they have won various awards. It is not surprising that many lightweight campers also noticed these and began to include them in their kit for use in Scotland, Wales and gusty Lakeland Fells. Have a glance through YouTube for some wildcamper films.

My preferred pegs are the excellent MSR Groundhogs and lighter and smaller Mini-Groundhogs for where guy strain is less. These are complemented with two titanium Clamcleat Spears for pounding into hard ground on occasion. Three Points of the Compass has also frequently relied on two Clamcleat Tornado pegs for trickier sites, placing those on the windward side. However I have even had these wide V pegs struggle in particularly soft, waterlogged ground and come loose on occasion. Each 18g titanium Tornado peg is 183mm long. While the Delta Pegs are shorter- 157mm, their clever design means that rather than pulling out under strain, they actually dig in, burying themselves. I have held off for some while from including these in my gear as the bright yellow composite Delta Ground Anchors, or Delta Pegs, as they are more commonly called, are no lightweight. The four I have range from 45.4g to 46.6g each. But if camping above the tree line or on more exposed sites, having these in my armoury will help get me through the night where lesser pegs may pull out. I have had to leave a comfy warm quilt before in the middle of a wet and wild night to check on shifting pegs, not particularly appreciated…

Delta Ground Anchors are quite a large and awkward size. When the design concept was first being developed, a smaller prototype was made but it was found that the ground arms were too short and holding power compromised as a result. As with many items pushing their way into a personal gear list, it is the trade off between bulk, weight and effectiveness that has to be considered. These two pegs are simply tucked into the large expandable mesh pocket on the rear of my Gossamer Gear Mariposa.

Two Delta Ground Anchors replace two Clamcleat Tornado in my peg selection when wilder conditions are expected
Two Delta Ground Anchors replace two Clamcleat Tornados in my peg selection when wilder conditions are expected

For low level summer camping, even possibly into the shoulder seasons to a degree, Delta Pegs are total overkill for a backpacker. What is prudent is to study a weather forecast, look at expected soil conditions and make a peg selection based on that. Delta Pegs are also suitable for sandier ground where thin pegs such as Shepherd Hooks will pull straight out.

Moving into winter, Three Points of the Compass has replaced my two Tornado pegs (36.2g) with two Delta Pegs (91.5g). This is a weight gain of 55.3g however it is not all about weight. Some campers nail down every guy and pegging point on their shelter with these pegs, particularly in wilder conditions. This however, is my personal balance of peg type choice for my Z Packs Duplex and the two Deltas can then be used on the windward side of my shelter where strain on guys is at its greatest. All four corners on the MLD Duomid can be securely fastened down with Deltas Pegs which would also allow for shifting wind direction during the night.

Another holding aspect of Delta pegs, possibly their best feature, is their ability to hold firm under intermittent tugging gusts. These are not the steady pressure of a wind, more the constant- tug, gap, tug, gap, tug… type of wind that eventually loosens a standard peg. Delta pegs mostly remain firm under these conditions.

There are undoubtably secondary retailers but Three Points of the Compass purchased direct from Delta Ground Anchors. When I post this (October 2020) four pegs are priced at £11.89, six- £14.89 and eight for £17.89. Should you wish to purchase any direct from Delta’s online shop, enter COMPASS10 for a 10% discount. Please note that Three Points of the Compass gets no kickback from any order.

Peg selection for Z Packs Duplex or MLD Duomid. Eight Groundhogs, six Mini-Groundhogs (increased as required), two Clamcleat Spears and two Delta Ground Anchors
Peg selection for Z Packs Duplex- Two MSR Groundhogs, six MSR Mini-Groundhogs, two Clamcleat Spears and two Delta Ground Anchors. Four Delta pegs can be included for MLD Duomid


3 replies »

  1. Hi, thanks for the sharing your knowledge on the various pegs, I have watched a few youtube posters who use the Delta pegs in the Scottish Highlands and they rate these highly. We currently use the std Groundhogs, but I have just purchased a set of 4 exped swiss piranha rt150 pegs, which are said to be good in soft/boggy ground and weigh only 14g per peg but yet to be tested in anger! To back them up I have two MSR Blizzard stakes for the key guylines, maybe the Delta’s could replace these for wet/above tree line pitches, as would imagine they may work better.


    • Thanks for commenting. Those MSR Blizzard stakes are beasties, also do double duty for digging holes ‘for the necessary ‘


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